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“Paul Stanley will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the f**king back.” Ace Frehley

Ace_Dec_2013_1

 

Ace Frehley “Paul Stanley will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the fucking back”

 

AF_Kiss_July_28_2014_1Guitar World This year started off innocently enough for Ace Frehley.

Just one week prior to Christmas 2013, the former Kiss lead guitarist learned that he and his comrades in the original Kiss lineup—Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss—were finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after 15 years of eligibility (and 15 years of outcry from the Kiss Army).

A cause for celebration, no doubt—and a golden opportunity for the four founding members of the legendary rock band to perform onstage together again for the first time since October 7, 2000, the final North American date of their Farewell Tour.

And then, somehow, it all imploded. In the weeks preceding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 10 in Brooklyn, New York, Kiss became the primary focus of every public and private discussion surrounding the event after they announced that there would be no Kiss performance—let alone a Kiss reunion—that night.

To make matters worse, the band members seized every opportunity to lambast one another in the press on a seemingly daily basis, effectively rendering what was supposed to be a triumphant reunion performance loaded with all the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, makeup-running pageantry that fans had been clamoring for all these years into a pitiful non-event.

“I was like, Jesus Christ, after 40 years of support you can’t give the fans 10 minutes?” says a still worked-up Frehley over a cup of black tea at Guitar World headquarters in New York. “The fans wanted it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted it. But Gene and Paul didn’t. It’s sad. They definitely lost some fans because of this decision.

“I think the reason they didn’t want to get together with the original members was because they’re afraid of history repeating itself. When we did Unplugged in 1995, you saw what happened: because the fans were so excited about me and Peter playing with those guys, they had to scrap their last record [with then-current members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer] and do a reunion tour [with Frehley and Criss in 1996]. Although at this point I don’t think Peter could do a two-hour show and a full tour. But I still got the chops. I definitely blow [current Kiss guitarist] Tommy Thayer off the stage.”

It’s obvious that Frehley is fired up, and with good reason. With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fiasco behind him, the clean-and-sober Spaceman is able to focus on the things in life that make him happy, like living in San Diego with his pretty, blond 47-year-old fiancé Rachael Gordon, writing books, working with Gibson on various signature guitars and recording new music. Space Invader, his first record since 2009’s top-notch Anomaly, is due out in a few weeks, and Ace couldn’t be more excited.

“I haven’t had a drink in more than seven and a half years, and I feel great now,” says the 63-year-old guitarist. “I’m writing great songs and I’m singing great, and I’m super excited about this new album. It’s gonna be even better than Anomaly. I played some tracks for a couple of guys I was considering using for mixing, and the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘God, your voice sounds like it did on your 1978 solo record.’ Unlike some other people, whose voices aren’t maybe what they used to be. Not to name names, or anything.”

Your love affair with alcohol during Kiss’ heyday—and, well, all through the Eighties and Nineties—is well documented. Do you miss it? Are there days when you want a drink?

No. I haven’t had the urge to drink in a long time. And I don’t miss the hangovers, I don’t miss the smells, the late nights at the bars, or the people. I was hanging out with some pretty shady people in my heavy-drinking-and-coke years. I was in some situations that really could have gone sideways. I was just lucky. And you have to realize that my fans used to emulate my behavior when I was a crazy man—“Ace is a party animal, let’s go get loaded!” Then they’d go crash their car, and I’d feel terrible.

Now it’s turned around. And when someone comes up to me and says that they haven’t had a drink in six months and that they’re doing well because I am, that makes my day. Maybe that’s one reason why God has kept me alive. By all rights I should have died a half dozen times already, so every day above ground I’m thrilled.

Did you think Kiss would ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

I knew that [the Hall] had to buckle to popular opinion. It was only a matter of time. We were first eligible 15 years ago, so I knew it would happen eventually. I mean, how can you exclude Kiss, one of the biggest American rock groups in history? Even though we didn’t perform, I’m still thrilled to be in it.

Cathouse_SkyWhere were you when you found out that you were being inducted?

I was at home in San Diego and got a call from my manager. Then, about a week later, I got the “congratulatory” call from Paul and Gene. And I could tell that there was some hesitancy on their part about the whole thing. I was asking them if we were gonna play, and Gene avoided the question by saying, “Well, we’re just looking forward to getting the four of us up there together and celebrating…whatever.” It was a noncommittal congratulatory call.

