GENE SIMMONS Believes VINNIE VINCENT Is 'His Own Worst Enemy'

September 2, 2018

Gene Simmons says that he believes Vinnie Vincent is "his own worst enemy."

The KISS bassist/vocalist made his comments during a question-and-answer session in Adelaide, Australia, where he is currently on tour with his solo band, supported by original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley.

Speaking about Vincent, who originally joined KISS in 1982 as Frehley's replacement, Simmons said (see video below, starting at around 15-minute mark): "He's about to get into some more legal problems, because he tried to trademark the makeup and to trademark 'Vinnie Vincent Kiss', the logo.

"There's something called the classic failure mechanism, which I was told by doctors and everything — I'm not saying he is one," Gene continued. "But there are people who simply cannot handle when things are starting to go their way — success — so they torpedo it by making stupid decisions to make sure they don't succeeed, so they can deal with that. Some people just can't fathom being up there, so they turn to other stuff and torpedo it."

Simmons added: "Vinnie is a great guy, very talented, and maybe, in my view, his own worst enemy — in my opinion."

On July 23, Vinnie, whose real name is Vincent Cusano, filed two applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the word mark "Vinnie Vincent's Kiss". If granted, the registrations will protect the use of the standard character mark of "Vinnie Vincent's Kiss" for entertainment services, specifically "live performances by internationally known musical artist and guitarist Vinnie Vincent," as well as for goods and services, including "compact discs featuring music."

As the "Ankh Warrior," Vinnie toured with KISS in support of "Creatures Of The Night", on which he played lead guitar on six songs prior to becoming an official member of the band. He was also a member of KISS when the band publicly "unmasked" in 1983.

After Vincent sued Paul Stanley and Simmons for "Lick It Up" royalties, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled against the guitarist and awarded the KISS defendants about $66,400 in attorney's fees and $15,400 in costs.

In June 2010, Vincent lost his 6th Circuit appeal of an order barring him from seeking bankruptcy protection from paying more than $81,000 to his former bandmates.

Vincent has made several public appearances this year after spending the past two decades out of the public eye. He recently addressed rumors about his gender identity but declined to answer the question directly, explaining that he wanted to keep a mystique about the subject. He also said that he hopes to complete his autobiography "within a year."

Vinnie joined Gene in April at the KISS bassist/vocalist's "Vault Experience" event in Nashville, Tennessee. The reunion took place just a couple of months after Vincent said that reconnecting with Simmons was "probably the nicest thing that's happened" to him in recent years. "I love Gene," he said. "In the early days, he treated me so supportive."

Vinnie will perform live for the first time in 30 years on December 7 and December 8 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

Photo credit: Mark Weiss

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