On Thursday, April 10th, 2014 KISS were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... ...after 15 long years of eligibility. As a long-time, die-hard, ever-faithful fan of the make-up clad rock and roll legends, I had my share of worries about how the ceremony would go, what with all the controversy and mud-slinging that had been circulating in the media between the band, past members and the Hall of Fame itself for several weeks prior to the induction ceremony.
There were several sticking points of contention that ruffled feathers on every side of this multi-faceted argument of exactly how Kiss were gaining induction. There was a lot of back and forth tit-for-tat arguments, but they all boiled down to two basic points:
-The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would only induct the 4 original members (and exclude the other 6 past and present members).
-Kiss would not agree to perform as the original four (only as their current, touring line-up; which includes 2 of the aforementioned excluded members).
Ace Frehley and Peter Criss each chipped in their opinions that were picked up by the media and added some fuel to the rumor fire that there was bad blood amongst the original line-up. Would it run deep enough to cause any of the original four to pull out of the ceremony completely?
At one point I recall hearing something The Hall said about some nit-picky point of a band being inducted for a certain era of their career, and that with some current members wearing make-up designs created by past members belittled their significance. I'll come out and say I think that is a lame excuse to justify excluding musicians whom I believe (as a fan) deserve the honor of induction to The Hall. I wonder if that argument would be moot if, when KISS decided to continue wearing make-up after original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left the band after the Farewell Tour in 2000, they had asked their replacements, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, to create their own original make-up designs rather than wearing the make-up patterns of Frehley and Criss? They had new members design original make-up character themes before. Back in the early 1980's, when Eric Carr was 'The Fox' and Vinnie Vincent was the 'Egyptian Ankh'. In any case, these decisions are in the past and the situation is what it is.
From my perspective as a fan, all these arguments in the media had me worried the induction ceremony would be a train-wreck 15 years in the making. However when the time came for KISS to be inducted at the ceremony, Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave) gave a crowd-enticing introductory speech that really put the significance of KISS in perspective. Then, the original four 'Knuckle-heads' (to use Gene Simmon's own words!) of KISS: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley graciously took the stage, shared some open camaraderie, and goodwill amongst each other on the stage, accepted their awards, and each took a turn saying a few words for the audience, viewers, and fans. Each speech was respectful, and in the cases of Gene and Paul they extended that respect to those past members, living and deceased, whom were not acknowledged by The Hall itself, but live on enduringly in the minds and hearts of the fans who remember hearing their recordings, seeing their performances or reading their words through interviews or documentaries throughout KISS' long and enduring legacy.
In a perfect world, what should have happened was a Hall of Fame induction 15 years ago (when Kiss was first eligible......) If you think about it, in 1999 the original line-up was still reunited, touring the world, and making music. Perhaps if those who vote on inductees had decided on KISS back then, many of these technicalities may have been avoided altogether. However, as things played out, it wasn't as bad as I had feared. At least KISS are finally IN the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Better late than never... (Can't stay innocent forever...) So even though we don't live in that alternate timeline, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is still a better place, now that it includes the band who wrote 'Rock and Roll All Nite'...