Kiss’ original guitarist, Ace Frehley, has primarily focused on playing live shows since he left the band in 2002, though no new studio material has surfaced. But that’s soon about to change. September 15th will see the release of Ace’s first solo album in nearly 20 years, Anomaly, via his own label, Bronx Born Records. Produced almost entirely by Frehley, the album shows why many rock and metal guitarists list “Space Ace” as a prime six-string influence, as evidenced by the epic “Genghis Khan” and a kick ass cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.” Frehley recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the new album, his ex-bandmates and kicking booze once and for all.
The September 15th release of Anomaly will be your three-year anniversary of sobriety.
I’ve accepted the fact that I can never drink again as long as I live, and I’m ok with it. And it should be easy when you think about it – some people get allergic to shellfish. When they eat it, they break out or get sick. And you know what those people say to themselves? “I can’t eat shellfish anymore for the rest of my life.” And they’re ok with it. But for some reason, when it comes to alcohol, people get crazy. It’s getting past that.
How does Anomaly compare to your previous work?
Everybody keeps talking about my first solo album [1978’s Ace Frehley], and I keep thinking, “Right now, I feel exactly like I did after I finished mixing that record.” I kind of knew I had something hot, that everybody was going to like. Maybe history will repeat itself again — 31 years later.
I understand you had to re-think one of your concert trademarks.
The biggest problem with the smoking guitar thing now is the fire marshals. So right now, I’m working on a miniature fog machine that goes in the guitar [laughs].
Are you still in contact with Kiss?
Yeah, I spoke to Paul, Peter — I haven’t spoke to Gene in a couple of years. The last time Gene left a message on my answering machine, it was to do his television show. He was doing a roast. I wanted to do it, so I called Paul and Peter, and both of them told me that they weren’t going to do it. So after hearing that, I felt like, “Well, if the whole band isn’t going to be there to roast Gene, maybe it would be better if I didn’t do it either.” Because initially, Gene told me it was going to be Steven Tyler and Cher, and they backed out. You don’t jump on a sinking ship [laughs].
Would you ever consider another Kiss reunion?
I’m having so much fun with this new album. It’s not something I think about at all anymore. The reunion tour was supposed to be it — that’s what they told me when they asked me to do it. But then they go, “Now we want to do a farewell tour.” I said, “OK, I’ll do a farewell tour.” It ended in Australia, and then I get a phone call when I come back, “Now we want to do something else.” Then Gene is on my answering machine, “Ace, we’re going to go out. If you don’t want to do it, we’re going to use another guitar player.” What is that, a threat? I didn’t even answer the phone [laughs]. That was that.