Monday, February 24, 2014

KISS - Opportunity Missed?

I'm jumping on the bandwagon on this one, something I rarely do, but I may as well say my piece. The fact that KISS is not playing their own induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame with the original lineup is a crime against their fans, and a great opportunity missed.

My first KISS show was on April 11, 1975 at the Palace Theater in Dayton, Ohio - I had never witnessed a back line filled with Marshall stacks, flash pots, pyro, and "The hottest band in the land," and I can honestly say that it changed my world forever. Almost forty years later I'm still just as in love with rock 'n' roll as I became that evening. The greasepaint, the fire, the power chords, and the concept of a band as a gang was forever imprinted upon my youthful mind.

I'm sure that I'm in the majority who thought that Jan Wenner would probably have his way, and that KISS would never be inducted into this hall of fame that few see as legitimate in any sense beyond being the only one we have. But, when they were finally chosen, I also know that I'm in the majority who would love to see the four original members playing together once more, if only for a short bit. To hear that notion squashed by brand owners Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is a huge disappointment, and again, a tremendous missed opportunity.

Missed opportunity? First of all, it would be an amazing thing for the band's fans - to say that it would hurt the current band, or the brand is absurd. They won't sell one ticket less, nor one less piece of merchandise after the fact, haven't we yet learned about the loyally of the KISS Army? Second, this could have done a tremendous amount of good for the public's perception of Gene Simmons. How many CEOs in America in the year 2014 are doing things for the good of their customers? How could anyone not see the potential value of this?

So - there's always the chance that Peter Criss, or Ace Frehley somehow blow it. To pull off the performance there would have to be some rehearsals, and they would have to not falter. And if they did? Simmons and Stanley would certainly not be blamed, and it could only be said that they had tried. There's no way the brand owners could lose by attempting to give their fans what they want. Personally, I see the 'we won't play at all' option as disingenuous. Stanley and Simmons want to say they've never refused to play with Criss and Frehley, but they sure are now. They claim that this can't 'enhance' memories of the band, and I couldn't disagree more - if they reasonably pulled it off, it would be perhaps not just the band's, but maybe the Hall Of Fame's greatest moment.

I've read everyone's statements, and the one that moved me the most was that of former Aucoin Management partner, Roman Fernadez, who said this in a message posted on Eddie Trunk's website:

"I don't believe Bill (Aucoin) would begrudge any reasoning for the band members feeling however they may about one another. But, I also believe he would have recognized this as one singular night to put unresolved issues aside. 
"Bill is no longer with us. If Paul, Gene, Peter, or Ace were not here, this conversation would not even be possible. Life is too short to waste such a precious opportunity. If for no other reason, do it for Bill Aucoin. And for Sean. And for Neil. Love to all Kiss members past and present. Onward and upward guys."

I don't know that it could be put much better than that. The word opportunity keeps showing up here, and I can't believe that Gene Simmons would be the guy to miss out on it. I'm hoping that we've somehow not heard the last of this, but then I'm the optimist who always goes around saying, Rock Ain't Near Dead. I myself could use one more dose of the original KISS to set me right.

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