Ace Frehley Planning A Spring Release For ‘Pain In The Neck’


February 28, 2008

In 1978, the four members of Kiss each released self-titled solo albums.

Of the four, the best-selling album and arguably the most beloved among the Kiss Army was by lead guitarist Ace Frehley.

A few years later, Frehley would leave Kiss to pursue a solo career.

Though albums such as 1987’s Frehley’s Comet and 1989’s Trouble Walkin’ were well-received by fans and many critics, Frehley’s solo career never seemed to fulfill the promise of his debut.

It’s been nearly 20 years since his last solo album and in that time Frehley rejoined Kiss for a successful and lucrative reunion tour that ended on less-than-friendly terms in 2002.

Now, Frehley and his guitar will be heard once again on laser-embedded plastic (or digitally compressed and encoded files, if you prefer) and on stages around the country touring with a new band and a new purpose. The show stops at the House of Blues Cleveland tonight.

“I’ve been working on the record all summer and I just started getting cabin fever, so I decided to put a band together and we played a show on Halloween at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City for my buddy (longtime NYC radio disc jockey) Eddie Trunk,” Frehley said from Atlanta, where he was preparing to perform a sold-out show that night. “And I had so much fun doing that, that I hired a new agent and said, ‘book me a tour.’

“It’s as simple as that. No master plan, just go out and play.”

As for the Bronx-born-and-bred Frehley’s near 20-year break from the studio, “Wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long,” he said, laughing heartily.

“I was all ready and set up to track a record when I was offered the Kiss reunion. I got back with Kiss and that kind of derailed me from 1996 to 2001 and it took me a while to get my wits back.”

Frehley said he plans to have the album, Pain in the Neck, ready for a spring release but is still putting the finishing touches on it, including some scheduled six-string contributions from buddy/acolyte Slash.

Though most of the tunes were written in the past several years, Frehley also looked to his own past for guidance.

“I’ve been listening to my first solo album with Kiss, because everybody says that’s their favorite record. I was trying to figure out what made it so special, so I’m trying to incorporate a lot of what that record had for this new CD.

“It has a lot of different aspects and shows different musical sides of me and it’s something I’m trying to recapture. I don’t know if I can do it but I’m gonna take a shot at it.”

Among the sounds fans can look forward to on the album are the title track and Hard for Me, which Frehley said were two of the heavier tunes; the slower Kashmir-like Genghis Khan; and a “catchy tune that’s maybe geared towards commerciality” called Below the Angels.

But tonight, fans won’t hear any of the new songs. Although Frehley doesn’t spend much time perusing the Internet, he does know that any new song he performs is likely to wind up on YouTube a few hours later. But he wants the record to be “a nice surprise for people who have been waiting so long.”

What this means for fans is that the set list is packed with all their favorite Frehley tunes and a few Kiss tunes.

But more importantly for Frehley, the tour is about having fun and dispelling recent Internet rumors of Frehley’s drug-related suicide and some of the unkind parting shots delivered by reunited Kiss band mates suggesting he had fallen back into old habits.

“The record to me is secondary to the fact that I needed to come back and let everybody know I’m alive and well,” he said. “Some of my old band mates kind of dragged my name through the mud a little, so I figured that it was time for me to re-emerge and let everybody know I’m not dead.”

And while his old band mates will be piling on the makeup and the platforms and touring Europe this summer with guitarist Tommy Thayer in Frehley’s classic Space Ace garb and makeup, Frehley remains polite about the current Kiss lineup.

“Tommy Thayer used to be my tour manager. He’s a sweet guy and a good guitar player and he used to play in a Kiss cover band years ago,” Frehley said, pausing for maximum comic effect.

“And today he still does,” he added with a hearty guffaw.

“I don’t really approve of it, I don’t really think it’s the right thing to do, but you have to call Gene (Simmons, Kiss bass player/singer) about it,” he said, politely dismissing the subject.

As with many successful rock musicians from the 1970s, Frehley has good but fuzzy memories of Cleveland. “Yeah! Cleveland’s a rock ‘n’ roll town. I remember getting caught in a blizzard at Swingos . . . it had round beds. How can you forget that. Being stuck in a snowstorm with round beds. That was crazy,” he said.

Frehley said he won’t have time to go to the rock hall, although he said he thinks he’s been there. Besides, those kinds of accolades don’t mean much to him.

“Someone asked me ‘Do you think about the fact that you influenced four generations of guitar players?’ And I go ‘I didn’t know I was that old.’ But it’s something I don’t think about. You know I do what I do and if somebody likes it that’s great; it’s a plus.

“But I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I’ll go out onstage tonight and I’ll play. It’s what I love to do and I get paid for it.

“Who’s got it better than me?”

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