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Ace Frehley

August 1, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm

Ace Frehley at Arcada Theatre on August 1, 2019

Ace Frehley, w/:

  • Enuff Z’Nuff

@Arcada Theatre
August 1
Doors = 6:00 pm
Show = 7:30 pm
Tickets starting price = $59

Ace Frehley

 Kiss’ Ace Frehley inspired numerous up-and-coming rockers to pick up the guitar in the 1970s, and by the next century he was listed by just about every contemporary rock guitarist as an important influence. Operating under the glossy, platform boot-bolstered persona Spaceman (sometimes Space Ace), Frehley played with Kiss from the group’s inception in 1973 to 1982, when he embarked on a successful solo career. He rejoined the group in 1998 for their international reunion tour, and stayed with them through 2002, eventually returning to his solo work in 2009 with the release of Anomaly. Having beaten his addiction to drugs and alcohol in the interim, Frehley enjoyed a creative surge in the 2010s, issuing a string of well-received albums like Space Invader (2014) and Spaceman (2018), and releasing a popular 2011 autobiography, No Regrets: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir.

Born Paul Frehley on April 27, 1951, in the Bronx, New York, Frehley began playing guitar when he received an electric six-string for his 14th birthday in 1965. Already a big fan of the Rolling Stones, he was blown away when he caught a multi-band live show in N.Y.C. in early 1967, featuring both the Who and Cream, among others, which solidified his desire to pursue rock guitar more seriously (and put a promising art career on the back burner). Frehley began playing in local bands soon after, adding both Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to his influences — and around this time, adopted the nickname “Ace.” Although none of the bands he played with had taken off, he answered an ad in a local paper for a new hard rock, theatrically based group in early 1973.

A few weeks after his initial tryout, Frehley was hired as the lead guitarist for the new quartet, joining bassist/singer Gene Simmons, rhythm guitarist/singer Paul Stanley, and drummer Peter Criss to form the band Kiss. By year’s end, the greasepaint- and costume-wearing band was signed to Casablanca Records, and by 1978, had become one of the world’s top hard rock bands. A string of platinum albums and sold-out tours lasted from 1975-1979, until the trappings of fame threatened to break up the band. Frehley’s best friend in the band, Criss, left Kiss in 1980, as the group unsuccessfully experimented with non-metal styles. Ace Frehley’s use of alcohol and drugs increased due to his ever-increasing unhappiness in the band, and, by 1982, he’d exited Kiss.

Within a year or two after his split from Kiss, Ace began putting his own solo band together, Frehley’s Comet. The band played local N.Y.C. clubs, but failed to issue a record until 1987’s self-titled debut for Megaforce Records. Instead of following the heavy metal direction of his exceptional 1978 solo album, Frehley’s Comet tried to keep pace with the current pop-metal movement (Mötley Crüe, etc.), issuing two other albums (and a live EP) by 1989. Around this time, Frehley put his old art talents to use once again through computer graphics, with a few of his images even being featured in an art exhibit. Despite mudslinging in the press between Simmons/Stanley and Frehley in the early ’90s, all four original Kiss members made up in time to reunite for a 1995 taping of MTV Unplugged. The taping was such a success that it led to a full-blown reunion of the original lineup, resulting in the massively successful 1996-1997 Alive Worldwide Tour.

Frehley continued as a member of Kiss until the end of their Farewell Tour (lasting longer than fellow original member Peter Criss, who dropped out in 2001). Live appearances, including gigs at the massive Rocklahoma festival, kept Ace busy until 2009, when he released the album Anomaly on his own label, Bronx Born Records. In 2011 he published No Regrets, a detailed and frank memoir that recounted, among other things, his aforementioned struggles with alcohol and cocaine addiction. In 2013 he celebrated seven years of sobriety and spent much of that year appearing at horror, sci-fi, and pop culture conventions.

The following April, after a long wait, Kiss was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, before August brought the release of Space Invader, a solo album that took a heavier approach than Anomaly. Released in 2016, Origins, Vol. 1was an all-covers album featuring songs from Ace’s favorite bands, up to and including Kiss, with new versions of “Parasite” and “Cold Gin” sitting next to songs from Thin Lizzy and Cream. The following year, Frehley joined Kiss bassist/vocalist Simmons on-stage at a Hurricane Harvey benefit for the Children Matter organization in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was the first time the former bandmates had performed together in over 16 years. In 2018 Frehley issued his eighth solo long payer, Spaceman, which featured a power pop cover of Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back” and the rowdy single “Rockin’ with the Boys,” the latter of which was written during Kiss’ ’70s heyday. (Source)

Enuff Z’Nuff

Chicago’s Enuff Z’nuff emerged in the late 1980s during the waning days of the glam metal scene, but their sugary melodies and keen power pop smarts hewed more closely to artists like Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, and Badfinger — despite their obvious pop leanings, Atco pushed hard to market the group as a glam-metal act, much to their detriment. Released in 1989, the band’s eponymous debut yielded their highest-charting singles, “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing,” both of which cracked the mainstream Top 40 charts. Despite enduring plenty of personal hardships, hiatuses, and lineup changes, the band spent the ensuing decades touring and recording, releasing dozens of studio albums and staying true to their flashy, power pop sensibilities via strong offerings like Strength, Animals with Human Intelligence, Paraphernalia, Welcome to Blue Island, and Diamond Boy.

Released in August 1989, Enuff Z’nuff’s self-titled debut scored a couple of quick hit singles with “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle,” but the frustrated band members found themselves receiving more attention for their over the top, brightly colored, peace sign-infested wardrobe than their superlative hard rock songs. By the time they unleashed 1991’s Strength album, they had noticeably toned down their image and turned up their creative ambitions to deliver a masterful ’90s take on the crunchy power pop sound of Cheap Trick and Badfinger. America’s new alternative rock regime was not impressed, however, and their dismissal from Atco due to disappointing sales coincided with a growing rift with guitarist Frigo. And though they were quickly snapped up by Arista Records, drummer Foxx would abruptly leave for the greener pastures of former Mötley Crüe vocalist Vince Neil’s solo band as soon as the sessions for their third album, Animals with Human Intelligence, were completed. When this third effort also failed to connect with consumers, Arista shut its doors and Frigo quit for good.

Following the release of their 11th studio album, Welcome to Blue Island, by the Dream Catcher label in 2002, Donnie Vie quit to pursue a solo career in Los Angeles, leaving Chip Znuff and a rotating cast of players to carry on and tour sporadically as a trio. Then, just as reunion discussions with former members Derek Frigo and Vikki Foxx were getting underway, Enuff Z’nuff’s already shaky constituents were dealt another devastating blow on May 29, 2004, when Frigo was found dead from an accidental drug overdose outside his girlfriend’s apartment in L.A. The band had just finished recording ?, which was eventually released in November 2004 on the Pony Canyon label. A live album, Tonight, Sold Out, dropped in 2007, followed in 2009 by a new studio LP, Dissonance, which heralded the return of Donnie Vie — the reunion lasted until 2013, with Vie once again heading out to do his own thing. In 2016 the band and Frontier Records issued Clown’s Lounge, a largely archival collection of material taken from recording sessions from 1988-1989. In 2018 the band returned with a new studio LP, Diamond Boy, which featured Znuff handling lead vocals (for the first time), guitarist Tory Stoffregen, ex-Ultravox guitarist Tony Fennell, and Chicago native Daniel Benjamin Hill on drums. (Source)