Ace Frehley Shooting For Early Summer Release


May 17, 2008

Art has always captured rock guitarist Ace Frehley’s eye.

After joining KISS in the mid-1970s at its lead guitarist, with the “Spaceman” makeup and silver sprayed hair, Frehley designed the group’s logo.

“There was a point in my life when I wanted to become a graphic artist,” he said last month in a phone chat from Westchester County, N.Y. “But the music kind of took over.”

Frehley will play tonight at House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach.

He said he’s shooting for 12 tracks on his next album, his first in 18 years, with a release in early summer. Studio work has spanned more than 6 months, and some of the songs go back 12 years.

Speaking about his avocation, Frehley said, “I always knew I was a good artist. I just finished up designs for a biker shirt for the next tour. I just love playing with art. I’ve been working on Photoshop forever.”

He explained how graphic arts lets him channel creativity he might not have found through his fingers and frets.

“What art does for me,” Frehley said, “is it gives me another avenue to express myself. One thing about music, especially live, is it’s spontaneous. It’s like in the moment.”

Art, though, offers him variations.

“You can work on a piece of art for a week,” Frehley said, “and wake up the next day and look at it differently, and change it. So, it’s mostly an ongoing process.

“With live music, it’s so right then and there, and it’s over in a couple of hours, so then it’s waiting for the next show.”

Filming a Dunkin’ Donuts ad last year in his KISS warpaint brought back memories of playing with bassist/singer Gene Simmons, rhythm guitarist/singer Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss.

Frehley spoke of the order and simplicity on the set for the one day it took, hitting makeup in the morning, shooting after lunch and finishing by 6 p.m.

“Considering the stuff I’ve done,” he said, referring to feature films, “it was a piece of cake.”

Especially since leaving KISS in 1980, Frehley has enjoyed hearing from other musicians who say they picked up a guitar because of him.

“It’s really flattering,” the 57-year-old said.

Frehley said the oddest event happened around a Rapid City, S.D., concert. He had gone to visit Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, and at the Indian Museum of North America, ran into a fellow native New Yorker.

“I don’t think I’ve met anybody who was born at Lebanon Hospital,” he said, laughing about this happenstance.

Frehley called his visit last year to the Kiss Coffeehouse at Broadway at the Beach fun, especially when he saw the turnout of fans to see him perform.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back, especially for bike week,” he said. “I have a lot of friends who ride. If I wasn’t playing, I might have even gone to biker week, just to get away from the studio and see everybody.”

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