Frehley's Comet

Frehley's Comet is the band Ace formed after leaving Kiss in 1982. At the time I was a huge Kiss fan, and Ace had always been my favorite Kiss member, so I followed everything he did. After the Comet disbanded, Ace continued to pursue a solo career until he reunited with Kiss in 1996. Ace Rules!

OFFICIAL "ACE FREHLEY" RECORDINGS

Frehley's Comet Ace Frehley - Frehley's Comet (Megaforce) 1987

1. "Rock Soldiers" (5:05)
2. "Breakout" (3:38)
3. "Into the Night" (4:12)
4. "Something Moved" (4:02)
5. "We Got Your Rock" (4:12)
6. "Love Me Right" (3:54)
7. "Calling to You" (3:54)
8. "Dolls" (3:28)
9. "Stranger in a Strange Land" (4:02)
10. "Fractured Too" [instrumental] (4:14)

Ace sobers up, gets some new band members and begins to crank again. I remember hearing bootlegs of the Comet live before this album even came out, and it sounded good. Once the album was out, I had to rush out and buy it. Ace sings on about half the songs with his "can't sing/ don't care" vocal style. The other half are sung by Tod Howarth who has the perfect melodic rock voice for the 80's, when this came out. "Rock Soldiers" is a biographical song and one of the best songs Ace has ever written. "Rock soldiers, how do we know? 'Cause Ace is back and he told you so!" Great song! "Breakout" was a song co-written by Ace and former Kiss bandmate Eric Carr. The drum work on this song, handled by Anton Fig, is outstanding. It's too bad Eric never was able to play on a finished version of this song, as this would have been his "Moby Dick." A demo version of this song with Eric on drums appears on Kiss' "Revenge." Of course "Fractured Too" is part two of the instrumental that originally appeared on Kiss' "Ace Frehley." As on the Kiss solo album, Eddie Kramer was once again behind the board turning the knobs. Ace Rules!

Live +1 Frehley's Comet - Live +1 (Megaforce) 1988

1. "Rip It Out" [live] (4:34)
2. "Breakout"
[live] (7:32)
3. "Something Moved"
[live] (3:57)
4. "Rocket Ride"
[live] (4:34)
5. "Words Are Not Enough" (3:25)

After the release of the debut Frehley's Comet, Ace and his band took off for the road opening for shock-rocker Alice Cooper. To hold fans over until the next studio album Megaforce released "Live +1." The live tracks were recorded at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on September 4, 1987. The remaining track ("Words Are Not Enough." ) was a studio leftover from the debut session. Ace showed with this live ep that he had the same, if not better, stage energy than his ex-band Kiss. "Breakout" contains an Anton Fig drum solo. Ace Rules!

Frehley's Comet - Live + 4 (Altantic) 1988

1. "Rip It Out"
2. "Something Moved"
3. "Cold Gin"
4. "Shock Me"
5. "Breakout"
6. "Rocket Ride"
7. "Into The Night"
8. "Rock Soldiers"
9. "Insane"
10. "It's Over Now"

"Live + 4" is basically the same live material as "Live +1" with some additional video clips. Tracks 01 - 06 are live, recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, England on March 19, 1988. Tracks 07 - 10 are the concept video releases. The live material is stellar! This VHS gets my vote as the one release that needs to be re-released on DVD.


SEcond Sighting Frehley's Comet - Second Sighting (Megaforce) 1988

1. "Insane" (3:45)
2. "Time Ain't Runnin' Out" (3:52)
3. "Dancin' with Danger" (3:25)
4. "It's over Now" (4:39)
5. "Loser in a Fight" (4:33)
6. "Juvenile Delinquent" (5:13)
7. "Fallen Angel" (3:44)
8. "Separate" (4:56)
9. "New Kind of Lover" (3:14)
10. "The Acorn Is Spinning" [instrumental] (4:50)

"Second Coming" is the sophomore release from Frehley's Comet and features a similar line-up to the debut. Back is guitarist/vocalist Tod Howarth, bassist John Regan and of course, Ace Frehley on vocals and guitars. Jamie Oldake replaces Anton Fig on drums. Oldake had previously worked with Bob Seger and Eric Clapton.

