Ace Frehley Working on Covers Album Before Taking Touring Break
Guitarist wants to recast Kiss classics "Parasite" & "Cold Gin," along with Led Zeppelin, Beatles & Who tracks.
In April, Ace Frehley will make the very long flight to Australia to play there and New Zealand for his Invading Down Under tour. He’ll follow up with June dates in Europe, including a June 13 Download Festival appearance. He’s looking forward to both jaunts since he didn’t play New Zealand the last time he was Down Under in 2010. “I’m really excited about going back to England and doing Download. I haven’t done it since 2008 or ’09,” he adds. “Europe’s gonna be a gas.”
Being a veteran traveler, the Space Ace is prepared for the rigors of flying: He passes the time with books, his laptop and sleeping. When he winds down at his hotel, room service is crucial: “Room service is really important. You want it the way you order it,” he says. “A lot of times it doesn’t come out that way. I’m prepared for that. I always order one extra meal if my order isn’t right. At least I have a spare.”
Meanwhile, Frehley is in the early stages of recording his next album, which is a covers project. The set follows up 2014’s Space Invader. The critically lauded album debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, surpassing the No. 26 peak of his 1978 self-titled solo debut. “The album’s going to be about my influences,” says Frehley. “I’m probably going to do a Rolling Stones song, a Who song, possibly a Led Zeppelin song, maybe a Beatles song. Stuff from bands that I grew up on and greatly influenced me. Those are the songs I’d redo, besides vintage Kiss stuff and a Frehley’s Comet track.”
Frehley hasn’t thought to ask former Beatle Paul McCartney to join him in the studio if he does cover the Fab Four — Frehley chuckles at the idea — but he has put the ask out to guitarists Lita Ford, Slash and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. “I was actually going to ask [former Kiss bandmate] Gene Simmons to play bass on a track and sing with me. I haven’t gotten to that stage yet,” he says.
Frehley says he has done some overdubs and intends to track another six to eight songs, then pick the best 12 to focus on. The album’s track list isn’t solidified, but he says he’s “probably going to redo both ‘Cold Gin’ and ‘Parasite.’ On Kiss records, I’m not singing lead. So I’m going to sing lead on them like I do live so there’s [studio tracks] out there with me.”
He doesn’t have a set idea about how he wants the updated versions of the songs to sound, either. “That’s something I don’t plan. I just go in and do it. Try a couple different ways. It’s obviously going to be a lot heavier than the original, and the production is going to be far superior because technology has advanced so much [to a] higher state since we tracked a long time a go in the ’70s. Those are going to be the major differences. Obviously, Peter Criss isn’t going to be playing drums on it. I’m going to be using my touring drummer, Scot Coogan.”
Since he enjoys working in the studio, in the future, Frehley would like to produce music for other artists besides himself. “I have a wealth of knowledge. I’ve worked with some of the greatest producers and engineers over the years, and it’s knowledge I want to share with a younger band,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from guys like Eddie Kramer and Bob Ezrin and miking techniques, the way to put together a song, layering harmonies. Even working with [former Kiss bandmate] Paul [Stanley] and Gene, I learned a lot about harmonies, because those guys are good at layering harmonies. It’s a lot of knowledge I’d like to pass on to another band.”