theory on 80s Kiss

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theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:19 am

I am sure those of you with a better grasp of the details can debunk this thought, but it has been on my mind for about a month.

They made music a priority on Creatures and Lick It Up in 82 and 83, but with marginal success. Gene was still very much engaged and writing great songs. Vinnie was engaged and writing great songs.

In my opinion, Paul was already becoming an overbearing control freak.

Vinnie is indeed a nutjob, but you would think Kiss would have tried to make it work with him given his immense songwriting talent.

So I think Paul was jealous of Vinnie, and grinded down Gene until he agreed to get rid of him.

Kiss had gone through a really rough patch, but Vinnie had the talent to help them turn the corner if they just stuck together. I think Gene knew this, and it pissed him off.

So I think this was the pivotal turning point for 80s Kiss. Paul was a paranoid control freak, they dumped their creative songwriting lead guitarist, and despite their hard work to right the good ship Kiss, it just wasn't working.

This is the only rational reason why I think Gene gave up and decided to do movies. Gene was always happy doing Kiss. Kiss was always a priority for him up to that point. He worked hard to make Unmasked/Elder/Creatures/Lick it Up work. I think he was tired of Paul's ego, so he said, "fine, you can have Kiss, run it however you want, I will show up for tours, photo shoots, and to record vocals for my throwaway tunes to satisfy contractual arrangements."

I am maybe not doing a good job of making my point. I think Gene was driven away from Kiss by Paul. It wasn't a case of Gene chasing shiny new objects (a movie career).

So we got the Paul Stanley show for the next few years. What we got was garbage. 4 disposable albums, with Paul's fingers all over them. Eric Carr hating being in the band. Bringing in a clown guitar player like Mark St John, and then switching over to the Tree (Bruce is a lovely, talented human being, but absolutely wrong for a visual, attitude driven band).

Once Paul realized HE couldn't do it on his own, him and Gene reconciled, and they brought back Vinnie and Ezrin, and voila, Gene is back in the saddle as an engaged, full blown Kiss member. The difference was night and day.

Of course it was easy and convenient to tell the narrative that our beloved Demon simply lost his way, chasing his ego in Hollywood, but HE failed, so HE came crawling back to Kiss and found his balls again. I think this is nonsense. Paul wanted complete control, he drove away the 2 remaining strong members (Gene and Vinnie) via powerstruggle, and only when HE failed, did the Kiss machine bring them both back, as well as brining in a competent producer (Ezrin), instead of letting Paul and his tone-deaf 1 ear produce albums.

Anyways, just my take. Sorry for the ramble. I am sure you can shoot holes in this argument, but I can't get it out of my mind.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by vdojaq » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:31 am

I believe there is some very real truth to all of this. However, I really think that Gene felt more lost than anything without the make-up and it pushed him away. Animalize and Asylum could have been much more of MAJOR albums with Vinnie still on board. Paul did feel threatened by Vinnie, but at the same time Vinne was just as much a control freak as Paul. You cannot have two personalities like that clashing, it would have been major conflict.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Pete2174 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:33 am

Personally I love those ‘four disposable albums ‘ you consider to be garbage and without them I doubt I’d have become a Kiss fan.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Thunderous_Lay » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:44 am

What an original, refreshing thread...

To sum it up, Paul is bad; Vinnie is misunderstood or a tortured soul; and 80's KISS Is crap.

Got it.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by heirtoruin » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:48 am

Whether it is true or not, I don't know... but supposedly Gene called Vinnie to come back to the band after the Lick It Up tour.

If that is true... that Gene wanted Vinnie in the band and Paul did not... I can imagine a scenario where that created additional tension.

The only thing to truly take issue with... You said only when Paul failed. It's one thing to not care for an album or four, but those were 2 gold and 2 platinum albums... a success by anyone else's definition except maybe Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi.

And of course, when Gene "returned" for Revenge along with Vinnie writing a couple of songs, it's not like that album took them anywhere they hadn't already been. Average attendance for the Revenge tour was pretty low.
Last edited by heirtoruin on Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Hellbastard » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:48 am

vdojaq wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:31 am
However, I really think that Gene felt more lost than anything without the make-up and it pushed him away
My thought as well.

