KISS Hairstylist Claims Band Mismanaged COVID Death Of Guitar Tech
Longtime KISS Hairstylist Sues Band For Firing ... Claims They Mismanaged Guitar Tech's COVID Death
2/23/2023 6:25 AM PT
A longtime hairstylist for KISS says the rock band didn't act fast enough to help a COVID-stricken guitar tech while they were on tour, leading to his death.
According to a new lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, David Mathews accused KISS' manager Doc McGhee, of mishandling the grave situation involving Francis Stueber. KISS legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are also named defendants in the suit.
Mathews claims the group was on a tour stop in October 2021 when he learned Stueber had contracted a severe case of COVID while staying in an Illinois hotel room.
He says he urged Stueber to contact Stanley to arrange being sent to the hospital, and Stueber agreed to do so.
Mathews says he then went to Stanley's dressing room and told him, "Call Fran. He's very sick. I can hear the fear in his voice. He needs to go to the hospital."
Stanley allegedly responded, "I get it. I was afraid too when I was sick with COVID." The rock star, according to the docs, phoned Stueber and advises him to go to the hospital, explaining that the disease was "nothing to mess around with."
My dear friend, buddy and guitar tech for 20 years, Fran Stueber died yesterday suddenly of Covid. Both on and offstage I depended on him for so much. My family loved him as did I. He was so proud of his wife and 3 boys as they were of him. I’m numb. pic.twitter.com/RvwUGpFt0X— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) October 17, 2021 @PaulStanleyLive
But, hours later, Mathews says McGhee told him Stueber didn't want to go to the hospital, which conflicted with Stueber's earlier statements to him.
Still, Stanley called Stueber again and told him to go to the hospital, the docs say. Stueber apparently agreed, and McGhee promised to have a Live Nation rep take him to the medical center.
That allegedly never happened. Nearly an hour later, according to the docs, Matthews inquired about Stueber with McGhee, who said Stueber was being tested with an oxygen meter to see if he really needed to go to the hospital.
Matthews says, "Unfortunately, it was apparent that Mr. McGhee did not act in a timely manner. The Live Nation representative did not arrive until the following morning. When visitors entered Mr. Stueber's room at about 1 a.m., he was found dead."
Rolling Stone magazine then ran an article about Stueber's death, blaming KISS for having lax COVID protocols while on tour. The band was allegedly furious and blamed Matthews for the anonymous leaks to the R.S. reporter.
Although Mathews denied being the source of the information, the band apparently didn't believe him and allegedly ended up canning him the following May after 30 years of service.
Mathews is suing the group for wrongful termination, retaliation in violation of labor code and failure to pay all wages.
We reached out to KISS's rep ... so far, no word back.