In a recent interview by Stephen Cenatiempo with current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, the common criticisms of the makeup was discussed. Thayer mentions that “KISS is bigger than ever”, and the fact that he wears Frehley’s makeup and Eric Singer wears Peter Criss’ makeup shouldn’t have anything to do with the success of the band. He continues to mention that keeping the original personas was “the right decision”, and that he doesn’t believe that new characters should have been created.
Of course, this is coming from a member of the band itself. For years, the debate over whether or not Tommy and Eric should bear the Spaceman and Catman has been in full blast- receiving heat from both fans and other people in the industry. Fairly recently, Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider has mentioned his dislike for the makeup situation and even started a little rock and roll war with KISS frontman Paul Stanley.
As time has told us, KISS can do almost anything and still receive support from the fans. Whether it was taking off the makeup, getting replacement members or adding new personas there has always been fans who supported it, as well as fans who fell off the wagon a bit. From what I can tell, having Thayer/Singer wear the original makeup has received the most backlash, but that definitely isn’t going to stop the rock and roll powerhouse that is KISS.
You can hear everything else that Tommy Thayer has to say right here.