Could KISS continue on without any of its original members left in the band? Paul Stanley sure seems to think so. Though he and Gene Simmons remain in the band, Stanley can see a future where KISS carries on without them.
"I think that recasting KISS or KISS 2.0 is not what we have ever talked about. Can KISS continue and can it evolve without us in it? Well, yeah, because it's already 50 percent there," Stanley said in a recent interview. "In other words, there was a time where people said, 'Well, it can only be the original four.' [And then] it was, 'Well, it can only be the original three.' Well, things move on and circumstances change."
KISS currently consists of original members Stanley and Simmons, as well as Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. Thayer and Singer replaced original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, respectively.
"Could I see KISS evolving with different personnel? Yeah," Stanley continued. "As big a fan as I am of what I do — and I think I'm damn good — there are other people around who could pick up the torch and bring something to the philosophy and to the live show and to the music. It would be KISS. It wouldn't be KISS 2.0. If it were to happen, yeah, it would be really just a continuation of the philosophy that we've always had, and that's that KISS is bigger than any member."
While Stanley sees a future for KISS beyond the original members of the group, Frehley vehemently disagrees. Frehley first left KISS back in 1982, however, he rejoined in 1996. Ultimately, though, Frehley departed again in 2002. Back in 2016, Frehley called the notion that KISS could carry on without any original members "the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard."
"I think the only reason [Stanley and Simmons] make those statements at this juncture is to try to validate the fact that they have two other guys in the band that aren't the original members," Frehley continued. "So they're trying to rationalize to the fans, 'Well, you know, we replaced Peter and we replaced Ace, and eventually we're gonna replace ourselves.' That's like Mick Jagger saying, 'Yeah, after me and Keith [Richards] die, The Stones will continue on with two other guys.' I mean, it's a joke."