Published on December 31st, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Ace Frehley On His New “Spaceman” Album, Going On Cruises & His Upcoming Projects
As the original lead guitarist of Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame artist KISS, Ace Frehley has proven to be one of rock’s most influential guitarists. After all, among the high-profile guitarists that have cited Frehley as a major influence have been members of Weezer, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, Pantera, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Also of note is that Frehley has also managed to have the most successful solo career of any KISS member, past or present; his cover of “Back In The New York Groove” remains the song played at Citi Field when the New York Mets win a game.
The latest studio effort from Ace Frehley is 2018’s Spaceman. Released by Entertainment One Music last month, Spaceman features two songs co-written with fellow KISS co-founder Gene Simmons. It also notably includes a cover of “I Wanna Go Back,” a song first recorded by Billy Satellite, which Eddie Money helped make a big hit in the 1980s. “Bronx Boy” was its first single.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Ace Frehley himself by phone, and below are some highlights from that chat; part 1 of the interview, which touches on Frehley’s love of the New York Yankees, can be read on Sportskeeda. More on the Spaceman himself — who has already begun work on his next studio album, in addition to another memoir — can be found online at www.acefrehley.com.
How many songs did you write for the new album?
Ace Frehley: I wrote or co-wrote 8 of the 9 songs. 9 songs on the album and 1 is a cover by Eddie Money.
So you didn’t write 15 or 30 songs? You wrote 8 knowing that there would be 9 on the album?
Ace Frehley: I was a little superstitious because it’s the 40th anniversary of my solo album that had “New York Groove” and that album had only 9 songs. There’s 9 on this one.
When you were writing this album, did you know all along that you would be singing lead on all the songs?
Ace Frehley: Yeah. (laughs)
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Ace Frehley: I’m real happy with the two that me and Gene [Simmons] wrote. “Bronx Boy” is a lot of fun, “Rockin’ With The Boys” is a good anthem, and I’m really really happy with the Eddie Money cover, “I Wanna Go Back.”
A few weeks ago you were on the KISS Kruise. Was that the first cruise you had ever been on?
Ace Frehley: No, I did a cruise about two, two and a half years ago, the Rock Legends Cruise with Gregg Allman, Peter Frampton, several other bands. The ship was actually about twice the size of the one I just did with KISS. The name of the boat was Independence Of The Sea, I think it’s the biggest cruise ship in the world.
Is it enjoyable at all for you to be on a cruise ship? Or is it just work?
Ace Frehley: You can relax and sit out on the deck and watch the ocean. We stopped in the Bahamas and gambled at the casino in the Atlantis and did some shopping. It was actually more fun than work, because I only had to do 3 concerts, 60-70 minute shows. It wasn’t a bad gig at all.
How many songs did you write for Spaceman?
You’ve obviously influenced multiple generations of guitar players. I remember when Weezer talked about you in the song “In The Garage.” When did you first realize that you had inspired a new generation of guitarists?
Ace Frehley: When guitarists started coming up to me and telling me that if it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t have picked up a guitar. That started happening to me in the 80s and it’s been happening ever since, more frequently now than ever before.
Do you remember that specific Weezer reference? Did you ever meet anyone from Weezer?
Ace Frehley: Yeah, I’ve met everybody, just about.
Your book came out 7 years ago and you’ve done a lot in those 7 years. Have you thought about doing another book?
Ace Frehley: Yeah, I’ve already started writing it. Right now the working title is No Regrets 2.
So you have another record in the works and another book in the works. Are there any projects I haven’t asked you about?
Ace Frehley: There’s a lot of things going on. I’m doing an Ace Expo in December in New Jersey where I’m going to perform my ’78 solo album in its entirety. That’s going to be a 3-day event. I have shows scheduled for California in January, I’m taking the holidays off. I have an action figure deal in the works. There’s a whole bunch of stuff, some of the stuff I can’t talk about because contracts haven’t been signed yet. There’s a lot going on, trust me. (laughs)
It sounds like you have so much going on that, contrary to what a lot of people think, you’re not waiting around for a KISS reunion tour offer.
Ace Frehley: I think KISS has already let the cat out of the bag. They’re promoting Tommy Thayer as the guitar player on the End Of The Road Tour. I’m not waiting around for them to change their minds. I’ve been offered a ton of concerts in Europe, the festivals, and KISS hasn’t said anything to me. They didn’t talk to me on the cruise about it. I’m assuming that that’s not going to be part of my schedule in the future. As I said in previous interviews, the only way I would do it is to reclaim my character that I created, from Tommy Thayer, and be the real Ace, the real Spaceman, the one and only. (laughs)
Is there something you wish more people knew about you? I ask because people think of you as a guitar god, but you’re kind of a private person beyond the music.
Ace Frehley: I like my privacy. I’ve been offered reality shows but I’ve turned them down. When I come home off the road, I like to just be with my family and enjoy my private life. A guy like Gene Simmons, he’s a workaholic, he’s going 24/7, he wakes up every morning and he’s on the phone to make deals. So for him to do a reality show made perfect sense. But Paul’s pretty much a private person, and so am I, and I believe Peter is as well. That’s why none of the other founding members of KISS have ever done a reality show.