Eric Spitznagel of MTV Hive recently conducted an interview with original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
MTV Hive: From MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s “The Dirt” to LED ZEPPELIN‘s “Hammer Of The Gods”, the best rock biographies tend to be a little disgusting. There’s drugs and vomit and groupies and mud sharks. Does your book have enough disgusting rock star behavior to be a bestseller?
Ace: I think so. It’s pretty high on that kind of stuff. Between the car accidents and the shenanigans on the road, I think it holds up as well as any other rock star bio out there. But I have to admit, I haven’t read any of those other books, so I don’t really know. I just know what people tell me about my book and how it compares. The one thing everybody tells me is “Boy, this would make some fucking movie.”
MTV Hive: So being in KISS wasn’t like being in a Benny Hill episode?
Ace: No, no, nothing like that. But it did get over the top. When we toured Australia in 1980, our costumes were designed by the same people who do circus costumes. When we were getting started, we made our own costumes. We found everything in little shops in Greenwich Village. Those early costumes were tough and they had studs and leather. But towards the end, the whole thing shifted and became larger than life and a little silly. We became a parody of ourselves. I was starting to lose my identity to the Spaceman.
MTV Hive: Of all the bad behavior documented in “No Regrets”, you didn’t really dig too deep into the Nazi controversies. Like the KISS logo, which you designed, with the two lightning bolt S’s reminiscent of the Schutzstaffel.
Ace: There were so many crazy rumors about us in the early days. Like that KISS stood for Knights In Satan’s Service, or that we were Satan worshippers or Nazis. And it all turns out to be completely false. Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] were Jewish, I was brought up a Lutheran, and Peter Criss was a Roman Catholic.
MTV Hive: What about that time when you purportedly burst into Gene‘s hotel room while wearing a full Nazi uniform and started shouting “Sieg Heil” at him?
Ace: Well, for one thing, it wasn’t just me. Paul and Peter were there, too. They were all dressed as Nazis.
MTV Hive: Okay, I didn’t know that, but I’m not sure if that makes it less creepy or weird.
Ace: We had gone to a toy store in Japan and there was all these old Nazi uniforms. We ended up buying a bunch of them as a joke. We had a few drinks and we dressed up in the uniforms, and we were taking a few pictures, admiring them, and somebody said, “Hey, let’s knock on Gene‘s room and surprise him.” In retrospect it was really not a cool thing to do. I think he was caught off guard.
MTV Hive: I’m sure anybody visited by three Nazi officers in the middle of the night would be a little confused and freaked out.
Ace: Yeah, but Gene‘s mom was in a concentration camp. In hindsight, I feel bad about it. It probably brought back some negative memories for him. But when you’re in the heat of the moment sometimes, you don’t realize that you’re doing something that could hurt somebody. I want to go on record saying I don’t believe in Hitler or his ideology or anything he stood for.
Read the entire interview from MTV Hive.