Gene Simmons has responded to Ace Frehley‘s recent social media outburst in which the ex-KISS guitarist called his former bandmate an “asshole and a sex addict.”
Before KISS‘s “End Of The Road” tour launched last month, Frehley addressed some comments Simmons made about about a possible reunion of the band’s original lineup, dismissing Gene‘s claim that Ace had been fired from KISS three times (he says he quit), alleging that Simmons groped Ace‘s wife during one of the bassist’s “Vault Experience” events in Los Angeles and accusing Simmons and KISS frontman Paul Stanley of trying “to derail my solo career multiple times over the years.” After the allegations, he included a threat: “Without a complete and heartfelt apology, an offer to give me my old job back and removing Tommy [Thayer] from the throne I created, the shit will hit the fan and they’ll [sic] be no stopping it. It’s on!!!” He concluded the post with an image of him pointing at a camera emblazoned with the words, “The gloves are off!!”
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Simmons refused to go into detail about Ace‘s explosive remarks. “I’m not gonna say anything in print other than I love Ace and Peter [Criss, original KISS drummer] and I thank them forever — they’re every bit as important as Paul and myself for launching the band,” he said. “I’m not going to make any guesses of why the emotions are so volatile, but it’s happened before.”
Stanley — who guested on Frehley‘s 2016 album “Origins, Vol. 1” — previously told Billboard he was aware of Frehley‘s comments but was “not sidetracked by anything. I have no comment about that.” Paul added that there was no desire, or need, for KISS to make any changes to its current lineup, which includes Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums.
“This is in no way or should be a reunion tour — that would negate everything that came since,” Stanley explained. “The band is in the best shape it’s ever been, and built on a foundation of everything that came before it and built that much higher by us. This is a celebration of KISS and of all eras and everything that’s happened. It doesn’t even make any sense to me to talk of a reunion.” Nevertheless, he added: “We’re happy to invite people who have been involved in the band to come join us at some point for a song or whatever. If it doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t be by my choosing.”
In the months after KISS announced the trek, fans wondered openly if Frehley and Criss would be involved in the tour, especially considering the apparent recent goodwill between Paul and Gene and Ace. Frehley‘s new album “Spaceman” — a title suggested by Simmons himself — features two songs the pair wrote together, and the duo completed a joint summer tour of Australia, after which Frehley fired his solo backing band and hired Simmons‘s.
Frehley‘s post was an apparent response to an interview Simmons gave Guitar World, in which Gene said he wasn’t sure if he would invite Frehley and Criss on the “End Of The Road” tour. “Ace and Peter have gotten three chances,” Simmons said,. “They were in and out of the band — fired — three times. For drugs, alcohol, bad behavior, being unprofessional … they weren’t carrying their load. … So the short answer to your question is we’d love to have Ace and Peter join us here and there. And if they don’t, it’s not going to be because of us. But they’re never going to be in KISS again.”
Regarding his last statement, that Frehley and Criss will never be full members of KISS again, Simmons added: “Three times is the charm; ‘I promise I’ll pull out’ doesn’t work. It’s the boy who cried wolf: ‘Oh, I’ve been straight for a million years.’ Terrific! Have a good life! … Would we welcome Ace or Peter to jump up onstage for a song or two? Of course. Could we depend on either Ace or Peter to do a full set night after night? Not on your fucking life.”
The first North American leg of “End Of The Road” launched January 31 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at Rogers Arena and is hitting an additional 43 cities.