Original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has responded to criticism from the band's frontman, Paul Stanley, who recently stated Ace was not fit "to wear the uniform" of KISS, explaining, "If you no longer can uphold your end or live up to the stature that we set for ourselves in the beginning, if you are compromised by drugs or alcohol, if you've lost sight of how lucky we are to be in this position, then you no longer deserve to wear the uniform."
Frehley tells Express.co.uk that his live performances were never as bad as his former bandmates claim. He says: "It's a joke. In concert, I always delivered, and 95 percent of the time I delivered on record. It's there, it's history. All they're trying to do is discredit me, so it validates the new [KISS] lineup. They'll look foolish when my new album comes out.
"I think they're just cranky that every time they go on the Internet they have to read fans saying, 'Get Ace back.'"
Frehley's first new solo album in five years, "Space Invader", will be released in North America on August 19 via Entertainment One Music (eOne Music). The CD, which will be made available in Europe on August 18 (three days earlier in Germany and Scandinavia) through SPV/Steamhammer, will include 11 brand new original songs as well as a cover of Steve Miller's "The Joker".
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have long been vilified for Ace Frehley and Peter Criss' exits from KISS following their worldwide reunion tours, which began in 1996. Rolling Stone ran an excerpt from Stanley's autobiography, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed", in which he explained how Criss and Frehley all but signed their pink slips from the "Hottest Band in The World."
According to The Pulse Of Radio, Stanley writes about Peter Criss' unhappiness during his last days on the road with KISS: "Peter posted a sign every day counting down the number of days left on the Farewell Tour. He started painting a teardrop below his eye. I thought it made him look like Emmett Kelly's famous Weary Willie character, the tragic clown who toured with the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus. And as for the rest of his makeup, it was as if he had forgotten how to do it. He started to look like a panda bear, with big rectangles around his eyes."
He went on to write, "The tour was horrible. Constant drudgery and misery. We spent all of our energy trying to coax Peter and Ace out of their hotel rooms. Ace sucker-punched (roadie and substitute guitarist) Tommy (Thayer) at one of the shows. Peter had his usual handbook detailing how hotel staff had to treat him and which windows had to be covered with tinfoil and all that. There was no reasoning with either of them. We never knew if we'd make it to a show on time, and once we got onstage we never knew whether we'd get through the show. I mean, if a guy has trouble putting on his makeup, how is he going to play? Not surprisingly, the shows could be pretty awful."
Stanley admits that he saw the band falling apart before his eyes, especially when it was frequently up in the air whether Frehley would even make it to the gig on a nightly basis. "I was angry at Peter and Ace for being disrespectful toward everything we had accomplished and everything the fans were giving us," he wrote. "I bought into the idea that this really was it. The end of KISS. There was no place to go. It was unbearable."
After a particularly bad show, manager Doc McGhee leveled with Stanley and Simmons and told them that some cuts needed to be made to keep the band operating at a functioning level. "'This will not do,' Doc said to me and Gene," Stanley wrote. "'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.'"
KISS and DEF LEPPARD kicked off their summer tour on June 23 at Salt Lake City, Utah's USANA Amphitheater.