Gene Simmons And Paul Stanley Never Asked Wicked Lester Members To Join KISS, Tony Zarrella Reveals

Before achieving mainstream success with KISS, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley also played in other bands, including Wicked Lester. When Simmons and Stanley decided to adopt a more aggressive sound, they recruited new members, and the band eventually evolved into KISS. During a recent chat with VWMusic, Wicked Lester’s drummer Tony Zarrella revealed that he was never invited to KISS.

Although Wicked Lester recorded a studio album, it was never released. After playing all the drum parts on that album, Zarrella left the band and toured with other acts. Following Gene and Paul’s decision to start a new band, Peter Criss was the first name to be recruited as KISS’ drummer. So apparently, Simmons and Stanley didn’t consider including their ex-bandmate Tony in their new rock act.

“I did not leave Wicked Lester; I thought we planned to keep going,” Tony Zarrella said when asked about what had caused the end of Wicked Lester. “But Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley left the band, so Wicked Lester broke apart and did not move forward. It was not mutual or due to a lack of album success since Epic Records did not release it.”

The drummer continued, “So, while I did not leave the band – a common misconception – I have some regrets about Paul and Gene’s decision to leave. I wish we could have continued. I am often asked if I was asked to join KISS, and the answer is no; they never asked. But if they had asked, I would have pursued the same direction.”

Thus, Tony Zarrella explained that he is often asked whether he received an invitation to join KISS after Wicked Lester, although he was not given the option. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley never asked him to become a KISS member, even though Zarrella would have happily accepted that offer if he had been asked.