The rock icon revisits the Unplugged era of KISS, the reunion in Psycho Circus, and his solo return after a 20-year layoff.
The conversation with rock icon Ace Frehley continues as the Disc Dive with Ryan J. Downey begins revisiting the 90’s era of KISS.
Considering Frehley’s contributions with KISS, his own solo career, and the numerous guest appearances he has made over the years, the word prolific only scratches the surface. In fact, when asked about his guesting on Peter Criss’ Cat #1 record in 1994 and even a more recent effort with Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s solo album, Frehley had to jog his memory as to the particulars.
Getting back to his run with KISS, 1995 would prove to be a very pivotal year for the original line-up. The band would come together for an Unplugged event that would become the Unplugged record however, Gene and Paul invited Peter and Ace out to perform with them to mark the milestone.
It was the first time in many years the original four were together. That Unplugged live album was the first live record that wasn’t from the Alive series and would serve as the catalyst for the band’s reunion and eventual Psycho Circus album.
Though billed as the KISS reunion album, Psycho Circus only had one song written and performed by Ace and Peter with “Into the Void.” Frehley would call the experience a “disappointment” in that he did not participate at the level he had hoped. Citing Gene and Paul’s control issues as the reason for the hold up, that one song was the extent of the Frehley’s contribution to what was an exciting era for fans hoping to see and hear the original incarnation of KISS.
Ace would continue to work and write throughout the 2000’s. He would mention in the discussion that collaborations weren’t some big formal process, but rather, “If a friend asked me for a favor I wouldn’t hesitate to do it.” That kind of commitment underscores not only Ace’s love for the music but just why he is such fixture as a guest musician for various other projects.
In 2009, Frehley would resume his solo recording efforts with Anomaly. Recalling that there was skepticism from the industry about his potential to get it done and his history with drugs and alcohol, Frehley asserted that he was fully in tune with making the best record possible. Working with Marti Frederiksen and Anton Fig, the record was the first in 20 years and would begin the next era in the guitarist’s successful solo run, followed up six years later with the release of Space Invader.
Watch part five of the six-part Disc Dive series with Ryan J. Downey and Ace Frehley below.