KISS legend’s blunt comments about working with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley

All of the greatest rock bands have larger-than-life frontmen, and KISS have not one but two. Stanley and Simmons have remained synonymous with the success and profile of the group since it was founded in 1973. They have never hidden the dramas that erupted behind the scenes with original founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Frehley joined with former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick to pay tribute on the 30th anniversary of the loss of the band’s drummer Eric Carr. During the chats, some home truths also emerged about the dynamic within the band during one of their most iconic periods.

Carr joined Kiss to replace Peter Criss in 1980, but eleven years later died tragically young at 41, from cancer of the heart.

Frehley remembered: “The greatest thing was, after he auditioned, he asked for our autographs because he never thought he was going to see us again. He seemed like he was humble, a great drummer, he had the chops and it seemed like he would be an easy guy to work with… We decided on Eric pretty much unanimously… He was a great asset to the band.”

Frehley left Kiss in 1982 and Kulick recalled how, when joined in 1984, Carr unloaded his frustrations about certain aspects of the band onto the newcomer.

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Kulick told the Eddie Trunk Podcast: “What was really interesting was – I knew he loved being in KISS, and he already went into through complete rollercoaster, when you think about it. I didn’t know him when he went through, like, ‘Alright, what makeup character are you going to be?’ Everyone knows there was that last-minute drama, he just all of a sudden became The Fox on the day of the show or something like that, and he really nailed it and got the role right and the vibe right.

“But the point is, he did unload a bit on me, some of his frustrations of KISS, and I was just, like, ‘I’m the new guy who’s thrilled to be performing with KISS, even if it was temporary.’”

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Kulick added: “I wasn’t a good audience for any of his gripes, although later on, years later, I did understand it better. Because, you walk into a situation with such big personalities as Gene and Paul, you’re going to have some frustrations.

“And I know he even went through that with, ‘What are they doing on Music From The Elder?’ That’s kind of like when he walked into the band, it’s kind of strange times he went through.”

Carr joined as the band was recording its most controversial and experimental The Elder album. The orchestral direction was not well received by fans or the record company.

However, a return to form and the charts followed with 1984’s Animalize but new guitarist Mark St John was forced to leave after developing arthritis, opening the door for Kulick.

He recalled how he was thrown together with Carr on the Animalize tour: “There were two cars and Gene and Paul were in one and I was in the other with Eric.”

Despite Carr unloading his “frustrations” on Kulick, the new line-up was extremely stable and commercially successful and would last until the drummer’s untimely death on November 24, 1991.


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