In a new interview, longtime KISS manager Doc McGhee sheds some light on whether all the original members of KISS might be on stage together at some point during the End of the Road Tour. The long and short of it is, it’s not looking good for Catman Peter Criss.
In a KISStory spanning interview with Vinyl Writer Music, McGhee drops quite a few hints that Criss, original drummer and co-founder of the group, is the least likely OG member of the band to come back and play and that the band isn’t even in contact with him. This seems like a different tune than what McGhee was singing in 2019, when he said they had reached out to Criss to be on the tour.
When asked about the “near-constant speculation if Ace (Frehley), Peter, or Bruce (Kulick) will be joining the band on stage (during the final tour)”, McGhee repsonds: “Honestly, I don’t know. You can invite them, but they may not come. They may come, they may not come, and we might not invite them. We’ve talked to them, and we’ve talked about it. Well, we don’t talk to Peter, but we do talk to Ace. We haven’t talked to Peter in a long time.”
One of the significant shifts in journey of KISS came when Criss bowed out of the band in 1979 after it was widely reported that he simply stopped playing during some of the their shows. His next intersection with the band comes when Criss and Frehley came back for the 1996 KISS MTV Unplugged performance, leading to an instantly sold-out Reunion Tour the next year. McGhee doles out praise for Criss in looking back on that moment.
“So when we started talking with Ace and Peter, getting them in shape, and getting ready to do, it all just fell into place. I mean, I don’t think we could have done it without those guys, not by any means. I don’t think anybody would have bought into it.”
But later in the interview McGhee relays his thoughts about Criss’ again departure post the Farewell Tour and general commitment to the band.
“Ace and Peter, as they were definitely logging out, especially, Peter, for sure.”
And another bit where McGhee implies that Criss might not be his favorite member of the band’s all-time lineup.
“Listen, I think Paul said it best, ‘There’s no way that KISS could have got to where they were going without Ace and Peter, but there’s no way KISS would be here today without Eric and Tommy.’ I have all the respect in the world for Ace and Peter, especially Ace.”
But McGhee’s parting thoughts leave the door open for everybody to get together, with a caveat.
“But you know something? They (Criss and Frehely) were part of it, they aided in starting this band, and they should be part of the end of this. They started this, so in some way, they should be able to share that spotlight on the way out. Now, regardless of if it happens or not, you’re not going to get six guys up there in makeup. That’s not going to happen.”
KISS is currently in the heart of the End of the Road Tour, which is not without it’s own controversy independent of who’s onstage. They were recently hit with bad press over using vocal backing tracks during a show, and that gave Ace Frehley an opening to pour in some salt.
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But they’ve all made it work.