Monday, September 28, 2009

Ace Frehley Interview: Spaceman Is Back On Earth...And Happy!

Ace Frehley Interview: Spaceman Is Back On Earth...And Happy!
By J. Frank Hagan - KISS Mask Webzine

Kiss Mask: Congratulations on the success of "ANOMALY." It debuts at #27 on Billboard's Top 200 next week.
Ace Frehley: Thank you. That's my lucky number. Too many weird things have happened-but that's the way my life's story has been (laughs). So it really doesn't surprise me that much.

KM: It doesn't surprise you at all?
AF: It does but it doesn't. I'm still a little in shock over the numbers. My new label (Bronx Born) is #2 on the Indie charts. You know what? After working on the record for twenty years it was all worth the while.

KM: It actually took two years to record, correct?
AF: I started it at the beginning of 2007.

KM: When I hear "ANOMALY," it sounds like the love child to your 1978 solo album.
AF: By design.

KM: Yes. The '78 solo record is the template...
AF: I listen to my fans. I'm making records because I want my fans to like it- this album is for my fans. It's everything everyone has been asking for and I think I delivered. At the beginning, I listened to my (1978) solo record and tried to figure out why everyone cites that as their favorite solo record and I basically used a lot of the same recording techniques. I used some of the same musical textures. I recorded the album the same way. The same mic techniques I learned from Eddie Kramer- all pre-amps, Marshall amps in conjunction with old guitars. I remembered the process. I've got some great engineers to work with. It turned out okay.

KM: It turned out more than okay. There is a lot of personal experience with this new record and I think that makes it more special.
AF: Yeah, I put my heart and soul into this record. It really comes from deep inside. You take a look inside a song, "A Little Below The Angels," and I rewrote that song- that song was done and I rewrote it- all the verses I wrote during the mixing process. I rewrote the lyrics... It just became more honest- more straight forward.

KM: "ANOMALY" flows so nicely.
AF: Yeah. I changed the course. The original verses has a totally different feel. Like "Genghis Kahn" basically was, after the guitar intro, how the song started and ended- the intro, the whole breakdown and the end section turned out later on.

KM: Where did you get the idea for "Genghis Kahn?"
AF: Sometimes when I am writing a song, it's almost like I'm not writing it. It's like someone is beaming into my brain and I can't write the lyrics down on a piece of paper fast enough. It's almost like my brain is a radio receiver and somebody is beaming it into my head. Sometimes it's that easy.

KM: I'd love to hear "A Little Below The Angels" and "Genghis Kahn" live. Actually, you could play the entire record live.
AF: It's funny that you say that. A lot of people were talking to me about a special concert of just the 1978 album. We were talking about it last year. Doing couple of selected shows because of the 30Th Anniversary of the solo albums, but I've been too busy finishing this record and touring. That never happened but somehow do whole first album and this album- that would something special.

KM: There are a lot of references to God and Heaven- does this mean Ace Frehley is going to church on Sundays?
AF: I used to when I was a kid. Not too much lately. I really don't think you have to go to church to communicate with God. But getting sober and that whole experience, was a really religious experience.

KM: Did you do it on your own or did you go to rehab?
AF: I didn't go to rehab, although I've been there before, but this time around I cleaned up on my own. I worked on twelve step programs and therapists and got my head screwed on straight - I was screwed up for so long. The day of release of the album was three years sobriety...

KM: ...Was that planned?
AF: No, it just happened by accident. It wasn't planned. Anyone that knows me will tell you that number 27 ( Ace's birthday is April 27) follows me around wherever I go. For the album to debut on Billboard at #27 is like God playing a trick on me - telling me that He's helping me out.

KM: It's good to see you so good...
AF: It's good to be healthy (followed by Frehley's famous cackle).
KM: Also, congratulations today on Kiss being nominated for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
AF: Yeah, I heard. That's nice.

KM: That's your band you help start.
AF: I designed the logo, came up with the makeup for my character. Somebody else is wearing it now. Go figure (laughs).

KM: Anton Fig plays drums on most of the album. You both have been friends for over 30 years now. How did you hook up with Anton?
AF: I was trying to find a drummer ('78 solo) for the album and a friend of mine from high school with brought up Anton Fig's name. I was going to set up a meeting and then Eddie Kramer was looking for drummers independently . He called me up and one day goes, "Hey, I heard about this Anton Fig." Immediately I said, "Wow. There's something going on here."

KM: And you guys have been close ever since?
AF: That's exactly what happened with Marti Frederiksen, the guy who mixed the album. I asked a couple of independent people- Who would you get to mix the record? His name came up more than once. So, let me take a meeting with this guy. Marti produced "Fox On The Run," and besides mixing a great album with Anthony Foch, he helped me out on "A Little Below The Angels" he plays organ on. On "Fractured Quantum" he played the bass parts and re-programmed the drums. He also sang background on "Fox On The Run." He's a multi-talented guy. I just saw him last week in LA at a question and answer thing we did at the Grammy Museum - and that was great!