Letter to the ‘Boyz’:
Guys, hey, sorry about this. You gotta be high if you think what’s being hailed by some as ‘Fake KISS 2019’ is going to sell tickets stateside. Enuffs been said already about why by everyone else in KISSdom, instead I offer here my heartfelt thoughts on possible solutions in hopes I can do something to make THE END OF THE ROAD less bumpy and something us KISS fans can be super amped about.
1 > HIRE BACKGROUND SINGERS / MUSICIANS FOR THE TOUR: Come clean, shoot us straight, like the Rolling Stones ultimately decided to do. You wanna sound great? Add some other musicians to help you deliver the goods! Give each tune the treatment it needs, try and deliver the record version. Add a tambourine!? Get a choir from each city to sing on “Great Expectations”? That kinda shit!
2 > HIRE ACE TO OPEN UP: Even if he’s said he won’t open, you and I know that’s bullshit so please figure out what it will take. Rather than giving him an option to ‘appear’ as all your press statements indicate you’ll do, notably the comment that (paraphrasing you Paul) ‘If they aren’t there, it’s not because they weren’t invited’. Gimme a break, not too cool. Just do it, for us, for KISStory!
3 > FIGURE OUT A FALL BACK POSITION: With the way ticket sales are going, I’ll be shocked if you guys aren’t already considering options here because, in my opinion, this should have been a BIG CITIES ONLY TOUR stateside with options for a 2nd (or 3rd date) in each market, at least initially anyway. Like how you would have done the DYNASTY TOUR with the benefit of hindsight, though I understand your hands may have been tied on that call this time around. Reality aside, in a perfect world, I’d seriously consider finding a way to CANCEL ANY SOFT TICKET SALES DATES WITH ‘VIP REFUNDS’ as it were and start adding THE PERFECT LOCAL ACT / LUMINARY IN EACH KEY MARKET as special guests or openers to the remaining ‘big’ dates. Make these shows pilgrimages. Bands who are fans. Fans who are fans. Pull up the trucks for KISSworld!!
4 > WRITE A NEW SONG FOR THE TOUR: If you’re not gonna put out a record because it’s ‘pointless’ fiscally, at least GIVE THE FANS WHAT THEY WANT, and what we want is NEW KISS MUSIC! Take a chance, take a stand, put a deafening rock coda on this fucker we call KISStory!? MAKE A VIDEO then GO TO RADIO. You get a hit somehow and wow, KISS saves RADIO? Kisstoric twist to history? One more great song! A single. I think the timing may work for the right tune, and I’m here to help with that as a Knight In Stanley & Simmons Service since ’76 with riffs to burn! Fuck, if not me, have a FAN CONTEST TO WRITE YOUR SWAN SONG, again breaking new ground with KISS 🙂
Here are a few titles, gratis …. End Of The Road … My Way Is The High Way … Have My Cake (Eat It Too) … Amps, Ramps & Tramps ….KISS Off … You Can Bring The Roof Down ….We’re KISS Creatures ….Ace’s High ….Fly Like A Demon ….Insufficient Data Starchild …. You Created A Monster …..Drive Me Home …. One Nite At A Time ….. High Time For Rock & Roll ….Rock, Scissors, KISS ….Fine Time For Rock & Roll ….Kiss & Tell …. Damsels In Distress … (heck, Destroyer, Rock & Roll Over, Dressed To Kill?)….Mirror On The Ceiling …Love Is Ours …Stars & Stripes ….Down For Rock … Flashback City … Off With Your Head ….. I could go on.
Paul, Gene, Doc ….text me.
A short KISStorian rant on the well-orchestrated soap opera that is KISS as they prepare for their ‘final farewell’ …forgive me though ‘cuz this clip is 2 weeks old so I’m clearly wrong on a few things but … I’m still hopeful on Ace being involved in some way … lots happened in couple weeks … the KISS Kruise re-union this week with Bruce and Ace … the tour date announcements stateside … the TV appearances … Ace’s new album … the chit-chat … so please cut me some slack (AWK!).
I was @ Buck Lake Ranch in Angola, IN this weekend helping my pals out with their ‘Blessing Of The Bikes’ festival and met this mom and her son whose name escapes me … but his middle name was truly ‘ACE”, on the birth certificate! He and his mom shared pix with me of them on stage with Gene and the ‘Gene Simmons Band’ (did I get that right Mr. Make Believe?) the other day in in Cleveland or Indy or … they were rocking out and the Demon was all smiles.
Anyway, young ‘ACE” is the son of the lead guitarist of the band MAGPIE who rocked that day. In fact, Bon Scot may have been revived briefly when he took lead vocals That’s dad in the back ground setting up for the gig. Hope the young Jendel candidate knows Dad is about as cool as the planet offers, only just ‘A Little Below The Angels’.
Funny how KISS still amazes even me sometimes …. young ‘ACE’ is in 5th grade, the same age I was when my buddy started singing “Larger Than Life” on the way out to the play ground one day and I said “what’s that?!?!?!” … the rest is personal KISStory … ah the sudden clarity over the weekend that I don’t know a world without KISS?!
