It seems as though there just may be more than four members of Kiss onstage for the band's final show. Ultimate Classic Rock reported Kiss manager Doc McGhee shed some light on the plans for the band's farewell gig on July 17th, 2021 at a venue TBA in its hometown of New York City.
During a formal chat with fans on board the Kiss Kruise, McGhee revealed, "Ace (Frehley) and Peter (Criss) will be and have been invited to come and play with us at anytime. . . Like I always say, people in New York would love to see Joe Namath still play football for the Jets. Unfortunately, he can't. We want to include everybody that played with Kiss to celebrate the 45 years of Kiss."
Of the nine official members of Kiss, only two have passed on. Drummer Eric Carr — best known to fans ass "The Fox" — replaced Peter Criss behind the drums on the road in 1980. Illness forced Carr to step down from the band in 1990, and he died at age 41 from complications from a rare form of heart cancer on November 24th, 1991 — the same day as Freddie Mercury.
Vinnie Vincent's replacement, Mark St. John, played on the Animalize album and only performed two full shows with the band, before leaving in 1984 when he was replaced by Bruce Kulick. St. John died on April 5th, 2007, due to a brain hemorrhage brought on by an accidental overdose of methamphetamines.
Regarding co-founders Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and the band's second lead guitarist Vinnie Vincent, McGhee said, "We're still looking at what we're going to do on the final show of Kiss. . . and, yes, they’ve all been talked to about it, so I can see us doing something. It’s very difficult, though, when people say, 'Oh, you should bring Ace and Peter up.' I mean, how do you do that when you have two Catmen and two Spacemen?’ So you say, 'Okay, you don’t wear makeup, and you wear makeup.' And then they go, ‘Well, that was my makeup.' I don’t know."
He added, "(It's) real hard to do. . . but we’ll figure it out because they’re very much a part of the heritage of Kiss. They're acknowledged by Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) and everybody in this room as being founding members and some of the reasons why we're sitting here. So, it’s important to you guys, it’s important to us. It’s just a matter of the balance. We bring it where it works for everybody, and everybody is having a great time.”
McGhee went on to say he agreed with Paul Stanley's take on Frehley and Criss, reiterating: "They could not have done what they’d done without Ace and Peter. . . and they couldn’t do what they’re doing now with Ace and Peter."
We asked Gene Simmons what it feels like night-after-night to turn around and see the spitting image of his former bandmates — yet it's someone else: ["Y'know, we still have a tug of the heart. It's like your drunken dysfunctional father who was a bum and you finally had to get rid of him — but you still remember the beginning when he was a good dad. Ace and Peter are beloved, as they should be, for the beginning. For helping launch the band — if you don't mind me saying so — that changed the face of rock 'n roll, literally and figuratively speaking. But equally as important part of the beginning of Kiss, it's also important to know that with them in the band today, Kiss wouldn't be around."] SOUNDCUE (:30 OC: . . . wouldn't be around)
Both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have been quite vocal about Kiss living on far into the future long after both its co-founders have retired from the stage. Stanley told us that Kiss is far bigger and important than its past or present members: [“The people who believe that the band can’t exist or continue without me or Gene, either both or singularly, well, a lot of those people in the late-‘70s believed the band couldn’t continue without the original four. At this point they’re 50 percent wrong. And when we play to 15, 50, 100,000 people, they’re not interested in the specifics of the past — they’re interested in the band and what it represents, and what it brings to a concert, and what it stands for.”] SOUNDCUE (:33 OC: . . . it stands for)
Kiss kicks off its next string of shows on November 16th in Perth, Australia.