After Ace Frehley left Kiss in 1982, it took him awhile to get going on a solo project. Where Peter had a solo album out within a year of leaving Kiss (if not sooner), it took Ace 5 years before his first bit of music was released. There was a reason for that. When Ace left Kiss, he still maintained a 1/4 share in the band and was not able to release anything until at least 1985. He basically had a non-compete contract for a limited time. However, around 1984, he did start piecing together a band and of course he started with drummer Anton Fig. Anton had played on Ace’s 1978 solo album and had done a few things with Kiss as well on some of their records. After Anton, he recruited John Regan on bass and Richie Scarlett on guitar and vocals. Ace now had a band.
The band recorded some demos in 1984-85 with famed producer Eddie Kramer, who had produced Ace’s 1978 solo album as well as other Kiss album, and actually played their first live show on November 30, 1984. He wasn’t releasing any music yet, so not breaking his contract. The band played some more in 1985, but in the end, Richie Scarlett wanted to pursue his own solo career and left the band. Not a good start so far.
By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.
When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.
Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.
As a Bonus Edition to The Kiss Review Series, we are going to look at a couple singles I have for the Song “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” off the band’s 1979 album, ‘Dynasty’. The song was a commercial success for the band reaching all the way to the #11 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of only a handful of times they have broke the Top 40.
The music, however, was quite a departure for the band. The song was labeled as Disco and if you listen to it, it really was. The song was written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and the great Desmond Child makes his first of many appears with the band (only one on this album). The story goes that Disco was really big at the time and the record company wanted the band to be a little more commercial. Paul thought any idiot could write a disco song and a bet was made and a few hours later, the song was written and the Paul proved his point. This song did have every trapping of a disco song, the tempo, the beat, the pop sound, the disco sound effects…I mean it was disco…but it was good and it was catchy and they still play it live today. Now on a side note, this is Gene’s least favorite song (and Peter and Ace hate it too).
I have two versions of the Single. I have the Radio Edit 45 Single with “Hard Times” as the B-Side and I have the 12″ Dance Mix with “Charisma as the B-Side. First we will talk about the 7” Single, which might be the Radio edit.
When we think of the Kiss Solo albums, we really only have Ace to blame. Ace was not happy with the band and he wanted to do a side project, but to keep the peace, the idea was floated out there that each member of the band do a solo album and they were all to be released under the Kiss moniker and all on the same day. A feat never done again by Kiss or any other band and there is a reason for that. No one can afford all albums at once and not every band member is created equally as Ace proved here.
Ace Frehley’s solo album had the best producer of the four, Eddie Kramer, and it was the one that sounded the most like Kiss. In the case of the solo albums, this is a Win-Win for Ace! Ace didn’t deviate from the Kiss sound at all. In fact, I think he refined it and made it even better. This would only boost his confidence even more and drive that ego to hit the stratosphere as problems would continue from here on in for Ace and Kiss. Between his issues and Peter’s, things were about to get dicey. Enough about that, and back to the solo albums.
For My Sunday Song #134, I am going to discuss “Naked City” off the underrated 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ by Kiss. I say underrated now because I have grown to like this album now. I didn’t appreciate it back in the day, but there were some great songs on this album, including this one.
First, the song was written by Gene Simmons, Vini Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro. The bass on the song is Gene and the rhythm guitar is Paul, but that is it…no Ace & no Peter. Drums are handled by Anton Fig and actually he did all the drums on the album even though Peter is credited. Lead guitar on the song is Ace Frehley, but it is said that former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick’s brother, Bob Kulick played some guitar on the album as well.
The song is more of a pop/rock song and doesn’t have the full edge of the classic Kiss tunes, but it is smoking when it comes to overall tone, groove and Gene’s vocals. Even without all original members, it is still Kiss and it is still fantastic. The song is about New York City (which a lot of their songs are about). The song talks about the fact there are so many people in the city, so many lonely and lost people. It is actually quite a sad, insightful and observant viewpoint of the city.
Disco era Kiss! Does it get any better than that?? Well, yes it actually does. Nonetheless, it was still Kiss and still awesome. I was out at my favorite little record spot and came across a 7″ single of Kiss and of course I had to have it. It was the 1979 single off the Dynasty album called “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”.
The single was only the band’s second Gold single and it went on to sell over a 1 million copies so needless to say, it was a hit. Which proved Gene and Paul correct that during the Disco era, anyone could write a disco song. Speaking of writing, this was the first time Kiss co-wrote a song with Desmond Child and it wouldn’t be the last. It was also Desmond’s first hit he ever had. The song was also written by Paul Stanley and Vini Poncia who played piano on the song and did backing vocals.
The really isn’t much to talk about in regards to the song. Think disco and you know what the song sounds like. You can get up and dance to it and sing along to the catchy, pop chorus. It is simple. One thing I guess I can talk about is that wikipedia has the 7″ single listed at 4:01, but my version has it at 3:57 which might not seem like a lot, but that is a big difference. The song is already cut down from the album version which was at 4:30. Not sure if I have a different version or wikipedia is just wrong.