Unmasking made Gene less central to the band from a visual point of view, and that contributed to his losing interest.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:06 am

heirtoruin wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:48 am
Whether it is true or not, I don't know... but supposedly Gene called Vinnie to come back to the band after the Lick It Up tour.

If that is true... that Gene wanted Vinnie in the band and Paul did not... I can imagine a scenario where that created additional tension.

The only thing to truly take issue with... You said only when Paul failed. It's one thing to not care for an album or four, but those were 2 gold and 2 platinum albums... a success by anyone else's definition except maybe Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi.

And of course, when Gene "returned" for Revenge along with Vinnie writing a couple of songs, it's not like that album took them anywhere they hadn't already been. Average attendance for the Revenge tour was pretty low.
Agreed. And this only fueled their frustrations. Creatures/Lick It Up/Revenge are quality albums with good songwriting and production, and a true team working with Paul. But didn't produce sales.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:07 am

Hellbastard wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:48 am
vdojaq wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:31 am
However, I really think that Gene felt more lost than anything without the make-up and it pushed him away
My thought as well.

Unmasking made Gene less central to the band from a visual point of view, and that contributed to his losing interest.
So unmasking himself as an actor was more interesting? I think by that point, Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul all wanted to do their own thing, they were all sick of each other and the money had dried up.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:10 am

Thunderous_Lay wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:44 am
What an original, refreshing thread...

To sum it up, Paul is bad; Vinnie is misunderstood or a tortured soul; and 80's KISS Is crap.

Got it.
I am not saying Paul is bad.

But it has become clear in recent years that Paul controls Kiss, not Gene, and I think you can trace these beginnings back to this period.

Gene may have been bored/frustrated with Kiss, but I think more than anything, he needed a break from Paul.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by jbromusic » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:20 am

Hot take: Asylum and Animalize are better than Revenge

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by ManOf1000Faces » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:23 am

The theory essentially takes the facts and reverses the order of events. GS started to spend more time in L.A. during the Dynasty era. PS continued to live in NYC until the late 80s.
Despite all of the band politics and internal criticism, I don't see a weak KISS album until HITS (great tour though). I was fine with Smashes, and mostly listening to thrash metal by that point anyway.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by scotty_rhoads » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:29 am

lets be 100% here....you really believe all those guitarists in a row were difficult?

ace,vinnie vincent, mark st john ? i think paul is nuts.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by C » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:39 am

Mark you made a great point, nice thread, and nice insight, i think there is a big possibility that things happened exactly that way, maybe we will never know
because G&P can't tell KISSTORY like it is, they always embellish or downplay everything by convenience

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Wiped Out 78 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:40 am

This theory ignores the fact that pretty much everyone who has ever worked with Vinnie had some kind of falling out with him.

I don't deny that Paul is/was a control freak, but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with jealousy of Vinnie.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:36 pm

Wiped Out 78 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:40 am
This theory ignores the fact that pretty much everyone who has ever worked with Vinnie had some kind of falling out with him.

I don't deny that Paul is/was a control freak, but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with jealousy of Vinnie.
Not saying Vinnie is easy to deal with. Neither was Ace. But both were talented, visually exciting players with style, contributed to songwriting, and made the BAND better. They were replaced with with lifeless automatons, ultimately settling on a watered down, stunt double version of Ace.

I have no doubt Paul was sick of working with these people. He was also sick of working with producers that challenged him. He was jealous of Gene's celebrity friends/girlfriends, he was jealous of Akroyd stealing his girlfriend, and he wanted to prove he was a star in his own right. You see him at that time desperate to date celebrities, to be seen at celebrity events, and to push the whole "I am a rock god" schtick that came off as sad and desperate.

He wanted it all to himself, which he got on Animalize and Asylum. Then he hired cheeseball "hit makers" to work with him like Ron Nevison, Michael Bolton, Desmond Child and Diane Warren. When that fizzled, he did the Paul Stanley club tour. He DESPERATELY wanted pop stardom, and he wanted it to be him in the limelight.

Why else wasn't there a Gene single released between Creatures and Revenge? Oh ya, because "Gene didn't care about music then." And yet Gene's Vault suggests otherwise... he never stopped working on songs.

