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Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley
Event on 2017-07-21 20:00:00

Like a shooting star headed toward earth from another solar system, Ace Frehley operates in hisown musical galaxy. Hes a musical maverick and iconoclast adored by millions of fans around theworld. Through his seminal work with KISS and as a solo artist, Ace Frehley is championed as oneof the most influential guitar players of the last four decades and his impact on popular music isimmeasurable. With his smash 1978 solo album and postKISSwork including 2009 Anomaly,Frehley continues to be the best selling member of the original band.A career in music was in the cards for Ace from the very beginning. I decided when I was sixteenyearsoldthat I wanted to be a professional musician, Frehley asserts. Not only did I decide thatbut I always felt that I was gonna make it. Ive always had the power of foresight and I felt it wasdestiny for me. I knew it was gonna happen, if it wasnt with KISS it would have happened withsomeone else. I distinctly remember seeing Led Zeppelin, Cream and The Who, all groups who Iadmired tremendously, but at the same time there was a little voice in the back of my head going,You can do that too. Early on, Ace recognized the importance of fusing explosive musicality withlook at me ma showmanship. The Who was a big inspiration on me. The day I saw The Who playfor the first time in 1967 at the RKO Theater changed my life. Seeing Pete Townshend made merealize playing live onstage wasnt just about peeling off impressive licks but you have to entertaintoo. I knew then that I wanted to do something musical and theatrical. I remember playing in highschool bands and lighting off smoke bombs (laughs). I painted daygloflowers on my drummersdrums and put a black light in front of the kit so it would glow. I put lights in a guitar when I waseighteenyearsold.Heavily inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend, AceFrehley was a devoted student of rock and roll, practicing his craft by studiously listening to recordsby those classic players and treating them as sacred music scrolls. Little did the Bronx bornmusician know that years later the tables would be turned and his revolutionary sixstringaxe workas a member of KISS and a solo artist would inspire millions of guitars players around the globe tofollow in his footsteps. Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, Lenny Kravitz and the late Dimebag Darrell ofPantera are amongst the numerous artists whom have pointed to the legendary guitarist as aprofound inspiration. Its an honor that Frehley acknowledges with characteristic modesty. I dontthink much about how I influenced a whole generation of guitar players because that idea is so big(laughs). Im not egotistical and I try to be humble about all facets of my life but its kind of mindblowing to know I was a huge influence on a new crop of guitar players in the same way that peoplelike Hendrix, Page, Beck and Townshend had an impact on me. I was influenced by all thoseplayers and now Im lucky enough to have that kind of influence on guitar players younger than methat grew up listening to KISS and Ace Frehley. It goes full circle and its the way that rock and rollevolves. Its a good feeling and it makes me feel proud. I hear my influence on some players and itjust puts a smile on my face and gives me a little hop in my step. (laughs)More than four decades ago, Ace Frehley was rewarded with that life changing, big break that allaspiring musicians can only dream about. Answering a "Guitar Player Wanted" ad in NewYork's Village Voice weekly newspaper, the struggling 22yearoldmusician showed up to anaudition for a new hard rock band at a seedy downtown loft with egg crates hastily plastered to thewalls to act as a noise buffer for the sonic commotion unfolding inside. Ever the individualist,Frehley famously turned up wearing one red and orange sneaker and dutifully blasted off some ofhis signature fiery licks, leaving proverbial jaws on the ground and reducing all other candidates todust. Having "aced" his tryout, he joined forces with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Crissand KISS was born. Signed to fledgling new label Casablanca Records, KISS took the music worldby storm. Wearing garish makeup and decked out in outrageous costumes, love them or hate themKISS was a band you would never forget. Borrowing elements of their look from shockrockmasterAlice Cooper and comic books, and horror films, the band's glorious tsunami of sound drew sweatyinspiration from the best of Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, The Who, Rolling Stones and others.Defying critics who slammed them as talented clowns in black leather and sixinchheels, KISSkicked down the doors of convention with the perfect triumvirate of explosive music, unforgettableimage and spectacular stage show. Once we started playing live and we found our niche, I reallygot the sense that it was gonna go somewhere, Frehley recalls. Everyone in the band was on thesame page back then. Everyone was committed in their own way. Gene did a lot on the publicityend because at the time we didnt have a publicist. (laughs) In essence, in the beginning Gene wasour publicist. I was more of the design guyI designed the KISS logo I suggested Paul