Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley recently appeared on the “Juliet: Unexpected” podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below (interview starts at the 3:11 mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On working from home:
Ace: “The last three or four records I’ve done, pretty much I’ve done from my home studio, so I don’t have to leave the house. I can engineer myself, but most of the time, I use an engineer, because I don’t want to worry about the levels and pressing buttons and stuff. I want to focus on what I’m doing, whether it be a lead vocal or a lead solo. On this last album [‘Spaceman’], my creativity somehow, some way hit a high note, and I don’t think there’s a throwaway song on the whole record… A lot of albums, you get two or three great songs and the rest of them are okay. I think every song on this album is really good.”
On appreciating his fans:
Ace: “The fans are the people who put me where I am. The fans are the reason why I’m living in an estate with a Bentley and a Jaguar… I always keep in mind when I’m recording an album what my fans would think of it. Look what happened with KISS with ‘The Elder’. During the course of that whole album, I was telling Bob Ezrin, our producer, and Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley] that I think this is the wrong album for this time period, and that was our biggest flop.”
On whether he still gets excited prior to an album’s release:
Ace: “I still get excited. Sometimes, I feel just like a little kid. The great thing about being in the music business is you never really get old. I still feel like I’m in my twenties. The music business keeps your mind young, and a couple of face lifts later…”
On how his writing style has evolved over the years:
Ace: “My formula for recording hasn’t changed very much from my first solo album, but I definitely feel I’m more creative now. I’m able to step back as a producer and look at things outside the box… I would say 90 percent of the rock guitar players in the world probably don’t know how to read music. It’s all about feel. If it sounds good, do it. The way I write is, I just come up with a chord progression and then try to weave a melody around it, and write the lyrics, and boom — you’ve got a song.”
On his formative years:
Ace: “I grew up in a household where my mom, dad, brother and sister all played piano, so I was surrounded by music. I used to sing in the church choir, so I developed the idea of melody singing hymns in church.”
On what would make him agree to participate in KISS‘s “End Of The Road” farewell tour:
Ace: “The only way I would consider coming back is [if] I took over Tommy‘s [Thayer] place. He took over my place — a character that I invented. He’s pretty much going through the motions, but the only way I would consider going back is to replace Tommy and regain my throne. Number two, I’d like a big paycheck because I think I deserve it… I don’t think Paul [and Gene] are going to make me an equal partner. I quit a long time ago and I was an equal partner at that juncture. Since then, those guys have been running the show, and they’re control freaks, so they’re always going to run the show from now until the end of time. On the last reunion tour, I was a paid musician — a hired gun in a sense — even though on stage, we all looked like it was one for all and all for one.”
On Simmons, Stanley and sobriety:
Ace: “I think Paul and Gene, when I left the group the last time and I was strung out on drugs and alcohol, they probably thought I was just going to fade away and maybe O.D. or disappear. What happened was I got sober, and I came back stronger and bigger than ever… They were right about a lot of things. Today, I have no tolerance for being around drunk people. I put those guys through hell, if I do say so myself. I get it, but it took a while for me to understand.”
On whether his sobriety was a catalyst for his recent decision to replace members of his solo touring band:
Ace: “Yeah. At least one of them was missing flights every other show, and the playing started to deteriorate. I don’t have the tolerance. I’m an established superstar, so if you want to play with me, you’ve got to play by the rules or you’re not going to be around.”
Ace: “I hate politics. I don’t like talking politics, and I don’t think politics and music mix. I really frown on musicians who get up on a platform and start talking about the president or complain about… I just don’t think it belongs. I’m an entertainer. There’s no reason to bring up politics. Let me play my guitar and write songs and entertain people. That’s my job… Let me say this about Trump. Whether you love him or hate him, if you’re an American and you’re a patriot, you should get behind your president. He was elected. We live under the Constitution of the United States, and you’re supposed to support your president. Love him or hate him, you’re supposed to support him, or go move to another country… Being American, we have the right to free speech, and I’m all for everybody putting their two cents in on everything. But when musicians or actors get really verbal and jump on a bandwagon against our government, I don’t agree with that.”
Frehley‘s latest solo album, “Spaceman”, was released on October 19 via eOne.
On December 9, Frehley celebrated the 40th anniversary of his acclaimed 1978 solo debut by performing the album in its entirety for the first time at the New Jersey Kiss Expo 2018.
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