During a special Q&A with 20 SiriusXM listeners, Kiss’ founding members were bursting with praise for the current line up of the group — which has just released Monster, their first album since 2009′s Sonic Boom.
Original bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley have been with drummer Eric Singer since 1991, and with current guitarist Tommy Thayer since 2002.
“The accolades and the attention usually falls on us two knuckleheads,” Simmons says, referring to himself and Stanley. “The truth is, with Eric and Tommy in the band, Kiss is revitalized, reborn, re-energized. You can’t know what it’s like to be on stage and have solid backing. You can just lean back, and the power of Eric’s drumming — you can never get lost. First of all, he’s a triple threat: He’s not only cute and young, the guy can sing any one of us under the rug. Tommy, likewise, can write songs, sing lead. This band is unstoppable. Any band out there that dares step on stage with us, come and get it.”
Ace Frehley was Kiss’ founding guitarist, and played with the band over two stints — from 1973-82 and then from 1996-2002. Original drummer Peter Criss was with Simmons and Stanley from ’73-80, and then over a period from 1996-2001.
The late Eric Carr took Criss’ spot through 1991, when he tragically died of cancer. Vinnie Vincent held down the guitar chair from 1982-84, and was briefly succeeded by Mark St. John in 1984. Bruce Kulick followed, playing guitar with Kiss from 1984-1996 — longest for anyone in Kiss, except for Simmons and Stanley.
“What makes the band so great at this point is when you have four people who are all saying: ‘Wow can I make the band better?,’ instead of: ‘How can the band make me more famous?,’” Stanley added. “We may get a lot of attention over here, but trust me, we couldn’t make an album like Sonic Boom — and anybody who thinks we could have made Monster with any other lineup, I want to know what you’re smoking.”
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