The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Or The Junior Prom?
The list is pretty long already. Axl Rose, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Neil Young, Levon Helm, Eric Burdon, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Roger Waters, Grace Slick, John Deacon, Peter Gabriel, Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth. It looks like we might be adding Ace Frehley to that list and maybe Peter Criss too.
Which begs the question: Why is it so hard for artists to come together for just one night?
It all started on Friday night, February 21st when original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was on the air with New York DJ and host of VH1’s That Metal Show Eddie Trunk. Frehley was asked about his possible participation in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies to be held next month in New York.
“I don’t think KISS fans are gonna be too excited and happy about the news, ’cause at this juncture, Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] have decided to perform with [current members] Tommy [Thayer] and Eric [Singer], and it looks like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is going along with it,” said Frehley. “If I’m not gonna put on the makeup and do a three-song reunion for the fans, then what am I gonna do? And right now I’m not even sure if I’m gonna show up for that, you know?”
Peter Criss then released the following statement: “It’s disappointing to have to say to you, the fans, that as of today, Ace and I have been denied a performance with Gene and Paul for our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.”
Less than two days after Frehley and Criss made their thoughts known to the public, the following statement was posted on the official KISS website KISSonline.com:
To All Our Fans In Regards To The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Out of respect, Ace and Peter's recent statements demand a quick response to you, our fans.
Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of KISS and give credit to all members including long time present members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, and additionally Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr all who have made this band what it is, regardless of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's point of view.
Although KISS has moved forward far longer without them, Ace and Peter are at the very foundation of what we have built and this would all be impossible had they not been a part of it in the beginning.
It is over 13 years since the original lineup has played together in make-up and we believe the memory of those times would not be enhanced. Contrary to claims made through the media we have never refused to play with Ace and Peter.
We have spent 40 years dedicated to building KISS without quitting or wavering as the band has moved forward with huge tours and platinum albums through different important lineups for forty years, to this day.
KISS has always been a band unlike any other. That is why we started KISS. That is why we continue KISS. Being unlike other bands also means making choices and decisions unlike other bands.
This is understandably an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.
To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
We are excited and are looking forward to seeing you all on the KISS 40th Anniversary worldwide tour.
Hmm, so it looks like what could be a special moment this April will end up being a major dud for KISS fans like myself and another in a long line of disappointing moments at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies.
It has more often than not become much like a drama-filled junior prom night. This one won’t be there because that one is dating her best friend and the other won’t show up at all because his best friend is now best friends with his best friend’s ex-girlfriend. Woah! My head’s spinning!
We actually had Frehley refusing to get up on stage with current guitarist Tommy Thayer because he’d be wearing Ace’s Spaceman costume. Geez, what if current drummer Eric Singer’s wife is wearing the same dress as Peter Criss’s wife? Would that result in a four-way cat fight? That was a Catman joke by the way. Thank you.
Stanley had already blasted the “tainted, corrupted and distorted” Hall of Fame for being unwilling to discuss inducting anybody but the four original members of KISS.
“It was shut down immediately as ‘a non-starter,’ which to me is arrogant,” he told Classic Rock. “The fact that there are 30 or 40 or 50 or some absurd number of Grateful Dead members all inducted, the fact that all of the [Red Hot] Chili Peppers, including people who played on early albums that never amounted to very much are inducted, the fact that John Rutsey, the drummer on the first Rush album is not inducted, the fact that Rob Trujillo, who’s a great guy but didn’t play on any of the classic Metallica albums, was inducted after being in the band six years makes me wonder exactly what are the rules? If the rules don’t apply to everybody then they’re not rules.”
While Stanley has a point, he’s missing the more important point, a point he’s stood up and shouted out for 40 years: “It’s all about the fans. Without the KISS fans who’ve stood by the band we wouldn’t be here.”
To Frehley’s credit, he made that very point to Trunk.
“Hey, you [Simmons and Stanley] don’t want to do something for the fans after 40 years of them supporting you? It’s something the fans wanted, it’s something the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame asked of all four of us. [Simmons and Stanley] shot it down,” said Frehley. “It is what it is……If I show up it’ll be for the fans.”
And let’s keep in mind that the reason Frehley made this information known when he did was to try and prevent KISS fans from spending over $600 for a ticket with the thought that they’d see the original four perform together.
Sadly, Trunk confirmed that he knew at least one person who had already spent $650 on a ticket. Imagine some poor guy spending the money on the ticket, a possible plane flight to the gig maybe? How about paying for a hotel to stay in nearby? How pissed off would you be?
So I beg of you Paul and Gene, bring anyone you want on stage to accept the honor and mention them all because they’re all most definitely part of the ride. That includes the late great Eric Carr, Vinnie Vincent (who, by the way, is being intentionally excluded from the honors by Paul and Gene), Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. But, for God’s sake or the God of Thunder’s sake (“wink”, “wink”), do the right thing and let Ace and Peter Criss dance with you at the prom one more night.
For a complete list of Hall of Fame no-shows and the stories behind them, check out this article from Rolling Stone.