Oh, but the story we believe is that Gene was just writing crap songs in the mid to late 80s... but what I hear are unpolished songs that needed a collaborator/producer (ie; Vinnie, Ezrin, Vini Poncia, Michael James Jackson) to sift through the junk and flesh out some real songs... even if you look at Gene's songs on RnR Over and Love Gun, where Kramer is more of an engineer than producer, Gene's songs are pretty basic... and then look at the self produced and self written Sonic Boom and Monster, and we are back to boring basic songs from Gene again.

So I think that was just a convenient truth, that frankly, Paul wanted. Paul the producer was quite happy to have Gene's songs be inferior to the other songwriter/singer in the band.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by farmertom311 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:38 pm

markaberrant wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:36 pm
Wiped Out 78 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:40 am
This theory ignores the fact that pretty much everyone who has ever worked with Vinnie had some kind of falling out with him.

I don't deny that Paul is/was a control freak, but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with jealousy of Vinnie.
Not saying Vinnie is easy to deal with. Neither was Ace. But both were talented, visually exciting players with style, contributed to songwriting, and made the BAND better. They were replaced with with lifeless automatons, ultimately settling on a watered down, stunt double version of Ace.

I have no doubt Paul was sick of working with these people. He was also sick of working with producers that challenged him. He was jealous of Gene's celebrity friends/girlfriends, he was jealous of Akroyd stealing his girlfriend, and he wanted to prove he was a star in his own right. You see him at that time desperate to date celebrities, to be seen at celebrity events, and to push the whole "I am a rock god" schtick that came off as sad and desperate.

He wanted it all to himself, which he got on Animalize and Asylum. Then he hired cheeseball "hit makers" to work with him like Ron Nevison, Michael Bolton, Desmond Child and Diane Warren. When that fizzled, he did the Paul Stanley club tour. He DESPERATELY wanted pop stardom, and he wanted it to be him in the limelight.

Why else wasn't there a Gene single released between Creatures and Revenge? Oh ya, because "Gene didn't care about music then." And yet Gene's Vault suggests otherwise... he never stopped working on songs.

Oh, but the story we believe is that Gene was just writing crap songs in the mid to late 80s... but what I hear are unpolished songs that needed a collaborator/producer (ie; Vinnie, Ezrin, Vini Poncia, Michael James Jackson) to sift through the junk and flesh out some real songs... even if you look at Gene's songs on RnR Over and Love Gun, where Kramer is more of an engineer than producer, Gene's songs are pretty basic... and then look at the self produced and self written Sonic Boom and Monster, and we are back to boring basic songs from Gene again.

So I think that was just a convenient truth, that frankly, Paul wanted. Paul the producer was quite happy to have Gene's songs be inferior to the other songwriter/singer in the band.

So Paul was the better song writer is what I’m hearing.

Couple other points.

1I think some of all that was said I’d true.

2 it’s a miracle that revenge is as good as it is. Ezrin is joke producer I don’t why anyone would want him near a kiss album. He had two chances before and destroyed (pun intended) two albums. He should have done Pop or opera and stayed the heck out of rock and roll.

3 if gene had wanted to be there he would have

4 kiss would have died in the 80s without. Plain and simple. Yeah no doubt they are better when together but Paul kept the ship afloat while the Co captain was out to port whoreing around.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Pete2174 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:48 pm

So this thread is basically saying Paul is/was a megalomaniac who wanted to do everything and take credit for it too.

The 80s albums were garbage, Bruce was a lifeless automaton and Ezrin is a joke producer???

Have I got this right???

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:58 pm

Pete2174 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:48 pm
So this thread is basically saying Paul is/was a megalomaniac who wanted to do everything and take credit for it too.

The 80s albums were garbage, Bruce was a lifeless automaton and Ezrin is a joke producer???

Have I got this right???
I am saying that a lot of the things that happened in the 80s are a direct result of Paul being a megalomaniac, which seems to always be overlooked when discussing this era.

The typical slant is "Paul was the rock who soldiered on and kept the band going when times were tough and all hope was lost. All heil Saint Paul!"

Whether you like the output and direction of the band at that time or not, I think you can still second guess this long held assumption.

I think it was more a case of no one wanted to work with him, nor did he want to work with anyone.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by richardsimmons » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:57 pm

Mark, this is interesting & very plausible! Thank you for sharing.

Although I like some Kiss tunes from 80-81 & 85-95, I agree with you that the great eras were 73-79 & 82-84.

