drama queens

#734: The Spaceman’s Wife and the Demon Sex Addict

GETTING MORE TALE #734: The Spaceman’s Wife and the Demon Sex Addict
“Guitars, Makeup and Murder”

Today, another in a long string of sad days in KISStory, we will dissect Ace Frehley’s incendiary statement to his ex-bandmate Gene Simmons.  (If it was written by Ace at all.  The statement appeared on Ace’s wife’s Facebook 22 minutes before it appeared on his.)  He was responding to a recent Gene Simmons quote:

Gene – “They [Peter Criss and Ace Frehley] were in and out of the band — fired — three times. For drugs, alcohol, bad behavior, being unprofessional…they weren’t carrying their load.  So the short answer to your question is we’d love to have Ace and Peter join us here and there. And if they don’t, it’s not going to be because of us. But they’re never going to be in Kiss again.”

Ace has been quite clear in recent months – he wants to be back in Kiss for their End of the Road tour.  The fans would be on board for that.  Kiss, meanwhile, continually shoot down these hopes, while proclaiming their show to be the best live performance ever.  They have questioned Ace’s ability to do a gruelling tour like this.  It seems Frehley has had enough of Gene’s trash talk.  Perhaps on his next covers album, Ace should tackle “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, because it sure sounds like he ain’t gonna take it anymore!

Let’s look at Ace’s statement piece by piece.

 

“Gene, your memory is really incorrect!”

 

Gene forgets the words to his own songs, and often inflates his own history.  At this point I think Gene simply “remembers” what he wants to.

 

“…I was NEVER FIRED from KISS, I quit twice (not 3-times) of my own free will, because you and Paul are control freaks, untrustworthy and were too difficult to work with!”

 

Gene was clearly talking about both Ace and Peter in that sentence about being fired “three times”.  Peter was indeed in and out three times.  But Ace is right, he was never fired from Kiss.  He quit both times.  The reasons he quit are not as clear as he’s making it sound.  He had severe substance abuse problems at the time and probably wasn’t thinking clearly or even functioning normally.  Yes, Paul and Gene are control freaks when it comes to their brand, but I’m sure they have a different perspective on who was difficult to work with.  Ace’s statement could very well be the pot calling the demon-kettle black.

 

“…Your slanderous remarks about my bad habits over the years has cost me millions of dollars and now that I’m over 12-years sober you’re still saying I can’t be trusted to play a whole nights show! Well that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 12-years with different configurations of ‘The Ace Frehley Band’ to you and Paul’s dismay!”

 

Slander is only slander when it’s not true.  Ace’s “bad habits” are well documented.  Being sober for 12 years is an achievement to be proud of, but I don’t think that is what Gene and Paul are talking about.  Once bitten, twice shy.  They’re very wary of working with Ace under those high-pressure situations.  A tour that like can cause a relapse in anyone.  It is not going to be an easy tour for those guys at that age.  It really helps to have younger guys like Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer behind them on tour.

 

“…I’m also the most successful solo artist to come out of the original KISS lineup, and proud of it!…You and Paul have tried to derail my solo career multiple times over the years unsuccessfully.”

 

True, Ace has had the most successful solo career, but there’s not much competition.  Saying that Paul and Gene have tried to derail it?  Multiple times?  That could indeed be slander.  Where’s your proof, Ace?  Did Gene go to Megaforce and say “Don’t promote Ace’s records”?  Of course he didn’t.  Innuendo like this just comes across as someone making excuses for their own perceived lack of success.  Gene was probably not all that helpful in the 80s, but shouldn’t that be water under the bridge this many years later?  Gene wrote songs for your new album, Ace!  Frehley was invited to be the opening act for Gene’s solo tour.  It went so well that Ace hired Gene’s solo band.  The point is, Gene’s been doing a lot lately that should have benefited both of you.  That’s not derailing anything.  Anything else should be ancient history now.

Of course, maybe by “derailing”, Ace’s wife refers to the time in the 70’s that Gene and Paul “tried to have Ace killed“.

 

“…I’ve tried to be nice and friendly by inviting you and Paul to perform on my past albums for eOne Music, give each of you guys one of my prized Gibson Les Paul 59’ models, but today’s comments have made me realize you’re just an asshole and a sex addict who’s being sued by multiple Women, and you’re just trying to sweep it all under the carpet!

“…The icing on the cake was when you groped my wife and propositioned her in Los Angeles at the Capitol Records building behind my back, when I was trying to help you out at one of your ‘Vault Experiences’ which I only found out about several weeks later…she was planning on pursuing a suit against you, but I told her to call it off!!!”

 

Woah!  Heavy shots fired!

Having Paul and Gene performing on Ace’s solo albums was a dream come true for the fans.  This is the kind of thing they have always wanted.  Kiss heroes working together!  United front!  The cooperation between members over the last few years has been an unexpected treat.  Now suddenly Ace is bringing up Gene’s womanizing.  Whether the event Ace’s wife is alleging ever happened as stated, we don’t know.  Gene is a flirt and may have been making inappropriate jokes.  But if it did happen, airing it in public isn’t helping anyone.  Deal with this stuff privately!  If Ace wants back in Kiss, how the hell does he expect that to happen now?

 

“…Well now the gloves are off after your terrible comments today and I’m thinking that this really may be ‘The End Of The Road Tour’ for you guys!!!”

