When faced with tough times, the strong rise to the occasion. In the late 1970s, members of KISS, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Ace Frehley, made the difficult decision to part ways with drummer Peter Criss in order to prevent further harm to the band. In a recent interview with Rock Candy, Simmons offered insight into how the band navigated this challenging period.
Simmons and Stanley often had a similar perspective, while Frehley and Criss were seen by some as problematic. Like many other groups, internal conflict was affecting the band’s performance, particularly with Criss, who had become unable to control his substance abuse.
At one point during their Dynasty Tour, the drummer signaled to Paul Stanley to slow down the tempo during a performance, which showed that the band was falling apart. Following this incident, Gene and Paul prioritized the band above individual band members.
Gene Simmons told Andrew Daly:
“On one occasion, Ace said, ‘I can’t come down today, guys. I’ve got a card game.’ 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 it 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 departure of Peter Criss marked the end of an era for the band KISS. Despite the assumption that someone would assist those facing substance abuse issues, that wasn’t always the reality. When it became evident that Criss’s situation wouldn’t improve, the band had to make the difficult decision to remove him. Do you think it was the right choice for KISS?