With their long-craved-for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame coming in less than two weeks, their first-ever Rolling Stone front cover happening after forty years, a Paul Stanley autobiography also set for the middle of next month, and a lot of he-said/she-said going on between Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on one side, and founding former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on the other side… well, let’s face it. Is it really worth it?
Watch this footage from last October in Tokyo, and you tell me:
Before we go on, it should be noted that Gene and Paul wanted their performance to happen with their “current” lineup of Simmons’s longtime lackey Tommy Thayer cosplaying in Ace Frehley’s makeup (which Ace reveals himself in the Rolling Stone feature to still be the owner of, only licensing the character for a time period that is set to send soon) and the band’s third drummer, Eric Singer, wearing Peter Criss’s facepaint, with Ace and Peter only “sitting in and sharing the stage” with their cosplaying doppelgangers. Not surprisingly, as many of you may already know, Kiss fans, along with Ace and Peter, cried fowl, so Gene and Paul took their ball and chose to lock it away back home and only hang out by the playground like a couple of hoodlums.
It’s a good thing that Gene and Paul pulled out, judging from the video footage above. Paul Stanley’s voice is shot. In the aftermath of a throat operation, the band has had to tune down their guitars an extra half-step to compensate for this. Unfortunately, Paul’s voice is still not what it should be even after the operation and and even after having to transpose their current repertoire into lower keys. The rest of the band is doing very little to make up for this – Gene is phoning in his performance (not much different from how he’s phoned in most of his songwriting since Dynasty), and the two professional cosplayers behind them are following along in lockstep.
Unfortunately for posterity, the above footage captures them in a Japanese venue. Normally, the Japanese are the most enthusiastic audience on the planet. But when a Japanese audience is just sitting there with their jaws dropping because they’re watching Paul Stanley’s inability to sing an acapella intro he used to flawlessly for the entire time “Heaven’s On Fire” was part of the Kiss set list, followed by a pretty much phoned-in, by-the-numbers performance from the entire band, well… that speaks volumes.
They haven’t been better in the studio lately, either: Both 2009’s Sonic Boom and 2012’s “Monster” were basically just Paul Stanley solo albums interrupted by three other people. The sales were there initially, but the music wasn’t.
This just reinforces what I said a couple of years ago when I posted about how Kiss didn’t deserve to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a group. In fact, I stand by it.
I also stand by this statement: KISS is officially toast, folks. Don’t believe me, even after seeing that footage? Should I point out how the past few times they’ve done American tours, they’ve had to co-headline with acts like Motley Crue and, this summer, Def Leppard, just to get asses in seats? Have you noticed how hard Groupon has been pushing discounted tickets to this farce? Apparently, countless longtime Kiss fans know better than to spend money what’s been passing for their once-favorite band since 2003, so the band is doing anything they can do deceive casual fans into spending their hard-earned money on that they think is the 100% real deal.
In the same Rolling Stone article, Simmons admits that he’s got “three tours” left in him – “[maybe] two, if I have a life change of some kind.” Gene, don’t even bother. Just quit now and take Paul with you. Kiss has been like a fish out of water for the past decade, flopping around and gasping desperately for breath.