Ace won’t badmouth Kiss bandmates
Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley won’t join the slagging match restarted by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley last week, even though he thinks the band’s 1990s reunion was as bad as they’re saying it was.
Simmons and Stanley last week explained that while the original lineup put the makeup back on in 1996 to great acclaim at first, the experience turned nasty after a time. Drummer Peter Criss left again in 2001 and Frehley’s contract expired the following year.
Although they stopped short of naming Frehley and Criss, the remaining pair were explicit in apportioning blame. Stanley called them “delusional about their songwriting and musical abilities” while Simmons said: “When you defile Kiss you should be thrown out.” Read the full story.
But Frehley, talking to Stop Smiling magazine, is happy to talk about Simmons and Stanley. And while he agrees with their analysis of the reunion, he doesn’t blame them, and he still regards them as friends.
He says: “It started off great – it wasn’t that different from tours in the past. I remember a couple of times doing shows, feeling I’d really gone back in time.
“But as the tour progressed things got weird. People started saying the same old things, pushing people’s buttons, and it wasn’t fun any more. It was like the 80s all over again.
“Originally it was put together in the spirit of all doing it together. Next thing I know, I’m feeling like a hired gun and I don’t have any say in anything. That’s not fun. The four of us invented Kiss but it wasn’t like the old days – pretty much everyone went their own way.”
Frehley’s been clean of alcohol and other drugs for three years now, but part of the agreement in 1996 was that he wasn’t allowed to drink on the road. He explains: “It was a business – a machine. It made me remember why I quit the group in the first place.
“Things started getting more about merchandising and marketing than music. I got involved in rock’n’roll because I love it, it was fun, I was getting to see the whole world and it was great.
“Then you start reading the fine print you realise people are deceiving you about this and that. Your lawyer tells you it’s over a lot more money than you thought. There are ulterior motives.”
But he doesn’t blame Simmons and Stanley, who are about to release a new Kiss album, Sonic Boom. Frehley says: “It was people who were handling us. We had to sue our record company. We had to sue our business managers. It was all because of mismanagement – people trying to take what they shouldn’t be taking.”
Speaking of his former colleagues he says: “You know, we’re old friends. I talk to them occasionally. We’ve been through too much together. People paint this picture like there’s good and bad – but everybody’s just trying to make a living.
“They take pot-shots at me once in a while but I guess that goes along with the territory.”
In the full interview Frehley discusses his addiction problems, his new solo album Anomaly and his early experiences with his out-of-control rocket-launching guitar.