Ace Frehley interview: Space Oddity
GW What has changed most about your playing over the years?
FREHLEY I think I’m being driven by the fact that for a while I was pushed down, and so I feel like I have to prove to everybody that I’m back. After I left Kiss in 2001, they told everyone I couldn’t tour anymore, that I was fucked up. I felt like that wasn’t going to be my epitaph. So I decided to get strong and get sober and show everybody what I really can do and what I could have done if I had been more together. It’s weird that my time is coming this late in life. But better late than never.
GW Looking back, how do you think people viewed Kiss?
FREHLEY I think a lot of musicians, serious musicians, wrote us off as clowns. I understand it, you know? The other day I was listening to Alive IV and even Alive II, and I really wasn’t happy with the mix.
GW What do you know now about life that you didn’t know when you started with Kiss?
FREHLEY Well, I’m a lot smarter about business matters. I was pretty out of the loop back then. After you get screwed four or five times, you start reading the fine print. I have a much better overview of the business—I look at it as a producer, as a songwriter and as a performing artist. And it’s nice to be able to do that.
GW Could you be who you are now without having been in Kiss?
FREHLEY Well, I knew I was destined to be a rock star. I just knew it. If I hadn’t been in Kiss I would have been someplace else. I remember when I was 15 or 16, I would go see the Who, Cream and Hendrix. They were all great, but I said, “I know I can do that. I’m gonna do that.”
GW Are you still in touch with Paul, Gene or Peter?
FREHLEY I haven’t spoken with Paul and Peter over the last couple of years. I haven’t spoken to Gene since I left the band.
GW Do you still feel a loyalty to them, to Kiss as an entity?
FREHLEY I don’t know if “loyalty” is the right word. I feel a connection. The four of us did have a chemistry that was unique to us, but I think it might be gone at this point, or impossible to recapture.
GW If the circumstances were right, could you do something with the same lineup again?
FREHLEY I think that time has probably passed. It came and went. But that’s okay. I did the reunion tour; I feel I was there for them when they needed me.
GW Paul recently said that Kiss could continue on without any of the original members. Do you agree with him?
FREHLEY That’s not my idea of what Kiss is. Maybe that’s his idea. You know, they say things like that just to cover their asses, so that they can carry on and still say it’s Kiss. That’s all that is: smoke.
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