Gene Simmons: If You Think AC/DC Can’t Exist Without Brian Johnson, You’re Very Wrong

KISS bassist Gene Simmons took a defensive stance towards groups that underwent significant lineup changes despite strong criticism from their fans, explaining to Mitch Lafon:


“People think in terms of finite ideas.

“‘AC/DC can’t exist without Bon Scott.’ Actually, they can. And, ‘They can’t exist without Brian [Johnson].’ No, actually they can; Axl did a fine job.

“And ‘Van Halen’ – who I discovered – ‘can’t exist without David Lee Roth.’ Actually, they got bigger with Sammy Hagar.

“So all these rules mean very little. And the fans will continue to argue with themselves, with each other — ‘I like this,’ ‘You like black, I like red.’

“Well, that’s nice. But a band is a dynamic thing; it breathes, it’s alive, and it’s only as good as the people in it.

“Like any relationship, whether it’s marriage or friendship or a football game or a band, it’s only as good as the team involved.”

During the remainder of the interview, Simmons stressed that a full-on reunion of the classic KISS lineup – featuring Ace Frehley on guitar and Peter Criss on drums – isn’t going to happen, saying:

“If you’re gonna do a one-off, anything is possible.

“In fact, Bruce Kulick and Bob Kulick [who auditioned for KISS in 1973 and was the ghost guitarist for Frehley back in the late ’70s and early ’80s] are gonna be on the Kiss Kruise. We have a wonderful lineup and we have an awful lot of fun. So there are no rules.

“It’s just that if you’re on a team, you want consistency; you wanna be able to have a guy you can count on when you pass the ball, because the whole team depends on that, right?

“And so if the guy you pass the ball to is on drugs or alcohol, the whole team goes down. You’re depending on each other – all for one, one for all.

“Our original members, Ace and Peter, the best things that ever happened to us, it couldn’t have happened without them.

“But if you succumb even to the cliche of clichée, the bus leaves without you. That’s life. You don’t get to determine who and what everybody does based on your timeline. Or, ‘You know what? I wanna take a year off and do nothing.’ ‘Ehhh… No!’ Or, ‘I’m not healthy enough to be onstage.’

“I think both Peter and Ace are in a great frame of mind, finally cleaned up, and that’s great, ’cause we love ’em and support ’em.

“But three times in and out of the band, that’s enough.”


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