Gene Simmons has reflected upon the original Kiss lineup, declaring he should have been “more hard” on Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

During a conversation with Backstage Pass, Simmons was asked if there was anything he’d change about his legendary career. In response, the Kiss bassist was forthright.

"Well, I'm sad in retrospect — you know, hindsight's 20/20 — I'm sad that I wasn't more hard on Ace [Frehley] and Peter [Criss], the two original guys who played guitar and drums in the band," Simmons explained, alluding to his former bandmates’ struggles with substance abuse.

Ace Frehley and Peter Criss 'Should Have Been' With Kiss

"Ace and Peter… have as much credit for the beginning of the band as Paul [Stanley] and I do,” the bassist continued. “There's no question it was that chemistry. And they both had unique voices, unique personalities and all that. And they should have been here with us 50 or 55 years later and enjoying the fruits of their labor. But sadly, they're not.”

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Despite suggesting he would have liked Frehley and Criss to have remained in the band, Simmons insisted their fallout was “their own doing.”

“They were in and out of the band three different times. They were let go three different times because of the same old thing,” he noted, once again alluding to drugs. “It's not even unique. Go to almost every band and you'll find people ingesting stuff more than the bum on the street corner, except they're richer and they can afford to ingest more. It's sad."

Frehley was out of Kiss for the last time in 2002, while Criss' final run with the band ended in 2004. The band's final lineup featured Simmons and Stanley alongside drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer.

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Gallery Credit: Jeff Giles

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