Many KISStorians argue that Vinnie Vincent saved KISS but, any you way you slice it, it was ERIC CARR who saved KISS. The ride he took manning the drum fort on behalf of The KISS ARMY proves Carr was a true ‘Rock Soldier’ and, as The Elder would no doubt agree, indeed ‘worthy of the fellowship’.
And as much as he gave it his all for KISS and their fans when playing live, Carr’s studio work is what makes him “King Of The Mountain” as savior of the band. Shit, take any track off Creatures Of The Night — It’s Bonham meets the Demon & The Starchild and it sounds invincible! Even when KISS went soft rock on Crazy Nights, Carr remained heavy. He also wrote, sang, played bass, and made arrangement contributions on KISS material throughout his tenure with the band.
Even when the KISS experience soured for Carr personally, he never let it affect his level of devotion to the fans. He never, ever sucked. He was a pros pro and, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys on the planet. His only fault may have been that his heart was a big as his bass drum and he wore it on his sleeve. So be it, amen Eric.
Anyway, I moved recently and found this: my angry letter to Rolling Stone for ignoring his career. I share it with you on the Anniversary of his passing to give thanks to Eric for hanging tough when everyone else was jumping ship, Vincent included.
Since the dawn of civilization people have made pilgrimages to pay homage to their Gods and gather with the tribe. That is the feeling before, during and after an Ace Frehley concert. You’re back in the ‘New York Groove’ and in your rock & roll happy place (space) with Ace at the controls.
Such was the case a couple of weeks back when Ace made an earthly appearance at House of Blues here in Chicago. Night orbits with Ace over the years in the Chi have been bumpy rides at times (Avalon, Cubby Bear, China Club, Dome Room) but I am happy to report that Ace’s head, band, and space are in a great trajectory at present, no matter how semi-dazed & confused the captain may be from the excesses of rock & roll.
What struck me about this show is that Ace really did take a deep dive into his true ‘Origins’ by choosing to do the stuff I think he is most comfortable playing, perhaps enjoys most. It was basically a few key Frehley solo cuts, a couple covers off the newbie ‘Origins’, several non-Ace KISS tunes and then of course the core Frehley-penned KISS classics delivered with renewed zest & love. A set of KISStoric Ace ‘feel goods’.
2016’s stellar incarnation of ‘the Ace Frehley Band’ may in fact be Ace’s best live line-up ever. The addition of rock cosmonaut Chris Wyse on bass is nothing short of an Ace masterstroke. (Great bass solo Chris!) With Wyse’s well-honed hammer, drummer Scot Coogan‘s old school pocket, guitarist Richie Scarlet‘s razor rhythm attack and Frehley running the Les Paul warp drive, the band delivered cool grooves, cosmically faithful renderings and good vibrations all the way from Jendell!
A Tip of the Chicago Firehouse hats to hometown boy Coogan for kicking ass on every level required to do Ace proud. I get the sense now several years in that Scot may be the band leader in a sense. If he’s not, he’s certainly the a heart & soul Rock Soldier that the KISS Army need thank for his considerable tour of duty.
There were some fun moments during the show too. A couple of times we caught Ace watching co-guitarist Scarlet and being amused by the ‘Emperor of Rock’s’ mega antics stage left. For one thing, Scarlet has discovered a new move in which he whips his guitar with his scarf instead of picking it LOL.. During “Rock Soldiers”, Ace noticed ironically that his “old buddy Richie” was now rocking out stage right at the perfect time for Frehley to point at Scarlet when he sang the song’s lyric “and Satan on my right” laughing after he did so. Richie also took the liberty, while visiting the ‘windy city’, of dedicating “Bad Boys Are Comings” off Trouble Walkin’ to “Mr. Alfonso Capone”.
Early in the show, like four songs in, Ace wandered back to the kit between songs and was talking to drummer Scot Coogan when people starting yelling “ACE!! ACE!! ACE!!”. Eventually Frehley returned to the mic and said calmly “hey …I didn’t go anywhere?”
For the intro to “Shock Me” Ace inquired “Who do you thinks gonna win? ….Hillary or Trump?” He paused for comic effect and then said ‘”Who Fucking Cares!!! … nothing would SHOCK ME!!!”
At one point Ace asked us, very subdued, “Is it loud enough? …. yeah? … why not make it louder?” He then brought us all on back home, back to ’74, when he shared a revelation of sorts before going in to “Parasite”. Oh what a cool moment it was when Ace informed us that he had written the song about “this girl that used to follow KISS around from city to city” and oh to meet that girl with the ‘Parasite Eyes’.
Ace is one of the few rock icon who has never changed his true stripes or sold out. Masked, unmasked, loaded, sober or otherwise, Frehley is a ‘National Treasure’. To me Ace is the American personification of Jimmy Page meets Keith Richards. When it comes to KISStory, you can never count Ace out, no matter what hand he’s holding.