Vinnie Vincent Returns: 10 Things We Learned
In his first interview and public appearance after nearly two decades in seclusion, Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent said a bad marriage and a protracted legal battle with his former band put him through "20 years of hell," but that he's become "very happy, very content" with a new, simpler life.
He also revealed that he may write a book and release new music, and that he plans to share a stage with one of his former bandmates soon. Here's the full scoop on those and other revelations from Vinnie Vincent's appearance at the sold-out Atlanta Kiss Expo.
1. He's Not Mad at Kiss at All
Speaking to Eddie Trunk on the SiriusXM Volume show Trunk Nation, Vincent repeatedly stressed that he holds no ill will toward former bandmates Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons, despite the above-mentioned legal wrangling. "I love them. I love them both. I don’t know why there’s this continuous need to say these [bad] things, but I won’t." He also expanded on the resolution of their disputes during a fan Q&A later in the afternoon: "After 20 years, we finally put it to bed. We settled it."
2. He's Very Happy Being Out of the Public Eye
"My life became small. I wanted it to become as small as it could be," he told Trunk. "I became very happy, very content. I play about seven hours a day. I take care of my dogs. I write; I record. I do everything I’ve always done. I’m just not out in the public doing it."
During the fan Q&A, Vincent also revealed that personal relationship issues helped keep him out of the spotlight: "I had a bad, bad marriage that didn’t work."
3. He's Planning to Share a Stage With Gene Simmons Very Soon
Vinnie Vincent says he was invited to join Simmons on stage when his Vault Fan Experience box set tour comes to Vincent's current hometown of Nashville this April. "Absolutely, I will show up for him. ... I’d be more than happy to help him. We had written a lot of songs from the Revenge era. My own personal favorite is called ‘I Wanna Live.' He said 'I’d like to have ‘I Wanna Live’ on The Vault, and invited me to Nashville, to receive it [the box set] on stage, and to meet each other again."
4. He's Considering Writing a Book
Although no deal has been finalized, Vincent revealed that he's had discussions with at least two book publishers about sharing his life story. "It’s a hell of a book. You don’t wanna miss it," he promises.
5. Yes, His Guitar Solos Were Too Long Sometimes
Vincent raised Stanley's ire during his time in Kiss by extending on-stage guitar solo segments past their allotted time – which reportedly once resulted in a near fistfight. Vincent now admits, "I was a newcomer, so I appreciate that advice. Were they in the ballpark? Absolutely. It was a time of being a guitarist, and that’s what I wanted to be. But working in context of what the band was. ... I'd say that I’d give them credit for knowing more than me."
6. His Departure from Kiss Was Strictly Business
"All of the problems we had were contractual," Vincent told Trunk. "All I asked was to be treated fair, not much more than that. Publishing is like owning your car, owning your house. If you don’t own it, you’re renting it."
During the Q&A session, Vincent revealed how difficult of a position he felt he was in. "To be honest with you, for the time I was in the band, my salary take-home was $550 a week. I had two kids. I had no money for a home. I was still driving a car that was – you know, I wouldn’t want my wife at the time driving that car. I still remember thinking, 'I know I’m contributing to this, but I feel like I’m not doing too well. This is not going too well. I kept asking, 'just pay me something that gives me a reason to still stay.'"
7. He's Not a Big Fan of the Internet
"I’m not going near that stuff. It scares me; the stories are scary," Vincent jokes. "I’m not on social media. I have no accounts. You guys are on the internet. I’m like, gimme Gomer Pyle again; gimme Ralph – something I can relate to. There’s a Vinnie Vincent account which is fake. So, whoever [is running it], please delete that. You’re doing a disservice." Later in the conversation he got a bit more serious: "People, [with] the internet, have changed. People have gotten very mean. I just don’t feel that anymore."
8. He Wishes He Had Never Released 1988's All Systems Go
Vincent obviously regrets not being able to preserve the first lineup of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, his post-Kiss band. "[Singer] Robert [Fleischman] should have stayed with the project, because the basic sound of that record, like Page and Plant – it was Rob and me. That first record (1986's Vinnie Vincent Invasion) was pretty red hot. It was my vision, Rob singing; everything was just right."
Just as clearly, he's not pleased with the changes that took place when Mark Slaughter took over for Fleischman. "The second version of it should have been aborted, should have never happened. I had the power. I should have called the shots, which should have been, 'stop this, revamp it. Go back; let me get the people I need.' It was all just publicity and publicity and hype. The songs I felt were really good, but I didn’t feel the music came out. … The records weren’t what I would have done. I never would have settled on a record like that. And that singer was unbearable, as far as I’m concerned."
9. He's Pondering a Comeback ...
"If [the fans] want me back, I’ll be back. I’m here. I’ve only left because the world has changed. This gives me a chance to finally leave the past behind, and look forward to see whatever is there."
10. ... But It May Not Be a Second Invasion
"I’ve got an expansive musical background, and part of my background was that genre."