ACE FREHLEY: ‘GENE SIMMONS Has A Soft Spot In His Heart For Me’

Ace Frehley Gene Simmons

In a recent interview with Germany’s Rock Antenne, original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley expressed his confusion and criticism towards the band’s decision to continue as digital avatars. Frehley believes that the KISS avatars are “geared towards children” and not representative of rock and roll.

When asked if he’s happy that the band’s farewell tour is finally over, Ace responded: “I’m happy it’s over, because I’m not gonna be compared to them anymore… But I don’t get this avatar thing that they’re gonna do,” he continued, referencing KISS‘s announcement that the bandmembers will carry on as digital versions of themselves. “I mean, I saw some of it on a video on YouTube last night. It kind of looked like it was geared towards children. And it’s not rock and roll. I get up on stage without backing tracks, plug my amp into it, plug my guitar into a Marshall and go. That’s it. It’s always been that way and always will be.”

When asked about whether he had viewed the final KISS show online, Frehley said: “I watched [a YouTube video of the show in] Indianapolis, and I’m not impressed. But that’s me. Tommy Thayer is not a bad guitarist. He just is more mechanical than me. Nobody can copy my solos the way I play them, because I’m sloppy and nobody can move like me. Nobody. And I’m surprised the fans bought Tommy pretty much, because I think for several years that Tommy was in the band, people didn’t even know it wasn’t me. I used to get phone calls from people and say, ‘Hey, KISS is playing in town. Can you get me tickets?’ I go, ‘I’m not in the band anymore.’ They go, ‘You’re not?’

“Because when I quit the band the second time, they did not make a big press release. They kind of buried it and just made the transition. But the last tour I did with KISSTommy Thayer was bringing me sandwiches and he was a tour manager and a gofer. But he’s not a bad guitar player. I’m actually friends with Tommy — just all the guys in the band. I’m good friends with [KISS drummer] Eric Singer. Me and Gene [Simmons] are very close. When Gene put out his ‘Vault Experience’, I went on the road with him. I went to Australia with him. Before we made it really big, me and Gene used to room together. So Gene has a soft spot in his heart for me.”

During a recent conversation with Mark Strigl of SiriusXM‘s Ozzy’s Boneyard, Frehley denied being contacted for the band’s final show, stating that Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons had made false claims to sell tickets.

Ace was asked if there is even a slight possibility that he would make an appearance at the band’s final show, to which he responded: “No. You know what it is? Those guys use my name and Peter‘s name months ago. They said that they invited us to perform at that show. I never got a phone call. Peter never got a phone call. They just said that to sell tickets. And recently, Paul Stanley has made negative statements about me and Peter. For example, I think the last negative statement he said, when people asked him, ‘Is Peter and Ace gonna perform at the Garden?’ he said, oh, we would mar the show if we got up and play — which is really insulting.”

Gene Simmons had previously mentioned that he had asked Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to return for the last shows, but they declined the offer.

“I feel sad. I feel sad and angry that both Ace and Peter aren’t here,” Gene told 519 Magazine. “I mean, they’re alive, but they’re not here to enjoy this unbelievable journey with us. They were there at the beginning and deserve all the credit. And when they look in the mirror, the only reason they’re not here with us is themselves.”

After touring for 50 years, KISS played their final show in Madison Square Garden on December 2nd, 2023. However, this doesn’t mean the end for the band. KISS will be transforming into digital avatars, created by Industrial Light & Magic, allowing them to continue performing and pushing the boundaries of rock and roll. This new era is a partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group and will include immersive avatar-powered music concerts.

The band members are excited about the opportunity to immortalize KISS and take their brand to new heights. Alongside the avatar shows, KISS will also continue with other ventures such as a KISS museum, cruises, a movie, and a cartoon show.