It’s been five years since Rock N Roll Hall of Famer and former KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley, dropped his last solo album, Anomaly. Today sees the release of his long awaited new album and it is a sure fire winner. The Space Man has dished out a stellar piece of work and is on the line calling from his home in San Diego to talk with HEAVY as he unleashes the beast that is Space Invader.
“Ace sounds like he’s stuck in a time warp… in a good way!” recalls Frehley from a review he read online about his latest offering; a stripped back, raw album of big hooks and catchy songs that really hones in on 70s classic rock yet holds on to those futuristic elements that define the sound of Ace. “It’s what I do best,” confirms an exhausted but still excited Frehley, “It’s the kind of music I listen to and the kind of music I was inspired by as a teenager. When you stick to doing what you do best, you can’t go wrong.”
After discussing his options with various labels, Frehley eventually found a home at eOne Music and once the deal was signed and done, he sat down and concentrated on penning Space Invader in the summer of 2013. “The rhythm guitar part to Starship I wrote in 2004 so that’s 10 years old but 90% of the songs were written in the past 12 months. I’ve felt very focused this past year. I’ve collaborated with my fiancé Rachael Gordon on Immortal Pleasures and Change, and I actually co-wrote Gimme A Feeling with my assistant, John Ostronomy, so I had some help but I did all the lead guitar work and all the lead vocals and I also produced the album so I guess I should get most of the credit, right?” laughs Frehley.
And rightly so. Frehley is in good spirits. He sounds happy and with the results of Space Invader, why wouldn’t you be? It is an incredible piece of work and it only takes a few moments to see why his albums are still the best selling from any member of the original line-up of KISS. One thing that sounds better than ever on Space Invader is Frehley’s vocals. At 63 and having been through one hell of a rollercoaster of a life, one has to wonder how Frehley’s voice has held up so well and it could actually be argued that he sounds better now than he ever has. “A lot of people have been asking me if I have been taking vocal lessons and the answer is no. I’m a lot healthier and this September 15th I’ll have been eight years sober. I’m very health conscious these days and I make sure I get enough rest and enough exercise. I try to keep my life balanced and that’s a big thing to do for a musician. Many musicians sometimes forget about the personal needs in lieu of touring and doing other stuff, getting wrapped up in the whole music industry and it’s important to make sure you get enough rest, eating the right foods and keeping yourself fit.”
Having been a poster child for being a bit of a wild card throughout the years combined with the pressures of the music industry and those fans who expect the space man to still live up to this persona that was created in his younger years, Frehley is quick to confirm “I’m still crazy,” he laughs, “but I just don’t have to drink or take drugs to prove that. In the song Toys I talk about driving my car fast and going to Vegas and gambling all night til the sun comes up. There’s a lot of ways to get the adrenaline going without using artificial stimulants. Sex is great, you know? My therapist told me that the body doesn’t know the difference between a shot of heroin or an orgasm. They both make your body emit endorphins. You just have to make better choices the older you get or you won’t be around too long.”
In 2011, Frehley released an autobiography on his life yet it appears that with Space Invader, it appears that the story was only half told. For those who enjoyed his story will be pleased to know that it doesn’t end there. “I’ve already started my second book. I have enough stories to fill five books. I just turned 63 and my dad lived to be 96 so I’m good for at least another 20 or 30 years”, he laughs, “As long as I take care of myself. I’ve got a good woman by my side and she makes sure I get enough rest and I’m eating right. The sky’s the limit, you know? There are a lot of things I still haven’t achieved. I would like to do a score for a film. I’d like to produce young bands and get them into the studio and share with them all the knowledge I have achieved over the years working with some of the greatest producers and engineers. I’d like to do an animated film and put music to that maybe following the space theme. There’s nothing holding me back at this point, it’s just finding the time. I’d love to do another film like a comedy or a sci-fi movie and love to do the score for that. I believe this album is going to do well and open a lot of doors for me too as a producer.”
Space Invader is sure to please both his legions of fans and newcomers to the fold who have an appreciation for classic rock of the 70s. “I’ve read a lot of reviews of Space Invader and they’ve all been very overwhelmingly positive but I still haven’t heard from the fans and to me, that’s the most important missing link there. I do these records because I want to give people pleasure and make people happy. I think it’s a fun record and hopefully everyone’s going to like it. The future’s bright at this point in time… even if we didn’t perform at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame” laughs Frehley.
Space Invader is out now on eOne Music.