News Segment


October 3, 2006

Vinnie Vincent won’t be raking it in for Lick It Up.

On the first day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s new term, the Big 9 declined to consider a lower court’s dismissal of Vincent’s lawsuit against KISS, in which he claimed he was owed royalties for his contributions to the 1983 album Lick It Up.

Vincent, whose real name is Vincent Cusano (Gene Simmons named him “Vinnie Vincent”), sued the band in federal court for $6 million in 1997. The court ultimately ruled that the guitarist had been a salaried member of the group at the time and therefore had received all the moola he was entitled to.

The former Happy Days staff songwriter joined KISS in 1982 as a replacement for founding member Ace Frehley and played on the heavily made-up rockers’ 14th album, Creatures of the Night. Vincent was reportedly fired at the end of the Creatures tour because of personality clashes with Simmons, but he was back on board in time for Lick It Up, an album especially significant because it marked the end of KISS dressing up in black-and-white face.

Vincent was given the KISS-off yet again in 1984 and went on to form the metal band Vinnie Vincent Invasion. (He maintains he left to do his own thing.) The musician reunited with Simmons & Co. to cowrite three songs for KISS’ 1992 album, Revenge. Vincent also released a live disc, Speedball Jamm, in 2002, in which a bunch of songs are mashed into one 71-minute track.

In another hall of justice, the man convicted of killing Vincent’s ex-wife, AnnMarie Cusano, lost an appeal in June to have his manslaughter conviction overturned. Gregory McArthur maintains that two drug dealers were most likely responsible for Cusano’s death in 1998. She and Vincent were briefly married in the 1980s.

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