Then, about a week later, I was told that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame absolutely wants the four original members to reunite, and I said, “Great, I’ll do it.” And there was silence from Gene and Paul. And finally it was shot down. The next thing I heard is that Paul and Gene wanted to perform with the current Kiss lineup [with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer]. And I said, Well, that’s kind of a slap in the face. I mean, they’re not even being inducted. I have to sit through a Kiss cover band when I’m receiving an award? I don’t think so.

I also heard at one point that they wanted me to perform in makeup with Tommy at the same time. I really didn’t want to be onstage with Tommy, but I said I would do it, as long as I got to play the bulk of the songs and that I could wear the Destroyer costume. Then a few days later [it was], “No, we’re not gonna play at all.” It was almost like they were trying to bait me, so that if I said no to anything they would just blame me for there being no performance. I was almost going to boycott the whole thing.

The weeks leading up to the induction ceremony were filled with all sorts of public drama. A lot of negative comments were hurled back and forth in the press between the four original members of Kiss. Why do you think Gene and Paul are always so quick to disparage you publicly?

I don’t know. I think they’re just cranky. For years, when I was fucked up, Gene used to say that I was a drunk and a drug addict and that I was unemployable. Kick a guy when he’s down, right? But they can’t do that anymore, so it’s like they’re scratching their heads trying to come up with new ways to insult me. The most recent thing was that I’m anti-Semitic, that I’m a fucking Nazi. That’s just below the belt. Next I’ll be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. And my fiancé is Jewish! My whole life I’ve worked with Jewish people in all different capacities—my accountants, my attorneys, people on the road. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe the stuff that comes out of their mouths. But the truth is that I don’t want to be negative. I just want to keep everything light and be happy.

Paul has been so goddamn cranky lately. I mean, what’s wrong, Paul, aren’t you happy? I know they must be frustrated because people are always writing about how Ace was the real guy or Ace was the real deal. It’s gotta rub them the wrong way. They would like nothing more than for me to start drinking again, start taking drugs again and end up as a bum on skid row. But that’s not gonna happen.

Anybody who says anything bad about me is foolish, because a lot of people like me. You’re gonna make enemies when you put down Ace Frehley. And that’s because I’m a straight shooter—I tell it like it is. Gene is that way too. He’ll sit across from you in a room and say this or that and tell it like it is. Whether you like it or not, he lays it out, right to your face. Paul will tell you one thing, then walk out the door and stab you in the fucking back. That’s Paul Stanley. And now he’s trying to take credit for the fucking Kiss logo? Unbelievable. I designed the logo—all he did was draw straighter lines.

And you know, I told Paul to wear the star on his eye. Do you know what his makeup was before he put the star on his eye? It was a round circle. He looked like the dog from the Little Rascals [Pete the Pup, a.k.a. Petey]. It told him it looked kinda silly and that he should put one star on his eye. But do I go around taking credit for that? No. I let him say he designed it. Who cares, you know? Let’s not be petty.

You would think that if Gene and Paul had half a brain, they would realize what’s going on and start saying good things about Ace. I mean, keep bad-mouthing me. No one’s gonna show up at your fucking tour this summer.

 

Read the full interview found here on Guitar World

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  • Mickmars

    Ace going all “3rd person” on us! Lol

  • ElectricGypsy

    I’m afraid Ace is delusional. The KISS Army has had no problem buying tickets to the post-KISS road show for the past several years. A little bad mouthing of Ace isn’t going to stop them from buying tickets to see Ace and Pete impersonators alongside Gene and Paul.

  • nigelciera

    When Ace can get through an interview without saying 1 thing bad about Gene and Paul, that will speak volumes about his personality. As far as I’m concerned, Ace destroyed KISS the moment he chose to do cocaine and abuse alcohol. Then Ace chose drugs over KISS, THAT was the ultimate kick in the teeth to Gene and Paul. They have every right to be bitter and angry at Ace for all of the hell, headaches and heartaches he put them through. Ace has fame, fortune, respect and nothing but tons of guitar-playing fans worshipping him and he threw that all away. Ace = big loser!

  • Linda’s Mike

    Ace reminds me of my sister. And that’s not a compliment, as she’s a junkie.
    I don’t know if this guy is truly clean or not these days or what’s really going on behind the scenes, but some (not all, but some) people are junkies so long that even when they go sober they still keep junkie mentality.
    They will constantly lie and manipulate. It’s second nature. Even now, the reason Ace is talking everywhere isn’t because of the award show. It’s because he has a record coming out and it’s a way to keep him on the public’s mind.

