Except for the fact that he was born in outer space, as a kid Ace Frehley was just like you and me. He brought his well-worn copy of Are You Experienced? into high school, staring at the cover over and over, looking for secret clues and waiting for his next chance to hear it again.
Of course – and this is where he’s different from most of us – this curiosity would soon spur Frehley into using his talent, drive and charisma to become one of the most influential and beloved guitar players in rock history.
Ace’s work as lead guitarist and as a songwriter for Kiss helped turn the band into one of rock’s hottest phenomena, with a string of hit albums, sold-out shows (and yes, merchandise sales) rarely matched in rock history. His acclaimed, smash hit 1978 self-titled solo album demonstrated that he could comfortably stand in the spotlight alone, and his long, distinguished and slightly idiosyncratic post-Kiss career has proven that to be true.
Over the past couple of decades, a parade of guitar heroes from newer generations – including Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Slash, Anthrax’s Scott Ian and late Pantera legend Dimebag Darrell (who went so far as to have Ace’s face tattooed on his chest) have testified to the influence Frehley had on their own work. Ever noticed whose famous lightning bolt guitar strap Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes is always wearing on stage?
Perhaps more importantly, Frehley has remained a true individual, ignoring the trend-chasing, reality show nonsense and profit-maximizing traps many of his peers have fallen into. Instead, he’s operated on his own unique, comet-like timetable and released acclaimed solo albums such as 1989’s Trouble Walkin’, 2009’s Anomaly and 2014’s Space Invader only when sufficient inspiration struck. As a result, his fans have remained extremely loyal, helping Ace achieve the best-selling solo career of any Kiss veteran.
Tickets to Frehley’s forthcoming solo performance at the Neptune Theatre can be purchased here.