You might be surprised to learn that the decision of KISS not to perform at their induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame this year actually gives us an important lesson about Rock n' Roll, divorce and remarriage. Allow me to explain:
KISS has been an iconic force in the world of rock for forty years with millions of adoring fans worldwide. Like other bands such as The Eagles, Grateful Dead, Van Halen and Journey, KISS has also replaced some of its original band members and continued to perform as KISS. This year, KISS co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were elated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after a very long wait, yet they suddenly soured when they learned that the museum was only inducting the original members of KISS into the museum, not the other band members that have previously worn or presently wear the famous makeup and costumes that are the hallmark of KISS.
Simmons and Stanley correctly decided that the museum was wrong to exclude from the award the individuals who replaced two of the original band members, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. To further add insult to injury, the museum demanded that the original band members perform at the awards ceremony--not KISS with its longstanding present members, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. Despite the great honor, Simmons and Stanley declined to perform at the event, because it would clearly be hurtful and disrespectful to their present band mates, who did not get to share in the honor.
In light of this decision, the Twittersphere and blogs exploded, with fans divided whether KISS should perform with the original band members. Despite thousands of tweets on both sides, Simmons and Stanley remained steadfast that they will politely accept the award, but not disrespect and hurt their present band mates by playing with their former band mates. So why does this have anything to do with a lesson about divorce and remarriage?
When you are in a band, most musicians will tell you that it is akin to being married. They not only play together, they talk together, eat together, travel together, and on tour literally almost live together for long periods. They face problems together, worry together, argue with each other about money, cry and laugh with each other. They develop friendships with their families and friends.
And sometimes, band mates fight with either other. Bitterly. In fact, sometimes the problems get so enormous and insurmountable that they can no longer play together. They may begin to loathe each other or become jealous of their respective individual wealth, success or fame. And then, the band "breaks up" and gets a music divorce.
People divorce every day for an array of reasons. Unless you are actually one of the parties to the divorce, you may think (but you don't actually know) what the true motivations or reasons of the parties are in getting their divorce. Nonetheless, there is always a decision made that at least one party has had enough and wants out. And as time goes on, parties may meet someone new and decide to get remarried. And when they do, they want to lead their "new" life with the person that they have selected, without comparison to their former spouse.
While there are exceptions to every rule, most people that remarry don't desire to spend time with their former spouse-that's why they divorce. Most people truly want their family and friends to accept their new spouse and to respect their decision to remarry. You want your family and friends to respect your new spouse and their feelings, and not to insist that you do things with your former spouse. While some people may have the ability to maintain positive relationships with former spouses (which is wonderful), other people simply can't do that for a wide variety of circumstances. And it's not our place to question why that is so.
I have no first hand knowledge as to why Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley got their divorce from Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, although it has been widely reported that significant substance abuse problems were the cause. I do know that Simmons and Stanley apparently don't bad mouth their ex "spouses"--they even congratulated them publicly on their induction. But they don't want to, and should not be asked to play with them. That would be disrespectful and understandably hurtful to the new members of band that they have "married."
The lesson to be learned from KISS is that if you divorce, treat your former spouse with the courtesy they may deserve. But primarily, be very respectful of your new spouse and cognizant of their feelings about your relationship with your former spouse and insist that others do the same-whether it be family (including your children) or friends (or in the case of KISS, the fans). And don't be pressured into situations by others to take part in activities with your former spouse, just because some people may like the way things originally were. If you do, you may be getting another divorce. Kudos to Simmons and Stanley for respecting their current "spouses."
Follow Mark A. Barondess on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markabarondess