    Maybe Stanley and Simmons are terrible people. Maybe not. But what I see from the outside through various recent articles is typical, where a junkie bends and folds the truth to make his victims look like the bad guys.
    Everything I read comes across like the guys have taken in Ace before and HE’S the one who says one thing, but does another. Be it bad behavior, not showing up on time, things like that.
    And it would be that typical junkie mentality to be the backstabber and then turn the tables in his story to make the guy who said enough to his bull and make like he was doing what Ace actually was.

    Deflection. The two face’s best friend.

    Believe me, Simmons and Stanley ARE being civil if Ace has been as big a junkie as is said. They lie and steal and constantly push at you till you can’t speak of them without disgust in your voice, then the junkie will go out and tell others “Look how they act. So angry and insulting. I am nothing but polite and taking a higher road. I am the better person, don’t you see?”

    I obviously don’t know to a certainty, but Ace rings false to me after a lifetime of my sister.

  • Roro Mili

    Hey Ace:
    As a fan, STFU!
    Quit whining, blaming, and get on with your life. You had your chance(s). You blew it.
    Nobody owes you anything.

  • SSGMY

    First off KI$$ and their latest record “MONSTER” was really not so much of a monster for me. This record is mediocre at best and the songs not so memorable. Sonic Boom was better I thought. It seems Gene and Paul are wrapped up in other business and nonsense and it seems to be taking away from the music. Ace has always delivered straight forward kick ass rock n’ roll both in KI$$ and solo and I guarantee the new album Space Invader will top anything KI$$ has done lately not to mention the last 30 years. I don’t think any true KI$$ fan would disagree that Ace and peter had issues during their career with KI$$, however we all know Gene and Paul have plenty of blame to go around as well. They’re not angels by no means either. Hell Gene would leave you standing out in the rain while getting a piece of ass and he’d fuck a squirrel if it had lipstick on. I think fans get that Ace and Peter messed up at times but these guys are human beings and humans make mistakes. It just seems Gene and Paul want to always point the finger at the other two guys and it’s always been about what Gene and Paul wants and for a long time now it’s never been a band it’s just been Gene and Paul. It’s always been said it’s all for the fans. Well fans did want to see the original members perform at the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame induction. One or two songs with Ace and Peter would have been great. Just get up there and jam it out and be done. I don’t think anyone really thought there would be a full blown reunion tour. Even though we hoped there would be… it was just wishful thinking. Long time KI$$ fans are tired of trying to be spoon fed bullshit from Gene and Paul. We’re not stupid. I recall Paul saying that introducing new members and costume and make-up was really difficult and didn’t go over to well with the fans. I’m talking about Eric Carr and Mr. Vincent. I thought their introduction to KI$$ as new members was cool. They both had their own costume, character, and identity. This made it alright because they weren’t Ace or Peter they was not the catman or spaceman. They where the “FOX’ and the ” Egyptian warrior”. However now in this day Eric dresses as the catman and Tommy spaceman. Why not give these guys their own character. It would not be anymore ridiculous or nonsense than them dressing as space Ace or Catman. When I think of the Cat I think Of Peter and when I think of Spaceman I think of Ace and non other. Hell give Eric and Tommy the respect they deserve to be their own thing. I do think ticket sales would suffer badly if not for all the big CO. headline tours KI$$ have been doing with Aerosmith, Motley Crue, and this summer Def Leppard. These bands are big contenders and help with ticket sales immensely. You know Gene and Paul have said they are tired of Ace and Peter’s crap over the years but I’m guessing Peter and Ace are really tired of Gene and Paul’s bullshit just as well. I’m just a fan from the outside looking in but I’ve spent hard earned money on their records, tickets, and insane merchandise over the years and can express an opinion…..we helped make them rich. No disrespect to Eric & Tommy but ACE RULES.

  • StellaGreene

    For many fans, Ace is the only guitarist who matters; for others, a druggie who wasted his talent. No matter how you wish to slice it, after all these years Ace Frehley is a legend; only a handful of guitarists have had such an influential role in rock music.
    Ace’s guitar playing in Kiss presents great gifts to the listener–great structure, great melody, great tone. When I listen to Kiss music, I need two things to really enjoy it: intense volume and Ace’s guitar playing!