Next year, Ace Frehley will release his eighth solo studio album, 10,000 Volts – and it’s set to make a strong statement aimed at his former Kiss bandmates.
Last week, Kiss brought a close to their 50-year career with their last-ever live performance (sort of) at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Though Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were present, there were two notable omissions: fellow founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were not there.
Though Simmons originally said the pair were invited to join, that apparently wasn’t the case, with the band's former electric guitar player later claiming in a conversation with SiriusXM that Gene’s comments were merely a ploy “to sell tickets”.
“You know what it is? Those guys used my name and Peter’s name months ago,” he said at the time. “They said that they invited us to perform at that show. “I never got a phone call. Peter never got a phone call. They just said that to sell tickets.”
The result was a fairly sour footnote in the end of Kiss and Frehley’s intertwined journey, but not one that came completely out of the blue: for years now, the two parties have been locked in a less-than-amicable war of words.
One point of contention concerns the respective record release and creativity levels from each faction, with Frehley noting on many occasions now that Stanley and Simmons have been quick to critique his output.
This is where 10,000 Volts comes into play: the upcoming album, due February 2024, will be used in part to make a statement to his former Kiss bandmates and, in Frehley’s own words – taken from an upcoming Guitar World interview – “shut them up”.
When asked about the apparent perception generated by his former Kiss bandmates regarding a lack of creativity, Frehley responded, “Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] have tried to destroy my reputation over the years, we know that.
“And unfortunately for them, 10,000 Volts is going to make them look like imbeciles. Kiss hasn't put out a record since 2012 [Monster], and here I am, 17 years sober, and it's my sixth record since leaving Kiss,” he went on. “I keep chugging along, and nobody can stop me. Creating amazing music is the best way to combat someone putting you down. That's how I shut them up.”
That Frehley claims he will let 10,000 Volts make the statement comes as no surprise, especially since the guitarist maintains that he’s “always been the kind of guy to let the music do the talking”.
“I think that sometimes, that's the best route to go,” he told Guitar World. “Paul and Gene always like to elaborate and put people down; not only me but if you listen and read back to old interviews through the years, they're constantly putting other musicians down, too.
“Maybe it makes them feel better, or perhaps it's because they're just insecure. I don't know what the reason for it is.”
It’s not the first time Frehley has incited the name of 10,000 Volts as evidence of the differing levels of his and Kiss’ creative output over the years.
“I’ve been touring without Kiss for years,” he said in his previous interview with SiriusXM. “I mean, Kiss hasn’t put out an album in, what, nine years; I’ve put out five or six. And my [upcoming] album [10,000 Volts] I think is gonna really turn heads.
“I know Gene’s gonna really like it and tell the press he does like it. I have no idea what Paul Stanley’s gonna say. He usually holds back on any deep praise for me because he’s jealous of me.”
Keep your eyes on Guitar World for the full interview with Ace Frehley.