Ace Frehley on New Book: ‘I See it on the Big Screen!’
Legendary original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley has released his long awaited memoirs, ‘No Regrets,’ which details his time in that band and his own very successful solo career. The book comes partially as the result of five years of sobriety for Frehley, who has very publicly battled addictions to drugs and alcohol in the past.
We talked to Ace about how exactly he went about about cramming four decades of rock and roll tales into one book, what he hopes to accomplish with its publication, and of course, his future musical plans.
What made this the right time to write your book?
I’ve been talking to different people over the years about doing a book, and I didn’t want to attack it while I was working on (his 2009 album) ‘Anomaly.’ Once that came out, it became apparent everybody wanted a book from me. It took a little longer than I anticipated to get it out, but I’m real happy with the end result.
Was it difficult to go through the memories, or to keep things organized?
…All of the above! (followed by that awesome cackling laugh) I have A.D.D. on top of having a bad memory, so my attention span isn’t the best.
Plus everything happened in such a blur, it’d be hard for anyone to remember…
Well, you know in the thank you part of the book at the end, I thank the publisher for extending my deadline, to give me a chance to talk to people, co-workers and friends and family, and get their take on the same stories. You know, I remember it one way, they remember it a different way. So I did some major re-writes with my assistant John Ostrosky. It just made for that much better of a book, it’s more in my own words. I read it over the weekend again, and it’s an unbelievable story.
How did you end up being a roadie for Jimi Hendrix?
In 1970 I went to a peace concert at Randall’s Island, and I wound up sneaking backstage. I ended up setting up Mitch Mitchell’s drums for Hendrix.. it was insane, it was like a dream come true. It was preparing me for what I was in store for, too.
Was there anything you were particularly nervous about diving into?
Not really. Most people have heard bits and pieces of a lot of the stories I’ve told, and there’s some stories in there that some people are unaware of. At my age, and what I’ve been through, a lot of it has been well documented. My addictions, my car accident, everything else in between, I just wanted to set the record straight and give the story from my vantage point.
Are there any misperceptions you were particularly eager to clear up?
I don’t know. You know, everybody’s memory is different. The stuff that happened with Kiss happened over 30 years ago, so Gene‘s side of the story is probably different than my side, and the real truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That’s why it’s called my memoirs!
The book’s title really spells out your intentions…
You know, the title wouldn’t work if I wasn’t sober. The fact that I have five years sobriety, it makes it nice, because in sobriety you’re really not supposed to have regrets about the past. You’re supposed to put the past behind and move forward with a positive outlook on life. It’s good timing, everybody has been chomping at the bit to hear my side on a lot of these stories. Plus, there’s a lot of stories that Paul (Stanley) and Gene never talk about because they weren’t there. Being a roadie for Hendrix, for Janis Joplin in Shea Stadium, on and on. Hanging out at Studio 54. It’s an interesting book, and the more I read it, the more I see it on the big screen! (laughs)
Oh yeah? Who’s gonna play you – have you mentally cast that role yet?
Oh who knows, I’m trying to get past the next five months, touring and doing autographs first.
Where does a new album fit into those plans?
Well, I mean I have some stuff in the can, but I just got a copy of the book Friday, and now I can kind of relax a little and move onto getting back in the studio and working on the next CD.
Any truth that you’ll be releasing a collection of previously unreleased tapes?
Yeah, I have about 100 reel to reel two-inch tapes, with stuff that — I mean, I haven’t even listened to some of it in 25, 30 years. The next thing might be a package including these lost tapes, maybe even a DVD, who knows?
Would you ever go into space for real, on one of those private spacecrafts they’re working on?
I’d consider it. I mean, I think you have to pass a very arduous physical to get up there. But I’m in pretty good shape, so sure! If the opportunity presented itself I’d jump at it.