Frehley's Comet's second full length album is, in part, exactly what anyone would have expected from Ace. About half the album is pure Ace Frehley. Album opener "Insane" is a guitar-heavy rocker with a signature Ace riff. Likewise, songs like "Juvenile Delinquent," and "Separate" would have been at home on Ace's 1978 solo album. However, "Second Coming" is also a product of the times. Some songs are far more keyboard saturated and glossy than anything Ace had recorded in the past.

The other half of the album stands in contrast to the raw rock and roll that Ace is known for. "Time Ain't Runnin' Out"  is a Tod Howarth composition that is pure 1980's pop metal. The song sports a big, catchy hook and Howarth smooth vocal approach. Though Ace has a charismatic style of singing, Howarth has far more range and is probably a technically better singer. The song is also slicker and features more keyboards than the typical guitar-driven Ace song. "It's Over Now" and "Fallen Angel" are Howarth compositions as well. "It's Over Now" is a slick, made-for-radio power ballad that was released as a single. For whatever reason, the song didn't chart thought it's at least as good, if not better than much of the boring, hackneyed stuff on the radio at the time. "Fallen Angel" is a glossy hard rock song. His writing style definitely stands in stark contrast to Frehley's. "Dancin' With Danger" is a song originally recorded by the Canadian band Streetheart. Though Ace is given a writing credit, and certainly adds his own charm to the song, he did not write the song.

The album ends with a semi-instrumental. "The Acorn is Spinning" is a heavy rocker with some voice-overs about a boxer mixed in. Though "Second Coming" is considered by many to be Ace's weakest effort, it is still a solid rock and roll platter. Ace Rules!

Trouble Walkin'
Ace Frehley - Trouble Walkin'
(Atlantic) 1989

1. "Shot Full of Rock" (4:47)
2. "Do Ya" (3:47)
3. "Five Card Stud" (4:01)
4. "Hide Your Heart" (4:33)
5. "Lost in Limbo" (4:10)
6. "Trouble Walkin'" (3:08)
7. "2 Young 2 Die" (4:29)
8. "Back to School" (3:43)
9. "Remember Me" (5:01)
10. "Fractured III" [instrumental]
(6:43)

Ace on the cover of Guitar World
Ace on the cover of GUITAR WORLD with Dimebag Darrell and Snake Sabo
Ace Frehley 1989 promo
Ace Frehley 8x10 promo photo (click to enlarge)

Hmm, guess the record executives won as the Comet name had been dropped for this "solo" album, although long time Comet bandmates Anton Fig, John Reagan and Ace's favorite producer Eddie Kramer were still on hand. The third studio effort by Ace is his best thus far, with the possible exception of Ace's Kiss solo album. Definitely superior to Kiss' " Hot in the Shade" which was released around the same time. The funny thing is that Ace covered Paul Stanley's "Hide Your Heart" on this disc and actually did a better job of it than Paul himself. (Molly Hatchet also did an awful version of this song.) Ace's cover of ELO's "Do Ya" is excellent as well. Peter Criss makes a guest appearance on this disc, raising hopes that KISS would reform with all original members, which of course they did in 1995 for the MTV Unplugged session. Of course before that would happen Peter's band Criss and the Comet would do a short club tour together. I missed that one. I'm still bummed. Also on hand, probably hanging around the studio slobbering on Ace's Les Paul were the Skid Row gang. Ace Rules!

