One of rock's music's most renowned and influential guitar players, ACE FREHLEY is a true visionary.
Born on April 27, 1951 in Bronx, New York, the musical saga of ACE FREHLEY took flight on his 13th birthday when he received his first guitar. Practicing diligently until his fingers bled, Frehley's musical dreams and aspirations were ignited after the budding young graphic artist witnessed The Who's first New York appearance for a "Murray the K" show at the RKO 58th Street Theater. Seeing Led Zeppelin’s first NYC appearance at the Fillmore East also proved to be a pivotal signpost of his teenage years. But his initial live introduction to The Who still burned in his memory. Knocked out by the sheer power and theatricality of the band and dazzled by Pete Townshend's showmanship, from that moment onward, Frehley knew his glittery destiny lay in rock and roll music.
"I always knew music was the way for me to go” says Ace…”It was clear R&R was the only life for me.”
Answering a December 1972 "Musician's Wanted" ad in New York’s Village Voice for a lead guitarist, ever the individualist, Ace Frehley showed up at KISS's seedy rehearsal loft on New York's East 23rd Street wearing one red sneaker and one orange sneaker. This guy always knew how to make an impression. The last member to join KISS, Ace assumed the Kabuki visage of the Spaceman, which fit his personality perfectly. An accomplished artist, Ace would go on to design the internationally famous KISS logo, one of the most recognizable and striking logos in all of music.
Armed with his Cherry sunburst Les Paul, Ace's incendiary fretboard acrobatics propelled KISS to new creative and commercial heights for ten magical years. Citing Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Keith Richards as his seminal six-string influences, Ace carved out his own distinctive style of guitar playing, and in turn inspired a generation of popular contemporary acts including Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz, Pantera and The Foo Fighters. A formidable songwriter, Frehley's KISS compositions, "Cold Gin”, "Shock Me," "Rocket Ride" and "Parasite" are routinely championed by fans and critics as among the band's best. Another notch on Frehley's jetpack was his smash 1978 solo single, "New York Groove," the only hit culled from the four KISS solo albums.
Since embarking on a solo career in the mid-Eighties, Ace issued a string of well-received albums including Frehley's Comet (1987), Frehley's Comet Live +1 (1988), Second Sighting (1988) and Trouble Walkin' (1990) and performed hundreds of concerts around the world. Never forsaking his passion for graphic art, Frehley's prodigious artistic ability further blossomed in the ‘90s with First Sightings, a stunning collection of imaginatively rendered computer-generated artwork.
After a surprise appearance with original KISS drummer Peter Criss on MTV's Unplugged TV show, the wheels were set in motion for a KISS reunion. "It's something that the fans really wanted and they were right. It turned out to become the biggest grossing tour of 1996," remarked Ace. Reuniting with his former band mates, Frehley participated in three triumphant SRO world tours, a new studio record, Psycho Circus, and global performances at the Super Bowl and the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Since his departure from KISS in 2002, Ace has explored a myriad of creative outlets including designing and building a new recording studio. In 2005, he guested on an album by long-time friend, and veteran Late Night With David Letterman drummer, Anton Fig. Kicking off 2006 in grand style, Ace demonstrated his prowess as a card player by participating in VH1's Rock & Roll Celebrity Poker Tournament, going head to head with ZZ Top's Dusty Hill, Vinnie Paul of Pantera and members of Godsmack and Anthrax. Proceeds from Frehley's winnings were channeled to his favorite charity, The Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
Performing the KISS classic "God Of Thunder" with a one-off supergroup featuring Slash, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Rob Zombie and Anthrax's Scott Ian, in May of 2006 Ace took part in VH1's Rock Honors awards show, for which KISS were among the honorees. Further road-testing a return to live performance, that same year he jumped on stage and jammed with Pearl Jam at Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel. Paying tribute to Pantera's "Dimebag " Darrell, a lifelong fan of the legendary guitarist, Ace inducted the late guitarist into Hollywood's "Rock Walk," and also took part in an all-star musical tribute to the fallen rock hero at House Of Blues/Sunset Strip.
A high profile 2007 national commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts saw Frehley donning the trademark KISS warpaint and costume once again, and in the process, demonstrating how in his hands a Les Paul guitar can be transformed into a dangerous rock and roll fireworks machine. On Halloween 2007, answering the persistent calls of his loyal fanbase, Ace returned to live performance as a solo artist after a long absence. Debuting his brand new live band, he performed a thrilling set to a SRO crowd at New York's Hard Rock Cafe. But perhaps the most exciting news for fans of Ace is that he's currently putting the finishing touches on a new solo CD, his first in almost two decades.
"I haven't put out a solo album in a long time and I made sure this one is special," says Ace.
Happy, healthy and ready to rock, one thing's for sure, the colorful and always unpredictable story of ACE FREHLEY is far from over. Today Frehley is rocketing at warp speed towards a new stratosphere of musical invention.
Now back in the music groove, Ace has the final word: "Performing in New York City on Halloween after being away for so long, I realized how much I miss the stage and touring. I’ll see you all out there in 2008."