Fuck Paul and Gene. Ace Frehley should’ve been writing entire KISS albums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a KISS fan, but part of being a KISS fan is admitting that there are some horrifically shitty songs in their catalogue and that Paul and Gene are responsible for those shitty songs. This wouldn’t have happened if Frehley had been in charge. Don’t believe me? Just take a listen to his 1978 solo album. That year all four members of KISS released solo albums, of which Ace’s was the best selling and had the highest charting single. Granted, that single was a cover of Hello’s “New York Groove”, but make no mistake, the Frehley originals gracing the album are no slouches either. Just listen to “Snowblind” “Ozone” and “Rip it Out” and try to convince me that Frehley wasn’t the most gifted songwriter in KISS.
The few KISS songs that are credited to Ace, such as “Parasite” “Cold Gin” and “Shock Me” are among the best in the band’s catalogue, but it is on the solo album that Frehley steps out from behind the shadows of the Simmons/Stanley musical dictatorship and really shines as a player and songwriter. The main riff from the aforementioned “Snowblind” (which could have been a Black Sabbath song and ironically shares a title with a song from that band’s fourth album) alone is worth the price of admission, but the album as a whole is about a hundred times more enjoyable front-to-back than just about any of the early classic KISS albums, giving even their rough ‘n’ raw debut a run for its money.
It isn’t just the songs or the makeup or smoking guitar solos that make Ace Frehley great or that made millions of young men and boys paint their faces and pick up guitars both real and imaginary. Ace embodies an idea, the idea that a regular schmuck can can become an icon, a superhero. According to Wikipedia, some of the jobs held by Frehley prior to joining KISS included furniture deliverer, mail carrier and cab driver. From cab driver to motherfucking ROCK GOD. It’s the kind of story we all dreamed of as kids. It will never happen to most of us, but at least there was a time when mere mortals could live vicariously through men like Ace.