In September, 1978 the four original members of Kiss simultaneously released solo albums during the height of Kissteria. General consensus over the years has put Ace's record at the front of the pack with Paul's following close behind, while Peter and Gene's records aren't really a part of the conversation. If you are one who judges success by the charts, Ace comes out the winner there as well. Ace's record was the only one of the four to generate a bonafide hit single, with his cover of the Russ Ballard song "New York Groove." which was originally record by the 70's glam rock band Hello. (Click here for Colin story about why Paul's album is the best)
Fast-forward almost a decade and we find Ace releasing his first post-Kiss solo album, Frehley's Comet and once again Ace proved that he could still deliver the goods.
Ace officially left Kiss in late 1982 and it took him almost five years to get his first post-Kiss solo record released. Ace put together the first incarnation of Frehley's Comet in 1984 and the band made their live debut on November 30th, 1984 at S.I.R Studios in New York City, performing Kiss classics and new material that the band had been demoing. The band eventually signed with Megaforce Records and released Frehley's Comet on April 27th, 1987.
Alongside Ace on Frehley's Comet were drummer Anton Fig, who had performed on Ace's 1978 solo album as well as Dynasty and Unmasked from Kiss, bassist John Regan and Tod Howarth on guitar and lead vocals. Ace also brought in producer Eddie Kramer to co-produce the album. Kramer had worked with Ace in the past producing his 1978 solo album and some Kiss records. (Click here for 12 Best Kiss stories you will ever read)
Frehley's Comet is classic Ace from start to finish. Ace has always had a great sense of who he is and what his fans want from him. Even though he had dropped his iconic Kiss face paint, Ace was still the Spaceman. The album opens with the autobiographical "Rock Soldiers," which tells the story of a near-fatal car crash that Ace was involved in and his struggles with drugs and alcohol. "Rock Soldiers" was the second single/video from the album and was a minor hit for Frehley, but it instantly became a fan favorite and also received steady airplay on MTV. "Rock Soldiers" is followed by "Breakout" which is a reworking of a song Ace had written with Kiss drummer Eric Carr during the sessions for (Music From) The Elder. Tod Howarth takes lead vocals on "Breakout" as well as "Something Moved" and "Calling to You," the latter being a rewrite of a song originally called "Megaforce" from Tod's former band 707. The Russ Ballard penned "Into the Night" was released as the album's first single & video and was a moderate hit. Other highlights include "Love Me Right," "Stranger In A Strange Land" and the quirky "Dolls." Ace closes the album with the instrumental "Fractured Too," a sequel to "Fractured Mirror," which was the final track on his 1978 Kiss solo album. Ace has recorded two more instrumentals in the "Fractured" series: "Fractured III" on 1989's Trouble Walkin' album and "Fractured Quantum" on 2009's Anomaly.
Frehley's Comet has a lot of the same elements that made Ace's 1978 solo album such a success and although it did not sell as well, it brought Ace back in a big way and has stood the test of time better than any of his other post-Kiss releases and definitely better than any post-1978 solo releases from the other three original members of Kiss.
Ace is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album of cover songs that will be released later this year. He is also out on tour and will be making a stop in Ohio on September 19th at Hard Rock Live in Northfield, OH.
While I'm at it I thought I would rank all the post-1978 solo albums from the original members of Kiss best to worst.....
1. Frehley's Comet (1987) - Ace Frehley
2. Trouble Walkin' (1989) - Ace Frehley
Ace reunited with original Frehley's Comet partner guitarist Ritchie Scarlet for this 1989 album. It was a bit of a return to form for the Spaceman and featured a great cover of ELO's "Do Ya." Peter Criss sings background vocals on the record.
3. Live To Win (2006) - Paul Stanley
Paul's only solo effort since the 1978 Kiss solo albums and it's not nearly as good. "Live To Win" suffers from being overproduced and Paul trying to hard to get a hit. With that said there are a few bright moments, with tracks like "Where Eagles Dare," "It's All About You," "Bulletproof" and the title track. Maybe one day Paul will make a proper follow up to his 1978 classic.
4. Out of Control (1980) - Peter Criss
Peter Criss was the first of the original members to release a solo album outside the confines of the band and he delivered pretty much what you would expect from the Catman: ballads and watered-down rock songs. Out of Control is slightly better than Pete's 1978 Kiss solo record, but still pretty much a snoozefest. I give the number four spot on this ranking because this is actually Peter at his best solo-wise and I give him credit for making the kind of album that he wanted to make and giving it his all.
5. Anomaly (2009) - Ace Frehley
Anomaly was Ace's first solo album after a six year reunion with Kiss and is a strong return for the Spaceman. "Outer Space" was released as a single and has all the signature Ace licks in it. This album also includes a cover of Sweet's "Fox On The Run."
6. Asshole (2004) - Gene Simmons
The best thing about this album is its title. Like Gene's 1978 Kiss solo album, Asshole explores many different musical styles but unfortunately for the most part falls flat. Gene's 1978 Kiss solo record was a varied affair as well but managed to remain cohesive. Asshole is just kind of a mess. As with his 1978 album the mellower songs seem to come off a bit more sincere, including "Waiting For The Morning Light," which was co-written with Bob Dylan. (editor's note: "WHHHHAAAAT?!?")
7. Second Sighting (1988) - Frehley's Comet
Ace's second post-Kiss solo record, but the first to be credited solely to Frehley's Comet. This record does not hold up as well as Frehley's Comet, and for me the main reason is that there is not enough Ace on the disc. Guitarist/singer Tod Howarth took on a larger role on the album and sings half the songs, which makes it feel less like an Ace record. Tod's songs are great, I just wish Ace would have contributed more to this one. It would definitely get a higher ranking if it had a few more Ace songs.
8. Space Invader (2014) - Ace Frehley
Kind of in the same vein as Anomaly but the songs are not as memorable. Space Invader became the highest-charting solo album from any past or present Kiss member, debuting at No. 9 on the Billboard charts.
10. Let Me Rock You (1982) - Peter Criss
Let Me Rock You will NOT rock you at all. This album was an import-only release and did not receive an official U.S. release until 1998.
11. Ace Frehley - Origins Vol. 1
A made up of cover songs from the Space Ace. Pretty solid, just not a fan of cover records. The highlight would be Ace's reunion with Paul Stanley on the Free classic Fire and Water. Now if Paul had sang on the entire record, I'm sure it would be a lot higher in the rankings.
12. Live + 1 (1988) - Frehley's Comet
Pretty much what it sounds like: a live E.P. plus one studio track.
13. Cat #1 (1994) - Criss
Criss was Peter's failed attempt at making his way back into the world of rock music. The CD was independently released and went mostly unnoticed unless you were a die-hard Kiss fan.
14. One For All (2004) - Peter Criss
I really don't need to hear Peter Criss sing "Send In The Clowns." (editor's note: In the larger sense, does ANYONE on the planet need to hear Peter Criss sing "Send In The Clowns?")
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps and Returning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.