KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley spoke to U.K.’s Classic Rock magazine about the band’s upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, scheduled for this April at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Among the other inductees in the 2014 class are Peter Gabriel, NIRVANA, Linda Ronstadt, Daryl Hall & John Oates and Cat Stevens.
Asked if he feels honored at being inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Stanley said: “No. It was done begrudgingly and because it had become absolutely ludicrous that they were choosing to ignore us.
“At the end of the day, most people don’t realize that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was a privately created establishment and that it has a self-appointed board. It’s a perfect case of perception becoming reality. People heard ‘Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame‘ and gave it credibility. So whether it deserves the title has to be weighed against who it inducts.
“So was it an honor to be nominated? No. It means a lot to the fans and I understand it because it’s validation for them. So for that reason I accept graciously and accept on their behalf.
“My feelings and my ambivalence about the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame hasn’t changed any. Their attitude is elitist and it doesn’t reflect the public. It reflects a small group who dictate who meets the criteria that they set up as ‘rock and roll.’
“I’ve always felt the spirit of rock and roll meant not only ignoring your critics, but ignoring your peers and going your own way. I think we’ve done that pretty much with few exceptions for 40 years. So that same criteria that kept us out has not gotten us in.
“I scratch my head a little and I also take issue with a certain arrogance within that group. Nonetheless, I look at some of the inductees and any club that has Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and THE WHO and THE BEATLES and THE [ROLLING] STONES is company I don’t mind being in and my feelings have nothing to do with any of them, it purely has to do with a system which I think is tainted, corrupted and distorted.”
Regarding whether he is looking forward to playing it, Stanley said: “Honestly, I have no plans at the moment to do anything, and that includes playing with [original KISS members] Ace [Frehley] and Peter [Criss] or anyone else. My plan at the moment is to go and accept the award. Anything else, we’ll see how it unfolds or unravels.
“It was interesting to me, or offensive to me, that when the question was broached with the hierarchy about inducting additional members, it was shut down immediately as ‘a nonstarter,’ which, to me, is arrogant.
“People who sit behind desks need to respect the people who are actually either inductees or possible inductees into this so-called hallowed organization. So the fact that there are 30 or 40 or 50 or some absurd number of GRATEFUL DEAD members all inducted, the fact that all of the [RED HOT] CHILI PEPPERS, including people who played on early albums that never amounted to very much are not inducted, the fact that John Rutsey, the drummer on the first RUSH album is not inducted, the fact that Rob Trujillo, who’s a great guy but didn’t play on any of the classic METALLICA albums, was inducted after being in the band six years makes me wonder exactly what are the rules? If the rules don’t apply to everybody, then they’re not rules.”
The Rock Hall producers are leaning on the original members to perform in full costume. During a recent radio interview, Frehley joked about needing to lose weight and shave his goatee for the performance — but remained adamant that current guitarist Tommy Thayer, who performs using Frehley‘s “Spaceman,” persona cannot be in costume that night.
Frehley explained: “You can’t have me and Tommy both in makeup… I don’t have a problem with Tommy and [current drummer] Eric [Singer] being there out of makeup if I’m in makeup, because they’re a big part of KISS today. [But] they had nothing to do with the beginning of KISS, or the designs or the costumes or the makeup… This is about the celebration of KISS and how it all began and started, and it should be honoring the four original members.”
He went on to say: “If those guys wanna come up and do ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ with the whole cast of the show, y’know, that would be a great thing. They deserve a little.”
The Pulse Of Radio asked Stanley to give some sort of hint as to what shape KISS‘ induction performance will look like come April 10 in Brooklyn. “What will happen at the Barclays Center? I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “But I will tell you, without hesitation, that it will be unapologetically and proudly KISS.”