Q&A WITH ACE FREHLEY
(Courtesy Magnet Magazine)
It could be argued that Ace Frehley was the most influential guitarist of the ’70s. When Kiss hit its 1976-79 commercial peak, there was no rock band more entrenched in the minds of America’s youth. And if you asked random Kiss fans who was their favorite member, the answer was more often than not “Ace.” It’s no wonder some of the most successful artists of the last 10 years—from Garth Brooks to Pearl Jam—have cited Frehley and Kiss as major influences. Frehley teamed up with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss to form Kiss in New York City in 1973. Taking the glitter ball from their NYC glam-rock contemporaries and running with it, the members of Kiss donned outrageous makeup and costumes and assumed comic-book hero personas: Simmons, the demon; Stanley, the lover; Criss, the catman; and Frehley, the otherworldly spaceman. Frehley’s “Space Ace” persona and fiery, melodic guitar solos would become key factors in Kiss’ rise to arena superstardom. It was Frehley who designed Kiss’ iconic logo.
Though Criss wore the feline face paint, it’s Frehley who seems to have had nine lives. After leaving Kiss in 1982, Frehley embarked on a solo career, releasing three albums and compiling a laundry list of troubles that included drug and alcohol addiction, bankruptcy and high-speed car chases with the police. In 1996, Frehley reunited with Kiss for a string of successful tours as well as an album of new material, 1998’s Psycho Circus, before playing his final show with the band in 2002. While Simmons and Stanley continue to tread the boards in a verging-on-tribute-band incarnation of Kiss (drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer wear Criss’ and Frehely’s respective makeup and costumes), the now sober Frehley is set to release Anomaly, his first solo album in two decades.
Frehley recently took a moment to talk with Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer (and onetime Kiss Army member) Jon Wurster. Frehley will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.
MAGNET: Your last solo record, Trouble Walking, came out 20 years ago. Why so long between albums?
Frehley: A lot has happened! [Laughs] The main reason was I ended up doing the Kiss reunion tour, which led to the Psycho Circus record and tour, which led to the Kiss Farewell Tour. Six years later, I needed a break! And the biggest reason was my sobriety. On September 15, the day Anomaly comes out, I’ll be celebrating three years clean and sober. This new record would have never come out if it wasn’t for that.
The record industry is virtually unrecognizable compared to what it was like in 1989. Is that a major factor in deciding to release Anomaly on your own Bronx Born label?
I wanted complete control of how Anomaly was going to be handled and marketed. I’ve handed my music to labels in the past, and it never turned out the way I envisioned it. Anomaly is going to be different.
Read the rest http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2009/08/03/qa-with-ace-frehley/
ACE is also guest editor this week at Magnet Magazine. Check out what he says about his hometown, New York City, here http://www.magnetmagazine.com/category/guest-editor/