This Wednesday, former KISS bandmates Gene Simmons (vocalist, bassist) and Ace Frehley (vocalist, original lead guitarist) will perform together onstage for the first time in 16 years to support victims of Hurricane Harvey at The Children Matter Benefit Concert at CHS Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Former Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder, Cheap Trick and Minnesota’s Flipp and The Jayhawks are also performing with headliner Gene Simmons Band.
Frehley and Felder will be sitting in with the Gene Simmons Band, made up of Simmons on vocals and bass along with three guitarists and a drummer who also perform together as Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency. Simmons's solo band only played their first gig together back on March 18 in Cleveland; the song selection was entirely ’70s-era KISS classics.
Frehley left KISS for the second time in 2001, after rejoining the band for their hugely successful 1996 reunion tour. All of the band's original members have since trashed each other in the press and in their autobiographies. In recent years, though, Frehley has become friendly again with Paul Stanley (vocalist, rhythm guitarist) and Simmons; Stanley recorded vocals on a cover of Free’s “Fire and Water” for Frehley’s 2016 covers album Origins Vol. 1, while Simmons and Frehley co-wrote two songs for Frehley’s next solo album back in June.
With Frehley seemingly getting along with Simmons and Stanley again, of course there has been speculation that another KISS original-lineup reunion might happen. Original drummer Peter Criss, however, performed what was billed as his final U.S. concert on June 17 in New York City and has said he’s retiring from live performances. If the original KISS were to try to get back together, they could of course try to offer Criss enough money to change his mind.
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According to Simmons’s facebook page, The Children Matter is a collaborative initiative founded by Simmons and Matter, a nonprofit organization that states that its mission is to expand access to health and food to people around the world; all proceeds from The Children Matter Benefit Concert are planned to go toward Matter’s relief efforts in Houston for children and families affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Always a polarizing figure, besides doing this good deed to help Houstonians in need, Simmons recently outraged even some KISS fans and detractors alike when he announced a project called The Vault, a box set of 150 previously unreleased songs he has recorded over the past 50 years, selling for a whopping $2,000, which arrives in a 38-pound safe. Oh yeah, and he is charging $50,000 — yes, you read that right, $50,000 — to deliver The Vault to your home personally. For fans on more of a budget, $25,000 will net some studio time with Simmons and additional access to more unreleased songs.
Hey, if you're a KISS Army member with a big bank account, why not?
KISS, minus Ace Frehley, brings their Freedom to Rock tour to Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington Boulevard, on Tuesday, September 26. Tickets are $79 to $361.