Folks who are upset: I think Mark stated his opinion respectfully as hell.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by poserboy71 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:05 pm

I have said it before in a few threads here.
I agree with the original poster's opinions throughout.

Everyone has basically left Paul at one point or another (except 3 YES men--- B.K.,T.T., E.S.)
His ego has me sitting in Youngstown instead of at the Cleveland show tonight.
The only reason Cleveland has any crowd is because they dropped ticket prices considerably in recent days.
Cleveland was one of the cities that made them and now,like Detroit, the fans show that they aren't paying top dollar for dishonesty.
Kiss once meant something to the blue collar.
Now they are white collar crime.

Paul's solo album and his Kiss output have basically been 3 minute Pepsi jingles for the last few decades.
No integrity ,shame, or sense of reality.
Now you can enjoy his Pepsi jingles in book form with his life coach book coming soon.

Paul was once my favorite Kiss member.
He has pretty much ruined Kiss for me now.
At least I can still enjoy the past PRE-2006.

A band I've believed in and defended for 5 decades...
It really sucks that Paul has turned Kiss into a shit show.
It really sucks that haters were allowed to eventually be correct.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by redinthesky » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:39 pm

I think the fact that Kiss had Vinnie for a second album shows they tried to make it work with him, but Vinnie was out of control. And Gene didn't then leave Kiss to try to make it in movies - Gene was auditioning when Kiss still had the makeup on. And guess what? So was Paul evidently, who actually GOT a movie role before Gene did, even if it was left on the cutting room floor ("Young Doctors In Love"). And as far as after the makeup was off, Chris Lendt in his "Kiss and Sell" made it quite clear that Paul wanted a film career and kept trying, but no one was interested. So that puts a huge chink in the whole "Gene went to be in movies but Paul stayed with Kiss" thing. Paul would have been right up there on screen with Gene if anyone wanted him.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by FlamingRuth » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:10 pm

HI Mark,
I appreciate that you put so much thought into this post. I can only agree with 2/3 of your major points, though.

Yes, Paul is a control freak. There are assets and liabilities to having this type of personality. As fans, I think we've seen the pros & cons in Paul's behavior.No need for me to elaborate.

Yes, Vinnie is a nut job...a talented nutjob, but a nut job nonetheless. I think his current state speaks volumes. The guy made some wonderful contributions to Kiss, but somewhere along the line he started to seem a little kooky. I don't think he was easy to work with, and if your theory is correct, that Paul wanted him out and Gene didn't...maybe Paul recognized some signs that Gene missed. Paul grew up in a dysfunctional family and has been in therapy most of his adult life, don't forget. I hate to say "it takes one to know one"...but...well...you know what I mean.

Now here's the point where I have to disagree with you. I just can't accept the idea that Gene decided to go into acting because he disagreed with Paul, over Vinnie. Before Vinnie came along,Gene was already hanging out with Hollywood types. His affair with Cher is evidence of that.
Here's a quote from Kiss and Makeup:
“By 1981, I was spending more and more time in Hollywood. I was approached by Marcy Carsey, a producer of shows like The Cosby Show and Roseanne, to try out for a show to be called Grotus. I would be the star. I shot a short pilot and everyone seemed to like it enough to get me in front of the ABC staff. There were 10 people around a table and we chatted for five minutes. Then they offered me my own TV series. I was stunned.”

So while you're onto something, I think there's more to be uncovered.
We'll probably never know everything that went on behind the scenes with this band.
It is fun to think & theorize about this stuff though. 8)

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by metaldad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:22 pm

After LIU it was meh for me, some great , lots of Crap

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Tail of a hurricane » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:00 pm

