Ace Frehley inspired zillion guitarists…. he is reason why so many young generation of guitarists pick up the instrument…. so many 80’s and 90’s cited Ace as their influence… How many times have you read of that?
As an Ace Frehley big fan, it is a joy for me (who just a casual fan, not a musician) to find out how far influences of The Spaceman guitar playing has extended to other rock guitarists especially on the 80’s and 90’s. Unfortunately I could not find out readings about how those guitarists mentioning Ace as their heroes during those periods, except videos on You Tube. So I decided to begin a web research, ‘mining’ from many websites and You Tube Videos to observe the proofs of guitarists who has Ace Frehley “The Spaceman” as one of their major guitar hero, as the reason why they start to play guitar.
Make no mistakes, of course guitar players down under below have other guitar heroes as influences as well, and to many extents those guitar heroes are more like teachers to them. For example, the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell has guitar playing style that owes so much to killer guitar heroes like Randy Rhoads, Tony Iommi, etc.. but he always mention that Ace Frehley is the very first person who make him pick up guitar even we might spent nine lives to find out in which part Pantera catalogue has guitar style refers to Ace Frehley’s chops because they are extremely different (Pantera is real metal band which of course never was an Ace style during his career)
Therefore, this list is not in the same vein of how Eddie Van Halen constitutes guitar playing styles on the 80’s glam metal majesty. You even go further to find that no guitarists below has hooks or techniques in common to the flamboyant, vibrato-rich, pentatonic, guitar-picking, ala Ace Frehley. It is more about how Ace Frehley spirit has been a wake-up call on the dawn during their younger days, that become major reasons for them starting to pick up guitar. Of course this is just an ordinary list made by a casual fan, may have mistakes here and there. So here we go 🙂
1. Dimebag Darrell
This blog post means nothing without mentioning Dimebag Darrel, Panthera extraordinary guitarist, the very number 1 Ace Frehley fan. It is no secret that Ace is the first reason this great guy picked up his guitar and play (he said if not for Ace, there will be no Dimebag Darrell). In early 90’s he made his dream come true, Ace came in the flesh to sign Spaceman Tatoo on his chest. Rest in Peace Dimebag!
Ace photo with Dimebag tatoo
Let’s start off with influence. Past winners used to claim Paganini and Bach as influences. More recently, jazz names like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker started showing up. Being the newest of breakthrough guitarists, who did you listen to?
Diambag Darrell: To be honest, I’m not one who tries to claim a bunch of influences. I’m not jazz this or classical that. As far as classical goes, Randy Rhoads was as far as that got. He was a big influence and so was Eddie Van Halen – he still is. I’m hardly influenced anymore because I listen mostly to my old records. But off their old stuff, Michael Schenker and even Angus Young were influences. But I’d have to say that Ace Frehley was probably my biggest influence. Just the whole image, and especially that vibrato he’s got [mimics “wowwowwow” vibrato sound!]. That was actually the reason I started playing guitar, by the way. I dressed up like him, got a fake Les Paul, skipped school to play in front of the mirror, then went from there.
2. Mike McCready
Pearl Jam ROckin in the Free World with Ace
You could hear in the beginning Eddie Vedder mentioned how Mike McCready may will not play guitar if not for Ace Frehley, and symbolically Mike and Matt Cameron both do lapse of honor to Ace Frehley who just arrived on stage
I loved Alive!. “Black Diamond” blew my mind. Ace Frehley came onstage and did it with us at Madison Square Garden a few years ago, which was a total high watermark in my life. When I was 13, I never thought in a million years that I would even talk to him; I’d probably pass out. And here I am playing with him!
Ace was their firecracker, their dynamite. He’s what took them over the top with the feel he put into his leads. I really gravitated towards his vibrato. My lead for “Alive” is based on “She,” and that’s based on “Five to One” by the Doors. I remember we were in Surrey, England. I thought about it like, “I’m going to approach this like Ace did on ‘She.'”