put onestar on his eye. We all worked together as a team. The group's tireless work ethic and unshakablecommitment to do anything to make it helped catapult KISS to stardom on the heels of theirseminal 1975 album, Alive! For the next several years, through such albums as Destroyer, Rockand Roll Over and Love Gun, KISS became an international phenomenon, racking up multiplatinumrecords and sold out concerts around the globe. For Frehley, the realization that KISS was now oneof the biggest bands in the world came when we played three nights at Madison Square Garden.That was a pretty special three days. It was our hometown and here we are playing Madison SquareGarden. It was where we struggled in our early days rehearsing in a small loft and playing smallclubs. Thats when it really sank in that we had made it big.As both a showman and musician, Frehley made an indelible impact on popular culture as amember of KISS. Whether firing rockets off his guitar, bringing crowds to delirium with his smokingguitar effect or impressing fans with his explosive fleet fingered sixstringguitar work, in a band notrenowned for its playing ability, he drew critical and public accolades for his accomplishedmusicianship. Taking a break from KISSmania,in September of '78 the band members releasedfour separate solo albums. Ace Frehley's debut solo album was by far the runaway biggest seller,spawning the smash hit, "New York Groove." Eddie Kramers assistant suggested we cut NewYork Groove, recounted Frehley. When I first heard the song I wasnt too keen on tracking it butEddie pushed me and said, Cmon Ace, you should try it. After we recorded it I still didnt thinkthat it was really the right song for me to do. Its not the kind of song I would ever write. But what doI know, it turned out to be my biggest hit! (laughs) The ramifications of his surprise success as asolo artist were far reaching as Ace explains: The success of my 78 solo album definitely plantedthe seed for my eventually leaving KISS to pursue a solo career. I felt I was more creative apart fromthe guys than with them. The success of my solo album opened my eyes and made me a littlemore cocky. It made me realize that I had the ability to do it on my own.Splitting from KISS in the early eighties, the first fruits of Aces creative efforts came in 1987 withhis new band, Frehley's Comet and eponymous debut album, which yielded the FM radio hit, "Intothe Night," a track penned by Russ Ballard who also wrote Frehley's signature '78 smash "NewYork Groove". From there, Frehley was on a roll, issuing a string of wellreceivedsoloalbumsSecondSighting, Live + One and Trouble Walkin'eachdemonstrating his spectacularsixstringabilities and immense gift for crafting imaginative and arena ready rockers was safelyintact. Looking back Frehley observes: I enjoyed the freedom of going solo but it was scary. OnceId actually left KISS and it sank in, I realized that the other three guys in the group did more than Ithought. I soon found out its a much bigger undertaking to go solo than Id anticipated. I have fondmemories of the Frehleys Comet days. That first lineup was great and it evolved over the years. Weput out some good music and were a really good live band. It was a lot of fun playing with thoseguys. If I wouldnt have run into trouble with drugs and alcohol I think the band would have gone a lotfurther. But we all have our demons and we deal with them in different ways.Reuniting with KISS in 1996, Frehley teamed up with his old mates for a spectacularly successfulfiveyearrun numbering sold out concerts around the globe and high profile appearances at theSuper Bowl and the Olympics. Splitting from the group in 2001 after their "Farewell Tour", Frehleyneeded to recharge his creative batteries and took a much needed sabbatical after decades in therock and roll circus. Eight years later, to the eternal joy of his loyal fan base, in 2009 "Space Ace"returned to the music scene with his first new studio album in twenty years. A commercial andartistic triumph, Anomaly, proved to be his highest charting album since his classic 1978 solodebut. In 2011, he added yet another accolade to his mantel as a New York Times best sellingbook author with No Regrets, a hard hitting and honest account of his tumultuous career.Having battled substance abuse for decades, in 2014 Frehley is seven years clean and sober anddriven by a newfoundcommitment and focus to his artistry. On December 17, 2013 Ace and theoriginal lineup of KISS was nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in the 2014 class.Entertainment One Music is proud to announce the addition of the legendary Ace Frehley to itsroster. His new solo album, as yet untitled, is due for release in the spring of 2014 and promises toforge yet another exciting chapter in the life of one of rock's most influential and distinctive artists.Fans can expect something closer to my 78 solo record, Frehley reveals. Over the past couple ofmonths Ive been listening to my old records and trying to find that formula that Ive captured somany times in the past. I recently played some of my new music for a few people at my label andthey were blown away. It reaffirmed in my mind that Im on the right path and I think my fans aregoing to love the results. Its gonna be a great record.

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