Agreed with it all, except for the 4 disposable records and your opinion of Bruce.
Animalize was heavy, a killer intro song, a couple of throwaway Gene songs, but on the bulk, a killer production.
Asylum (the same) but a little less heavier, the drums weren’t quite as hard as “Animalize” , but there’s a 70’s feel on it in parts. Bruce’s solos were awesome by the way.
Crazy nights. Yes it’s a thin sound, but the album was awesome apart from “Bang Bang you”. Genes songs were sung melodically without no growling, etc. Paul’s ballads were great. Plus it holds a place in my heart cause it was the first Kiss album I bought release day.
Hot in the shade. I was dissapointed here. Too many song, and about 5 filler. The street image and attitude was great, but they didn’t live up too it on record. Production was garage-like too.
On the bulk though, they were great years. I commend Paul for keeping it together, he did a good job.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by soeuropean » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:09 pm

redinthesky wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:39 pm
I think the fact that Kiss had Vinnie for a second album shows they tried to make it work with him, but Vinnie was out of control. And Gene didn't then leave Kiss to try to make it in movies - Gene was auditioning when Kiss still had the makeup on. And guess what? So was Paul evidently, who actually GOT a movie role before Gene did, even if it was left on the cutting room floor ("Young Doctors In Love"). And as far as after the makeup was off, Chris Lendt in his "Kiss and Sell" made it quite clear that Paul wanted a film career and kept trying, but no one was interested. So that puts a huge chink in the whole "Gene went to be in movies but Paul stayed with Kiss" thing. Paul would have been right up there on screen with Gene if anyone wanted him.
Same with the music theater stuff. If that had taken off in 2001/2002 like he was expecting then Paul would have never come back to KISS.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by markaberrant » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:25 pm

FlamingRuth wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:10 pm
HI Mark,
I appreciate that you put so much thought into this post. I can only agree with 2/3 of your major points, though.

Yes, Paul is a control freak. There are assets and liabilities to having this type of personality. As fans, I think we've seen the pros & cons in Paul's behavior.No need for me to elaborate.

Yes, Vinnie is a nut job...a talented nutjob, but a nut job nonetheless. I think his current state speaks volumes. The guy made some wonderful contributions to Kiss, but somewhere along the line he started to seem a little kooky. I don't think he was easy to work with, and if your theory is correct, that Paul wanted him out and Gene didn't...maybe Paul recognized some signs that Gene missed. Paul grew up in a dysfunctional family and has been in therapy most of his adult life, don't forget. I hate to say "it takes one to know one"...but...well...you know what I mean.

Now here's the point where I have to disagree with you. I just can't accept the idea that Gene decided to go into acting because he disagreed with Paul, over Vinnie. Before Vinnie came along,Gene was already hanging out with Hollywood types. His affair with Cher is evidence of that.
Here's a quote from Kiss and Makeup:
“By 1981, I was spending more and more time in Hollywood. I was approached by Marcy Carsey, a producer of shows like The Cosby Show and Roseanne, to try out for a show to be called Grotus. I would be the star. I shot a short pilot and everyone seemed to like it enough to get me in front of the ABC staff. There were 10 people around a table and we chatted for five minutes. Then they offered me my own TV series. I was stunned.”

So while you're onto something, I think there's more to be uncovered.
We'll probably never know everything that went on behind the scenes with this band.
It is fun to think & theorize about this stuff though. 8)
I am not saying my theory is rock solid. But if Gene was clearly wanted/desired by celebrities and Hollywood, I can certainly see why he would choose to hang out and work with them, as opposed to spending night and day with frickin Paul, going shopping together to try on the latest pink and purple sashes and body glove shorts.

And I am not suggesting Gene took off specifically because he wanted to keep Vinnie, and Paul didn't. I think it was clear that Paul wanted the reigns, and despite the reasonable success of the Lick it Up single, the band had still been knocked down several notches from the 77 heyday, so Gene was like, fine have at er, I need a break from this. Which was really no different than what happened with Peter and Ace, they couldn't handle it anymore either. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if their record deal was dependent on at least 2 original members, so Gene put it in just enough effort to not breach this term. It stands to reason, that if their contract had lower royalty rates based on having at least 3 original members, why wouldn't there be further stipulations around keeping 2 originals, or dropping to just 1? I have no way to prove this, just speculating. Again, those with more info might be able to easily debunk this.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by Sam » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:58 pm

I think the Paul Stanley Show started around '78/'79. It had to be a huge blow to Paul's ego for Ace's solo album outshine his. Whenever you see KISS chasing the latest disposable trend, you know Paul is running things.

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Re: theory on 80s Kiss

Post by soeuropean » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:03 pm

Gene always respected VV because of his songwriting. Paul was jealous of him.

Writes in his book that he put the soup back into the toureen but not that his playing and writing 80% of Lick It Up saved their asses.

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