VH1 Classic‘s centerpiece in original programming, “That Metal Show”, returns this week with its biggest episode of the current season to date. In the midst of the controversy around KISS not being willing to perform in its original incarnation on stage during the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on April 10, the band’s founding drummer Peter Criss shares how he really feels about this matter with hosts Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson, and Jim Florentine. Peter also recounts the joyful early days of KISS, his battle and triumph over male breast cancer, and the joy he felt when playing with original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley again at Trunk‘s recent 30-years–in-radio celebration. In “Put It On The Table,” Peter answers which band he wishes he could be in if it wasn’t KISS, the song he wishes he wrote, and the best concert he ever attended. The episode ends with Criss addressing the KISS Army, telling them how sad he is that he won’t be able to play for them one more time and, as he so eloquently says to Paul and Gene: “What’s wrong with giving ten minutes of your time for the forty years that [the fans have] given us?”
“I got a call from [KISS leaders] Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley], which I hadn’t got a call from them in many, many, many, many, many moons, including when I had my cancer,” Criss said. “And so, all of a sudden, I get a call and I’m being congratulated. ‘We’re gonna have fun.’ And I’m thinking… And I know, as I wrote in my book, there’s a lot of bad blood, and I just don’t trust [those guys] anymore. And I took it with a grain of salt and said, ‘Maybe.’ But then again, I had to go back and read the book myself and go, ‘What, are you crazy? Nothing’s changing. It doesn’t matter what goes on. Something’s gonna happen.’ And I said to [my wife], ‘It sounds too good to be true.'”
He continued: “The fact that we’re not perfoming is heartbreaking. I wanted to. I thought we were going to. I was all up for it. I was crazy enough to think, even if I had to get back in the ‘Cat’ outfit, I would have been proud to do it. Because, whether in or out of makeup, I’ll always be the ‘Catman.'”
Episode ten of “That Metal Show” airs this Saturday, March 22 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Frehley left KISS after the band’s 2002 “Farewell Tour” dates, saying afterwards that he took the word “farewell” seriously. Peter Criss has claimed that his contract with KISS wasn’t renewed in March 2004. Both charges have been disputed by Stanley and Simmons.
Simmons and Stanley have chosen to have the rest of the current KISS lineup — guitarist Tommy Thayer and longtime drummer Eric Singer — dress up as Criss‘ and Frehley‘s respective “Spaceman” and “Catman” personas. The Pulse Of Radio asked Simmons what it feels like to turn around and see the spitting image of his former bandmates — yet it’s someone else. “Y’know, we still have a tug of the heart,” he said. “It’s like your drunken dysfunctional father who was a bum and you finally had to get rid of him — but you still remember the beginning when he was a good dad. Ace and Peter are beloved, as they should be, for the beginning. For helping launch the band — if you don’t mind me saying so — that changed the face of rock ‘n roll, literally and figuratively speaking. But equally as important part of the beginning of KISS, it’s also important to know that with them in the band today, KISS wouldn’t be around.”