Hi The Artist here.
I finished the Ace Frehleys biography, No Regrets, the other day (co authors Joe Layden/John Ostrosky). Ace used to be a member of my favorite band KISS so I was quiet excited to read this book.
Apart from my view that Ace was one of the coolest members in KISS when I was a kid, I also read the KISS bass player Gene Simmons biography a few years ago and in that book he had a go at Ace and called him an irresponsible drug and alcohol addict, I was now looking forward to hear Ace perspectives on that KISSstory.
Unfortunately the book does not impress and follows the standard format we have come to expect after Motley Crue released their book ‘The Dirt’. We are given the basic story about a guy that at a very early stage started to drink and take drugs, found the guitar and made it big. Basically your regular irresponsible drop out, happy to go lucky guy.
There is plenty of party stories that includes a lot of weird behavior because of excessive usage of alcohol and drugs.
That can be fun to some degree but we have heard these stories over and over in books from Motley Crue, Slash, Ozzy, Anthony Kiedis and others. It is not fun any more, especially since Ace does not have enough self distance, which I did not expect to be honest. Even when he says that he behaved like an idiot he comes across as he still think it was kinda cool to be a complete asshole towards girlfriends, his parents and some of his friends.
Even if Ace tries to be honest about his irresponsible behavior he still seems to have a little to high thoughts about him self and his musical talent. He even have the idea that he is really a very intelligent person. The later does not really come through in the book but I do respect him for going from a total egoistic thinking pattern to one that can take a few more perspectives on himself and others. He has grown up a little.
Ace says that all the drugs and alcohol has taken its toll on his memory and he therefore does not remember all the stories that well. I’m not sure that is the reason why we get relatively few stories from his days in KISS in the 70′s. He does seem to remember all the stupid party/drug stories from the same time. I was looking forward to more behind the scene stories and not necessarily related to drugs and parties. How about the work in the studio’s, creating the KISS songs and concerts? Sure we do get a few of these stories as well, and some of them we have heard many times before. The KISS and music stories are in minority compared to the stories about Ace as the drug addict and to be honest, what people really want to hear about is what happened in KISS. Some of the records are hardly covered at all and very little is said about the reunion tour.
One of the more interesting parts of the book is when Ace have go at Gene, which he does quiet often. It is nice to get a different perspective on Gene Simmons after having read Gene’s version of the same stories in his book “Kiss and Make-up”.
I would have liked to read more about the relationships between the other original KISS members and the people around them. Ace seems to avoid any stories or clashes with Paul Stanley. Not sure why cause I doubt that they just got a long perfectly.
I have been quiet negative here. The book is not bad all the way through but most of the book is the same old “cool-bad-ass-rocker-do-crazy-stuff-and-takes-to-many-drugs-and-then-gets-clean-and-says-he’s-sorry”. Ace should have focused more on the music, both in his life and in this book. He was a kick ass rock n roll guitarist after all!