The first time I saw KISS on TV they scared the hell out of me—which might have been the point. They were sort of the boogeyman to me for many years and, even though the personas of The Starchild (Paul Stanley), The Demon (Gene Simmons), Space Ace (Ace Frehley) and The Catman (Peter Criss) aren't inherently scary, they were still nightmare fuel. Maybe it was the spitting blood or my deep (and justified) mistrust of clowns, but man, I hated KISS.
Eventually I started hearing KISS on the radio and, although Gene Simmons' vocals didn't do much for me, my high school self knew instantly that Ace Frehley could shred on the guitar. He played with the band from its inception in 1973 until departing in 1982. One of the more public instances of tension within the group was when the band showed up for an interview on Tom Snyder's "The Tomorrow Show," and Frehley, massively intoxicated, laughed and joked throughout the whole thing while an irritated Stanley and Simmons looked on.
Frehley eventually became frustrated with the direction in which the band's sound was going and left before the recording of 1982's "Killers" and "Creatures of the Night." He went on to start Frehley's Comet in 1984, releasing a self-titled debut in 1987. Frehley rejoined KISS in 1996 for a reunion tour, which saw them release "Psycho Circus" in 1998 with them all back in full makeup.
Frehley once again resumed his solo career after leaving the band in 2000. He released two more solo albums, 2009's "Anomaly" and 2014's "Space Invader," the latter of which became the first solo album by a past or current KISS member to reach the top 10 in the U.S.
His newest record is 2016's "Origins, Vol. 1" which sees Frehley going neck-deep in cover songs, some to great effect. While "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Wild Thing" are fairly obvious choices, his guitar sparks just enough fire to keep them somewhat fresh. It's with his covers of The Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man," Free's "Fire and Water" (which sees him reunited with Paul Stanley) and Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" that he really gets to show his chops.
Frehley was unavailable to chat with me before press time, but I like to imagine that he was nestled between a few groupies, ignoring the world. I'm sure he was busy touring and playing for adoring fans, but a man can dream.
7pm. Monday, Feb. 6.
Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend.