Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley is pulling no punches in his assessment of his former bandmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, as he plugs the Feb. 4 release of his album 10,000 Volts.
Speaking to Guitar World, Frehley minced no words. "Paul and Gene have tried to destroy my reputation over the years – we know that. And unfortunately for them,10,000 Volts is going to make them look like imbeciles."
This kind of verbal bashing is not uncommon between estranged bandmates. However, Frehley (who left KISS in 1982, rejoined in 1996 and left again in 2002) is choosing to defend his role in the band, accentuating his unique playing style, while letting the public know he is not happy how his legacy has been portrayed in the press.
"Creating amazing music is the best way to combat someone putting you down," he continued in the interview. "That’s how I shut them up." And while he admitted he has "never had a guitar lesson," he was more than happy to take a swipe at KISS' current guitarist: "I was born with a certain technique that many people, namely Tommy Thayer, can't duplicate. And with Tommy, yeah… that’s over now. It’s back to the breadline for him!"
The current incarnation of KISS played their last live show at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2, 2023 and added via a statement from Simmons that there are no plans to record another album.
The 72-year-old Frehley also spoke with the German podcast Rock Antenne and admitted he had watched one of the last KISS shows ("I wasn't impressed"), yet being candid that he is still friends, declaring he does have a "soft spot" for them.
But when asked about the upcoming avatar incarnation of the band, Frehley appeared slightly amused. "I think the whole thing is pretty silly. It's definitely not real rock and roll," but not afraid to say that "for all I know in six months, I might get a call from Gene and he's gonna want to start a band with me."
KISS has made a considerable amount of their money by touring, branding and merchandising, and that financial empire seems set to continue with the surprise appearance of the KISS avatars at the end of the group's final MSG gig, playing "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" as an encore. The full digital KISS - A New Era Begins experience is expected to be completed around 2027.
As for Frehley, his money is banking on the continued name factor he generates and the music created by both KISS and his solo career. As he proudly stated in the Guitar World interview, "This record reflects how my life has gone – it’s full of spontaneity and some solos I’m very proud of."