Gene Simmons Compares KISS To Jesus As Band Enters Rock Hall Of Fame

Jonathan Vankin

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and the other members of KISS were finally inducted, after months of controversy, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday night. Despite the incessant stream of criticism directed toward the Rock Hall by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley leading up the event, the induction went off largely without a hitch.

But not before Gene Simmons gave one more interview that ran in the afternoon of the induction, on the site, in which he again ripped the Hall as "a political organization made up of ten guys," and brushed off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's lengthy exclusion of KISS — the band became eligible for induction 15 years ago — by comparing the band's position to that of another popular but controversial figure.

"Not everyone liked Jesus, either," Gene Simmons told the correspondent.

At the Thursday ceremony, KISS was inducted by Tom Morello, former guitarist for the scorchingly political rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine, a group whose idealistic and anti-establishment outlook would seem to run counter to the KISS philosophy as stated by Gene Simmons.

"It was never just called music," said Gene Simmons in Thursday's online, pre-induction interview. "Those people are idiots who think it is. It's always called the music business."

But Morello was unabashed in his enthusiasm for Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and KISS, saying he first attended a KISS concert when he was 12 years old and was heavily influenced by the bands music.

"I've known Gene and Paul for some time and I'm a huge fan of the band and have been an advocate — a noisy, fist-pounding advocate for years for KISS to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," the ex-Rage guitarist declared. "One of the all-time great bands is being rightly enshrined."

Morello is now a member of Bruce Springsteen's backing group, The E Street Band, who themselves were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday.

The band's "boss," Springsteen himself, was inducted in 1999, the same year that KISS became eligible, but was overlooked — until this year.

But Gene Simmons had vowed that KISS would not perform at the induction gala unless the Rock Hall honored every member of the band who had performed as part of KISS over the past four decades.

The Hall insisted that only the original members, Simmons, Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss should be honored.

"The original guys in the band started a band 40 years ago. The original lineup lasted seven years and, you know, there have been ten different lineups. We've survived ten different lineups," said Gene Simmons in the Time interview. "We said, 'Okay, and you're also going to be honoring Tommy (Thayer) and Eric (Singer) who have been in the band longer than Ace and Peter, right?' They said, 'No, no, actually we're not.'"

As a result said Gene Simmons, KISS stuck to its vow not to perform at the ceremony Thursday.