 

Hopefully it’s the end of the road for real, because listening to Paul singing is painful.  He was one of the true greats.  Now he’s the worst singer in Kiss, but I digress.  “Gloves are off”?  What does that even mean?  Are we about to witness a geriatric street brawl?  That outta be amusing.

Now, here’s the real kicker below:

 

“….Without a complete and heartfelt apology, an offer to give me my old job back, and removing Tommy from the Throne that I created… THE SHIT WILL HIT THE FAN AND THEY’LL BE NO STOPPING IT – IT’S ON!!!”

 

(Oooft, grammar.  “THERE’ll be no stopping it”.)

Hahah!  Hah.  You’re joking, right Ace?  When does Gene Simmons offer complete and heartfelt apologies?  Very rarely, and not after being attacked by ex-bandmates.  To demand his old job back in this way is not only ridiculous, but a flight of pure fancy.  This will only put Kiss’ backs up to the wall.

If Ace had any chance of joining Kiss on tour this year, I’d say he has blown it completely.  I will say it:  Ace Frehley will never be on the same stage as Kiss on the End of the Road tour.  That door has closed.

Let me put what Ace is asking in my own words.  Tell me how it sounds to you.

“Gene, you better stop talking shit about me, and you better apologise to me and my wife for what I’m alleging without proof!  After that, I want you to fire Tommy Thayer regardless of whatever contracts you have in place or what your relationship is.  Even though I haven’t played stadiums in almost two decades, your only option now is to welcome me back with open arms!  If you don’t…empty threat!  Empty threat!  Empty threat!”

I am in no way defending Gene Simmons or Kiss.  Gene could have spoken far more kindly of both Ace and Peter over the years.  Kind words are free to offer, and solidarity does a lot for a band’s image.  Ace’s statement simply escalates this in a childish, juvenile way.

We are now in the Twilight Zone with a group of bickering children.  Rock and roll, baby?

 

Part 72: Sloan

One thing I hate:  Drama queens.  Especially now that I am older.  Now that I am older I have zero time for drama queens.  People who bring drama with them just need to stay away.

Unfortunately in my experience, there’s always a drama queen or two at a record store.  Even worse when they’re in a position of power.  Such was my experience in seeing one of my favourite Canadian bands:  Sloan.

It was February 2000, and Sloan were touring behind their latest release, the underrated Between The Bridges album.  I bought it twice, I liked it so much:  On September 12, 1999, I received my pre-order from HMV, which contained two exclusive trading cards (still sealed today).  Then in October, while seeing Phantom of the Opera in Toronto (Paul Stanley, woo!) I picked up the Japanese import which had two bonus cuts:  “Summer’s My Season”, and “At the Edge of the Scene”.

I loved “Summer’s My Season”.  Besides being a great Chris song, it contains my favourite Sloan lyric of all time:

You must remember this

Kiss is still just Kiss

Their style is denial

I’ll meet you when we’re older

Consider it a race

But who would be the one to paint their face?

Ace!

When Sloan hit Lulu’s Roadhouse in February we all bought tickets.  We grabbed a table on the left side of the massive bar (world’s longest when it was open, actually) and enjoyed an opening set by The Flashing Lights.

Myself and Trev and a couple others sat on the stage side of the table, facing the stage (somewhat obviously).  Some of the girls sat on the opposite side of the table, also facing the stage.  Now, logically, this means we were not facing each other.  Normally when you go to a concert you want to look at the stage.

Sloan came on, and played all of Between the Bridges.  They played a lot of Navy Blues and One Chord, too.  They were friggin’ amazing.  Weirdly, they played absolutely nothing from the EP, nor Smeared, nor Twice Removed.  Not even “Underwhelmed”.  While this surprised me, I was hardly disappointed, especially when Chris came out and played “Summer’s My Season”.  I sang (shouted) along to every friggin’ word even though nobody else in the hall seemed to know the song.  I didn’t care.  It’s a fucking concert!  It’s like Dee Snider says…are you worried about somebody laughing at you at a fucking concert?

Besides, how likely are we ever to be treated to all of Between the Bridges again?  Probably not too likely, especially with “Summer’s My Season” intact.  Not an experience to be taken for granted.

Anyway, I rocked out, hard, played air guitar, air drums, sang, shouted, had an awesome time.  The girls, apparently, did not.

The following Monday at work, one of them spilled the beans.  “Sloan sucked.  That was one of the worst concerts I’ve ever seen.”

OK, whatever, that’s a matter of opinion I guess.  Sloan had just released the double live 4 Nights at the Palais Royale less than a year earlier so I was fully saturated with live versions of the old songs.  I wanted new songs and I got them.

But this was more than a matter of favourite albums.  Apparently, I was told, “You guys were being total snobs, too.”

“What?  Snobs?  What you are talking about?”

“Well, you guys ignored us all night.  You didn’t even talk to us.”

Oh.  My.  God.  It was a fucking concert, not a visit to the fucking mall!  It was 115 dB that night!  Are you fucking kidding me?  And don’t you remember me talking to you afterwards about what a great time I had?  I vehemently denied all accusations but it was absolutely no use.

This led to a week of cold shoulders, snitty comments, and silent treatments.  Always a good time, particularly when it involves people with more seniority than you, too!  Drama.  Never was a big fan of it.  But even though this behaviour soured the whole experiece for me (believe me, even when stuff smoothed out, the concert was never brought up again), I still love that era of Sloan, that album, and all the songs they played that night.  Just that I never even entertained the idea of going to see a concert with that group of people again!