1983–Present: Solo Career/Frehley's Comet & More

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Posted on Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:01pm
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

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On December 29, 1982, Kiss began the Creatures of the Night tour without Frehley: he was replaced by Vinnie Vincent. However, Frehley retained a one-quarter share in the Kiss partnership until 1985. He received one-quarter of the profits for both Lick It Up and Animalize although he had no involvement with either record.

In 1984, Frehley started his post-Kiss solo career by assembling a band that included, among others, drummer Anton Fig (who had performed on Frehley's 1978 solo album and on two Kiss albums). Bassist John Regan (who had worked with Peter Frampton), whom Frehley met in 1980, was also an original member of the band as was vocalist/guitarist Richie Scarlet and keyboardist Arthur Stead. The group, whose name alternated between 'Ace Frehley' and Frehley's Comet, recorded a series of demos throughout 1984 and 1985. The band performed their first ever live show at S.I.R. Studios in New York City, NY on November 30, 1984, and played a handful of shows in the Northeast United States in March 1985.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at securing a recording contract, the group eventually signed to Megaforce Records and released their first album, Frehley's Comet, on July 7, 1987. The album was co-produced by Eddie Kramer, who had produced not only a number of Kiss albums, but Frehley's 1978 album and some of his 1984–85 demos. Anton Fig, now being the in-studio drummer for David Letterman's late-night television show, performed on the album but was unable to maintain a permanent commitment to touring. He played on the 1987 tour in the U.S. when Frehley's band played a double bill with Y&T, and new band (at the time) White Lion opening the shows. By the time the band began recording this album, Richie Scarlet had left the group to pursue other projects and was replaced by Tod Howarth. In addition, at some point between the initial Frehley's Comet shows in 1984–85 and their signing to Megaforce, the band had become a four-piece, with Arthur Stead no longer playing with the group.

Frehley's Comet, a mixture of hard rock and pop metal, was a successful return to the music scene for Frehley. The album peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard 200 (selling nearly 500,000 copies), and the single, a Russ Ballard cover "Into the Night," reached No. 27 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. "Rock Soldiers" was an autobiographic song, written partially about Frehley's April 1982 car accident as well as his past struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. The video for "Rock Soldiers" received moderate airplay on MTV, particularly on Headbangers Ball.

Despite the positive reviews and healthy album sales of Frehley's Comet, Frehley was unable to maintain much commercial momentum. Two 1988 Frehley's Comet albums—the live EP Live+1 and second studio album Second Sighting peaked at No. 84 and No. 81, respectively. A pair of tours in support of Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden ended prematurely, with the band claiming lack of payment in both cases.

In order to reverse his band's declining commercial fortunes, Frehley dropped the Frehley's Comet moniker and issued 1989's Trouble Walkin' under his own name. Tod Howarth and Jamie Oldaker also decided to leave before recording started on the album, and were replaced by Richie Scarlet and Sandy Slavin. Despite the return to a more traditional hard rock style, Trouble Walkin' continued the pattern of declining sales, and peaked at #102.

One notable aspect of Trouble Walkin' was the guest appearance of Peter Criss, who provided backing vocals on several tracks, along with Sebastian Bach and other members of Skid Row. It was the first time Criss and Frehley had performed together on an album since Kiss' 1979 album, Dynasty, although Criss had shown up briefly at a Frehley's Comet show in Los Angeles in 1987, playing drums on a final encore of "Deuce". Frehley would return the favor by playing solos on Peter Criss's Cat #1 album on TNT Records, released in 1994. In contrast to the somewhat adversarial relationship Frehley had with Kiss (particularly Gene Simmons) throughout the 1980s, he and Criss had maintained good ties during the decade. In June 1995, Frehley's and Criss' bands embarked on the "Bad Boys Tour." These years (1993 to 1995) produced one of Frehley's most talented bands of his solo career, with Frehley on lead guitar and vocals, Richie Scarlet on guitar, and dynamic newcomer Steve "Budgie" Werner on drums, who was the glue holding it all together, as the band went through 5 different bassists during these years. This marked the end of Frehley's solo band for several years as Kiss shortly thereafter reunited and began touring together again.

Reunion with Kiss

In 1996, Frehley rejoined Kiss for a successful reunion tour, on which all four original members of the band performed live for the first time since original drummer's Peter Criss departure in 1980. After the end of the reunion tour, it was announced that the original lineup would go back in the studio to record a new album. However, besides the album Psycho Circus, which was released in 1998 and was promoted with a successful world tour, it was revealed a couple of years later that Frehley's and Criss's involvement on the album was minimal. "Into The Void", which was Frehley's lone contribution on the record, including vocals and lead guitar duties, is believed to be the only track that all four original members performed on the record. After completing the "Farewell Tour" with KISS, Frehley decided to leave the band and resume his solo career.

