Ace, aka Paul Daniel Frehley, answered a newspaper ad in 1973 from founding KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley seeking a guitarist with “flash and balls.” As many know, Frehley had all that and more as the band’s lead guitarist.
“Space Ace,” as he was called, was an essential part of the world famous live KISS shows with his larger than life stage presence and smoke billowing guitar. Frehley shredded on the band’s biggest hits including “Rock N Roll All Night” and “Detroit Rock City.”
Ace branched out from KISS and released his first solo effort in 1978, which spawned the hit single “New York Groove,” and started the band Frehley’s Comet in 1987.
Despite rumors of bad blood between Frehley and Simmons/Stanley in the 90’s, all four original members reunited in 1996 for the KISS Alive Worldwide Tour, the highest grossing tour of the year.
KISS would reunite and tour throughout the late nineties through the early 2000’s, but Ace would leave the band after KISS’ “Farewell Tour” to go back to playing solo.
Frehley definitely left an impression on rock, with Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and Dimebag Darrell of Pantera as just of few fellow rockers who cite the axe man as an important influence.
In 2014, Ace reunited with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss as they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On top of that, Ace released his new solo album Space Invader that same year and has been on touring in support since.
Even 40 years after his debut with KISS, Ace Frehley is still rocking! Happy Birthday, Spaceman!