"The album (Trouble Walkin') was to include some very special guests–most notably Peter Criss, along with Sebastian Bach, Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan from Skid Row...I also invited Eric Carr to play drus on one track, and he instantly accepted. He was really excited about the prospect of working with me agan. Unfortunately, a few days later, I received a phone call from Eric, who sounded very upset. He informed me that Gene and Paul were opposed to the idea; therefore, he had to regretfully decline the invitation. I was also upset, as Eric's situation brought back unpleasant memories of how fucked up they could be at times". -No Regrets, Ace Frehley, p257

Ace promo

12 Picks Ace Frehley - 12 Picks (Megaforce) 1997

1. "Into the Night" (4:11)
2. "Words Are Not Enough" (3:25)
3. "Insane" (3:47)
4. "Hide Your Heart" (4:36)
5. "Trouble Walkin'" (3:08)
6. "Rock Soldiers" (5:03)
7. "Rip It Out" [live] (3:42)
8. "Breakout" [live] (3:30)
9. "Cold Gin" [live] (6:48)
10. "Shock Me" [live] (9:43)
11. "Rocket Ride" [live] (4:55)
12. "Deuce" [live] (4:48)

Loaded Deck Ace Frehley - Loaded Deck (Megaforce) 1998

1. "One Plus One" (3:26)
2, "Give It To Me Anyway" (4:17)
3. "Do Ya" (3:48)
4. "It's Over Now" (4:42)
5. "Shot Full Of Rock" (4:47)
6. "Stranger in a Strange Land" [live] (4:30)
7. "Separate" [live] (4:58)
8. "N.Y. Groove" [live] (4:54)
9. "Rock Soldiers" [live] (7:23)
10. "Remember Me" [live] (4:55)
11. "Fractured Too" [instrumental] (4:10)
12. "Fractured III" [instrumental] (6:40)


Ace Frehley

 

In an attempt to cash in on all things Kiss-able, Megaforce put out these two "best of" discs that just happened to coincide with the very successful Kiss reunion tour. Hmmm, coincidence? I think not! Both feature some rare studio and live material as well as the "hits." (did Ace have a hit?) The original pressings also came with an Ace guitar pick. Well, being the Ace-ophile I am, I had to own these two discs. The live material is superb Ace Frehley--Ace never failed to give a good show. I am of the belief that ACE is at his best live where he can let it fly. I wish Megaforce had put all the live material on one disc as it would have been nice to hear it as a complete show. "Shock Me" contains Ace's signature smoking (literally) guitar solo. The two unreleased tracks ("One Plus One" & "Give It To Me Anyway") are not bad, but were obviously left off the original studio discs for a reason; they weren't as solid as the other songs. In any case, well worth picking up, especially if you are a Kiss-oholic like myself. Cool notes by Comet bandmate John Reagan. One bit of info that peaked my interest was the words. "Comets have a way of returning." After Kiss' "Farwell Tour," bring it on! Ace Rules!

Oh, and to those greedy record executives who attempted to cash in on Ace's return to popularity with Kiss, well, good job, you got my hard earned cash. Ace also has a song on the "Smell the Fuzz" compilation called "Cherokee Boogie."

Greatest Hits Live Ace Frehley - Greatest Hits Live (Megaforce) 2006

1. "Rip It Out" [live] (3:42)
2. "Breakout" [live] (3:29)
3. "Cold Gin" [live] (6:48)
4. "Shock Me/Ace guitar solo" [live] (9:43)
5. "Rocket Ride" [live] (4:55)
6. "Deuce" [live] (4:20)
7. "Strangers In A Strange Land" [live] (4:10)
8. "Separate" [live] (4:58)
9. "N.Y. Groove" [live] (4:54)
10. "Rock Soilders" [live] (7:23)
11. "One Plus One" (3:25)
12. "Give It To Me Anyway" (4:18)
Greatest Hits LP
Greatest Hits Live Picture LP

