MUSICIANS DISCUSS THEIR FAVORITE ACE FREHLEY GUITAR SOLOS
Mark Lore of Noisey reports:
…You don’t have to like KISS. You don’t even have to get them. But there’s a good chance you’re listening to something today that was influenced by the band. Red House Painters covered Shock Me. The Melvins released solo records in the spirit of KISS. The Replacements covered Black Diamond, as did the late Bathory vocalist Quorthon. Hell, Joey and Tommy Ramone got their faces blown off at an early KISS performance at Coventry in Queens.
…Then there’s Ace Frehley, lead guitar (pronounced, “lead gee-TAWWW!”). The wild rock’n’roller. The space cadet from Jendel. He’s the guy that even non-KISS fans can agree is pretty fucking cool (just watch KISS’s infamous 1979 interview with Tom Snyder on The Tomorrow Show for proof). And no one sounds like Ace. His leads are their own language—raw, loose, strings bending to the breaking point—he plays guitar like he truly is from another planet…
…Noisey caught up with some of the musicians that the Space Ace has influenced. Artists from all over the rock spectrum—crossing generations, genres and gender—who’ve been moved by one of those classic Ace guitar solos, or that larger-than-life persona. Sit back, and enjoy the rocket ride.
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Favorite Ace solo: Black Diamond:
“I feel it. I guess that’s mostly it—I feel Ace’s playing. And that’s the most important part to me. I felt it as a young boy, and now as a man I can still feel it…those early solos that he did are so raw and visceral; and not tons of notes, but well-placed…”
Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister. Favorite Ace solo: None:
“Ace came out of the same school of players that I did—the Mick Taylors, the Peter Greens, the Eric Claptons…you know, Jimmy Page. I can tell in two seconds where his style came from. When he joined KISS, it was obvious why he joined that band. When I auditioned for them I wasn’t ready—I didn’t have my guitar tone down. And when I went to their loft in September, when they asked me to come down and listen to the band—I believe I watched their very first performance—I heard Ace play his Les Paul through the Marshall stack, and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, he gets it—100 percent.'”
Ty Tabor of King’s X. Favorite Ace solo: Shock Me:
“Ace could play one note, and you knew it was Ace, in the same way that Allan Holdsworth could play one note and you know it’s him. I remember I was on vacation and I was hanging out with one of my best friends named Marty Warren, and we both were huge Ace fans; we both tried to shake the strings like him, and tried to learn the solos. We were sitting at a table and someone came on the radio saying, ‘A brand-new KISS album is about to come out—here’s a new song off of it, and Ace sings it.’ And they played Shock Me. And when it got to the solo we both were high-fiving and going, ‘That is the ultimate!’ I mean that is the pinnacle of perfection, Ace Frehley sing-along solo. Still to this day it’s one of the greatest rock guitar solos I’ve ever heard.”
Scott Ian of Anthrax. Favorite Ace solo: 100,000 Years:
“I’ve been listening to KISS since 1975, and I can sing Ace’s leads note for note as easily as I can sing the choruses of their songs. To be able to do that on so many songs is quite a feat. I feel like he’s a very overlooked and underrated guitar player. So many other guitar players from the ’70s get credit as guitar heroes, but unless you’re talking to KISS fans, you never really hear Ace’s name mentioned in the same breath as Ted Nugent or Eddie Van Halen or Ritchie Blackmore or Joe Perry…go on down the list. His solos are as memorable as anything Jimmy Page has ever done—for real.”
Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave. Favorite Ace solo: Detroit Rock City:
“Rock ’n’ roll can excel in a number of different ways: There’s technical ability, there’s songwriting ability, and then there’s Magic Awesome Rock Power. And Ace Frehley has that in spades. He connected the comic, fantasy superhero world with the bombast of Marshall stack heavy metal power. The pomp and pageantry that’s accompanied KISS is no different from any that accompanied Elvis Presley or Little Richard, or other icons of the genre who receive nothing but total respect. Ace Frehley receives my total respect, and I’m proud to have had him as my first guitar hero.”
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