Giving Fans What They Want
Words: Derek Signore, Sound Magazine
It’s been quite the whirlwind year for Ace Frehley coming off a recent nomination to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame which saw him take the stage with old bandmates in what might be the awkward moment of the year. But it wasn’t awkward for Ace because he’s who he’s always been and with the recent release of Space Invader he’s once again proven he hasn’t lost a step and in fact he sounds better than ever.
STEAM: You brought in famed artist Ken Kelly to provide the cover art for your latest release ‘Space Invader’, who was also famous for his work on Destroyer and Love Gun. In a digital world where cover art is almost non-existent you took a different approach. What inspires you to deliver the entire package to your fans when most others have giving up on such a canvas?
AF: I’m just trying to please my fans by giving them a package that I would like, something we would have done in the 70’s. The whole idea of album artwork has fallen into the void which is unfortunate but it’s not a trap I’m going to fall into. I actually just recently saw the vinyl package and it looks great, I think my fans are going to like it.
STEAM: Your fiancé co-wrote two tunes on the album, ‘Change’ and ‘Immortal Pleasures’. This industry has been more of a battleground for spouses than a collaborative arena. What was that spark that made you want to collaborate with her on the new album?
AF: We’ve been together over five years and it actually took some time to get into the groove with her. I tend not to look at how the industry sees things. It’s all how you feel and perceive the music. It was a departure for me that turned out to be a great surprise because I think they’re probably the best two songs on the record.
STEAM: Is there anything on the album that stands out as something you can’t wait to play live?
AF: The title track was a big surprise to me. Up until the mixing process that was a very instrumental piece and the record company gave me a call and urged me to make that the title track with a little more work. I went back to the hotel that night and put the lyrics down on paper and boom, the title track was born. For what it is and for what I think it will be that’s a song I can’t wait to play for my fans.
STEAM: Having played all over the world with KISS is there a particular venue on this tour that you’re returning to play at that you are looking forward to because of the acoustics and setting?
AF: Well the old theaters sound the best, they have the best acoustics. I’m looking forward to all those venues. We played a two night stint at BB Kings in New York and it’s always nice to do two shows back to back, especially in the New York Area.
STEAM: How is it working with the new band lineup?
AF: I’m excited. It’s my first time touring with Chris Wyse, the bassist from The Cult. I also reunited with my old guitarist Richie Scarlet and old drummer Scot Coogan who have been absent for the past few years. I think it might be the best band lineup I’ve ever assembled. I’m confident that this lineup is doing justice to all the songs on Space Invader as well as works from my earlier catalogs. This is the first lineup I put together with four lead singers as well, definitely a force to be reckoned with live.
STEAM: For years you played a character on stage, hidden behind the makeup. Do you find yourself having to reinvent your onstage persona now with your solo act?
AF: I don’t think my persona has changed at all, I’m just not wearing a spaceman suit anymore (laughing). I’m still a character, I’m still funny and I still have that swagger that other people like to copy.
STEAM: What are you finding yourself doing to fill the time in the dressing room pre-show now that you don’t have to put in an hour plus in the makeup chair?
AF: You’re right, not having to put on the makeup and costume does give me some free time but I fill that void by getting to the venue an hour or so early to meet and greet with the fans prior to performing. It’s definitely easier than going to through the whole nine yards of the makeup, hair and costume, sometimes it would be a two hour process.
STEAM: You were recently quoted saying you are writing ‘No Regrets 2’. In the wake of Paul Stanley's ‘Face the Music’ book and the fact that in the past few years your old bandmates have taken quite a few shots at you, will you be so nice to them in the second round of the book?
AF: I don’t really have an axe to grind and I want it to stand alone as a fun book. The second book isn’t going to be a vendetta book. I have so many funny stories that haven’t been told I could probably write four or five books. It’s really just going to be a continuation from where the first book left off with more stories about touring with Kiss. That’s what I think my fans want.