3. Dave “Snake” Sabo (Skid Row)
All Skid Row members are big fan of KISS and esp Ace Frehley, including the vocalist Sebastian Bach who has a vocal on Ace’s album “Trouble Walkin” in 1989. However it is very exposed during their heyday that Snake has Ace as his ultimate guitar hero, the man made him play guitar with Skid Row. This interview on MTV explains it
Video Ace Skid Row Interview
That was a hilarious interview, Ace with Skid Row members on MTV, they really had a wonderful time together. At a point in the middle, hear how Dave “Snake” Sabot gravitates towards Ace Frehley in the face (“he’s the reason I play guitar”) in which Ace humbly turn mumbling 😀 – which might imply he has hear that words so many times before from other 80’s guitar players 🙂
4. John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson)
Another heavy metal guitarist who had Ace as his first inspiration to pick up guitar. You may know John 5 from his tenure with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. VIdeo Ace Frehley Behind the Player. See John 5 explicitly mentioned Ace as the first reason he played guitar and check at around 5.00 – 5.50 when John 5 recall the moment when he was 7 years old first listening to KISS and fall in love with guitar after hearing Ace playing.
And recently he posted a photo in his Facebook page, when he was 15 he met his hero Ace Frehley
Going back a few – here is me aged 15 / 16 with #acefrehley
5. Chris Caffery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Video Ace vs Chris Metal
In spite of trading licks and technique out of each other (as it is the purpose of Metalhead to Head event), this came as a stage to Caffery to meet up and have a nice talk with one of his guitar hero. He took the chance to confess that Ace is his first inspiration to get the warzone, Alive as the first album and first concert he attended. If u watch the video and other Trans-Siberian videos, no doubt Caffery has better techniques than Ace, but I’ve told this above haven’t I? “_Funnily enough, Ace forgot where he met Caffery first and in turn, Caffery recall it, remind ace bout Comet’s rehearsal.
6. C.C. DeVille (Poison)
I always think that CC, for his crazily unstructured, big fuck you and rock’n roll attitude guitar playing (not to mention his alcoholic problem) can be seen as Ace Frehley of the 80’s. In interview below he pointed out of how his approach to guitar playing was never to be technical like Joe Satriani, Vai, or others, freestyle, and it was Ace Frehley who inspire him to be freewill “do what you want to do” when starting to play guitar in his early age. Hear Poison rendition of “Rock’n Roll All Night” which portrayed CC emulate Ace Frehley guitar solo almost identically.
(interview CC DeVille 1999)
I really felt liberated by Kurt Cobain, just as I may have liberated players who weren’t going to be the next Joe Satriani, and just like Ace Frehley liberated me when I started playing.
7. Tommy Thayer (Black and Blue, KISS)
Don’t hold your breath.. I got his note from Rock Honos 2006
“WOW! What a fantastic three days in Vegas and what a thrill to be a part of such a phenomenal and historic event! I took me 24-hours to fully recover and actually recall what happened! The four honored bands; Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Queen and of course KISS are literally my all-time favorite bands. The all-star jam with Slash, Scott Ian, Gilby Clark, Tommy Lee and especially Ace was incredible considering the fact that I’m also a huge fan of Ace, Motley, Guns, and Anthrax.
Later, as we were walking to the cars for the ride to the backstage area, I saw Ace for the first time in about four years. He gave me a big hug and told me how great it was seeing everybody again – he was pumped up for the evening.”
8. Marty Friedman (Megadeth)
Again, a heavy / trash metal guitarist which has The Spaceman as his guitar hero in his childhood, despite the extremely different guitar playing in his career with Megadeth. Marty stated that his first concert is KISS in 1976, and seeing Ace rockin out the Les Paul is what his first love with guitar, he idolize Ace so much that he had his posters on his bedroom wall when he was a kid. The former Megadeth lead guitarist who is now pursuing career in Japan was also involved in the Ace Frehley tribute album which is also having other rock guitarists like Dimebag Norum, etc. Marty played Deuce.
