The Real Reason Vinnie Vincent Was Fired From KISS

There may be no relationships outside of romantic ones that involve as much contention, drama, and highs and lows as relationships between bandmates, but it kinda makes sense. It's not a normal job where you work with people for a limited number of hours and only show your face once a year at the holiday party. People in bands spend a lot of time together and are required to be creative, perform in public — often for huge crowds — and travel together for long periods of time. Throw in booze, drugs, and egos and it's no wonder some band members get fired or quit. 

In the case of KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent, it didn't take long at all for the flames of that relationship to turn to embers. Vincent replaced original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley in 1982, and while he was considered a great asset to the band because of his  virtuoso guitar skills that helped revive their sound in the early 1980s, the other members of KISS — Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Eric Carr — weren't feeling Vincent's penchant for showboating on stage nor his demands for more credit for his contributions according to Rolling Stone. He was fired in 1984. 

Stanley told Rolling Stone, "Onstage, Vinnie was hell-bent on using every solo as an opportunity to showcase himself. We used to call it the high point of the show — because everybody in the audience left to go get high."

Vinnie Vincent was fired for a combination of reasons

The bigger issue though, and the reason Simmons said KISS fired Vincent was "unethical behavior," per Rolling Stone. Reportedly, Vincent sold a guitar to a fan that he had never played, yet said it was his favorite guitar and he played it often. He sold it to the fan for more than it would cost in the store. Because of KISS's relationship with its fans, Stanley said that shady move "was totally unacceptable," Rolling Stone reported. 

Another thing that led to Vincent's firing, according to Ultimate Classic Rock, was that he wouldn't sign a contract during his short stint with KISS, and then he sued the band in 1983 for royalties from the album "Lick it Up," an album that reached gold status. Vincent lost. 

That was the first of many lawsuits that Vincent initiated against KISS. In 2019, Simmons told Guitar World that Vincent had sued KISS 14 times and lost, adding, "I'm not here to cast any aspersions. He's a talented guy. That's why he was in the band. But would I depend on him to get up onstage and do anything? Never."

When asked if KISS would consider at least having Vincent play live for one song, "Lick It Up", Simmons said, "No. Never. Never happen. No. How many times do you want to get sued before you say that's enough?"