In an exclusive interview with Rock Candy Mag for a comprehensive 14-page cover feature, Ace Frehley shared with journalist Andrew Daly the reasons behind his absence from KISS‘s final performance at Madison Square Garden last December. Despite departing from the band in 2002, Frehley elaborated on why he did not join them onstage for one last time.
“Fans would constantly reach out to me and say, ‘Ace, please come back to the band,’ Frehley explained. “So the fans were and are my primary motivators, and I want them to know that I did try, but I couldn’t make it happen. They never asked me.”
Frehley dismisses the idea that his well-documented troubles with drugs and alcohol could ever have been a reason for former bandmates and KISS leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley not reaching out to him.
“I’m sober, and all my friends and associates will tell you as much,” he states categorically. “I got to the point in life where drugs and alcohol had taken me over, and I’m just so happy to be away from all that.”
Despite the much-reported rifts with Simmons and Stanley over many years, nevertheless Frehley insists that he still has affection for both of them.
“I want people to know that I do love Paul and Gene,” he says. “I wish things would have been different, but it wasn’t to be…” Nor does Frehley hold any animosity towards his replacement Tommy Thayer.
“He’s a good guy and deserves a break. He’s not me, but he was never going to be me. In a lot of ways, his task was impossible.”
With a new solo album, 10,000 Volts, just released, Frehley is excited about his future away from the band that made him a star.
“My new music will be a smash hit,” he insists. “The cheques might not be flying in, but I’m satisfied with what I’m doing musically. I can wake up each day and know that my soul is mine… I got my soul and my music back.”
Full interview is available at www.rockcandymag.com.
Gene Simmons had previously mentioned that he had asked Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to return for the last shows, but they declined the offer.
“I feel sad. I feel sad and angry that both Ace and Peter aren’t here,” Gene told 519 Magazine. “I mean, they’re alive, but they’re not here to enjoy this unbelievable journey with us. They were there at the beginning and deserve all the credit. And when they look in the mirror, the only reason they’re not here with us is themselves.”
However, Frehley later denied being contacted for the band’s final show, stating that Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons had made false claims to sell tickets.
During a conversation with Mark Strigl of SiriusXM‘s Ozzy’s Boneyard, Ace was asked if there is even a slight possibility that he would make an appearance at the band’s final show, to which he responded: “No. You know what it is? Those guys use my name and Peter‘s name months ago. They said that they invited us to perform at that show. I never got a phone call. Peter never got a phone call. They just said that to sell tickets. And recently, Paul Stanley has made negative statements about me and Peter. For example, I think the last negative statement he said, when people asked him, ‘Is Peter and Ace gonna perform at the Garden?’ he said, oh, we would mar the show if we got up and play — which is really insulting.”
After touring for 50 years, KISS played their final show in Madison Square Garden on December 2nd, 2023. However, this doesn’t mean the end for the band. KISS will be transforming into digital avatars, created by Industrial Light & Magic, allowing them to continue performing and pushing the boundaries of rock and roll. This new era is a partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group and will include immersive avatar-powered music concerts.