Another day, another unfiltered interview from the king of outrageous soundbites. Gene has been doing a major round of interviews, along with bandmate Paul Stanley, as they prepare to restart the band’s final farewell tour, which has been interrupted by the global pandemic. Earlier this year, they also appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to promote the no holds barred new documentary, which clocks in at four hours, but contains surprisingly little input from Ace and Peter.
Gene gave a new interview to Talking Wax and the subject of Gene’s 1978 solo album came up. This opened up the whole topic of why all four original members of the band had decided to take a break to pursue solo projects which unsurprisingl lead into Gene opening fire on his two former bandmates.
Gene said: “The band almost broke up at that point… The solo record was (KISS manager) Bill Aucoin’s idea to save the band. So all of us went off and did whatever.
“Both Ace and Peter were in their dysfunction period. It had to do with drugs and alcohol and an inflated (sense of importance)… Ace in particular wanted to leave the band and Peter also wanted to leave the band in a kind of ‘nobody appreciates me, I’m not getting my share’ kind of thing…
“I remember on the way out, Ace told me, ‘You’ll see, I’m gonna sell ten million albums.’”
READ MORE: KISS: Paul Stanley on what happens to KISS when he and Gene Simmons leave
Ace quit the band in 1982, rejoined in 1996 and left for good in 2002. Peter, meanwhile, officially left in May 1980 but Gene and Paul say he was voted out of the band the year before. He also rejoined in 1996, quit again in 2001, came back in 2002 and finally left for good in 2004.
Since then, tensions have often been high between the two remaining members and their former bandmates, although they all reunited on April 10, 2014, for the band’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The current world tour and new documentary are all geared to celebrates the band’s 50th Anniversary, and Gene says he and Paul had wanted the other two to get more involved with the film.
Gene added: “We just had this documentary that came out that’s a headlining thing at the Tribeca Film Festival, and, of course, without even thinking twice about it, we reached out to both Ace and Peter. (We said) ‘Hey, come and be part of this thing. You helped create the band. No question about it.’
“And they refused. Ace wanted certain (conditions)… ‘I want this. I want that. I want editing rights,’ and that kind of stuff. And, God love him, that wasn’t gonna happen.
“I didn’t get those rights and didn’t want them. I just wanted to throw caution to the wind and get the thing done. So they barely appear in it.”