On August 11, 2000, we had a show in Irvine, California, after a week off. Ace had spent the week in New York. We had a rule that if anyone was going to fly cross-country on a commercial flight to get to a gig, he had to get there a day in advance – just to be safe, in case there was a storm or a mechanical issue or whatever. We didn't want to have to cancel shows.
The day before the Irvine show, Tommy had arranged for a limo to pick Ace up and take him to his flight. He always had the limo show up hours early because it was the same chore to get Ace out of his house as it was to get him out of a hotel. Then all of us sat around waiting for updates on Ace's progress. Ace's pickup was schedule for noon East Coast time.
At 1:30 P.M. Tommy called the limo. "Mr. Frehley needs to get going."
"Um, sir, he hasn't come out of the house yet."
Another half an hour passed. Tommy and Doc tried to get Ace on the phone, calling his house. No answer. After calling his house five more times, they finally got him on the line.
"Ace, you have to get in the car – you're going to miss your flight."
"There's a problem . . . uh . . . and i'm sick . . ." Millions of excuses. They kept rescheduling Ace on later and later flights. The limo went back each time. it got to be 7 and then 8 P.M. "Passenger has not left his house, sir," reported the limo driver each time.
Tommy managed to get Ace on the phone again. "There's one more flight out tonight, last one."
"Okay," said Ace. "I promise."
But again at the appointed time, nothing happened. "Passenger still not out of house, sir."
The next day was the show. Ace started the day on the other side of the country. By some minor miracle, however, he made it to the airport in the morning, was met by the on-site rep, and was escorted onto his plane.
Traffic from LAX airport to the venue was going to present a serious problem. So we arranged for a helicopter to sit at Terminal 4, where Ace was arriving, and shuttle him to the venue by air. That way he could probably make it in time for the concert.
Then we got a call. "Well, there's good news and bad news."
"The good news is that Ace really is on the plane. The bad news is that the plane has a mechanical problem and is delayed." At that point Doc told Tommy to drop what he was doing and get to the venue. He was going to have to play the show.
We traveled with a Spaceman outfit custom-fitted to Tommy – as an insurance policy. A brand new outfit, boots and all, tailored to Tommy always came along in one of the wardrobe crates. We knew Tommy could do it, but he had never actually done it.
"You guys are like superheroes," said Doc. "So Tommy Thayer is playing Batman today? It's still Batman."
Tommy got made up and dressed. And meanwhile we were geting updates on Ace's location as the start time of the show approached. He's landed . . . passenger is in helicopter . . . 50 miles away. . .
Ace walked into the dressing room about 20 minutes before the show was scheduled to start. He looked at Tommy – fully dressed and made up, with his guitar on, ready to go – and just said, "Oh, hey Tommy, how you doin'?"
We delayed the show an hour, Ace got into his makeup, and we played the concert.
The fact that we traveled with a costume for Tommy didn't seem to faze Ace. He thought it was a ploy – something between a joke and an empty threat. But we were 100 percent ready to go on with Tommy. We didn't have him suit up to teach Ace a lesson; we did it because we had a concert to play. The same reckless behavior that had led to a decades-long downward spiral was threatening to sink the ship. Here was a life preserver.
Still, Ace continued to think and act like he was irreplaceable. He continued to show total disregard for everyone else, continued to act as if we were blessed to have him. He congratulated himself on making it to the show.
"This will not do," Doc said to me and Gene. "These guys are just terrible. I run a management company, not the Red Cross. They don't send me into destroyed countries to rebuild things. I don't save people. You have to make changes."
From the forthcoming book Face The Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley. Copyright © 2014 by Paul Stanley. To be published on April 8,2014 byHarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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