On Halloween night in 1979, Kiss appeared on the nationally syndicated The Tomorrow Show. Almost immediately, a clearly inebriated Ace Frehley stole the show. Reacting to Tom Snyder’s assertion that Gene Simmons played the “bass” guitar, Ace jokes that he is the “trout player” before schooling his amused host on the proper pronunciation of Gene’s instrument.
One can’t help but be taken by Frehley’s laugh. Ace is at once revealed as a jokester who saw the humor in a grown man dressing like a space alien. He couldn’t help but laugh at himself and the absurdity of life in Kiss.
Ace’s unrestrained cackle demands attention. At one point, his laughter is so dominant that Snyder interrupts Gene mid-story to ask if Ace has ever recorded his laugh. By the time the camera pans back to Simmons, the bass player sits sulking like an angry child. It’s a very public cue that inner turmoil had crept into the Kiss camp.
Ace manages to ruin just about every cliché rock and roll sentiment. As Paul Stanley describes the adulation of fans crying at Kiss concerts, Ace quickly interrupts by shouting, “I spent all that money,” as he mockingly wipes away fake tears.
There is laughter all around. Snyder clearly loves Ace’s unscripted humor. Peter’s amusement comes across as genuine. Paul is visibly agitated, even as he flashes a few fake smiles. Gene just scowls.
What follows are a bunch of jokes that detract from the serious interview that Gene and Paul attempt to give. Perhaps most memorable is Ace’s description of his “self-explanatory” costume. When asked by Snyder if he is “kind of like a space man,” Ace responds, “No, actually I’m a plumber.” As Frehley bursts into laughter, the camera quickly cuts to a close-up of Gene and Paul. Both musicians are riddled with anger.
Playing along and clearly oblivious to unsavory connotations, Snyder responds, ”I got a little piece of pipe backstage I’d like you to work on.” There’s no way Ace can pass up the golden opportunity. Not missing a beat, he shouts, “Tell me about it!” Again, the camera pans back to Gene and Paul whose feeble grins fail to mask their mortification. Their best efforts to portray Kiss as a serious band have hopelessly fallen into a comedy routine.
Shortly after the interview, there were big changes in the Kiss camp. Peter was soon out of the band. Ace hung around just long enough to produce this gem.
Drunk again, he’s quite incapable of introducing new drummer Eric Carr on Australian television. Although the clip makes it clear why Kiss and Ace had to part ways, it’s also a reminder of why Kiss fans will forever love Space Ace.