RN: How did you get involved with the Queen tribute [Dragon Attack]?
MF: Actually, the company that put it together had done a previous tribute to Ace Frehley. Ace had his management call a bunch of guys who they thought would be interested and they called me which I was flattered to hear that, you know, growing up as a little kid with Ace posters on my wall.
RN: What was your first rock concert?
MF: Kiss, 1976.
9. Ty Tabor (King’s X)
Tabor has a wide-ranging guitar style, from big guitar riffs to soaring melodic passages. His use of volume swells and ambient passages add an elemental texture to his compositions. His influences include The Beatles, Brian May, Alex Lifeson, Ace Frehley, Phil Keaggy, and the original Alice Cooper band.
Comparable to Brian May and Ace Frehley, Tabor has an identifiable guitar style all his own
Ty Tabor: Well, Vinnie’s a great player. He’s a killer player, no doubt about it. I have to say every guitarist that they’ve had since, I mean Bruce is a great player. They’ve not been any lacking for having a great lead player at any point as far as I’m concerned. I’m more partial to Ace because he’s a little bit different kind of guy than the rest. He’s not the type of technical player that they kind of ended up with later, which I have nothing against whatsoever. I’m just saying it was sort of the rough edges and the dangerousness of it with Ace was what I liked so much. So I’m very partial to Ace.
KF: It’s hard to argue with that. Ace’s guitar is a big part of the classic KISS sound. When players like Vinnie came onboard, the sound morphed into a different direction. Of course, Vinnie became known for his otherworldly guitar chops.
Ty Tabor: Right. Technically killer. Technically proficient. For me, I’ll be honest, even though I totally appreciate how good he is and have nothing negative to say about him at all, but just the vibe of what the solo became in a KISS song at that point changed to a different kind of thing. Because it used to be the melody and style when it was Ace. And then it became more like real guitar solos as they had guys that could do amazing things.
10. Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns’n Roses)
THe first rock album that “called” him his Alive when he was 5 years old. Guitar playing insides played by Ace Frehley in Alive and other KISS albums made him wanted to play guitar (before he tried drums and bass but went nowhere during his teens). In 2013 he made his dream come true, playing together with Ace Frehley during Eddie Trunk’s birthday
RMS: You make it no secret that you’re a big KISS fan from the 70’s and I wanted to ask you to recall what it was like playing with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley at Eddie Trunk’s birthday party awhile back.
RBT: How great is it to be onstage with Peter & Ace, Scotti Ian & Frank Bello, with Mike Portnoy, jamming to a bunch of songs that you love – these old KISS songs? That was fantastic. There was only one moment when I was like, “Holy Crap!” Playing “Hooligan” where Ace was on the side of the stage, and I’m over by Peter Criss – who hadn’t sang that song in 31 years he told me – and I’m playing Ace’s solo, looking right at him, and I was kind of motioning to him, “You should be doing this!” I was thinking, “I’m looking at you, playing your parts – that YOU recorded with YOUR band” and it just felt weird. I felt like I was fucking someone’s wife right in front of them.
The neighborhood kids I’d hang with all had older bruthas and sistas, and I got to listen to their music – Beatles, Yes, Stones, Ramones, but it was hearing the KISS Alive! album that turned a light on in my oversized bulbous child-head. I knew I was meant to do what they were doing – make music and dress funny.
11. Mattias Eklundh ( Freak Kitchen, Jonas Hellborg Trio and Art Metal )
Mattias Eklundh is a famous Swedish metal guitarist who is also a very big fan of Ace Frehley. Explore his raw, wild, freestyle and unique guitar approach on the bands above.
Guitarhoo!: Hello Mattias and welcome to Guitarhoo! Who inspired you to pick up guitar?
