Ace Frehley said he was so unhappy in Kiss in the months leading up to his first departure in 1982 that he thought about driving his car into a tree on a regular basis.

He added that even though the split had cost him a significant amount of money, it was still something he had to do.

“Kiss in the ‘70s was just like this roller-coaster ride for me,” Frehley said during a live conversation in Los Angeles this week (via Blabbermouth). “We were just constantly busy, and the drugs and the alcohol and all the partying in conjunction with that type of schedule just started to get to me. By the early ‘80s I just wanted to jump off the roller coaster because I thought I was going to crash.”

Frehley recalled a meeting he had with his lawyer just before he left the band. “We had just gotten a $15 million contract,” he said. “I’m talking to my lawyer, going, ‘$15 million, that’s great – but every night I drive home to Connecticut, I want to drive my care into a tree because I’m not happy.’ He goes, ‘Okay, Ace, I hear that, but it’s $15 million.’ He still didn’t get it.”

A clause in the new contract meant it was only valid if three of the four original members were still in the band, Frehley explained. With his departure, and Peter Criss already out, the deal dropped to half its value. “I think they were a little mad at me about that,” he said of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons' reactions.

Still, he insisted it was the right thing to do. “I’m still alive – you’ve got to put that ahead of everything else,” he argued. “I remember when I was at the richest point in my life, I was the most miserable. I'm sure other people have said that. I've met a lot of wealthy people who are miserable. … There's a lot of wealthy people who are crooked, and they're probably unhappy with themselves and have trouble sleeping at night because it's all on their conscience. That wasn't my problem. My problem was I was doing too much — way too much."