The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be having its next induction ceremony on April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but do not expect new inductees KISS to be performing. Founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have decided against it to protest the Hall’s decision of inducting only the original line-up of the group (which includes departed members Peter “Catman” Criss and Ace “Space Ace” Frehley) while ignoring other longtime (and current) bandmates like Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. I asked Simmons about his decision when he called into Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) to chat about his appearance tonight on CBS’ CSI (where he will be playing himself).
“Paul and I got on the phone and called Ace and Peter,” Simmons explained of what happened right when they found out about the induction. “‘Hey, congratulations. It was an honor to stand alongside you then and we’ll be proud to stand alongside of you at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to accept the award.’ And they were gracious and happy and God bless, and all of that, and we went off our separate ways. And then we found out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will only be honoring the original lineup with Ace, Peter, Paul and myself, and we said, ‘Oh okay, then we won’t be playing there. We’ll just accept the award. Thank you very much.’ And they go, ‘What are you talking about?’ and I said, ‘Well, you have a group like the Eagles who continue to be our contemporaries…and every member that has even been in the Eagles has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But you’re only gonna honor the first lineup that was together for seven years? We’ve been around forty years. Tommy and Eric have been in the band 20 years — two and a half times longer than Ace and Peter. You’re going to slap them in the face and we’re supposed to get you a sandwich and make sure you burp at 9 o’clock at night and get up on stage and do it? No, that’s not going to happen.’”
Simmons then went on to draw a comparison to fully illustrate his point. “So imagine you’re being invited to be inducted at an award ceremony and you get to bring only the first person you ever went out with in your life. The one, your beloved right now? She can’t come, or he can’t come. They get to stay home, They don’t get honored. ‘And while you’re there, can you get me a sandwich?’ Really? That’s not going to fly.”
Okay, first off, I’m not sure what the sandwich thing is about. Maybe he was just hungry. Yes, Simmons has a point that it would kind of be a bummer for longtime members to be excluded. But he also has to know that the band is being honored for what they did when they ruled the rock world back in the 1970s, a time when the band included Criss and Frehley. Those are the four people everyone wants to see on stage together, just like when the original lineup reunited back in 1996.