January 2013 will make the 40th anniversary of Kiss, and details remain sketchy as to just what the band will do to celebrate. Well, except this: Co-founder Paul Stanley says there won’t be any reunions with former members.
In a new talk with Metal-Rules.com, Stanley quickly brushed aside the idea of getting back together with the likes of Ace Frehley or Peter Criss. So far, the looming anniversary has taken a backseat to Kiss’s current tour and forthcoming album. (Remaining dates for the tour are below.)
Kiss is set to issue Monster in October; its first single, the well-received “Hell Or Hallelujah” arrived on July 2, 2012. Kiss has also been doing a series of concert dates with Motley Crue, and has prepared an over-sized book of commemorative photographs, which likewise is called “Monster.”
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Tommy Thayer defends Kiss’ controversial decision to make use of Ace Frehley’s makeup and on-stage stunts, then explains how he fires off the cool guitar rockets.]
In the meantime, Kiss currently has four living ex-members, including its original guitarist and drummer.
Frehley was guitarist with Kiss from 1973-82, and then again from 1996-2002. Criss was drummer from 1973-80, and then again from 1996-2001. Vinnie Vincent replaced Frehley between 1982-84, and he was briefly followed by the late Mark St. John in a months-long period in 1984 that included the album Animalize. Bruce Kulick then took over for a 12-year stint between 1984-1996, the longest of any member save for Stanley and fellow band co-founder Gene Simmons.
The late Eric Carr was drummer for Kiss from mid-1980 through 1991, when he was felled by cancer. That’s when current drummer Eric Singer took over. Current guitarist Tommy Thayer replaced Frehley after his second run with the band in 2002.
Whatever is planned, Kiss’s celebration won’t include any tearful reunions in 2013. Stanley tells Metal-Rules.com’s Marko Syrjala: “Well, it would involve Tommy, Eric, me and Gene — and it will be the celebration of the band, our survival and our history. That’s all. … We would be celebrating 40 years of Kiss, not 40 years of any particular people. The band is the celebration.”
As for specifics on what be in the offing, there is little to report just yet: “We will do what we do: play,” Stanley says, and laughs. “As a matter of fact, there is some talk about some special shows for the 40th anniversary. … I can’t say more yet.”
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A look back at our recent thoughts on Kiss. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
ONE TRACK MIND: KISS, “HELL OR HALLELUJAH’ (2012): I won’t say that “Hell or Hallelujah” had the same impact on me as hearing “Unholy” from Kiss’ Revenge record, but it’s a very similar situation. In 1992, Kiss was coming off a pair of weak, heavily commercial records when they unleashed Revenge, and “Unholy” took me from completely uninterested to “gotta have it” in one listen. Fast forward 20 years, and Kiss is coming off two weak, pretty much phoned-in albums, although much farther apart, in 1998’s Psycho Circus and 2009’s Sonic Boom. Once again, I’m pretty much uninterested in the new release, despite Gene Simmons’ statements that will be like a combination of Destroyer and Revenge, my two personal favorite Kiss albums. Then comes this energetic, rocking blast called “Hell or Hallelujah,” and all of a sudden, I’m looking forward to Monster.
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: KISS: News that Kiss is back in the studio, working toward the 2012 release of a new project called Monster, got us scurrying back to our old album collections. And not just because of those fond memories of playing air guitar with former guitarist Ace Frehley during Kiss Alive. Bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said something interesting about the sessions: “This new record feels heavier than (2009’s) Sonic Boom. It feels like a connection between Destroyer and Revenge. Those were but two of the favorites we discussed here.
KISS – DESTROYER RESURRECTED (1976; 2012 reissue): The longer I listen, every time, to this whole album, the more I just want to go and dig out Alive! — the up-against-the-wall double-live concert document from the year before that conveys all of the force, and humor, of Kiss in a way this often over-wrought studio effort just never did. First-time Kiss producer Bob Ezrin, and therefore Destroyer, just keeps screwing around — even on this new remix, dubbed Destroyer: Resurrected. When it’s good, there’s fun to be had … and, especially on tough groovers like “God of Thunder,” it almost gets there. When it’s not, though, the project is weirdly disconnected, like it’s trying to sound interesting, but instead just sounding silly.
FORGOTTEN SERIES: KISS – REVENGE (1992): There is one non-makeup Kiss record that certainly belongs in the conversation with the band’s best work. Released in 1992, Revenge came on the tail of two snoozers — 1987’s Crazy Nights and 1989’s Hot in the Shade — that were completely lost in the keyboard-laden, ballad-heavy 1980s radio rock sound. Revenge, though, was a different beast. There were still plenty of mindless sex and party anthems. It wouldn’t be a Kiss record without those. But there was a darker, heavier edge to the album, which was loaded with Gene Simmons’ gruffer vocals.
Remaining dates for 2012’s “The Tour,” featuring Kiss and Motley Crue:
Sep 11: Allegan, MI – Allegan County Fair
Sep 12: Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Sep 13: Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sep 15: Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sep 16: Mansfield, MA – Comcast Center
Sep 18: Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Sep 19: Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
Sep 21: Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Sep 22: Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Sep 23: Hartford, CT – Comcast Theatre