#711: Why Kiss Need to Suck it Up and Bring Ace Frehley Back

GETTING MORE TALE #711: Why Kiss Need to Suck it Up and Bring Ace Frehley Back

In a recent episode of Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley said, among many things, that it would take $100,000 per show for him to play on Kiss’ recently announced End of the Road tour.  While that amount of money may seem like ransom, Ace might be able to make those kinds of outlandish demands.  He may have Kiss over a barrel of sorts.

Ace is in a good position right now.  2018 is an interesting time for this Kiss farewell tour to happen, because of what Frehley has been up to.  Since acrimoniously splitting with the band in 2001 (after a previous “farewell” tour), Ace has rebuilt his credibility and his standing.  Over the last decade he’s regained the respect of fans who feared he could no longer write, with a series of increasingly good solo albums.  AnomalySpace Invader, and the recent Spaceman have been well received by fans and critics alike.  Most importantly, since 2016, some crazy things have happened.  First Ace reunited with Paul Stanley on Origins, Vol. 1, a covers album.  Then Ace re-ignited his friendship with Gene Simmons, as Gene promoted his Vault box set.  Gene appeared on Spaceman, and now Ace is touring with Gene’s solo band.  Ace appears cozier with Kiss than he was when he was actually in Kiss.

Throw the farewell tour into the mix.  Kiss will be touring with the current lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer.  Some fans still call Singer and Thayer “scabs”, merely imitating Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.  Eric Singer has won over more fans than Tommy Thayer has.  Perhaps it’s because Singer has been in the band longer and played on the legendary Revenge.  More likely, the fans resent how closely Thayer imitates the licks of Frehley — on the orders of Simmons and Stanley, let’s not forget.  At the end of the day, they sign the paychecks, and the employees play the way they want them to.  That’s why they are still in the jobs all these years later.  Regardless, fans have largely accepted Singer as the drummer in the Cat makeup.  Peter Criss has retired with dignity, and realistic fans know that he’s no longer really capable of playing the kind of tour that Kiss are looking at.  Peter had his farewell with Kiss and his chapter certainly appears to be closed.

Frehley, however, is on a new leg of his career and the quality of his new material is encouraging.  In addition to his ask of $100,000 per show, Ace has also suggested the real way to end Kiss would be one final studio album.  It’s almost as if he’s throwing down the gauntlet to Kiss.  An Infinity Gauntlet with only four stones:  Ace, Paul, Gene and Eric.

A studio album might be a bit far fetched.  Monster is from 2012, and Kiss seem scared of their own shadows in the studio.  But Ace on tour?  It simply has to happen before it’s over.  Not doing so would be a slap in the face.

Fans are going to demand it.  Black Sabbath blew it on their The End tour.  Bill Ward probably couldn’t have done a tour, but to not invite him back, for at least a few songs at the end?  A wasted opportunity that can never be repaired.  The original Black Sabbath were all still alive.  Bill Ward was willing and able.  The Sabbath camp didn’t want to hear it, and so finished with 3/4 of the original band plus Ozzy’s drummer Tommy Clufetos.  It’s sad to say, but the next reunion of the original Black Sabbath might have to be at one of their funerals.

Deep Purple can never reunite their original or even their Mk II lineup.

Led Zeppelin will never be whole again.  Neither will Queen, Styx, Stone Temple Pilots or Soundgarden.  Sabbath had the chance, and they let it go.  Truly a regrettable, ego-driven mistake.

Kiss cannot make the same mistake.  True, without Peter Criss, it’s not the originals, but Criss has not expressed interest or ability.  Ace has.  Repeatedly.  And we know the clean and sober Ace today can do it.  He is on another creative high, and already getting along with Paul and especially Gene.  To lose this opportunity in the face of the fans would be a mistake some would be unwilling to forgive.

