Formed in New York City back in 1973 by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, Kiss quickly became one of the most influential bands in the world during that decade not only for their music but also for their live shows.
They were not the pioneers in using make-up but were the first ones to be extremely successful doing that and also putting up a live show like no one had seen before. Although they took-off the make-up from 1983 to 1996, most part of their 50-year career was spent with the make-up on. So many times many fans might not see them as a band that started that long ago. It was around the same time groups like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were huge and touring all over the world.
The band’s bassist and singer Gene Simmons always had a broad musical taste and was paying attention to the music business. So he had the chance to see many incredible groups live. Besides being known for his musical talent, he is also remembered for being a sincere person and once he mentioned a guitarist that in his opinion is underrated.
The guitarist that Gene Simmons said is underrated
Although Kiss was formed in the United States, when it comes to music, their main influences came from British groups. All of them were mesmerized a few years before the band was founded by what the musicians were doing in England.
For Simmons, one of those bands was Deep Purple, which had as the guitarist the legendary Ritchie Blackmore. In an interview for the guitar player’s documentary “Ritchie Blackmore Story”, released in 2015, Simmons said that people need to shine a light more on Blackmore as one of the best guitarists ever. (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).
The Kiss co-leader praised the musician, saying: “In a lot of ways, it’s a little tragic that Ritchie didn’t stand up and shine the light on himself. Which is why I’m happy to be here. He needs the light right on him. Because unlike many people he actually deserves it.”
“You know, it bears noting that, for me. Ritchie Blackmore, unlike many guitar players, never lost his edge, if it were. ‘Burn’ is every bit as important as ‘Space Truckin” and some of the later stuff. You can actually hear a guitar player at the top of his game.”
“When Ritchie plunged into medieval music it wasn’t so much as a surprise as a natural course of events. You know, there are people who enter this band thing for lots of different reasons. For money, for fame and for the chicks. It seems to me Ritchie Blackmore entered into this for the music,” Gene Simmons said.
He once criticized the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for taking so long to induct Deep Purple
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1983. It was created by Ahmet Ertegun, the founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. Since then many incredible artists were inducted and even some that are not really related to Rock and Roll. That made the institution be criticized by many fans and also famous musicians. Especially for taking so long to induct influential acts from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
In an interview with Time back in 2014, Gene Simmons mentioned Deep Purple as one of the groups that should be included. “The Hall of Fame award is important, because it is important to the fans. But otherwise it means nothing to me. It’s a political organization made up of ten guys.”
“A few of them are good guys. But I know for a fact that some members voted to keep Deep Purple and the Dave Clark Five and great rock bands out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And get Run DMC and other hip hop acts into the Hall of Fame,” Gene Simmons said. Kiss was inducted in 2014 by guitarist Tom Morello. Deep Purple had to wait two years for their turn. In 2016 the band was inducted by the Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.