Mattias Eklundh: It all started out with Ace Frehley and KISS before I heard Frank Zappa, whose music and playing changed my life forever
12. Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer-X, solo)
Pablo Gilberto (as Eric Martin usually call him that) is a big fan of KISS and especially Ace Frehley. In his guitar tutorial / lesson book he even have something like Ace Frehley
This is his “thing” which honoring Ace’s name 😀
There is something I call the “Ace Frehley” scale, which uses chromatics. This one’s all A minor pentatonic (A-C-D-E-G), but it’s got the “blues” note [i.e., “flatted 5th”—Eb/D#)] and the major 7th [i.e., “G#”] in there [see Fig. 6].
And these are his quotes from an interview of how he adore Ace so much
Fernando Martínez: Hablame de Ace Frehley, lo has nombrado anteriormente y se que tienes un sentimiento especial sobre este guitarrista.
Paul Gilbert: “Cuando era más joven tuve los dos primeros discos de KISS en directo, Alive! y Alive II y me encantaban los solos de esos discos, su vibrato es tan bueno, es buenísimo y natural. En “Shock Me” (toca un fragmento de la canción y un fragmento del solo de guitarra y la tararea…) y algunos de mis estudiantes no pueden hacerlo, trabajan en ello pero les cuesta bastante. Todo mi proceso de afinado en directo está basado en esa técnica que usa Ace Frehley (toca más solos de Ace) muy, muy buenos (toca más partes de los solos de Ace). Me encantan esos dos discos. ¡Me encanta Ace!”
This is translation from Google :
Paul Gilbert: “I grew up in the 70s, with all the cool guitarists of the 70s, Ace Frehley, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen of course, that was the time of great vibrato.”
Fernando Martinez: Tell me about Ace Frehley, you’ve named above and you have a special feeling about this guitar.
Paul Gilbert: “When I was younger I had the first two discs KISS Live, Alive! and Alive II and I loved those records solos, his vibrato is so good, it’s great and natural. In “Shock Me” (playing a snippet of the song and a fragment of solo guitar and humming …) and some of my students can not do, work at it but it costs them enough. All my live refining process is based on this technique using Ace Frehley (Ace plays more solos) very very good (plays most parts of solos Ace). I love those two albums. I love Ace! ”
13. Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch)
Not only late Dimebag Darrell, but Jason Hook also have Ace Frehley Spaceman tatoo in his body. Lately, Jason had wonderful time jamming with Ace in Gibson, but he had an old story of almost joining Ace’s band which unfortunately didn’t come into fruition because Alice Cooper 🙂
Jason has 3 most favorite bands, KISS, Van Halen, and Deep Purple. Read below of how he admires Ace Frehley as his guitar hero
Examiner: It’s interesting, because you mentioned KISS before, have you read Ace Frehley’s new book yet, speaking of not doing drugs on the road?
Dude! Not yet, I have it pre-ordered from Amazon but I’m probably going to end up buying it from a bookstore because it’s waiting for me at home while I’m on tour. I know Ace, I played in Ace’s band for about 10 minutes. Right before Alice Cooper, I flew out to New York. Anthony Esposito, who was Ace’s bass player, and I’ve known Anthony for a long time, and he said I’m putting a band together for Ace and it’s really important that I find guys that are sober, because Ace is trying to stay sober. And he was like “you were the first guy I thought of.” So I said “say no more, I’ll be there on Monday.” And we spent a couple of days with Ace down at Anthony’s loft in the city, and then we spent a couple of days up at Ace’s house, and that whole experience was just surreal to me. I was showering in Ace’s shower, you know? Ace was hellbent on finishing the record, and he was like “if you guys can just hang tight, I gotta put a couple of more months into this record, I really don’t want to tour until this record is finished.” I was like fine, I was back in Los Angeles, and then I got the call for the Alice Cooper gig. So now I had a problem. I can’t believe I’m going to miss this opportunity to play with my hero, but the Alice Cooper gig, and I don’t even like Alice Cooper, but the money was incredible and the opportunity was solid so I had to take it, so I spent two and a half years playing with Alice Cooper, thus missing the tour cycle that Ace Frehley went out on. He ended up getting some other guy from New York, but it kinda broke my heart. And
14. Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
Yes, not only glam rock, heavy metal, and grunge. But Ace’s presence are also touching guitarists from alterative/modern rock band like Weezer. KISS is the first love of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocalist/lead guitarist 1).
