Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ace Frehley left KISS because of The Elder concept album

The day after the original lineup of KISS were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, guitarist Ace Frehley told Billboard that he may never have left the band if they hadn’t recorded the 1981 concept album, “(Music From) The Elder.”

“It was a concept album and it wasn’t a heavy rock and roll record,” Ace explains. “KISS is known for their theatrics and heavy rock and roll songs and it was a complete departure from that. I was just thinking to myself what would have happened if we went in and did (1982’s) ‘Creatures Of The Night’ (album) and the whole Elder concept was scrapped: I may not have left the group.”

Peter Criss’ departure from KISS in 1980 left Frehley at odds with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons over the musical direction of the band. New drummer Eric Carr was hired as an employee – which left him without a vote in crucial business and creative decisions – resulting in Ace often being outvoted 2-1 regarding the group’s plans…including recording “The Elder.”

In addition, Frehley was unhappy with producer Bob Ezrin, who was brought in to do the project following his success with Pink Floyd’s 1979 concept album, “The Wall.”

“I disagreed with him and the band on many issues [regarding the project],” Frehley wrote in his 2011 memoir, “No Regrets.” “I could see it from the beginning. I had the street smarts and common sense to take a giant step back and look at the project with an objective eye, and I knew it was a colossal mistake in judgment. Paul, Gene, and Bob didn’t get it. They went forward with the whole ridiculous concept.”

“To be perfectly candid, I never fully understood what the hell this record was supposed to be about,” he wrote. “Gene had written some kind of story, and there was talk of turning it into a feature-length movie or animated film or something. Even after the Kiss Meets the Phantom… catastrophe, Gene was fascinated with Hollywood culture. Ezrin stoked the fire by suggesting that Gene’s little story be used as the basis for some sort of big multimedia, cross-platform vehicle for KISS. Part of the plan, apparently, was a “concept” record.”

“As anyone who knows rock ’n’ roll can tell you, concept records can be career killers even for the most talented bands. The problem is that instead of ending up with a masterpiece like Tommy, you could end up with Saucy Jack, Spinal Tap’s unproduced rock opera about Jack the Ripper.

“I didn’t understand the concept, and I didn’t give an F about the central character (some old fart nobody knew anything about). It was ludicrous. I kept trying to tell the guys that if we released an album of self-indulgent nonsense, complete with spoken dialogue and haunting wind instruments, we’d be slaughtered. Our core fans would get pissed, and serious rock critics would laugh at it. It was doomed from the beginning. Didn’t matter what I said, though. I was outvoted.”

As for his experience at the Rock Hall ceremony on Thursday, Frehley told Billboard “I wasn’t losing sleep over the fact that I wasn’t inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It took them 15 years. I was thrilled to be there and it was a great, great event.”

On June 24, Frehley will release a new solo album, “Space Invader”, which will include a cover of Steve Miller Band's "The Joker."

See also: VIDEO: Tom Morello inducts KISS into Rock Hall VIDEO: KISS perform classic tracks on The Tonight Show VIDEO: KISS inducted into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Search KISS at hennemusic