Here are a few things you probably know about Ace Frehley: He’s the original lead guitarist for KISS (which he co-founded in 1973). He was also their best—his song-within-the-song guitar solos are as much a part of KISS as the band’s seven-inch platform boots. And he’s always been the coolest member of KISS—rock ’n’ roll swagger, laid-back,
mysterious—just ask Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, or Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife, or Abbath of Immortal. Hell, even people who don’t like KISS still love Ace.
What you may not know is that Ace Frehley has not been a member of KISS since 2002, when he left his second tenure with the band (there’s a “spaceman” currently playing leads for the band, but it ain’t Ace). In his time away from KISS (1983-1996, and 2002-present), Frehley has put together the most successful solo career of any member—current or
former. And Ace is on a roll. He’s ready to embark on his next musical journey with Spaceman , his third solo outing in four years. Of all Ace’s post-KISS recorded output, Spaceman might be the closest link to his widely acclaimed 1978 solo record, both in spirit and execution. First off, Frehley played all of the guitar parts on Spaceman , as well as bass on all
but two songs. Longtime drummer Anton Fig, whose friendship with Ace began in that 1978 record, also appears on “Off My Back” and “Pursuit of Rock and Roll” (longtime collaborators Scot Coogan and Matt Starr also play drums on Spaceman ). There’s also a thematic, almost biographical, thread running through the album of a long life in rock ’n’ roll, although Ace admits it wasn’t intentional. The first single “Bronx Boy” lays out Ace’s pre-KISS roots, running wild with an Irish street gang called the Ducky Boys. It might be
his grittiest song to date, with an opening riff that lashes out like a switchblade. “Pursuit of Rock and Roll” ticks off a list of rockers that made Ace who he is, including Little Richard and the Stones. Frehley also makes it clear that rock is truly all he needs: “So sick of looking at reality TV / and like the Beatles said, you gotta ‘Let It Be.’”