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CRISS IS KISSED OFF

Kiss drummer Peter Criss says he still wants to rock 'n' roll with the band but its leaders don't want him on the start of their farewell tour.

A statement posted on the band's Web site said Criss had left the group he helped found but gave no reason.

On Saturday, Criss said Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley cut short negotiations for him to perform on the tour. Criss will be replaced by Eric Singer, who played with the band from 1991 to 1996.

"It is unfortunate that Gene and Paul chose to terminate their association with me for the Japan and Australia tour dates. I am healthy and will truly miss performing," Criss said in a statement.

"We were in the middle of negotiating and there was an offer taken off the table," his lawyer, Mike Celli, said Saturday. He would not disclose details of the talks.

There is a possibility that Criss could return for the rest of the tour, he added.

The band is playing Japan and Australia next month and reportedly plans to close the tour with a multinight stand in New York's Madison Square Garden in April.

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