Peter Criss’ meeting with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in 1972 marked the first steps of a future successful career to come. With Ace Frehley’s addition to the trio, the classic lineup of KISS took shape. After platinum albums that rose them to prominence and numerous world tours, Criss left KISS in 1980 due to creative differences and increasing tensions with Simmons and Stanley.
The band’s original lead guitarist Ace Frehley also left in 1982. After Criss’ departure, Eric Carr replaced him as the band’s new drummer. When Eric Carr died in 1991, Eric Singer joined as his replacement. However, that new lineup didn’t stay together for very long. In 1996, the original lineup returned with their makeup and stage costumes and embarked on a highly successful reunion tour.
However, Criss and Frehley left again, replaced by Singer and Tommy Thayer using the original Catman and Spaceman makeup. Although Criss returned in late 2002, he decided to part ways again because Simmons and Stanley didn’t renew his contract when it expired in March 2004. Following that, the drummer didn’t stay silent and posted on his website about the contractual issues, which led him to receive a phone call from Paul Stanley.
What Did Paul Stanley Say To Peter Criss In The Phone Call?
Speaking to Eddie Trunk in 2004, Peter Criss revealed that Paul Stanley called him after he shared a post on his website about the contractual arrangements of the time. According to Criss, Stanley told him they wanted to start a new KISS, implying he was too old to play with them for two hours. However, Criss believed there was only one KISS that featured Peter, Paul, Ace, and Gene, and nobody could replace them. He then admitted he wasn’t happy while touring with the band because Ace Frehley wasn’t there.
However, when Criss said this to Stanley, he told him it was the old KISS. As Criss noted, the new KISS featured Paul, Gene, Eric, and Tommy wearing the original makeup and playing the same songs. The drummer said he was hurt because he felt like getting ripped off for that reason. Moreover, he argued there wasn’t any new KISS because they were still the old KISS using his and Frehley’s makeup and playing the songs they made together.
During the conversation, Peter Criss said the following:
“I’m going to get right to it. I got a call from Paul the following day after I posted what I had to post on my site because I was flooded by a ton of people who said, ‘How are you doing? How you doing?’ and it got to be that they wanted to start a new KISS. I was like, ‘Well, what do you mean by new KISS?’ and he said, ‘Well, there’s a new KISS.’ It got down that he almost said I was too old to cut it. I couldn’t play for two hours anymore.
They felt that their camp wanted some younger blood, that they wanted to do new stuff. Between you and me, a bunch of bunk. I didn’t buy it for one instant. I’m listening to this that I’m too old, I can’t play this anymore, I was complaining. The idea of the audacity to tell me that I, a founding member of the band, would not be here today. There is no old KISS; there’s only one KISS, and that’s Peter, Paul, Ace, and Gene. There is nobody else that could ever replace us would be us.”
Criss continued, recalling the phone call he had with Stanley:
“His attitude was pompous. ‘We’re going to do new stuff; we’ll do two hours. You don’t want to play for two hours. You didn’t seem like you wanted to stay on tour anyway.’ And I mentioned, ‘You know what? I wasn’t happy a hundred percent of the tour because Ace wasn’t there.’ I’ll be really honest with you, to me, without Ace, it just wasn’t KISS as far as I’m concerned.
It was tough for me. Again, I said to Paul, ‘Look, I missed Ace; it wasn’t the same.’ And his reply was, ‘Well, that’s the old KISS.’ Well, if there were no old KISS, there would be no new KISS. What is the new KISS? The KISS of the 20th century was Ace, Peter, Paul, and Gene. So now the KISS of the 21st century is Paul, Gene, Eric, and Tommy. Still wearing the makeup, playing the same songs, only maybe they’re not playing the same songs we played when we were together.”
The drummer also added:
“So, they’re playing maybe some songs we didn’t do. That makes it different. That’s a new KISS. I don’t buy it, and I’m hurt. I’m here for the very reason that I’m just getting ripped off, man. It’s breaking my heart. Okay, be the new KISS, I’ll take that. Take the makeup off, put new songs out there, put up a whole brand new show, put new lights, sound, bombs, an entirely new vibe, and a brand new look, and I’d buy that.
I’ll take Eric, Tommy, Gene, and Paul for the brand new KISS, but it isn’t the new KISS, man, and that’s what goals me. It’s still the same old KISS that I was told on the phone, ‘We ain’t the old KISS anymore.’ Putting another guy up there in my makeup is disrespectful. Take the damn makeup off, be who you are, and quit using us. If you are the new KISS, then be the new KISS. Get off the old track and be the new KISS. To tell the fans that is wrong.”
Peter Criss’ statements showed that he believed there was only one KISS, even though Paul Stanley described it as the new KISS. The drummer thought that he would be persuaded by what Stanley said if they had come up with a new show, stage performance, and an entirely new look, unlike the characteristics of the original KISS.