I love Ace Frehley. Of all the members to have ever been in , The Spaceman has always been my favorite. As a kid, his look and persona appealed to me most, and as I got older, the tone of his guitar and his playing style impressed me. And from the moment he started singing lead vocals on KISS records he became a ‘n’ roll triple threat: style, musical ability, and a pure rock voice. Really, is it any wonder that Ace Frehley’s ‘78 solo album did better than the other members’?
Given Space Ace’s stature in my mind and spirit, I was naturally as excited as a schoolboy when I got my hands on his autobiography No Regrets (with Joe Layden and John Ostrosky). Sadly, the book left me a little cold. In the end, Ace seems to be trying to prove that the pen is mightier than the sword as he takes multiple stabs at Gene Simmons throughout the book. In all fairness, there are two sides to every story, and Gene took multiple stabs at Ace in his autobiography, KISS and Make-up. But I agree, Ace Frehley has the right to defend himself, and I’m glad he did. I just wish it was presented differently.
Other than taking stabs at Gene, we learn a bit about Ace’s childhood and upbringing. He expresses his love affair with music and the guitar and how that obsession led him to drop out of school. We also get detailed accounts of his drug and alcohol abuse, the extent of which surprised me. Honestly, I had no idea about his trips to rehab. Today he claims he’s sober, and unlike a lot of rock stars who claim the same, I hope his is true.
Ace also tells us about how KISS Alive! was fixed in the studio, mostly by Eddie Kramer. I think we all knew that studio work had been done on that album, but the extent of it is surprising. It’s still a great album and this revelation doesn’t change my opinion of it — I’ve been listening to it for far too long for that to happen.
Another great bit of information to come from No Regrets is the location of where the cover for Dressed to Kill was photographed. For those of you who want to know, it’s at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street in New York City. Can you say bucket list?
While I have my reservations about this autobiography, I’m glad I read it. So, that leaves me with one conclusion: If you’re a KISS fan, you’re going to want to read Ace Frehley’s No Regrets. If you’re not, I suggest you skip it. My 3 of 5 star rating is based on the fact that the book will mostly appeal to fans.
Rock Hard \m/