In 1977, a young girl whom Rivers was friends with (presumably the one on the Buddy Holly single) played Rivers the Kiss record, Rock and Roll Over. Rivers would later say that this “directed the course of [his] life.”
“We were all about six or seven years old. And when we heard ‘Makin’ Love’ or ‘I Want You’ off that record, we just lost our minds. The guitar was so exciting! I remember we’d all just run around the room in circles, playing air guitar and jumping off the furniture.”
In June 13, 1984, Rivers received his first guitar, a Stratocaster copy. Rivers learned the Ace Frehley solos and would attempt to play them for his mother. Said Rivers, “I’d play her the ‘Shock Me’ solo from Alive II because I thought that was the greatest. She told me that it sounded like a dying cat.”
read more in : http://www.weezerpedia.com/wiki/index.php?title=Rivers_Cuomo#Fury
and also in : http://blueguy71.tripod.com/aparticle.htm
15. Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
As with other guitarists in this list, Slash had many influences that drove him to rock’n roll, like Aerosmith “Rocks”, Led Zeppelin II, AC DC Back in Black, Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love”, and Cream “Sunshine of your Love” (the last is the very first song that kickstarted his passion in guitar). However, KISS Alive with Ace Frehley on guitar that first made Slash fell in love with guitar. As Steven Adler stated in Slash’s book : “Slash – Surviving Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and Rock’s Snake Pit – By Paul Stenning”
I had this guitar and a little amplifier that I was learning to play, and one day I just showed it to Slash. I knew two chords and two scales, and I tried to play along to KISS Alive (Alive II – as stated by Slash), strike all the Ace Frehley positions, man! Well Slash just fell in love with that guitar. I gave it to him, and within a week he was writing songs.
I thought that I was going to play bass, because Steve Adler, who was my best friend at the time, already had a guitar. He used to crank it up (Cream “Disraeli Gears”) through this little piece of shit amp that he had, and he would turn KISS Alive II all the way up and just bang on this guitar, even though he didn’t know how to play it.
By Paul Stenning
read : https://books.google.co.id/books?id=kvxBCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT21&lpg=PT21&dq=slash+kiss+alive&source=bl&ots=iITu-eq68G&sig=q6UeKHWUAoalZZ-A7ZCQsEgGB7o&hl=ban&sa=X&ved=0CDYQ6AEwB2oVChMIzcqYtdGUxwIVwzemCh2_PgN7#v=onepage&q=slash%20kiss%20alive&f=false
In turn of the century, Slash and Ace has been dear friends for years. Slash accompanied Ace in Rock Honors (2006) playing God of Thunder with other stars (and apparently had drinks with Ace outside the show). Slash also played Cold Gin with Ace in a concert during Anomaly tour. Slash also indicated that he would just love the original KISS inducted into RRHoF and don’t care why other KISS members were not inducted. And recently Slash will play in upcoming Ace’s cover album. According to Slash’s latest tweet, he and Ace play Thin Lizzy “Emerald” on the album. Can’t wait for the result of their collaboration!! 🙂
17. Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
In many music articles, I found so many mentions of Kim Thayil, lead guitarist of grunge band Soundagarden (although he hates label), as one of the foremost ‘disciple’ of Ace Frehley, often in one line with Dimebag Darrel and Mike McCready. Kim never stay away to say his fond with Ace Frehley as his guitar hero, reason why he played guitar in any interviews. He often plays Ace’s licks as a warm-ups, jam before start to work on the studio, as one revealed in interview below.
