Kiss Frontman Paul Stanley Says His Anti-Semitic Bandmates Tried to Sabotage Him and Gene Simmons

Kiss is an iconic rock band that brought a new level of theatrics to the music industry. Even those who are not fans of classic rock know who Kiss is and their hit songs, such as I Was Made for Lovin’ YouRock And Roll All Nite, and Calling Dr. Love. The hard rock ‘n’ roll’s band success did not come without criticism. But how would they have become of the most influential bands of all time if they didn’t rock the boat? 

Kiss performing on stage
(L-R) Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Tommy Thayer | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Who is Kiss?

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In the early 1970s, a collaboration of four musicians formed the now-famous band, Kiss. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were the co-founders of Wicked Lester, which later became Kiss after drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley joined the band. The New York-based rock and roll group grabbed people’s attention with their unique style and shocking live performances.

Although the band seemed like a perfect matchup, lead singer Gene Simmons has always been outspoken about his bandmates. While some may not know the names of the original members of the iconic band, they are sure to recognize them by their stage personas. Gene Simmons is probably the most recognized member of Kiss, because of his stage persona, The Demon, and for frequently sticking out his long tongue while performing.

Simmons is the bass guitar player and co-lead singer of the band. Paul Stanley, born Stanley Eisen, is the rhythm guitarist and co-lead vocalist of Kiss. He wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s popular hits. His stage persona for Kiss is the Starchild. Paul “Ace” Frehley was the original lead guitarist for the rock band Kiss and best known for his aggressive guitar playing and use of special effects guitars.

During his years with Kiss, Frehley was the persona of The Spaceman or Space Ace. Peter Criscuola, better known as Peter Criss, was the original drummer and powerful, raspy voice of Kiss. He established the stage persona of the Catman while performing with the rock band. 

Accusations of anti-Semitic actions in the band

Kiss faced many rumors early on about demonic worship because of the band’s image and hard rock music. However, it was allegations made in Stanley’s memoir that surprised many. According to HuffPost, Stanley wrote that Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were anti-Semitic. He recounted that Frehley had a collection of Nazi memorabilia. He also wrote that both former bandmates resented Stanley and Gene Simmons, both of whom are Jewish, for their ambitions and dominant roles in the band.

In Face the Music: A Life Exposed, Stanley wrote, “As a result, the two of them tried to sabotage the band — which, as they saw it, was unfairly manipulated by [us] money-grubbing Jews,” Frehley’s manager, Dave Frey, kissed off the accusation and told The Huffington Post, “It’s definitely not true,” and noted his relationship with Jewish fiancee, Rachael Gordon. 

While Kiss faced criticism about their antics and costumes being more devious than originally thought, they are not the only rock band facing accusations. Roger Waters, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, has been called out for his anti-semitism. Often when accused, he comments that it is “nothing other than scathing criticism of Israel’s policies.”

However, most agree that it goes beyond a disagreement of government actions and policies. Tampa Bay Times shared Walters’ remark from a recent television interview about Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish donor. Walters identified Adelson as the puppet-master of the United States government who “believes that only Jews, only Jewish people, are completely human … and everybody else on Earth is there to serve them.”

As a well-known celebrity influencer, these comments are troubling and make it harder for organizations like The Florida Holocaust Museum to help create a better future.