Entertainment behind the scenes
Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley releases first album in 20 years
These are heady times for KISS fans. The hard-rock band is gearing up for the Oct. 6 release of its first album in 11 years, “Sonic Boom”, and will hit the road to mark the 35th anniversary of its breakthrough concert album “Alive!”
And then there’s the band’s former guitarist, Ace Frehley, who on Tuesday will release his first solo album in 20 years, “Anomaly”. The date is also significant because it marks his third year of sobriety.
But don’t look for the two camps to work out some cross-promotion efforts. Frehley was asked during a fan Q&A at the Grammy Museum on Monday whether he would join KISS on stage for the first time since he left the band in 2002. (He first left the band 20 years earlier.)
“I haven’t gotten a call,” Frehley said to laughter. “I’m not holding my breath. They took one road, I decided to take another. It’s a little late in the game for me.”
Instead, Frehley has a busy concert schedule: Japan and Australia next month, followed by dates in the United States, and then “probably a complete worldwide tour” next year.
Frehley, 58, said it took so long to issue a follow-up to 1989′s “Trouble Walkin’” because “I just didn’t have my act together at certain points on my life.” He had hoped to start making an album in 1995, but was invited to participate in the KISS worldwide reunion tour, which ran from 1996 until 2002.
“I got off that tour and was ready to blow my brains out,” he said. “It took me a while to get my head screwed on straight. I went into outer space for a while … came back.”
Frehley frequently compared the new album to his self-titled 1978 solo debut. Each member of KISS released a solo album on the same day. Frehley said his sold the best.
Among the tracks on “Anomaly” is the tune “A Little Below the Angels,” in which he recounts his hellraising days and efforts to improve his ways. ”Everybody knows I had a drinking problem for many years,” he explained. “I can laugh about it now.”
Frehley, sporting dark shades at the evening event, seemed in good spirits, delighting his fans with the occasional bons mots. A small selection:
- “I’m not a schooled musician. I don’t know how to read music. A lot of the chords I play, I don’t even know what they’re called.”
- “I’ll never forget, when Paul (Stanley) came up with (the 1979 disco hit) I Was Made For Lovin’ You, I know we lost a lot of fans on that one … and I was one of the fans.”
- “There was a lot of commitment to excellence (when KISS made records). I just didn’t always show up.”
(photo credit: Kevin Britton)