Start the tour, as normal, with Tommy.  Bring Ace out for a couple guest appearances.  See how it goes.  I’ll tell you how it will go.  Ace would sing “Shock Me”, the crowd would go bananas, and you’d be forced to do it again.  And again.  And again.  Eventually, Tommy could bow out gracefully having had his farewell.  Ace could take over from that point.  Or do half a show each.  There are many permutations for this to work.  This is almost exactly how Duff McKagan returned to Guns N’ Roses.  You’re Kiss; you can figure it out.

Don’t let money stand in your way, Kiss.  Money is not forever.  History is.  You do not want to go down like Black Sabbath, when you could go out the way fans want to see you.

Nobody knows how much time they have left on Earth.  The next reunion cannot be a funeral.  We also don’t really know how many shows Paul’s voice has left before it’s gone for good.  A reunion with Ace Frehley must happen before it is too late.

What about Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick, you ask?  It would be wonderful to see them guesting too, but let’s not set hopes too high (even though Vinnie has been spotted in Kiss makeup).  Focus on what is important:  that is getting the original Spaceman back for the final leg(s) of this tour.  Fans may have to be vocal.  (As if Kiss fans are anything but.)

What if Kiss just flat out refuse to pay Ace’s greedy ransom, and Ace can’t be negotiated with?  It would be a loss for all parties, particularly the fans.  While Kiss will still play spectacular shows, would ticket sales be any different from the last few tours?  Kiss have always done well enough (that’s why they keep touring), but the 1996 reunion tour made $144 million gross, which Kiss haven’t equalled since.  A farewell tour without Ace, and with Paul’s voice in its current condition, simply won’t touch that.

With Ace though?

With Ace, they would generate a lot more hype, press and positive reviews.  Ace Frehley, playing as great as he is today, could inspire yet another generation of kids to pick up the guitar.  It’s what Ace does.  He is a superstar, and even the most staunch fan must admit that Tommy Thayer is not.  If Kiss want to go out as big as they can, they need Frehley.  It’s that simple.

No dates have been announced yet.  Paul Stanley has teased on his social media that the band is rehearsing.  They’re talking about doing a 25 song set.  There is plenty of time for more pieces to fall into place.  A big piece is Spaceman-shaped.  They need to make it fit.   Without Frehley, The End of the Road tour will just be another Kiss tour.  New costumes, sure.  That alone won’t sell tickets.

Kiss have always been a band that claimed to “listen to the fans” and “gives the fans what they want”.  This then would be Kiss’ last chance to live up to it.





  1. As much as I would like Ace to be there, I just don’t know if Kiss is going to do it. They apparently already have everything in place for Tommy with the outfit and such. However, if Ace doesn’t show up at a few shows, especially the Final Final shows, that will be a huge loss. I don’t know if I care if Vinnie shows up, but Bruce better be there is some capacity as well. That would be awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to hear Bruce playing with Kiss again, maybe something from Revenge! Wouldn’t that be something?

      We can wish all we want…ultimately it is up to Gene and Paul now. I really think there will be blowback if Ace doesn’t show up eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bruce doing anything from Revenge or anything 80’s would be worth the price. What if he did Master and Slave???!!!

        If ticket sales are lacking this first leg, Ace will be back. I am little bummed as they aren’t hitting Charlotte on this first leg. I will have to go to Raleigh or Atlanta.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, Kiss won’t be able to get out of their own way. What they need to do to make all fans happy is to bring in Jake E. Lee to do a half a show with Tommy Thayer doing the other half. Then bring in Pete Holmes as a guest drummer that plays with Tommy and have Jake play with Eric. Then make the set comprised of only Black ‘N Blue and Badlands tunes. I can’t think of anything more entertaining than Paul Stanley croaking off pitch trying desperately to hit Ray Gillen notes. That would send every fan home happy.

    As a side note, why would anyone go with the professional name Tommy? It is nitpicking, but that is such a childish sounding name. Why not Tom Thayer? Tommy was okay when he was twenty, but he’s now a ninety year old Chewbacca man. Time to be a man. I saw a video of him playing Shock Me where Paul wouldn’t let him speak and basically put him on display like a circus clown. That is a criticism Kiss haters like to bring up, so why play into the stereotype?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the alternate universe you live in! Who is the captain of the Enterprise there?

