Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune recently conducted an interview with original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Star Tribune: Do you think it's a fair tradeoff doing a solo tour? That is, you don't have to put the makeup on, but you also don't get to play as big a venue.
Ace: I don't even think about the makeup. I took the makeup off in 2001, and I really don't plan to put it back on. As far as the smaller audiences, usually the smaller places have better acoustics and you're closer to the people, more intimate. A lot of times that can be a lot more fun. I'm used to playing arenas with a pit and security guards between the band and fans; there's always that distance. The places I play now, people can touch me. As long as they don't get too intimate, you know? [Laughs/cackles.]
Star Tribune: It's been well over a decade since you did a solo tour. How are things different now?
Ace: For me, things are definitely better because I'm clean and sober now. That puts a different twist on everything. It's great to wake up without a hangover and not remembering what you did the night before. Life just seems to be getting better all the time.
Star Tribune: Was it harder to stay sober when you toured with KISS?
Ace: Not really. If I was having a good time and everybody was doing the right thing, I might've stayed. It just turned into the same nonsense that led to me leaving in '82. It all started happening again. For me, rock 'n' roll should always be fun. That's the reason I got into the business. When it's not fun anymore, it's time to move on.
I just had to leave because it wasn't fun anymore and I wanted to move on with my solo career, which I left on the back burner when I rejoined the group in '96. It was time. It was billed as the farewell tour, and then the reunion tour. They're still doing shows in Europe now. That wasn't the whole concept of the way it was presented to me when I jumped on board again.
Star Tribune: How do you feel about them touring with [former roadie] Tommy Thayer in your place, with the same makeup?
Ace: I really don't think about it [laughs], or I'd rather not think about it. I have no control over that. The fans don't seem too happy, though. What KISS is doing right now reminds me of like what some great fighters have done in the past when they come out of retirement, when they should have just rolled up the towel. That's the way it seems to me now. It's getting embarrassing.
Star Tribune: What can we expect to hear on your new album?
Ace: There are some good heavy rockers, some instrumentals, some midtempo stuff. It's the classic Ace Frehley sound and writing. I think everybody is going to ultimately be pleasantly surprised. I can't believe it's been like 15 years since I put out a studio album. Where the hell did time go [laughs]?
Read the entire interview from the Star Tribune.