Richie Wise, co-producer on the first two albums of hair metal giants Kiss, has said that drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley were “hired hands”, claiming that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were the real visionaries of the band and that the other two were mere employees.
The comments came in response to Criss, who has quit Kiss three times, criticising his old band’s line-up, according to Classic Rock. Kiss, currently in the middle of their 2013 Monster world tour, now features Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer instead of Frehley and Criss. The former drummer suggested that the new members are just fill-ins, saying:
“There’s a whole new generation of kids that are clueless about what Kiss is all about. They go to see them now, and they think: ‘That’s Kiss.’”
But Wise, who co-produced the band’s 1974 debut record and its follow-up, Hotter Than Hell, told KissFAQ that the hired hands were always Frehley and Criss, saying:
“There was never a doubt from moment one in Gene and Paul, in their minds, that they were going to do this, they were going to do it this way and they were going to be Kiss. Ace and Peter had no focus. They were hired hands as far as I was concerned. I knew they auditioned for the band — and the band was Gene and Paul, period.”
This isn’t the first time Peter Criss has slagged off his former bandmates. Back in 2008 he told 40º74º Magazine that he had made the band what it is, stating:
“No matter who they get to put stuff on their face, it ain’t us. You can take the mask off the Lone Ranger and put it on someone else, but it ain’t the Lone Ranger.”