Nothin’ to Lose: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley Go for Broke As They Weigh In on KISS Guitarists Past and Present
GENE SIMMONS As a musician, you have to hand it to him. He knew his stuff. And when he cared—the first three records, I would say—he was great. You can sing those solos. It was like opera. And the integrity of his style was instantly recognizable. As soon as he played, you knew it was him. That’s probably the highest compliment you can give to a guitar player.
PAUL STANLEY In the beginning, we just gelled as guitarists. And even today, I talk about Ace a lot. I’ll tell people, “He really had the goods.” He can argue all he wants that he still does, or say whatever he wants to say the reasons are that he didn’t ascend to more. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But I saw somebody throw away a gift.
SIMMONS Before the drugs and the booze and everything, he was basically Ace, a lovable, loving guy. We all cared for him. I loved him. I love the straight Ace. But I fucking hate any drug addict. Because they’re possessed.
STANLEY Vinnie had an incredible touch and an incredible knowledge of the guitar. But left to his own devices he’d hang himself. For somebody who could play so brilliantly and so tastefully, it became more about how much he could play rather than what he played. And, ultimately, I couldn’t understand what he chose to play. And that’s not taking into account all the other stuff about him, which I think has been well documented.