KISS manager Doc McGhee says that all living former members of the band have been approached about taking part in the iconic group's final concert.
KISS announced over the weekend that it will play its last-ever show on July 17, 2021, in New York City. 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."
Last year, 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."
"End Of The Road" kicked off on January 31 in Vancouver and will resume on November 16 in Perth, Australia.
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.