Released in 1988, Second Sighting was the follow up to the debut album from former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, titled Frehley’s Comet – which was really a band album along with drummer Anton Fig [who left soon after], bassist John Regan, and Tod Howarth – who wrote, sang leads, played guitar & keyboards. I saw the band in ’87 when they opened for Alice Cooper in Buffalo, NY, still got the ‘Ace Is Back’ tour shirt!
The first album did all-right, and featured the autobiographical anthem & fan favorite “Rock Soldiers” [co-written w/ Chip Taylor, “Wild Thing” writer]. It also featured a few other great tunes in a cover of Russ Ballard’s “Into The Night” and “Calling To You” – a remake [and slightly altered] of 707 ‘s “Megaforce” [previously penned by Howarth & Kevin Russell]. The debut was also co-produced by Ace & Eddie Kramer. Kramer would not be around for the 2nd of album, and Jamie Oldaker would join the band on drums. I picked up a promo copy of Second Sighting soon after it came out, at a shop in Toronto.
Second Sighting is my favorite of the 2 albums. It’s a bit more radio friendly for the time. With Frehley’s Comet being a band, Howarth is credited on 5 songs, and Frehley on 4 [though strangely his name is added to the credits of a covered song, he didn’t write it, but ‘reworked’].
Criticized at the time for having 2 different styles in the band [Howarth – Frehley], I really liked the mix of both of their songs and change of vocals from track to track]. This is a great set of songs with Ace’s anthems “Insane” & “Juvenile Delinquent”, as well as Tod Howarth’s more commercial rock in “Time Ain’t Runnin’ Out” & “New Kind of Lover”, as well as the ballad “It’s Over Now” – that should’ve made for a big hit single, considering the era. There was also a decent cover of Streetheart’s “Dancin’ With Danger”, rocker “Loser In A Fight” – which finally saw the 2 singers trade off lead vocals, and Ace’s closing guitar epic instrumental “The Acorn Is Spinning”. My own favorites here are Insane [co-written with Gene Moore – http://www.monsterrockband.com/bio.html ], Time Ain’t Runnin’ Out [love the keyboards & the chorus here, would’ve made a great single], and Juvenile Delinquent.
Too bad a third album was never done with this line-up, as Howarth left the band after the tour, with the record company wanting the next album to be an all-Ace Frehley album [and it did come out as an AF solo album Trouble Walking]. Tod Howarth went on to record a number of solo albums, and in recent years formed Four By Fate with Jon Regan. Their 2016 album Relentless featured a remake of “It’s Over Now”, as well as covers of John Waite’s “These Times Are Hard For Lovers”, and Derringer’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo”. Ace Frehley would go on to record several solo albums since, with 2018’s Spaceman being one of his best. Second Sighting was reissued on CD by Rock Candy [UK] in 2013, with a lengthy essay featuring an interview with Tod Howarth, and various photos; tho No ‘bonus’ material was added, nor were the lyrics included in the booklet [original LP came with lyrics on the inner sleeve].
*There was also a live EP [Live +1] released prior to Second Sighting, and 2019 saw the [US] Record Store Day release of Live – an exclusive orange vinyl album consisting of 6 tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in ’87. As I said above – I did interview Tod Howarth way back for a couple of his solo albums; I need to find these [I have them still in the envelope he sent back then].
Cool album from 1988, still enjoy it!
2 thoughts on “Frehley’s Comet – Second Sighting : Classic 80s Rock”
I liked the two different styles, but they still sounded good together. Too band they never amounted to much. Now I did really like Ace’s Trouble Walkin’, but Comet had their moments. Great review.
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That’s a great triple bill u seen! Cool you still the have T shirt from the show.
I have this one as well on CD. You make great points about it so I think I will have to dig this out now and revisit it.
Too bad they dumped the Comet name as I always dug that name.
Spaceman by Ace was a great album as you stated. I was on the fence about that one but Ladanos review of it sold me on it!
Great write up
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