Gene Simmons thought Ace Frehley’s record label blew it with choice of first single back in ’87
Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was recently interviewed by Ultimate Classic Rock on the occasion of the 30th year anniversary of the release of his first post-KISS solo album Frehley’s Comet. The interview analyzes a lot of the decisions that took place including the use of keyboards and the first single being the Russ Ballard penned “Into The Night” rather than the more straight forward rock song “Rock Soldiers.”
The following are excerpts from the interview/article from Ultimate Classic Rock (with slight edits):
After the Top 20 chart success of Frehley’s 1978 cover of “New York Groove,” the decision was also made to include a cover of “Into the Night,” another song written by the same artist. “We were trying to mine gold a second time there,” [Eddie] Trunk admits, “because ‘New York Groove’ was also a Russ Ballard song. So we thought maybe lightning would strike twice.”
A sudden record label request resulted in the album being marketed as an Ace Frehley project, as opposed to simply Frehley’s Comet. “Megaforce had just signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records, and at the 11th hour, Atlantic wanted his name [on the album art],” Trunk explains. “It was a very last-minute change. Atlantic said, ‘No way, we’re going to put his name right across the top,’ and Frehley’s Comet just became the album name.”
Considering that part of the reason he left Kiss was that the band had strayed from its original guitar-based hard-rock sound, some fans were surprised to hear a healthy dose of keyboards on Frehley’s Comet. “That was Tod Howarth’s influence,” remembers Frehley. “I tried to keep the keyboards to a minimum, because I’m really not a keyboard guy. Kiss never really used them, except on a couple of songs. I always wanted to follow the same direction with my career as I had with Kiss musically. It was almost like I had to fight to keep more keyboards off the record, because I was there with three other band members and my producer.”
“I don’t remember a lot of blow-back from people about the keyboards,” says Trunk, “but I do remember a lot of people expecting [Frehley] to sing all of the vocals. Ace will be the first to tell you that he’s not necessarily an accomplished vocalist, but people generally like his voice. I always equated it to him being the Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.”
There was also some debate within the organization about making the somewhat sophisticated, pop-leaning “Into the Night” the first single as opposed to the album-opening “Rock Soldiers,” a more traditional guitar-focused track that also directly addressed Frehley’s absence from the limelight.
Trunk says Atlantic’s record department ultimately got final say there too, deciding that “Into the Night” was the more mass appeal song. “I know Gene Simmons called [Megaforce president] Johnny Z. when ‘Into the Night’ came out, and he said something like, ‘Nice job with Ace, but you blew it. “Rock Soldiers” should have been the first single.’ And he was probably right.”
You can read the rest of the article/interview at Ultimate Classic Rock.
Ace Frehley‘s “Into The Night” video:
Frehley’s Comet – Into The Night OFFICIAL video in HQ with lyrics included! Official site of Ace Frehley http://www.acefrehley.com/ Lyrics Two a.m.
Ace Frehley‘s “Rock Soldiers” video:
Ace Frehley and his band Frehleys comet…. Ace Frehley Anton Fig John Regan Tod Howarth