By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Ex-Kiss guitarist, Ace Frehley is back with his first solo release in 18 years called “Anomaly.” One of his well publicized objectives in recording and writing this CD was to recapture the “vibe” of his fan favorite 1978 solo debut release. He most certainly achieved that goal.
“Anomaly” most certainly has Ace returning to his vintage signature sound and style.
We had the privilege here at RockMusicStar.com to talk with Ace and discuss his new release and much more. Check out our conversation below and check back here at RockMusicStar.com for more updates on Ace Frehley.
RockMusicStar: First of all, I want to congratulate you on your new CD, from what I heard of it, it’s absolutely mind-blowing and this is coming from a life long KISS fan. You’re back and I absolutely love it. I’m sure you’re getting that response from your fans.
Ace Frehley: I put my heart and soul into this record. I started tracking in 2007, it’s been a long process, in the middle of writing, in the middle of recording; I decided to do a tour in 2008. I went over to Europe twice and Canada then came back, finished it up and went out to L.A. to mix it. It’s everything I wanted it to be and more.
RMS: Did you have any goal to try to recapture the vibe that you had on your 1st solo record?
AF: Yeah, absolutely. I re-examined that record and try to recapture some of the feeling and musical textures and the vibe of that record. I try to get into the same mindset.
RMS: When are you going to hit the road to support this? Do you have any plans yet?
AF: I believe we’re hitting the road beginning of October.
RMS: Wow, that soon.
RMS: It must have been a mixed blessing that KISS is releasing their new record right around the time you are. You’re definitely benefiting from all the hype and they’re benefiting from the hype of your CD as well. You would have to be pretty happy about that?
AF: It’s not something I think about much at all. I announced this record a couple of years ago. They announced their record sometime this year. Is there a coincidence why they’re coming out at the same time? I have no idea and it’s not something I really think much about. There’s going to be the obvious comparisons. I leave that up to the fans to make the comparisons.
RMS: Do you think there was a little bit of resentment when your first solo record did so much better than the other band members solo records? Pretty much every solo record you released has been pretty much amazing and it seems like the members of KISS can’t seem to get that critical acclaim from what they do outside of the band.
AF: I don’t even want to go there. Everybody does what they do and I’m just lucky and thank God I’ve been given a lot of talent. I just try to make the best record every time I go into the studio that I think the fans are going to want. Some of the other people that I worked with in the past can’t achieve that, that’s not for me to say. I let the critics make the reviews.
RMS: Now you have a Gibson Les Paul Signature model that’s coming out. How does this differ from the original Frehley Signature model that was released back in the 90’s?
AF: The 1st one came out in ’97 when I was doing the reunion tour that was a cherry sunburst. I went down to Gibson in April and sat down with the people there, we brained stormed and came up with an idea for a blue burst and custom pick-ups and custom speed nobs. I mean it’s not going to be that radically different. The biggest difference is the pick-ups will be Gibson pick-ups. DiMarzio pick-ups, custom speed nobs with lightning bolts, I believe we’re going to use the Anomaly graph from the CD that I designed in the head stock; slightly different in-lays in the neck. It’s still going to be a Les Paul custom to the max.
RMS: Back to your CD, were there any tracks that weren’t included that you might use for future projects?
AF: I tracked about 16 songs, so there’s 3 or 4 laying around. They could very well end up on my next CD. We’ll just have to wait and see.
RMS: You’re not going to make us wait a ridiculously long time for the next CD are you?
AF: (laughs) Nah, I’m actually back in the groove in the studio. I’m pretty focused these days. There will probably be another Ace Frehley record out in another year and a half.
RMS: When you went on that tour about a year and a half ago, how gratifying was that to hit the stage again and that the tour was as successful as it was?
AF: I think it was important for me to get out and perform because after I left KISS in 2002, Paul and Gene at times didn’t have the nicest things to say about me. If my memory serves me correctly, they made statements like ‘ I wasn’t able to tour, unemployable, on drugs and whatever.’ I think it was important for me to change public opinion and let everybody know I’m out there. I’m clean and sober, healthy and taking care of business. They pretty much hurt my reputation a lot by making statements like that.
RMS: Gene always seems like he’s trying to bad mouth ex-members for some reason. As a KISS fan, we don’t want to hear that shit. I’m just wondering why Gene has to resort to that kind of talk all the time. But actually Paul Stanley did say something nice about you that I read on the Internet; he said that ‘It’s terrific that you’re alive and anything else is a bonus.’
AF: That’s sweet isn’t it? (laughs)
RMS: One thing that I never understood was why on the last KISS record they didn’t utilize your talent. As a KISS Fan again, I think we’re sick of being deceived on whose playing on the KISS records. I know on Psycho Circus you didn’t play all the guitar tracks. How frustrating was that for you to not be included on that?
AF: They called me up to do that record and I thought it was going to be this collaborative effort and it was going to be fair play. I presented 3 or 4 songs and they shot them all down. There was one they kind of liked but they didn’t like the lyrics, so I rewrote it. Even at the very end, the day we were going to record it, they were pretty much saying ‘We don’t know if this is going to make it on the record.’ I really strived for some excellence for it to become a really good song and I thought it was a good song; it wasn’t the best song I’ve ever written. It was stuff like that, that made me realize it was time for a departure.
RMS: I want to thank you for giving me the time to do this interview. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the road and looking forward to hearing the rest of the CD. Best of luck to you.
AF: Thanks so much Tom. I just try to move forward and not let negativity drag me down. I just try to be positive today and don’t dwell on the past and move forward and stay focused. I just hope everybody likes the new album and ill see everybody out on tour at the end of the year.
RMS: Sounds good. Thank you very much Ace.
AF: Alright Tom, have a good day.