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Ace Frehley – Behind The Player

Studio: Alfred Music Publishing

Released: January, 2010 / Reviewed: February, 2010

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:  I’m not a musician.  I don’t even play one on TV. 

I do own an acoustic guitar that was a gift from my parents and was my first new guitar.  I also have a Epiphone Les Paul that’s pretty cool.  However, my frustration at learning has caused me to resign myself to playing a mean air guitar. 

Until now.

When checking the mail one day, I was pleasantly pleased to find a review copy of the latest release from Interactive Music Video (  It featured none other than Boomerocity friend, and former KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley.

The DVD starts out with a very relaxed and unassuming Ace sharing the behind the scenes stories history of his career with KISS, his solo career and the KISS reunion gigs. I found this part of the disc particularly interesting. 

You’ll learn the stories behind the developments of the special effects that he created for his guitar such as the famous smoking pick-ups, the rocket launcher and the fireworks pinwheels.  Ace is a self-professed science and gadget nut, so it’s not surprising that he would create such captivating visual tricks for the stage.

What I found surprising and refreshingly open was Ace’s side of his departure/reunion/departure from KISS.  He doesn’t come across as bitter but shares the story in a matter-of-fact manner.  You get the sense that he’s comfortable, if not shy, in his own skin.

There are several guest artists who share their favorite KISS/Ace stories from their youth.   Former Marilyn Manson axe man (and current Rob Zombie guitarist), John 5, his Zombie drummer sidekick, Tom Clufetos, Matt Sorum ( drummer for Velvet Revolver and formerly of Guns n Roses), Dokken’s George Lynch and The Cult’s bassist, Chris Wyse, make up this impressive line-up.

The resulting jam sessions Frehley has with these accomplished musicians is worth the price of the DVD just by themselves.  When you factor in the historical story-telling and the guitar lessons, well, you’ll be tempted to pay double or even triple the listed price of this volume.

What motivated me from relegating myself from permanent air musician to plugging in my Les Paul again, was the just-mentioned guitar lessons that provide in-depth, note-for-note/chord-for-chord lessons for Ace’s classic KISS songs, Cold Gin and Shock Me.  Add to that the information as to the guitars and gear Ace uses as well as his playing technique, style and tablature revelations, I had to stop myself from raiding my wife’s make-up drawer and create my own stage persona (I settled on a glittery chicken character).

Seriously, though, if you love to learn what the story really is behind Ace Frehley’s career and techniques, then this is a must-have addition to your DVD library.  While you’re at it, pick up Ace’s “Anomaly” CD, if you haven’t done so already.  It’s a goody!

Written by Randy Patterson
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