Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley recently spoke to Billboard magazine about his decision to sit out the band's co-headlining trek with AEROSMITH.
"When I finished the [KISS Farewell] tour, [Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons] told me that was it," Frehley said. "So I'm not gonna sit around and twiddle my thumbs. I started preparing, before the tour was even over, and built a recording studio on my property and started writing. I miss my fans, and I apologize to them if they're let down that I'm not touring with KISS. But I did what any normal person would have done. When I was out of a job, I made other plans, and once that's set in motion, I can't drop everything once Gene Simmons calls and says, 'We may be touring this time.'
"I wasn't available emotionally or mentally, and, economically, I didn't need the tour," Frehley said. "I had gotten to the state of mind of not repeating old things and going on. I'm on a journey.
"[Writing, recording and performing new songs] would have been more appealing to me, simply because I think it would have been more appealing to the fans. Having new product out would have been more exciting to perform live than the same old songs I've been playing for 25, 30 years. It's a whole different ball of wax. But the situation, as it applies now, the term beating a dead horse kind of applies to it a little."
Frehley also noted that he also didn't like the idea of being an opening act. KISS and AEROSMITH are being billed as co-headliners, but the latter will close each night on the tour. "KISS is one of the biggest rock groups in the world," Frehley said. "I mean, I don't understand the reasoning behind Gene's train of thought as being an opening act for a group that used to open for us."
Ace, whose experiences with alcohol and substance abuse are well documented, said that he wanted to put to rest any rumors that his absence is a result of any battles with alcohol or drugs.
"Physically and mentally, I've never been fitter," he said. "Just to set the record straight, I haven't had a drink or a drug in months. I've really gotten into a health kick, because I'm not getting any younger. I can't do the stuff I used to do in the '70s. That's insane. I fooled around with that stuff for years, but at this point in my life, it's not the right road for me to take."
Regarding his replacement in KISS, Tommy Thayer, Frehley said, "Tommy and I are very good friend. If I had to pick anybody to fill my shoes, because for some reason or another I couldn't be there, I would pick Tommy."
Ace has spent much of the last two years writing and recording material for his next solo album which he hopes to release next year through an as-yet-undetermined label. Of his new material, Frehley said, "It's really nothing different from what I've always done in the past it's just newer and fresher. And hopefully it's gonna sound a little updated. Obviously, as music progresses, I take note of what's happening in the music world. I'll take into consideration what's going on now, and act accordingly. I don't want to be a dinosaur — everybody has to change. But, as far as the guts of my music, that will never change: When you knock down the songs to the bare minimum, it's rock'n'roll."