KISS frontman Paul Stanley has dismissed Gene Simmons’ claim that Eddie Van Halen had expressed desire to join the make-up clad rock act following Ace Frehley’s departure from the band in 1982.
In an extract from the upcoming Eddie Van Halen biography, “Eruption” (titled “Unchained” in the US) in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, Paul admits that Eddie did visit KISS while they were in the studio working on 1982’s “Creatures Of The Night” album, but dismisses the claim that Van Halen offered to join their ranks as lead guitarist.
Speaking to author Paul Brannigan, Stanley’s most vivid memory of the late guitarist’s visit to the L.A. studio in the summer of 1982 was his love of the guitar solo on the song “Creatures Of The Night”.
“The [Creatures Of The Night] record was coming out well,” Gene Simmons tells Paul Branigan in the book, “and then Eddie called and said, ‘I need to talk with you.’ We met across the street, at a diner – I remember [future Kiss guitarist] Vinnie Vincent weaselled his way into the meeting, even he was not a member of the band then -and Eddie kept saying, ‘[David Lee] Roth is driving me nuts. I can’t fucking take it. I want to leave the band…can I join Kiss?’ And I said ‘You should stay with the band Eddie. The heart and soul of it is your guitar, and if you leave the band there is no Van Halen. And there just isn’t enough oxygen in the room for you to be in Kiss, because you’ll have a million song ideas. He asked to join the band, and I persuaded him to stick it out with Roth. That’s the truth, there is no other.”
Brannigan then asks Paul whether Simmons had returned from his lunch with Eddie with any news of the apparent discussion that had taken place, with Stanley recalling nothing being mentioned. When it’s noted that it seems odd, given the depth of the conversation, Stanley agrees, and adds, “You’ll have to make of that what you will…”
As previously revealed, Stanley also admitted to Brannigan that he and Kiss manager Bill Aucoin rejected the opportunity to work with Van Halen while the band were unsigned in order to protect their own band.
“We didn’t want to take Van Halen on because we were trying to hold Gene in check,” Stanley reveals. ‘Gene is often more concerned – and this is just part of his personality – with Gene, and it wasn’t going to be to our benefit for him to run off and get involved with something else. Were Van Halen undeniable? Absolutely. Were they fabulous? Yeah. Did they have what it took? Absolutely. But we had to take care of Kiss, and the way to protect Kiss at that time was to pull the reins in on Gene, it’s that simple.”