Nov 13

Ace Frehley

Capitol Theatre at Capitol Theatre

Macon, GA

Show: 8:00PM

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Event Details

Here are a few things you probably know about Ace Frehley: He’s theoriginal lead guitarist for KISS (which he co-founded in 1973). He wasalso their best—his song-within-the-song guitar solos are as much apart of KISS as the band’s seven-inch platform boots. And he’s alwaysbeen the coolest member of KISS—rock ’n’ roll swagger, laid-back,mysterious—just ask Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, orNaoko Yamano of Shonen Knife, or Abbath of Immortal. Hell, evenpeople who don’t like KISS still love Ace.What you may not know is that Ace Frehley has not been a member ofKISS 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 histime away from KISS (1983-1996, and 2002-present), Frehley has puttogether the most successful solo career of any member—current orformer.And Ace is on a roll. He’s ready to embark on his next musical journeywith Spaceman, his third solo outing in four years. Of all Ace’s post-KISSrecorded output, Spaceman might be the closest link to his widelyacclaimed 1978 solo record, both in spirit and execution. First off,Frehley played all of the guitar parts on Spaceman, as well as bass on allbut two songs. Longtime drummer Anton Fig, whose friendship with Acebegan in that 1978 record, also appears on “Off My Back” and “Pursuit ofRock and Roll” (longtime collaborators Scot Coogan and Matt Starr alsoplay drums on Spaceman).There’s also a thematic, almost biographical, thread running through thealbum of a long life in rock ’n’ roll, although Ace admits it wasn’tintentional. 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 behis grittiest song to date, with an opening riff that lashes out like aswitchblade.“Pursuit of Rock and Roll” ticks off a list of rockers that made Ace whohe is, including Little Richard and the Stones. Frehley also makes it clearthat rock is truly all he needs: “So sick of looking at reality TV / and likethe Beatles said, you gotta ‘Let It Be.’”Ace’s cover of Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back” gives the song a rippingpower pop makeover. It was chosen for the record by Ace himself. “Iwas laying in bed with Rachael (Gordon) watching YouTube videos, andthat song came on. I told her I was gonna cover it. It’s about me.”“No need to worry, I’ll be home soon, ’cause I’m rockin’ with the boys,”Frehley sings on “Rockin’ With the Boys,” which tells the tales of life onthe road. Ace says he wrote the original version of the song back inKISS’s heyday in the ’70s—if you listen closely, it could almost be seenas a rockin’ counterpart to the Peter Criss-penned KISS classic “Beth.”Speaking of KISS brethren, let’s get back to those two songs onSpaceman that Ace didn’t play bass on. One listen of opener “WithoutYou I’m Nothing” should be a dead giveaway. That mighty dinosaurgrowl of a bass tone belongs to Gene Simmons, who co-wrote that song,along with “Your Wish Is My Command,” with the Space Ace at Frehley’shome studio in Rancho Santa Fe, California.Ace recalls a relaxed three hours of hanging out, writing songs, andeating sandwiches with Simmons, who roomed with him back in theKISS daze. A lot of barbs have been thrown by both over the past coupleof decades, but there’s still a mutual love for one another, made clearduring Ace’s recent stints on Simmons’ Vault Experience.His reconnection with Simmons and fellow KISS vocalist-guitarist PaulStanley (who joined Ace on a cover of Free’s “Fire and Water” for 2016’scovers LP Origins, Vol. 1) might be chalked up to the fact that Frehleyhas been sober for more than a decade (he celebrated 12 years ofsobriety in September). Ace’s clean living no doubt has a lot to do withhis productive streak, which began with the release of his top 20Anomaly album in 2009, his top 10 Space Invader LP in 2014 (a first forany KISS member); and continues with Spaceman (a title suggested byGene himself).Spaceman is a lean-and-mean nine tracks, and includes what hasbecome a trademark for any Ace joint, a cosmic instrumental. “QuantumFlux” is a classic prog ’n’ roll song from Frehley, with lush acoustics andtwin-leads. Fans might also notice the song’s doomy outro, which nodsto “Black Diamond” on KISS’s 1974 debut.Along with writing and recording new material, Ace has also beentirelessly hitting the road, playing festivals, as well as dates statesideand in Australia and Japan (including dates with the mighty AliceCooper). As always, Ace is traveling at an altitude us mere mortals willnever understand—a life lived to the fullest, and one that has defied…well, everything. That said, if you ever see the Space Ace in the cosmos,there’s only one proper reaction: “Hey look, it’s rock ’n’ roll!”

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Capitol Theatre

382 Second Street, Macon, GA, 31201

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