ACE FREHLEY Discusses His Latest Collaboration With GENE SIMMONS
Ace Frehley has confirmed that he recently collaborated with Gene Simmons on two songs for the former KISS guitarist's next solo album. Ace told radio personality Eddie Trunk: "I called him up and I said, 'Gene, you wanna write a few songs?' He says, 'Sure.' Because he had come to my show [in February] at the Saban theater in Los Angeles with John 5 [ROB ZOMBIE guitarist], and that's when we kind of reconnected and bonded a little. And I just shot him an e-mail and said, 'C'mon, let's write some songs together for my new record.' Next thing you know, he's down here [at my house in Rancho Santa Fe, California] and within three hours we had written two songs together, which was, like, a record, for me and him."
He added: "We had a fantastic time. He came down. We ate in the backyard while I was watering my palm trees. [Laughs] He was going to [my fiancée] Rachel, 'This is something new I've never seen before.' He's eating a sandwich and I'm watering a palm tree in my backyard. But it was a lot of fun."
According to Ace, the two new songs came together when the two former bandmates "just started jamming. We initially each picked up an acoustic guitar. I don't remember who came up with the beginning of the song. One guy plays one thing and then I play another thing. I think Gene actually came up with more ideas than I did and I just kind of complemented them. And then I started writing lyrics for a songtitle, which I don't wanna give away yet. And then we kind of took a break and then he started playing this bassline and he said, 'Ace, play these thee chords against it,' and within thirty minutes we had a second song. I was really pleased, and so was he."
Asked if he and Gene ever wrote music together before in the early days of KISS, Frehley said: "We did a lot more than people are aware of, but it's uncredited. For instance, I wrote 'Cold Gin', but I didn't really have a bridge or a breakdown section for that song, and Gene's the one that wrote that whole section; that's all Gene. But he never took credit for it."
Ace revealed that he has "already started recording" the follow-up to 2014's "Space Invader" album. "After the Fourth of July, we're gonna go full force," he said. "I have a studio now built in the new house here in Rancho Santa Fe. I built a drum room and I upgraded all my equipment. I've got, like, a twenty-by-twenty room with a twelve-foot ceiling. So it's a great control room. And then the drum room is in the garage right next to that room, so we just put a little hole in the wall and threw a snake through the wall. So we've got all the mics coming right into all the preamps. It's working really nicely. Alex Salzman, my engineer, did most of the wiring."
Rumors about Frehley's return to KISS gained strength last year after he teamed up with KISS lead singer Paul Stanley on a cover of FREE's "Fire And Water", marking their first collaboration since 1998's "Psycho Circus".
Frehley's version of "Fire And Water" appears on his covers collection "Origins, Vol 1", which received great reviews and landed in the Top 25 on the Billboard album chart.
Asked if there has been any talk about him doing something with KISS again, Frehley told Eddie Trunk: "I can only be honest with you. It's something I haven't pushed and it's something that Paul and Gene haven't brought up to me. I'm just gonna let nature take its course. If the fans demand it, it'll probably get to a point where they're not gonna be able to say 'no.' But I've always said: they'll be fine with what they're doing and I'll be fine on my own. I've got a great solo band. We tour the world. We're touring Australia again with Alice Cooper in October. So whatever happens, one way or the other, everybody's gonna be fine. But if by chance Paul and Gene decide to bring me back in the fold and do a world tour, I think that could be great too, if it was handled correctly. But I haven't been approached, no. Honestly."
Ace added that his return to KISS for a reunion tour "could be a great thing for the fans. Even if I didn't wanna do it, I would do it for the fans, because we owe it to them. You know what I'm saying?"
According to Ace, whether or not he ever reunites with KISS will depend largely on the demand from the band's fans and concert promoters around the world.
"I don't think Paul and Gene do anything innocently," he said. "I think there's a motive behind everything they do, and they're driven by money — let's be honest — and they'll be the first to admit it.
"Rachel said to me the other day, 'Do you really think there might be a reunion?' And I said to her honestly, 'You know when there's a gonna be a reunion? When promoters call up [KISS manager] Doc McGhee and Paul and Gene and offer them multimillion-dollar figures. It's all about money — you know that and I know that. So if a promoter calls up Doc McGhee and says, 'We'll give you two hundred million dollars and do a six-month tour,' I'm gonna get a phone call. If that doesn't happen, I may not. Who knows? But, like I said, either way, everybody's gonna be fine."
Even though Frehley reached out to Simmons a couple of years about contributing to "Origins Vol. 1", the bassist/vocalist ended up not appearing on the record because "either [Gene] didn't get the message or he was just too busy," Frehley told the WPDH 101.5 FM radio station last year.
Stanley told Billboard earlier this year that he had no interest in a reunion of KISS's original lineup. "I sang on Ace's most recent album and did a video with him," he said. "I have the connection and the reconnection and to celebrate the good things we've done together is terrific. The band as it is — I've played with [current KISS drummer] Eric Singer for, I think, 25 years and Tommy's [Thayer, guitar] been in the band probably 15 years at this point. I have no thoughts of revisiting the past. With that said, I am happy to enhance or do whatever I can for anyone who has helped put me where I am, but that doesn't include getting hitched again to somebody I unhitched from."