Gene Simmons Says Ace Frehley Was Right About Kiss’ ‘The Elder’
Their dispute led to the guitarist's departure before Kiss made 1982's Creatures of the Night. But not before The Elder, with its full-album concept and orchestral elements, polarized fans and sold poorly.
"When I look back, despite his demons, in some ways Ace was right," Simmons tells Guitar World. "We did need to make a rock record – and he had said that all along. Ace had said that The Elder was not the record that Kiss should make, and he was right.
"But the thing is," Simmons added, "we had people around us telling us it was a good idea, and things didn’t go according to plan. We got off track. That happens in bands, and Kiss is no exception. So, where Ace was wrong was, he didn’t stick with the band."
After the failure of Music From 'The Elder' and Frehley's exit, Kiss began working with a handful of session guitarists — including Frehley's eventual replacement, Vinnie Vincent — on Creatures of the Night. The album didn't sell well initially, but it marked a turning point for the band and remains one of Simmons' favorites.
"When I look back on Creatures, even though it wasn't successful initially, I look at it as us finding our footing again," he said. "And when you look at [the mid-'80s albums] Animalize, Asylum and Crazy Nights, these are all gold and multiplatinum records. We went on to sell out arenas and headlined outdoor festivals worldwide.
"I don't think many bands could have gone through the changes we have, as many times as we have," Simmons concluded, "and still come out successful."
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