Ace Frehley is beginning the new year by looking back. The former Kiss guitarist's new LP, Origins Vol. 1 – due out April 15th – finds him covering songs by Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and other artists that have inspired him over the years. His heavy-hitting take on Cream's "White Room" is premiering here. The LP also features his first recording with Paul Stanley, an impassioned interpretation of Free's "Fire and Water," in nearly two decades. Other guests on the record include Slash, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, Lita Ford and Rob Zombie guitarist John 5.
"I'm really thrilled with the whole thing," Frehley tells Rolling Stone. "I'm excited about it, and probably somewhere down the road there'll be a second volume."
"White Room" holds a special place in the guitarist's heart, since he attended Cream's New York City concert debut when he was about 15 – one of Frehley's first concerts. "Eric Clapton has always been a big influence on me," the guitarist says. "They were opening up for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. The Who was on the bill, too. Clapton had a big afro then and that painted guitar. It was pretty cool and different. I always liked 'White Room.'" Frehley's drummer, Scott Coogan, joins him on vocals for the song.
Frehley shrugs off any residual tension between himself and Stanley. "We've always been friends," he says. "The press seems to amplify negativity. I guess it makes good copy."
Both founding Kiss members were fans of Free and the song "Fire and Water," the title cut of the "All Right Now" group's 1970 LP. Frehley had wanted to do a version of it since the Seventies, so he recorded the backing tracks with his band and sent them to Stanley about a month ago, with the Kiss singer sending his recorded parts right back.
"I thought Paul did a fabulous vocal on it," the guitarist says. "He jumped at the chance to do this because it's something that's outside of Kiss and his character in Kiss, and it gave him a chance to, you know, sing. With Paul, you usually think of him singing in a slightly higher register and on 'Fire and Water,' he's singing deep from his diaphragm, and it's a real cool vocal. Everyone's who heard it was just thinks it's the shit."
Frehley also enjoyed lining up his other guests on the album. McCready plays on Kiss' "Cold Gin," a tune Frehley wrote, but Gene Simmons sang originally. "I've been a big influence on Mike, at least that's what he tells me," the former Kiss guitarist says. Slash plays on Thin Lizzy's "Emerald," and he contributed to the recording by suggesting both he and Frehley play live at the same time, something they did 15 times. "It took me three days to pick the best takes," Frehley says, "and I think it came out great."
Lita Ford joined him on the Troggs' "Wild Thing." "It has almost a garage-band flare to it," the guitarist says. And finally, John 5 wowed Frehley with his playing on Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Music" and Kiss' "Parasite," another Frehley-penned song he's singing for the first time on Origins. "John 5 was amazing to watch," he says. "He inspired me and obviously I inspire him. It was a lot of fun."
Frehley will be supporting the new record with a North American tour. See the dates below the track list.
Origins Vol. 1 Track List
1. "White Room" (Cream)
2. "Street Fighting Man" (Rolling Stones)
3. "Spanish Castle Magic," feat. John 5 (Jimi Hendrix)
4. "Fire and Water," feat. Paul Stanley (Free)
5. "Emerald," Slash (Thin Lizzy)
6. "Bring It on Home" (Led Zeppelin)
7. "Wild Thing," feat. Lita Ford (The Troggs)
8. "Parasite," feat. John 5 (Kiss)
9. "Magic Carpet Ride" (Steppenwolf)
10. "Cold Gin," feat. Mike McCready (Kiss)
11. "Till the End of the Day" (Kinks)
12. "Rock and Roll Hell" (Kiss)
Ace Frehley Tour Dates
February 26 - Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
February 27 - San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald's
February 28 - Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory
March 2 - Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
March 4 - San Miguel, CA @ The Ranch
March 5 - Beverly Hills, CA @ Saban Theatre
March 6 - Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl - Las Vegas
April 1 - Ponte Vedra, FL @ Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
April 2 - Clearwater, FL @ Capitol Theatre
April 3 - Sunrise, FL @ Markham Park - Rockfest 80's
April 5 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
April 7 - Danville, VA @ Carrington Pavilion
April 9 - New Hope, PA @ Havana New Hope
April 11 - New York, NY @ BB King's Blues Club
April 12 - New York, NY @ BB King's Blues Club
April 13 - Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
April 15 - Wilkes Barre, PA @ The F.M. Kirby Center
April 16 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance