Doc McGhee, who has managed KISS since 1995, spoke to Pollstar about the band's upcoming final concert, which is scheduled to take place in New York City on July 17, 2021. Asked how the show will end and if there is any truth to the rumors that KISS may bring on all the original members, Doc said: "It's going to be great. It's going to be worthy of the end of the road. It will be worthy to the 45 years of KISS, the last month for sure. We want to celebrate everybody and we might bring out all the former members. We'd like to. Nobody says we hate this guy; we hate that guy; we want everybody who wants to come out."
Last November, McGhee said that all living former members of KISS have been approached about taking part in the iconic group's last-ever gig. It will be the finale of the two-and-a-half-year "End Of The Road" world tour, which, by the time it is finished, will have taken in more than 165 dates across several continents.
In the months after KISS announced "End Of The Road", fans wondered openly if original members Ace Frehley (guitar) and Peter Criss (drums) would be involved in the tour, especially considering the apparent recent goodwill between Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and Ace. Frehley's latest album "Spaceman" — a title suggested by Simmons himself — features two songs the pair wrote together, and the duo completed a joint summer 2018 tour of Australia, after which Frehley fired his solo backing band and hired Simmons's.
McGhee said during a question-and-answer session on the ninth annual "Kiss Kruise" that KISS is open to reuniting with all former members at the final gig.
"We want to include everybody that played with KISS to celebrate the 45 years of KISS," he said. "And everybody — Vinnie Vincent and everybody else — that [has] played with KISS is part of this whole celebration of 45 years. So, we're still looking at what we're gonna do on the final show of KISS."
According to McGhee, Frehley and Criss have both "been talked to" about participating in some form. But, he acknowledged, "It's pretty difficult. When people say, 'Oh, you should bring Ace and Peter up.' 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 [Ace and Peter] go, 'Well, that was my makeup.' I don't know. So it's real hard to do, but we'll figure it out because they're very much a part of the heritage of KISS. And they're acknowledged by Gene and Paul and everybody in this room as the founding members… So. it's important to you guys [and] it's important to us. It's just a matter of the balance and we can bring it where it works for everybody and everybody is having a great time."
Back in 2018, Frehley told VintageRock.com that "the only way" he would "seriously consider" taking part in "End Of The Road" is "if I took back my make-up and costume and my character — which I designed." He added that current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer "is not a bad guitar player, but he basically just mimics everything I wrote, and tries to imitate my persona. He's been doing it for 15 years," he said. "But the reality is I'm the original guy. And nobody can really copy the way I play guitar."
Asked if he would still consider participating in the tour if Criss was not involved, Ace said: "I think it would be great if Peter was involved. Obviously, at this point in his life, he wouldn't be able to do a two-hour show. But I can see if we worked out a situation where Peter came out at the end and did three or four songs — sang 'Beth', did 'Black Diamond' and a couple of others, I think that would be fun."
KISS's current lineup consists of original members Simmons and Stanley, alongside later band additions, Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).
Formed in 1973 by Stanley, Simmons, Criss and Frehley, KISS staged its first "farewell" tour in 2000, the last to feature the group's original lineup.