But Jim Carroll wasn’t the only bad-boy-made-good from New York City’s mean streets. Though his vocation took him off in an entirely different direction, flamboyant Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley walked a very similar line. Born only a couple of years after Carroll, one wonders if they ever crossed paths on their respective, substance-assisted trajectories. Though Carroll was from Manhattan and Frehley hailed from the Bronx, might the Catholic Boy and the Space Ace and have encountered one another and compared notes?
In any case, where Carroll exorcised the demons of his youth in print, Ace chose to put them into song via “Hard Times” on Kiss’ somewhat strenuously maligned 1979 album, Dynasty (notorious for the band’s universally-loathed “disco” single, “I Was Made For Loving You.”) Though it boasts one of the lamest, most laughable rhyme schemes in all recorded history, “Hard Times” does manage to paint a convincing portrait of aimless juvenile depravity of the sort still readily on display today. I believe Ace intended the song to be a cautionary tale, being that he asserts towards the tune’s crescendo that he’s finally “on the right track,” but the truth of the matter wasn’t quite so rosy. The notoriously booze-friendly guitar-slinger was ousted from Kiss’ ranks only a few short years after the release of Dynasty, following a 1982 car accident (I’ve heard that he drove his car through the plate-glass window of a Westchester liquor store in leafy Pleasantville, but that might be purely conjecture.) But in 1979, Ace’s hard times were a distant memory.