      It’s funny you should mention the Tommy thing. It was brought up in Family Guy recently…trying to remember which celebrity they were talking about. But it came down to Peter saying “My name is not Petey, because I’m a grown adult.”


      1. The captain of the Enterprise over here is the guy who was originally supposed to play Gurney Halleck in the Dune movie before Patrick Stewart as miscast. And that’s a true story in your universe. He also had no idea who Sting was, I love Patrick Stewart, in both universes. I love David Lynch, and the book Dune, but that movie is something else entirely. As a matter of fact, that’s what universe I’m in. I’m the good Dale in the black lodge and I can’t get out!



  3. I don’t follow Lafon so I didn’t here it but I have seen other interviews with him and he’s making noise out there about it which is a great listen and Stanley and Simmons are cringing when Frehley goes down that road! haha..
    Love it! Now it should really ramp up…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s comedy at its finest with millions of dollars at stake! One side you have two guys are very serious and on the other side you got a goofball who can just answer with a ‘ACK’
        Look at the prices for the meet n greets…
        Kiss wanna give something back to the fans make em free!
        Like that would ever happen!
        I’m actually enjoying how this will all play out!


  4. Knowing Paul, if the fans keep pushing for Ace, he’s gonna do the opposite because Paul hates everybody (read the autobiography for proof). Gene will go along just to avoid confrontation

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like it’s likely he’ll be involved to some degree given his relationships with them, no? The whole $100,000 thing a bit of theatre to get folks talking about it. That said, I know very little about the Kisstory.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You make a very valid point about Black Sabbath, they shot themselves in the foot by not allowing Bill Ward to play at all. Some gigs or even part gigs would have gone a long way because people would have loved to see the original Sabbath. That’s why, even though I saw it coming, Judas Priest was smart to bring Glen Tipton out for the encores at Bloodstock. As for KISS, that has been Paul and Gene’s band since 1983. Ace does have them over a barrel but I’m sure some sort of compromise could be reached. You also make another valid point. Why not have Bruce and Vinnie come out for odd appearances during the tour? I think it would go down well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t it be amazing if those guys made it on stage for a song or two? I mean, Vinnie and Bruce are responsible for Kiss classics, and they still play Lick It Up all the time. Why not have Vinnie take a bow to Lick It Up? The band is ending, they don’t have to worry about Vinnie begging to be in Kiss again.


  7. Ace won’t be back anytime soon, unfortunately. Paul’s ego won’t let him ransom the band again. Ace has already had a second chance with them. Isn’t it rude to double dip?


  8. I’ll be seeing Ian Anderson soon, two shows in two cities—one with my first girlfriend, one with my second wife (long story, but if that isn’t rock and roll, what is?). Sadly, while the band is competent (but missing some of the “character” of earlier lineups, though a bass player who looks like the Quaker Oats man is a nice touch) and Ian’s playing is fine, his voice has really suffered. For a while, he had another singer on stage. Not sure what this tour will bring. He should know when to stop.

    Anyway, Martin Barre played his last show with Tull almost 10 years ago. He is on tour with his own band and enjoying himself immensely and has even become a joke-cracking front man. Maybe this was OK if Ian Anderson really had gone solo, perhaps playing the odd Tull tune, sort of like Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr having a few Beatles numbers in their set, but the new band is Jethro Tull in all but name (and even that is sometimes not clear). The lineup changes with Tull were often handled badly, and getting rid of Martin after 40 years was not a good move, especially because the reasons given were very dubious.

    Anyway, this is at least as bad as what happened with Ace, and with a much better band. :-|


  9. I’ve always been an Ace fan first, Kiss fan second, but I’m afraid it’s already too late. Ace shit the bed with his Kiss Kruise performances, where he was obviously unprepared. Whether through deterioration of skill or pure laziness, Ace can’t be trusted to be consistent on stage. Paul’s voice is gone. Peter will be 73 next month. It’s over…and it’s sad that they pissed away the chance to end it right.


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