Ace Frehley interview: Space Oddity
GW Kiss fans always have their favorite member of the group. Even today, most of the people who use the Facebook application “What Kiss Member Are You?” choose you.
FREHLEY I don’t think Paul and Gene ever understood that. If they did, why would they have replaced me with Tommy Thayer? Sure, it was profitable for them in the beginning, but that was because nobody knew it was Tommy Thayer [because he was wearing Frehley’s “Spaceman” makeup and costume onstage]. And Paul and Gene were burying that fact.
GW Do you think it’s worse for Tommy to have to be you, or for you to see Tommy be you? He didn’t even get his own persona.
FREHLEY Well, he didn’t get his own makeup because of the merchandising machine that Gene has in place with Sony Signatures. To create a new face just for him would be a big problem. So it all comes down to dollars and cents rather than doing what’s right.
GW Why did you call this new album Anomaly?
FREHLEY I was originally going to call it Pax Eternal, which means “peace eternal,” but I started getting negative feedback about the name. I was sitting in the hotel room with my assistant, Frank Munoz, and we were kicking around ideas while surfing the internet. I said we should look for one-word names. All of a sudden I just said, “Anomaly,” and he goes, “Yeah.”
GW So what’s the anomaly?
FREHLEY I’m an anomaly. I’ve always felt a little different and apart from the crowd. Everybody’s gonna read something deeper into it, and maybe there is. But, you know, maybe there’s not.
GW Was there anything you were aiming for with this record?
FREHLEY I actually listened a lot to my first solo album, which everybody cites as their favorite Ace Frehley record. I was dissecting what was special about that record. It had a lot of different elements, and I kind of tried to do the same thing with this album.
GW In the years you weren’t making albums, did you think you’d lost what you had?
FREHLEY I did lose it for a while. If I hadn’t made the decision to clean up my act, who knows what would have happened? I don’t even know if I’d be alive right now.
In 2003, I had a really bad detox. I fell down a flight of stairs. I screwed up my shoulder and neck and couldn’t play guitar for a while. And I thought God had just taken it all away from me. All these crazy things ran through my head. I’ve always been great with computers, and after I fell I forgot how to use all of my programs. I had to learn how to do everything all over again.
GW How did you relearn?
FREHLEY I did it the same way I did it the first time—I taught myself. I never took a guitar lesson, I never took a computer lesson. But learning the second time was a lot easier because my mind was clear. Now I’ve relearned everything that I knew, and more—and I learned it better than before. I’m thinking clearer, and I’m writing songs that are as good as or better than anything I’ve written before.