KISS Crew Members Believe Loose COVID Protocols Led to Guitar Tech’s Death, Band Refutes Claims
Three workers from KISS’ End of the Road U.S. tour have anonymously spoken to Rolling Stone to detail allegedly “unsafe” COVID practices following the death of Paul Stanley’s guitar tech Francis Stueber. KISS have refuted the claims made against them, detailing their supposed procedures throughout the tour in a statement.
"I couldn't believe how unsafe it was, and that we were still going,” one crew member told Rolling Stone. “We'd been frustrated for weeks, and by the time Fran died, I just thought, 'You have to be fucking kidding me.'"
"Every day during the shows, we weren't tested," a roadie added. "And there are so many unknowns. Did we superspread this? Did we spread this thing from city to city? It's horrible that Fran passed, and it's horrible if this is our protocol just for us to tour. Is this going to be the normal, to stick someone in a hotel? And if somebody dies, 'Oh, well, off to the next guy?'"
Along with a lack of daily testing, which KISS production manager Robert Long admits to, some KISS crew members allegedly disguised their illness while working on the road and/or faked vaccine cards.
53-year-old Stueber died in a hotel room on Oct. 17 just two days after being quarantined for contracting COVID.
"I never told anyone we didn't want to test them," Long tells Rolling Stone. "If you wanted a test, we'd supply it. If you wanted to get tested, if you felt symptoms, if you think someone might be sick, please raise your hand. We had thermometers on every bus, sheets to write down temperatures every morning, mask boxes, and sanitizers everywhere. People were getting tested every other day, we ordered tests regularly. I'm not going to not test people; I take this shit seriously."
"We are profoundly heartbroken at the loss of Francis, he was a friend and colleague of 20 years, there is no way to replace him," KISS said in a statement. "Millions of people have lost someone special to this horrific virus and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Please protect yourself and your loved ones."
"Our 'End of the Road' world tour absolutely had COVID safety protocols in place that met, but most often exceeded, federal, state and local guidelines. But ultimately this is still a global pandemic and there is simply no foolproof way to tour without some element of risk."
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons both tested positive for COVID in late August and early September, respectively. According to the anonymous tour workers, 13 out of KISS’ 70-person team contracted COVID while on the road, but unlike Stanley and Simmons’ positive tests, no tour postponements took place due to positive tests for crew members.
The crew members claim tour management wanted to “avoid the complications of a positive test” and that road workers rarely were told to quarantine after testing positive.
“People were sent into mandatory quarantine paid for by the band and denied their efforts to travel while potentially infected,” KISS counter. “Medical care was offered at every step of the way.”
Kiss add that it was “impossible to police the crew minute by minute of their lives. If certain crew chose to go out to dinner on a day off, or have beers at a local bar after the show, and did so without a mask or without following protocols, there is little that anyone can do to stop that.” [via Ultimate Classic Rock]
"My dear friend, buddy and guitar tech for 20 years, Fran Stueber died yesterday suddenly of Covid,” Paul Stanley wrote on Twitter shortly after Stueber's death. “Both on and offstage I depended on him for so much. My family loved him as did I. He was so proud of his wife and 3 boys as they were of him. I'm numb."