ORIGINAL KISS GUITARIST ACE FREHLEY DISCUSSES THE BAND’S ROCK HALL INDUCTION, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FORMER BAND MEMBERS AND HOW HE FEELS ABOUT ANOTHER MUSICIAN WEARING HIS MAKEUP ONSTAGE
RS: Tell me your first reaction to the news that KISS made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ace: It’s such an honor. I’m so excited. I learned about it last night when my assistant called me. I didn’t sleep very well afterwards.
RS: Did the news surprise you?
Ace: It surprised me, but when I saw all the people we were up against I had a feeling we were going to make it in…It should be a great evening. I’m really excited and looking forward to the night.
RS: I spoke with Gene a couple of hours ago. He said he’s willing to play with you and Peter Criss that night.
Ace: Okay. That sounds like a great idea.
RS: Are you open to that too?
Ace: Absolutely. Are you gonna want us to put makeup on?
Ace: It’s been a while for me.
RS: It’s been over a decade, right?
Ace: The last shows I did with KISS was in Australia around 2002.
RS: You have no hesitation about walking back onstage with Paul and Gene?
Ace: Not at all. I think it will be great. I think it will be great for the fans to witness and a lot of fun. I recently performed with Peter at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York for Eddie Trunk’s 30 years in broadcasting celebration. That was a lot of fun. I hadn’t performed with Peter in 12 years. We all still have it.
RS: Gene mentioned that next year is the band’s 40th anniversary. He said he didn’t want a reunion tour, but I got the sense it was somewhere in his mind. Would you want a KISS reunion tour?
Ace: It’s something I haven’t even entertained or even thought about. I hadn’t even realized that next year is the 40-year anniversary. Right now, I’m focusing on my solo career. I recently signed a two-album deal. I’ve been in the music for the past three months.
RS: If a tour was offered to you, would you think about it?
Ace: It’s something I would consider if it was presented in the proper way.
RS: Gene was praising you when we spoke, but in other interviews he will call you a “cancer” or a “loser.”
Ace: I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with Paul and Gene. We parted company on more than one occasion, but there’s always been mutual respect and admiration. I think somehow the press plays it up that there’s a lot of hate between the members. It’s really completely blown out of proportion.
RS: But he called you a “cancer” recently.
Ace: A cancer? I wasn’t aware of that. What does it mean?
RS: I guess that you’re somehow a poison.
Ace: [Huge laugh] I think he gets frustrated that even though they have a replacement for me in the band, fans are continually bombarding him and saying, “Hey, you should get the original guitar player back. Ace is still number one.” He gets that constantly. It has to be frustrating to him and Paul.
RS: Are you insulted that somebody else is in your makeup?
Ace: Well, it’s a choice that Paul and Gene have made. I know the fans aren’t happy with it. I read the comments on the Internet. Paul and Gene have lost a lot of fans because of the move they made. It is what it is.
I’m not happy about it. Most of the comments I read by fans say that, “If you’re going to replace Ace, you should have created a different character.” That’s what they did with Vinnie Vincent when I originally left the group in 1982.
RS: They have Eric Singer in the Catman makeup and he’s singing Beth.
Ace: I didn’t know he was singing “Beth.” [Laughs] You know, a lot of the fans I talk to just tell me they aren’t going to go to the shows anymore. I know concert attendance hasn’t been what they’ve wanted this past year. It is what it is.
RS: Gene has implied he doesn’t believe you are sober.
Ace: That’s kind of juvenile. Does he have blinders on? I know he’s spoken to several people that I know that he knows that have seen me and done business with me over the past several years. I don’t believe they are telling him that I’m not sober. It’s been over seven years for me and I can’t see myself going back. But all I have is today. One day at a time.
RS: I imagine it’s going to be emotional to stand at the podium with the three other guys in the band.
Ace: It’s going to be intense, but it’s going to be great. I don’t foresee any negative vibes. I don’t foresee any bad blood. I think that myself, Peter, Paul and Gene, we’re the four guys that started the group and brought it into international success. I think that sometime in the late 1970s we were listed as the number one group in the world by some polls. We achieved what most people only dream about. I’ll never forget it. And that’s something nobody can take away from me.
Read more at Rolling Stone.