Rachael Gordon was telling the Reader about music biz sexism long before she met Gene Simmons
According to a Facebook post by former Kiss guitarist and current San Diegan Ace Frehley, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons “groped my wife and propositioned her in Los Angeles at the Capitol Records building behind my back.” Frehley's wife is local singer Rachael Gordon.
Frehley originally left Kiss in 1982, returning in 1996 for a costumed reunion tour. He left again in 2002, though he has since recorded with both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and performed with them in October 2018 on a Kiss Kruise.
However, recent public statements made by Simmons about Frehley's alleged past history with Kiss sparked the lengthy Facebook rebuttal from Frehley. “The icing on the cake was when you groped my wife and propositioned her in Los Angeles at the Capitol Records building behind my back, when I was trying to help you out at one of your ‘Vault Experiences’ which I only found out about several weeks later…she was planning on pursuing a suit against you, but I told her to call it off.”
Alleged Gordon groper Simmons at the taping for Kiss Alive III
Before Gordon met and married Frehley, she was a lifelong local singer who experienced a moderate hit record in Germany and coverage in the German Rolling Stone mag. “I started doing shows with a group called the Sleazybeats,” she once told the Reader. “We played covers and originals, and we did a birthday song to Phil Spector on a tribute album.” That track, "Phil Spector's Birthday," was co-written by Gordon's local Sleazybeats bandmate Sandra Castillo and produced by San Diegan Gar Wood (Hot Snakes, Night Marchers).
“I’m known as a pop singer, and my first records were very bubblegum, with a ’60s and late-’70s sound. I guess I could describe those as a mixture of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and Blondie, though I kind of went into more of a country pop thing, much like Buckingham Nicks or early Linda Ronstadt...seventies music had a big impact on me, especially stuff like Heart, which can go from acoustic to Zeppelin in no time. The Runaways were a great one, and Joan Jett’s solo stuff. AJ Croce is my brother-in-law, so definitely him, and my dad was a musician too. He played with a few San Diego bands in the ’60s and ’70s.”
Her dad's local groups included O.D. Corral and the David Bradley Band. The sister she mentions being married to AJ Croce, Marlo Gordon Croce, passed away in July 2018 of a rare and sudden heart virus.
During Rachael Gordon's music career, she released a vinyl EP on the Spanish Snap! Label and appeared on a few compilation albums before Sounds of Subterrania released her debut album, produced by San Diego's Richard "Blitz" Livoni of Comanche Moon, who has also written music for her. Her other songwriters have included the aforementioned AJ Croce, as well as Frank Barajas of JuJu Eyeball, and as a singer she has recorded tracks with classic-rock survivors Foreigner. As a solo act, she's been backed by a rotating roster of notable locals, including Bart Mendoza (the Shambles), Hector Penalosa (the Zeros), Joel Kmak (the Beat Farmers), Mike Kamoo (Static Halo), Ron Silva (the Hitmakers), and Ray Brandes (the Tell-Tale Hearts), who has also worked with Frehley.
Despite the all-star accompaniment, Gordon told the Reader that gender can still be a problem with promoters. “It’s very hard to get someone to stop looking at your ass and listen to what you’re saying…believe it or not, it’s still considered pretty wild to be a girl fronting a rock band. Occasionally you’ll see a girl fronting a punk band, but that doesn’t count.”
Gordon's sophomore album was released in Japan, collecting all of her pre-debut album recordings along with three new tracks. Many of her releases feature photos shot by San Diegan Sandra Castillo. Other than collaborating with Frehley, she's maintained a low musical profile since the turn of the 20th century, although she did appear at San Diego Poptopia in 2000 with Jason Falkner, Beachwood Sparks, and others. For awhile, she was doing duo shows around town with partners like Bart Mendoza and Ron Silva, as well as occasional full band performances. "It depends on who's in my backing band. I've played Java Joe's and the Casbah and the Adams Avenue Street Fair. I also did the KUSI morning show, and a bunch of shows in LA."
Asked about her worst gig, she said “It wasn’t great being called a ‘Nancy Sinatra wannabe’ in a San Diego Union-Tribune review — I think the worst was when I was forced to sing the Mary Tyler Moore theme at a coffeehouse.”
In 2013, it was reported that Gordon was living in north San Diego with rock's most famous space Ace, for whom she wrote lyrics for his 2014 solo album Space Invader, despite having once declared in a Reader interview that “I hate science fiction.”
She also said, when asked to reveal something about herself that few would know or guess, that “I like running out into the ocean and swimming at night alone — in my birthday suit or whatever I’m wearing — just to get my head together, because it feels good. Then I’ll get out and lay in the sand and drink whiskey. It makes me feel like there isn’t anything I can’t do.”
In recent weeks, Frehley has told reporters that what he'd like to do is perform with Kiss on their supposed final tour. That now appears unlikely.