I have sort of mixed feelings about this disc. One the one hand, it is well known that Ace had nothing to do with this CD making it is painfully obvious that "Greatest Hits Live" is nothing more the the record company bilking more money out of the Kiss/Ace Frehley legacy. Certainly, there is no denying this, especially since all these live tracks were previously released on "12 Picks" and "Loaded Deck". I mean, c'mon, they surely have other live tracks around that they could have included. The very least they could have done was added an unreleased track, or an additional live track or something. Shoot, they could have at least included "Something Moved" from "Live +1". However, all the complaining aside, I still bought this release, right? So there must have been something about it I liked. Well, it is cool to have all these live tracks together on one disc. This collection of songs indeed does represents some of Ace's best work during the period after his highly publicized departure from the hottest band in the world. Certainly Ace is at home on the stage, and that comes across well on this recording. The majority of these live tracks were recorded in London, although "Strangers in A Strange Land" and "Rock Soldiers" were recorded in Chicago, IL. Thankfully the record company did see fit to make the songs flow together as if it were one complete show without any gaps between songs. The last two tracks are studio b-sides that were also released on "Loaded Deck", both of which are prime Ace. Both songs were produced by infamous producer Eddie Kramer. To entice collectors the record company did include a limited edition 3D cover.

Anomoly Ace Frehley – Anomaly (Bronx Born Records) 2009

1. Foxy & Free (3:40)
2. Outer Space (3:45)
3. Pain In The Neck (4:08)
4. Fox On The Run (3:30)
5. Genghis Khan [instrumental] (6:05)
6. Too Many Faces (4:19)
7. Change The World (4:06)
8. Space Bear [instrumental] (5:21)
9. A Little Below The Angels (4:14)
10. Sister (4:46)
11. It's A Great Life (3:57)
12. Fractured Quantum [instrumental] (6:15)
Ace 2009
Ace 2009

If anyone hasn't figured it out from the blubs that proceed this review, I am an Ace Frehley fanatic. I love everything he’s done up to Anomaly, so it was a no brainer that I would also enjoy it. I waited anxiously for my Amazon pre-order to show up on the 15th of September. Two weeks later and I was still waiting impatiently. In the meantime I really tried hard to stay away from downloading the album to hear it. “Anomaly” is the space man’s first solo album since 1989's "Trouble Walkin'" and the first time Ace has been a part of a new album since Kiss' 1998 "Psycho Circus". He has to fill some pretty big shoes, but if anyone can do it, Ace can.

Finally the CD and LP arrive in the mail. It took only a matter of minutes before the CD was in a player and cranking! Ahhhh, now this is Ace Frehley! "Anomaly" is twelve songs of raw, crunchy, rock and roll. The first four songs along should silence any skeptics. “Foxy & Free”, “Outer Space” and the quirky “Pain in the Neck” are all classic, hard rockin’ Ace. "Pain in the Neck" has this weird riff/rhythm on the chorus and is just strange enough to stick in the memory like super glue. “Fox on the Run” is a perfect cover song for Ace. “Sister” is another hard rocking track and is one the best Frehley has recorded in or out of Kiss.  

 One song that seems a little out of character for Ace is “A Little Below the Angels”, an acoustic based, autobiographical song that includes a spoken word part that includes Ace’s daughter. The vocals by the children reminded me slightly of “Dolls” from the first Comet release. “Anomoly” includes three instrumentals. “Genghis Khan” is a semi instrumental as the song does include a couple of lyric lines repeated here and there. This song has a nice mid-tempo groove and a great acoustic break. "Space Bear"has a heavy 1970’s blues-based hard rock vibe. "Fractured Quantum" is the instrumental I was most looking forward to the most as it is part four in the Fractured serious. This song is a quieter piece with a simple enduring melody and should please longtime fans.

"Anomoly" is a pure Ace. Quirky, American hard rock. It will probably never see the notoriety or praise that his former band will received for their new CD being released around the same time. However, this is not a slick album full of pro song writers. This is just Ace expressing himself and creating raw rock and roll.

Ace was selling autographed copies on his web site, as well as autographed 8x10 promo photos (pictured below). Thanks to my dear friend Morgan for snagging them both before they were sold out. The Wal-Mart version of Ace's CD also contained an Ace tattoo.

Ace rules!

