Lead Guitarist, KISS
Born: 27 April 1952
; New York City
, New York.
While not the most talented guitarist of the 1970s, Ace Frehley was arguably one of the most influential. KISS' theatrics led to the explosion of garage bands in the late seventies which continues to this day. Almost every metal or hard rock act claims Frehley as inspiration. With incendiary (literally) guitar playing, the Space Ace from KISS became a hallmark of loud, no-holds-barred riff based rock.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Paul Frehley picked up the guitar at age 6 when he received an electric for his birthday. Jamming with friends, he quickly acquired the moniker "Ace" after his attempts to emulate the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Cream. After playing with a variety of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix influenced local bands, Frehley heard about a new band being formed with a more theatrical approach to gigging. He auditioned in 1973 for Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and (relative newcomer) Peter Criss and was quickly accepted into the band.
KISS became an overnight sensation with the release of their concert album Alive! and with the success came the stereotypical vices of rock and roll. Ace became addicted to drugs and alcohol. After friend and band mate Peter Criss left in 1980, Frehley had trouble coping with the remaining members of KISS and their multimedia antics (Ace strongly disapproved of the expansion into movies, comic books, breakfast cereal, and the other merchandising mayhem for which KISS is best known). He left the band in 1982 in an attempt to further his solo career and focus solely on music.
Frehley tried to distance himself from KISS, frequently slamming former bandmates Stanley and Simmons in any number of public appearances and interviews. Simmons often recalls these harangues as the height of Frehley's chemical dependencies.
With a new band, Frehley's Comet, Ace released a handful of albums that failed to sell well. He finally bit the bullet and cleaned up his act (mostly through rehabilitation) in time to join the reunion of the original KISS lineup for MTV Unplugged in 1995. The success of the acoustic show led to a concert tour and the first new KISS album from the founding members, Psycho Circus. Frehley stuck with the band through their subsequent tour for the new album and their farewell tour. He is currently laying low from the public scene, appearing briefly in interviews for VH1's new KISS documentary.
Track listing for KISS solo record:
- Rip It Out (3:40)
- Speedin' Back to My Baby (3:37)
- Snowblind (3:55)
- Ozone (4:43)
- What's on Your Mind? (3:28)
- New York Groove (3:03)
- I'm in Need of Love (4:39)
- Wiped-Out (4:13)
- Fractured Mirror (5:26)