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Ace Frehley

An American musician best known as an original member of the rock band Kiss.

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The Original Shooting Star Of KISS

  • Sep 13, 2010

Despite having a long and reasonably successful career as a solo artist, Ace Frehley will always be best known as the original Spaceman or Space Ace in KISS.  Although a number of popular guitarists like Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), and CC Deville (Poison)  have named Frehley as one of their biggest influences, I've always felt that Frehley was pushed to the back of the line when it came to listing great guitarists in rock history.

Why?  Conspiracy theorists would say that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley executed a plan to wipe Ace's influence off the face of the earth.  Personally, I think it's because Frehley comes across as a laid back guy who just wants to play his music.  He seems to be one of the few artists out there who could say the phrase, "Money doesn't matter to me.  It's the music that matters," and actually mean it.  Whether he has said that or not, I do not know.  Still, he seems like a very genuine guy who loves what he's doing.

As far as the whole KISS debacle goes, it all depends on who you believe as to why Frehley left KISS.  Some believe that Frehley had become detached from the "ideal" of KISS.  Others believe that despite his growth as a singer and songwriter, Frehley was going in an entirely different direction than the Stanley/Simmons machine.  Then of course, there's his alcohol abuse problems that surely did come into play.  Whatever happened, all I know is that KISS lost a great guitarist.

Frehley has released five solo albums, the first being the KISS album Ace Frehley and the latest being his own album, Anomaly.  From just these albums, one can quickly pick up the fact that Frehley knows how to play a guitar.  In fact, he's downright monstrous on the axe.  He's also not afraid to use sound effects in his music either.

Listening to the KISS albums that he performs on, particularly Hotter Than Hell and Love Gun, it's easy to see how he blended his solos into the whole of the song.  In other words, when listening to a KISS song with Frehley on the strings it isn't a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, big guitar solo, back to the song, it's more like verse, chorus, verse, chorus, melody strung out over lightning, back to chorus.  I can't really explain it, but Frehley's style of playing made the entire song and not just his solos sound great.

In my opinion, Frehley's best songs are Snowblind and Rip It Out from his KISS solo project, Shock Me from Love Gun, Mainline and Hotter Than Hell from Hotter Than Hell and a number of tracks from his solo albums, particularly Trouble Walkin'.

As a fan of both KISS and Frehley, I try to stay out of arguments over the importance of each in both of their careers.  While KISS has soldiered on without Frehley with a number of guitarists (although current stringman, Tommy Thayer, appears to have stuck with the band), Frehley has done much the same without the band.  Both are worthy of listening to, so don't let the "Who's wearing the Spaceman paint?" fan battle deny you the opportunity to listen to some great music.

The Original Shooting Star Of KISS The Original Shooting Star Of KISS The Original Shooting Star Of KISS The Original Shooting Star Of KISS

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September 16, 2010
I like it! You've given some very nice info on Ace! I have to say, I didn't even know about it. Beautiful, man, beautiful!!
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this actor


Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley (born April 27, 1951) is an American musician best known as an original member of the rock band Kiss. He took on the persona  of the "Spaceman" or "Space Ace" when the band adopted costumes and theatrics. Frehley played with the group from its inception in 1973 until his departure in 1982.

After leaving Kiss, Frehley embarked on a solo career, which was put on hold when he rejoined Kiss in 1996 for a highly successful reunion tour. His second tenure with Kiss lasted until 2002, when he left at the conclusion of what was purported to be the band's Farewell Tour. His latest album, Anomaly, was released on September 15, 2009.
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Bands or Musical Groups: KISS
Birth Date: April 27, 1952

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