Promo Photo 2009
Ace Frehley, Anomaly, autographed promo photo

UNOFFICIAL "ACE FREHLEY" RECORDINGS

The Warehouse Ace Frehley-The Warehouse (CD-R bootleg)
Recorded live at the Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY Feb., 23, 1990

1. "Shot Full of Rock" (5:07)
2, "Trouble Walkin'" (3:10)
3. "Insane" (5:01)
4. "Cold Gin"(6:51)
5. "Breakout" (3:31)
6. "New York Groove" (5:04)
7. "Rock Soldiers' (7:04)
8. "Lost In Limbo" (4:47)
9. "Do Ya" (3:59)

Excellent show from Ace's home stomping grounds. Sound quality is not perfect, but certainly not bad either. Sounds like this may have been a radio broadcast due to the condensed sound. Probably not the entire show either, but regardless a good disc with a good selection of tracks.

The OTher Side Ace Frehley - The Other Side of the Coin (Megaforce/00286-1997-1) 1997

1. "Sister" (4:25)
2. "Don't Wan Loose You" (3:27)
3. "Take Me to the City" (3:22)
4. "Dancin' With Danger" (3:46)
5. "Into the Night" (4:05)
6. "Heard An Angel" (3:12)
7. "Back on the Streets" (5:39)
8. "Stranger in a Strange Land" (3:57)
9. "Dolls" (2:56)
10. "Back Into My Arms" (4:51)
11. "We Got Your Rock" (3:42)
12. "I'm So Wired" (3:38)
13. "Catch Me When I Fall" (3:54)
14. "The Girl Can't Dance" (3:13)
15. "Remember Me" (3:23)
16. "Words Are Not Enough" (3:49)
click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Sixteen Ace demos! Wooohoo! What more could an Ace fan ask for? Several of these demo tracks have been re-recorded for various Frehley's Comet albums, and one track ("Back on the Streets") showed up on Vinnie Vincent's first solo record. Not sure what the deal is with Ace recording a Vinnie Vincent track, but it's still quite cool to hear. Also unsure of who exactly put this CD out. It is a mass produced CD, not a CDR. According to what is printed on the disc and inserts, this CD is a promo CD put out by Megaforce Records. For some reason I doubt that and am more inclinded to think this is a bootleg, albeit a nice one. Ace rules! A big huge mega-thanks to my friend Kurt from Norway for giving me this gem.

...let me answer some of the KISS related questions you have on your site - the deal with Ace recording Back On The Streets is that at the time Frehley's Comet started doing that song (in '85), they, as well as Vinnie, were managed by the same person (former KISS road manager George Sewitt), who suggested that FC record the song. It was finally released in a newly-recorded version by the "Comet Band" (which included former members of Frehley's Comet including Ritchie Scarlett and John Regan) on the "Return Of The Comet," an Ace Frehley tribute album in the late 90s.

Rare & Raw Ace Frehley - Rare & Raw (CD-R)

1. "The Hurt is On" (4:11)
2. "Give It To Me Anyway" [demo] (5:26)
3. "Animal" (4:14)
4. "Breakout" [demo] (3:37)
5. "Baby It's You" (3:20)
6. "Rock or Be Rocked" (3:31)
7. "Deuce" [demo] (3:22)
8. "Strutter [demo] (4:59)
9. "Cold Gin" [demo] (5:12)
10. "Watchin' You" [demo] (3:52)
11. "Black Diamond" [demo] (3:48)
12. "In Your Face" (3:35)

A disc of odds 'n' sods Ace material. The first six tracks are various Ace demos, several of which never made it to any official release. Tracks 7 - 11 are old Kiss demos. "In Your Face" is a song that was recorded for the Psycho Circus album but wasn't released on that album. It was, however, releaased on a CD single that came with the Psycho Circus in 3-D video.

Ace was also the subject of a tribute called "Spacewalk-A Salute to Ace Frehley."

Did I mention ACE RULES?


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