It seems fairly likely that the original Kiss lineup will never play another note together, but if you're feeling glum about missing out on your opportunity to see them perform live and in person, you might take comfort in the words of the band's current tourmate, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, who thinks the band's latest configuration might be its best.

During an interview with the Atlantic City radio station WZXL, Elliott was asked for his thoughts on the continuing controversy regarding the absence of guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss -- and whether the guys currently in Kiss (including co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley as well as guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer) are bothered by the negative attention. "They're all loving this, because Tommy Thayer is a phenomenal guitar player, and Eric Singer is a great drummer," Elliott shrugged. "And the songs have never sounded as good live, as far as I'm concerned. With all due respect to Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, it seems to be a happier camp."

As for the fans who dog Kiss with cries of "cover band," Elliot mused, "I've seen some people say that [Tommy and Eric] don't deserve to be able to wear the makeup. Well, Kiss is a franchise as much as a band, or a brand and a band, and if that's what it takes to sell the band, that they wear the same makeup ... Sometimes when in Vegas, in Cirque Du Soleil, if a certain character wears a certain mask and he gets sick, one of the chorus line comes in and takes over wearing the same makeup."

Ultimately, Elliott's advice is to either enjoy the music or "move on." "If you like the songs, and you've got Gene and Paul, which were always, in fairness, the two most out-front members of Kiss anyway," he concluded. "I think it still works."

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