Anomaly, Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s fifth solo project, will be reissued on silver vinyl in April by Brookvale Records, in partnership with Rocket Science. The double album set, which will feature special gatefold packaging, will be numbered. The label is only printing 1,000 copies.
Frehley, who was with Kiss from its inception in 1973 through 1982 and then again from 1996-2002, is the creator of the band’s iconic logo. After his celebrated 1978 self-titled solo debut, Frehley was very active in the late 1980s — issuing 1987’s Frehley’s Comet, 1988’s Second Sighting and 1989’s Trouble Walkin’ — but then didn’t issue another album until Anomaly in 2009. The project, which debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200, was dedicated to Kiss drummer Eric Carr, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, and Les Paul — who had just passed.
This reissue has a street date of April 10, but is available for preorder now at Brookvale Records’ Web site.
Here’s a look back at one of Ace Frehley’s signature moments in Kiss …
NEW YORK GROOVE (ACE FREHLEY, 1978): Everybody had their disco song, back in the day. Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, even Frank Sinatra. And, yes, Kiss. The beat is there, as is the chanky-chank riff — and, of course, the lyric: about a pretty lady in the back of the limo racing toward some night of debauchery amidst the towering skyscrapers.
This being Ace Frehley, though, he sings with the kind of blissed-out somnambulance that only comes from too many women and way, way too much booze. That adds a more sinister feel to the Russ Ballard-penned “New York Groove” — something beyond the party anthems of the day, something that sticks with you. It’s an atmosphere, of course, that is only brought into sharper focus by the way Frehley’s own story went. Today, when I hear the song, I can’t help but picture that long cool ride turning down a side alley adjacent the New York City’s legendary Studio 54 — then heading to a darker, more dangerous place, where the junkies and the heartbroken and the lost try to find a way to get through another desperate evening.
“Feels so good tonight,” Frehley dutifully intones, before adding: “who cares about tomorrow?” Wish Frehley had.
This song, which had earlier charted for a British glam rock band overseas, hit No. 13 in the U.S. for Kiss — easily the biggest hit to appear on any of the band’s ’78 solo albums. But for Frehley, it was more like the roadmap from this era’s empty hedonism into the 1980s’ stinging nihilism. A two-time guitarist with the band (1974-82; and 1996-2002), “Space Ace” had begun a steep descent into alcohol and drug abuse over the final years of his first stint with Kiss, then suffered a debilitating car accident in 1982. Backruptcy, a series of often unremarkable albums as a band leader, and a high-speed chase with the police followed. By 2007, an Internet rumor of his overdose was running rampant, though Frehley — who still boasted a fiery liquidity in his playing but, alas, no audience — returned to issue his ninth solo recording Anomoly in 2009.
For Frehley, who’d once produced the best selling of the individual Kiss albums back in 1978, the moment was gone. His “New York Groove” was simply too deep to crawl out of, and that’s a shame. Moments like this one, the aforementioned “Cold Gin” and his concert staple “Shock Me” showed just how much unrealized talent the guitarist always possessed. Hell, at once point, Ace Frehley almost saved disco. … Almost. — Nick DeRiso
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