No Regrets by Ace Frehley
The long awaited book from Ace Frehley is now out. For years he has talked about it and now it’s here. I will say it was worth the wait. It’s just over 300 pages long (plus pictures) and Ace was assisted by Joe Layden and John Ostrosky to write it. I like the way Ace tells the story, you feel like he’s a friend talking to you. What surprised me most is his command of the English language, or least of all, I didn’t expect it. In most cases, it was either played down while he was in KISS or too wasted. Either way, you may think he did so deliberately to be in the Space Ace character or didn’t really care, so when you read the book it’s a bit of a surprise, at least for me.
You will learn some interesting things about Ace through out the book. Things like, he played sports in school, that his friends and only his friends called him Paul. He likes to fish and shoot guns. Like Sammy Hagar he too encountered aliens (maybe it’s a rock star thing). His gang life has been well documented in KISSTORY and of course his song on Dynasty, Hard Times. It covers his marriage and divorce, etc. You even find out that Ace is engaged! To continue, everyone knew Ace did drugs and alcohol, but probably not to the extremes that he tells here, especially with his friend John Belushi. Ace was in and out of bands prior to KISS and had some moderate success. But the meat of the book is when KISS formed and hit their peak and the down side.
But there are some good tales to be told. Like Gene giving them all crabs, and how he saved Ace’s life not once (which most KISS fans know), but twice. How Gene is a sex addict and how he put money before art, even back in the beginning. You here all about the sex and drugs, which is expected. His near death experiences while under the influence and how many times his celebrity saved him because of who he was instead of getting arrested or put away. You will get in detail the story that his solo track Rock Soldiers tells us about. You also get his side of the story on the infamous Tom Snyder interview. The one thing you will definitely take from reading the book is that Ace is truly humble through out the memoir. He gives credit where credit is due. We all heard the stories from Gene and Paul about how they all did this and that back in the day, etc. Ace lays it out in pretty good detail, that is was really Bill Auccoin and Sean Delaney that really help them develop to what they became. Another interesting side note is that even when Casablanca was trying to change KISS (no make up, etc), the band stuck together and said no even at the risk of losing the record contract.
Through out the book Ace makes it quite clear that if he didn’t have his guardian angels he would be dead several times over or at the very least in prison. After reading the book you might think he has a case for it. When Ace talks about touring and how once the band got big, the show was more of a production where the spontaneity was taken away (you have to stand here or a flash pot will blow your face up) and it became to regimented. You can feel for the guy. You can agree with him when it comes to the Elder and why that really was the nail in the coffin to leave KISS. There is a touching (I think so anyway) account of Paul spending the day with hanging around and shopping to keep him from leaving the band, I think that was pretty big for Paul and Ace to admit it. Ace definitely could have gone into more detail about his time in KISS, most stories told here, KISS fans are aware at some level (probably why they are in here), but at least you get Ace’s perspective instead of Gene’s version.
I think Ace took the high road in this book. I’m sure he could have trashed Paul and Gene (Peter and Ace were friend throughout the years). He didn’t though, a couple of small shots here and there but nothing major, and he probably could have. He definitely had the right too. Unlike Gene who didn’t hesitate. Ace kind of blew through the eighties, with the exception of the Delorean incident and getting his record deal, but nothing to deep. I wish he would have elaborated there. The sad thing to me is that they were all so close and worked so hard to achieve their dreams and now they barely speak to each other. I find that very odd. Anyway, it must have been therapeutic for Ace to revisit/relive it all over again while he is sober. It’s a great read and highly recommended. At least now we have two sides of the coin.