By Mitch Lafon
It’s been twenty years, four Presidents, and many receding hairlines since ACE FREHELY last released an album. Of course, the Spaceman hasn’t been missing in action. He returned to KISS for the highly successful Reunion tour, the ill-conceived 3-D Psycho Circus tour and the never-ending Farewell tour, but most importantly Ace faced his alcohol demons face on and won.
September 15th marks the return of Ace as a recording artist with the release of Anomaly (his fifth and best solo studio album or certainly on par with his classic 1978 album), but more importantly the day celebrates Ace’s third anniversary of walking away from the bottle and re-claiming his life and health.
The Spaceman took Bravewords on a mattress shopping excursion for our sometime distracted, but pleasant discussion of all things Ace.
Mitch Lafon: You’ve made a great hard rock album with no outside vocalists. Was it important to make this a true Ace Frehley album?
Ace Frehley: “I think that’s what the fans wanted, so that’s what I went for. My touring drummer Scott Cogan did a wonderful job of background vocals on ‘Sister’ and ‘Pain In The Neck’ and there’s a couple of gals singing on ‘Genghis Khan’, but pretty much I did all the vocals and backgrounds. ”
ML: Was it challenging to sing all the vocals? I know, at times, with KISS you were hesitant to cut a vocal and on your previous solo albums you had outside singers. Do you have more confidence in your voice now?
AF: “Oh, yeah. It wasn’t scary at all and it was fun being in charge and producing. If I had hired a producer the album might have been finished a whole lot sooner, but it was great to have the creative control and be able to try different things with my voice and harmonize with myself. It’s always a pleasure (laughs).”
ML: Are you happy with the results?
AF: “Very much so.”
ML: Was there a deliberate attempt to recapture that ‘1978’ sound or is this simply ‘Ace music’ as it comes out of you?
AF: “I was aiming more for an analog sound rather than a digital sound, and I was trying to get as close to that first album as possible simply because everybody cites that as their favorite Ace Frehley record.”
ML: It’s been twenty years since the last release. What took so long?
AF: “I was ready to go in a record and album right before I was offered the (KISS) reunion tour. It took a while to get back on the horse after working with KISS again until 2001. I needed to get back on my feet and get focused. That took a couple of years. I started writing tracks in 2004 like ‘Genghis Khan’ and ‘Pain In The Neck’. It just all came together this past year.”
ML: Do you think we’ll see more Ace albums coming out in shorter time spans in the future? Could there be another one next year or the year after?
AF: “I think they’re not going to be more than a year or two apart at this point.”
ML: Personally, how are you feeling since you’ve gotten yourself healthy?
AF: “I’m feeling great and the actual release date of the CD (Anomaly) is September 15th and that’s going to be my three year anniversary (of being sober).”
ML: Congratulations! That’s a great achievement.
AF: “For me, yeah. For a guy who could never turn down a drink today is great. You wake up without a hangover, are focused, get a lot accomplished and move forward.”