As a founding member of Kiss, Ace Frehley created the band’s logo and enjoyed a successful, albeit sporadic, solo career. Along the way, he’s survived numerous near-death experiences involving drugs, reckless driving and/or firearms. So, like a lot of people in the music industry, he has some stories to tell. And tell them he does, in his recently released autobiography “No Regrets: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir.” Published by Simon & Schuster/VH1 Classic Books, and co-written with Joe Layden and John Ostrosky, the breezy, conversational book starts with the New York-bred Frehley’s upbringing in the Bronx and reveals how he went from teenage delinquent, to rock superstar, to drug-addled mess, and finally to recovering addict.
A good chunk of the book obviously focuses on his years as the lead guitarist in Kiss (or KISS, as he consistently says, since the logo is written in all caps). While not a lot of what he writes about that period is terribly enlightening – much of it has been well documented – it is, at times, exceptionally candid. For instance, while Frehley speaks warmly about drummer Peter Criss, and has surprisingly little to say about rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley, his scathing comments about bassist Gene Simmons are worth reading, running the gamut from amusing (“When I first got into KISS … I just felt like he had a stick up his ass”) to scornful (“I could always see dollar signs reflected in his eyes”). Frehley’s other tales include his unexpected opportunity to work as a roadie for his hero Jimi Hendrix, his friendship with the late John Belushi, his meetings with guitar legend Les Paul and the formation of his band Frehley’s Comet.
One caveat, Frehley admits he sometimes has trouble focusing and his memoir reflects that reality toward the end, as it stops running in chronological order and starts jumping from one random anecdote to another. But it’s never boring, which is probably part of the reason he has “no regrets”.