Si Live | Tom Wrobleski
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – He escaped the mean streets of the Bronx to help found one of the most iconic bands in rock-and-roll history.
And now former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley brings his hard-rock groove to his hometown of New York City, appearing at the St. George Theatre on Feb. 2, with special guest Appice.
The “Space Ace” makeup that Frehley first donned in 1973 is a thing of the past, but Frehley remains one of rock’s top guitarists. His life has all the “Behind the Music” drama you’d expect: The rise to the top with Kiss bandmates Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss; the bitter breakup; years of substance abuse, and the band reunion that eventually went off the rails.
But Frehley has endured. Clean and sober for more than a decade, he’s put out a string of successful solo albums and gained long-deserved recognition as one of the best hard-rock players ever, recognition that eluded him back in the Kiss heyday, when the makeup and concert pyrotechnics overshadowed all. He’s even had recent reconnections with Stanley and Simmons.
Frehley spoke to the Advance recently from his home in San Diego.
So what can fans expect when they see you at the St. George Theatre?
“We still do a core section of Ace tunes, old Kiss tunes. I want to start working in more material from my ’78 solo record this year, because it’s the 40th anniversary.”
What else from the solo album are you thinking about putting out there?
“I’m not sure what songs I’m going to do. Probably do ‘Snow Blind’ and ‘New York Groove’ and ‘Rip It Out,’ and hopefully one or two others. But, you know, we’ll also be throwing in ‘Cold Gin’ and ‘Shock Me,’ ‘Rocket Ride,’ some of the Kiss classics that I’ve written and always go over well.”
You’re also playing real deep-cut classic Kiss songs, like “Parasite” and “Strange Ways” [from 1974’s “Hotter Than Hell” LP]. Is it important to you to reclaim those songs that people may not know you wrote?
“I think the hard-core Kiss fans are aware that I wrote them. Casual Kiss fans may not be aware. Paul and Gene in a lot of cases try to take credit for being the geniuses behind Kiss. But I wrote a lot of hit songs over the years … After the success of my solo album I realized something very profound, in that I was more creative away from those guys than I was with them. And that was kind of the beginning of the end for me, and the writing on the wall about that. Eventually I’d be down my own path, following my own path.”
Are you going to do another “Origins” covers album?