The guitarist started by getting right to the point for those who’ve never given the band their due. He told the crowd, “You can kiss my KISS loving ass because KISS wasn’t a critics’ band. It’s the people’s band.” Morello went on to offer plenty of platitudes about the awesomeness off the group. “Impact, influence and awesomeness — KISS have all three in spades,” remarked Morello to the delight of the crowd.
Morello went on to discuss the band’s influence, name-checking Foo Fighters as one of the groups influenced by KISS while Dave Grohl was visibly spotted smiling. And while KISS have made a big to-do about not performing because all of their members were not inducted, Morello made sure not to slight the band naming each of the non-inductee members of the band to the cheers of the audience. Summing up, Morello received applause for stating, “Tonight, this isn’t the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s the Rock and Roll All Nite and Party Every Day Hall of Fame.”
As for the band, Gene Simmons was the first to speak, and despite all the recent drama he graciously paid tribute to Ace Frehley and Peter Criss and their roles in the rise to fame of KISS. “To Ace Frehley, his iconic guitar playing has been imitated but never equaled by generations of guitar players around the world,” stated Simmons. “To Peter Criss … well there’s not a guy out there who beats the sticks like Peter. Nobody’s got that swing and that style.” He also added that there was no one better to have on your team than Paul Stanley and concluded, “We wouldn’t be here today without the original fantastic four.”
Peter Criss shared his joy for being inducted in Brooklyn. During his speech, he thanked the band’s original manager Bill Aucoin and spoke about how the New York Dolls’ Jerry Nolan was the first to give him a drum lesson. Criss spoke openly about his bout with breast cancer and urged for more awareness in detection. He also was the first to offer an ounce of drama to the proceedings, adding, “In and out of makeup, I’ll always be the Catman.”
Here you go people. This is yours. pic.twitter.com/xTNmhHRDt4— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) April 11, 2014
Meanwhile, Ace Frehley offered a moment of levity, telling the audience, “I have a speech but these glasses aren’t prescription so I can’t read any of it.” Keeping things light, he added, “When I was 13 years old and I picked up my first guitar, I always sensed that I was going to be into something big. Little did I know a few years later, there it was.” But then taking an unexpected turn, he joked that it was “the summer of love,” and then he met his KISS bandmates a few years later.
As for Paul Stanley, the singer-guitarist took the time to thank the fans, who above all finally made their Rock Hall induction happen. “This is a special night for us, but it’s also a special night for our fans. This is vindication.” He also added, “I believe that the spirit of rock and roll is that you follow your own path regardless of your critics and regardless of your peers. And I think we’ve done that for 40 years. Here we are tonight basically being inducted for the same things that we were kept out from.” Taking a more obvious dig at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who have excluded them for years, Stanley concluded, “The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate, do not.”
And true to their word, the band accepted their honor but did not perform for those in attendance. See the full KISS acceptance speech in the fan-filmed YouTube clip below: