When Kiss played their final show with guitarist Vinnie Vincent on March 17, 1984, it marked the end of a brief, productive-yet-volatile partnership that the band's principals had pegged as doomed from the start.

Vincent (born Vincent John Cusano) first linked up with the face-painted rockers in 1982, replacing co-founding lead guitarist Ace Frehley during the sessions for that year's Creatures of the Night. Vincent co-wrote and played on several of the album's songs as an uncredited member and hit the road with Kiss on the underperforming Creatures of the Night / 10th Anniversary Tour on Dec. 29, 1982.

Kiss was reluctant to tour with Vincent, as he refused to sign an employment contract. (The guitarist also wanted to go by the name Mick Fury, which Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley roundly rejected.) But they didn't have time to go round and round with him on the issue. "With Creatures done, we either had to lose the window of a tour or go off on tour with this guy," Simmons wrote in his book Kiss and Make-Up. "We decided, rightly or wrongly, to go on the tour with him. Paul designed Vinnie's ankh makeup and his Wiz character."

Why Kiss and Vinnie Vincent Butted Heads on the Lick It Up Tour

Kiss ditched their makeup on 1983's Lick It Up, which featured Vincent on its cover and credited him as a co-writer on eight of its 10 songs. They embarked on the Lick It Up World Tour in October 1983, but Stanley and Simmons once again found themselves at odds with Vincent, who had extended his guitar solos to outrageous lengths and refused to be reined in by his bandmates.

READ MORE: Top 10 Vinnie Vincent Songs

"Onstage, Vinnie was hell-bent on using every solo as an opportunity to showcase himself," Stanley lamented in his book Face the Music: A Life Exposed. "But it doesn't work like that. It's all about context. Vinnie never seemed to grasp that. He was intensely jealous of guys like Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee because he thought he was as good as them. He wanted his 'just due,' and his solo spot in the middle of the show became ungodly long. We used to call it the high point of the show — because everybody in the audience left to go get high."

It all became too much to bear, and Kiss fired Vincent after the final show of the Lick It Up Tour in Evansville, Indiana. They recruited Mark St. John for their next album, Animalize, released in September 1984.

Vinnie Vincent's Life After Kiss

That same year, Vincent formed the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, who released two albums, 1986's Vinnie Vincent Invasion and 1988's All Systems Go, before calling it quits in 1988. Vincent released one more EP, 1996's Euphoria, before disappearing from the public eye.

Vincent emerged more than two decades later at the 2018 Atlanta Kiss Expo, where he claimed Stanley and Simmons had put him through "20 years of hell" with legal battles but insisted he held no ill will toward them. "I love them. I love them both," he told Eddie Trunk. "I don't know why there's this continuous need to say these [bad] things, but I won't."

As for those gratuitous guitar solos? "I was a newcomer, so I appreciate that advice," Vincent said. "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."

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Gallery Credit: Jeff Giles

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