Gene Simmons wishes he had been “tougher” on Frehley and Criss

Gene Simmons has reflected on the original Kiss lineup, stating that he should have been “tougher” on Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

While speaking to Backstage Pass, Simmons was asked if he would change anything about his storied career. In response, the Kiss bassist was candid.

“Well, hindsight I’m sad – you know, hindsight is 20/20 – I’m sad I wasn’t tougher on Ace (Frehley) and Peter (Criss), the two original guys who played guitar and drums in the band,” Simmons explained, referencing his former bandmates’ struggles with substance abuse.

Ace Frehley and Peter Criss ‘should have been’ with Kiss

“Ace and Peter… have as much credit for the beginning of the band as Paul (Stanley) and I,” the bassist continued. “There’s no question that it was that chemistry. And they both had unique voices, unique personalities and all that. And they should have been here with us 50 or 55 years later enjoying the fruits of their labor. But unfortunately, that’s not so.

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Despite suggesting that he would have liked to see Frehley and Criss remain in the band, Simmons insisted that their fallout was “their own fault.”

“They were in and out of the band three different times. They were released three times because of the same thing,” he noted, again referring to drugs. “It’s not even unique. If you go to almost any band you’ll find that people are ingesting more stuff than the bums on the street corner, only they’re richer and can afford to ingest more. It is pathetic.”

Frehley left Kiss for the final time in 2002, while Criss’s final run with the band ended in 2004. The band’s final lineup consisted of Simmons and Stanley alongside drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer.

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Gallery credits: Jeff Giles