Autobiography

Ace Frehley released his autobiography, No Regrets - A Rock 'N' Roll Memoir, on 1 November 2011. The autobiography was authored by Ace Frehley, Joe Layden and John Ostrosky, and published through Gallery Books, a sub-division of Simon & Schuster. The book entered the New York Times' list in the hardcover non-fiction category at #10.

Technique

In a 2009 interview with Rock N Roll Experience Magazine, Frehley stated, "I'm an anomaly, I'm an un-schooled musician, I don't know how to read music, but I'm one of the most famous guitar players in the world, so go figure."

"I play guitar in such an unorthodox way," he told Guitar World in 1996. "I've never taken a guitar lesson. One of our assistants brought it to my attention a few months ago that, sometimes, when I play chords, my thumb is on the fretted side of the neck. I have no idea why or how I do it, but I do." "I remember a time early on when Ace and I would play," added Paul Stanley, "and I would do vibrato with my hand, and Ace would get vibrato by shaking his whole arm against the neck of the guitar [laughs]."

Signature Les Paul Guitars

Ace Frehley currently has two Gibson (and Epiphone) Signature Les Paul Guitars. His first model, released in 1997 included a signature headstock, lightning bolt inlays, and (allegedly) three DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups. His more recent model, the "Budokan" Les Paul replicates his heritage cherry sunburst guitar he used in 1976. Both Gibson and Epiphone produced the guitars.

Guest Appearances

  • "Eugene" – Song on the 1981 self-titled album by Crazy Joe and the Variable Speed Band. Frehley co-wrote and co-produced the song with Joe Renda and played synth drums.
  • "Bump and Grind" – Song on the 1984 Wendy O. Williams album W.O.W. Frehley played lead guitar.
  • Cat #1 – 1994 Criss album. Frehley played lead guitar on three songs: "Bad Attitude," "Walk the Line" and "Blue Moon Over Brooklyn."
  • "Cherokee Boogie" – Song on the 1996 compilation album Smell the Fuzz: Guitars that Rule the World 2. The song was written, produced and engineered by Frehley, who also played all guitars on it.
  • "Rocker Room Theme" – Song on the 1998 Still Wicked album Something Wicked This Way Comes. Frehley played rhythm and lead guitar. CD also features Ron Leejack (Wicked Lester), Gordon G.G. Gebert, MaryAnn Scandiffio and Michael Sciotto.
  • "Foxy Lady" – Song on the 1998 ESP (Eric Singer Project) album Lost and Spaced. Frehley played lead guitar.
  • "Freedom" – Song on the 2000 Karl Cochran album Voodooland. Frehley played the guitar solo on the bonus demo version.
  • Insanity of Life – 2002 Richie Scarlet album. Frehley played guitar on "Johnny's in Love" and lead guitar on "Too Far Gone." He also co-wrote "Too Far Gone" with Scarlet.
  • "Know Where You Go" – Song on the 2002 Anton Fig album Figments. Frehley played lead guitar.
  • "Bad Choice" – Song on the 2005 Kathy Valentine album Light Years. Frehley played the lead guitar solos.
  • In 2005, Frehley played a new version of "2,000 Man" on Eddie Trunk's "Merry Kissmas" special.
  • On June 25, 2008 Frehley appeared onstage at New York's Madison Square Garden with Pearl Jam for an encore performance of Kiss's "Black Diamond" sung by drummer Matt Cameron.
  • "Black Light Messiah" – August 12, 2008 Jam Pain Society. Frehley played lead guitar on the song "The Ride".
  • On December 20, 2008, Frehley appeared on That Metal Show with host Eddie Trunk.
  • On July 21, 2009, Frehley appeared on the Dark Horse Tour with members from each of the tour's participating bands in a rendition of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell". Frehley played lead guitar with Chad Kroeger of Nickelback playing rhythm guitar and providing backing vocals and Austin Winkler of Hinder and Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach sharing lead vocals.

Filmography

  • 1978: Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park
  • 1988: Live+4 (VHS)
  • 1994: Ace Frehley – Acevision Volume #1
  • 1998: Kiss: The Second Coming Documentary
  • 1999: Detroit Rock City
  • 2004: Kiss Loves You
  • 2004: Remedy
  • 2009: Let's Go Cobo (Documentary)

Interviews

  • Ace Frehley Interview on Maximum Threshold Radio
  • Behind the Player:Ace Frehley DVD (2010)
 

Attribution

Ace Frehley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_Frehley https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/