Did Gene Simmons Just Suggest ‘Newer’ KISS Fans Don’t Know Who Ace Frehley + Peter Criss Are?
In a recent interview with Linea Rock, KISS bassist/singer Gene Simmons has stated that he has invited iconic former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss to join the band onstage for encores, also suggesting that it's something older fans want to see and that the "newer" audience doesn't know them.
Frehley departed the lineup in 2002 and Criss' exit came two years later and, since then, the hope for their eventual return is something that has been on the tip of KISS fans' tongues. It's also a topic principle members Simmons and Paul Stanley have been asked about steadily for decades.
In recent years, it has been posited by Simmons, Stanley and manager Doc McGhee that there is a loose open door policy regarding a reunion of sorts with the erstwhile members, namely the possibility for special encore appearances as KISS wind down their career on The End of the Road tour, which finishes up for good later this year.
Tensions have been high between Frehley and KISS, however. Earlier this year, Frehley threatened to release a damning manuscript that he claimed would ruin the careers of both Simmons and Stanley. His aim was to get an apology from Stanley, who joked that the band would be "PISS" if Frehley and Criss were playing with them. The manuscript was never released and the only thing Frehley got from Stanley was a phone call to say, "Fuck you, Ace. I'm not going to apologize."
When asked by Linea Rock about any "special surprises" for the band's final show, Simmons confirms, "Yes, there will be surprises," and shifts focus to his former bandmates.
"For the fans — the older, older fans — the ones who've been around for 50 years, they're old, and some of them want to see Ace and Peter," Simmons reasons, then suggests it's not a big priority for fans who have just gotten into the band more recently.
"The newer fans never saw them and they don't know. But the older fans wonder about Ace and Peter," he continues, acknowledging he has presented both Frehley and Criss with opportunities to join KISS onstage.
"Well, I asked both Ace and Peter a few times: 'Do you want come out for the encores? Do you want to do some shows?' And they both said, 'No.' So, I don't know what to say about that… But it's always welcome. But there are many other big stars, superstars, who wanna jump up onstage and play a song. But we're not sure about that. Maybe the best thing to do is to end the way we started: four guys with guitars. No keyboards, no synthesizers — nothing. Just playing," Simmons continues.
In 2021, Frehley mentioned he would consider the offer "if the money's right."
Later in the interview, Simmons chats about the planned KISS biopic, which McGhee had previously stated will be released in 2024 under the title Shout It Out Loud.
"We have a great director, a guy who did Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp. Very good script. Yes, it's moving forward," Simmons says of the upcoming film, which is still very much a work in progress.
"We didn't even start filming. People don't understand — you meet a girl and she says, 'I'm pregnant.' Then next week you say, 'Where's the baby?' And you keep asking week after week after week. People don't understand that movies take years. The movie will come out after we stop touring," he explains, using a head-scratching analogy.
Listen to the full interview below.