GENE SIMMONS: 'The Idea That ACE FREHLEY Left KISS Purely Because Of 'The Elder' Isn't True'

February 1, 2023

To celebrate KISS's unique contribution to the world of rock over the past 50 years, the latest issue of Rock Candy magazine brings you a massive 20-page KISS special including major new and exclusive interviews with both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Both founder members go deep on all aspects of KISS's career, with Gene in particular opening up about the often-fractious relationship he and Paul had with guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss.

"On one occasion Ace said, 'I can't come down today guys. I've got a card game,'" Simmons told Rock Candy writer Andrew Daly. "What were we supposed to do? The answer was we had to get other people. And like Ace, Peter had his demons. We all understand or at least suspect what drugs and alcohol can do to you. But you'd like to think that the people around you will prevent you from going down that route. Or at least will prevent you from doing a lot of it. That just didn't happen with Peter. We held out as long as we could, but it got to the point where he was sabotaging the band. The three of us — me, Paul, and Ace — voted to remove Peter from KISS."

The band recruited drummer Eric Carr to replace Criss for 1981's concept album "Music From The Elder", but this radical musical departure backfired and was a commercial failure.

"To Ace's credit, the entire time he said that making a record like 'Music From The Elder' was not a good idea," admits Simmons. "He kept saying, 'Look, I don't want to do this other stuff. We should stay being a rock band.' In retrospect, Ace was exactly right. But Ace's biggest problem was the monkey on his back of drugs and alcohol. By that point he was gone. There were too many drugs and there was too much alcohol, and it drove Ace to the point of no return. The idea that Ace left KISS purely because of 'The Elder' isn't true."

You can read the 20-page KISS special, together with many other fascinating stories about UFO, LOVERBOY, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and Rick Wakeman in issue 36 of Rock Candy.

For more details, visit

Rock Candy is a 100-page, full-color bi-monthly rock mag, created in the U.K. It covers the sights, sounds and smells from the greatest era in hard rock music, the '70s and '80s. it is the brainchild of respected U.K. rock journalists Derek Oliver, Howard Johnson and Malcolm Dome — all frontline writers for the legendary Kerrang! magazine in the golden era.

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