“Go nuts!” Producer Michael Beinhorn prompts Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, who is sitting back in the shapeless couch, a black Guild S-1 in one hand and a Budweiser in the other. “And none of that thoughtful, reflective bullshit either!”
Thayil warms his wah pedal with a few Ace Frehley licks as Beinhorn signals that the tape is rolling. “Kim plays better when he’s on a couch,” he deadpans, confessing that the setup, a replica of Thayil’s living room (minus his extensive vinyl album collection and two cats) was constructed to coax a relaxed performance out of the studio-weary guitarist.
“It’s true,” Thayil confirms. “That’s where I usually practice my guitar. I’m more comfortable playing that way”
Guitar.com: You’ve often cited Ace Frehley and Kiss as a prime influences. Why is it you never followed that path into metal?
Kim Thayil: Because it wasn’t very smart. The metal thing tended to be a bit sexist and sophomoric and racist and just kinda dopey. I may not be very socially graceful, but fuck it, I was smarter than those guys who were into metal. I had long hair, so the smart guys pushed me into the stoners, and I didn’t hang out with stoners. I just liked listening to rock and playing guitar and reading a lot. Guitar and books, that was it.
18. Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)
It looks like almost all guitarists from Seatle ZIP Code bands share one mutual thing, Ace Frehley. And that includes Jerry Cantrell, the lead guitarist, co-writer, and main songwriter of Alice in Chains, who is perhaps known for the charismatic frontman, Layne Staley. Jerry openly said about Ace as his very first guitar hero, despite he almost doesn’t sound like any of Ace guitar playing (one example, Jerry loves acoustic guitar while Ace is rarely known for his playing with acoustic one).
You’ve always been an unapologetic hard- rock fan, even back when it was very chic to diss hard rock and metal. Who were some of the important guitar players that informed your own style?
The first guitarist I ever really identified with is not necessarily anybody you would consider to be a great player, Ace Frehley. But I loved a lot of the stuff that he did and the vibe of it. I wanted to play guitar just because I was a Kiss fan. And I’ve always been a huge fan of Angus Young. AC/DC is probably my favorite rock and roll band of all time. Obviously Eddie Van Halen and Tony Iommi. I like KK Downing and Glenn Tipton and the Schenker brothers—the Scorpions, UFO. I would also put David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, and Brad Whitford on the list of guys that I wanted to emulate.
19. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
One of the godfather of heavy metal in the 80’s Dave Mustaine. With Megadeth he plays speed metal and other things that could make ones headbanging and stomping their feet. However it is Hotter than Hell, KISS’s 2nd album, that he first owned. And he cites Ace Frehley as his reason to rock, even go as far as recording Ace’s song “Strange Ways, and not other ‘more’ popular KISS track.
Ace Frehley was a huge influence on me as a guitar player. The first couple of times I got together with a couple of times to play music together, there were several Kiss songs that we’d play. Megadeth actually covered a version of Strange Ways. We covered it in rebellion to something Gene had done. We were interested in doing something for the Kiss My Ass record, but they didn’t want to do any of the songs written by members that weren’t Paul or Gene. I thought fuck that. I know why they’re doing it, I’m a musician, I know about publishing. I said we’d do it but I wanted to do Strange Ways because that was Ace’s song and they said no.
20. Allison Robertson (The Donnas)
Was there a certain player that you loved that played a Gibson?
Yeah. I really loved Cinderella at the time, and their guitarist Tom Kiefer is my idol, and he always plays Gibsons and Les Pauls. And then Ace Frehley from Kiss is probably my favorite guitar player ever. I love him. When my sister and I were little, we would watch Kiss videos all the time, and not only did I think Ace was sexy and cool and awesome, but I also was obsessed with how he played, and I loved watching the live videos of Kiss. I actually changed all my positioning and my fingers and where I put my guitar strap after watching their videos. I was like, “Oh, his guitar is like here, and oh, his fingers are doing this with the pick.” I watched it incessantly and remodeled my whole outlook toward the guitar. That’s when I started playing solos and changing my whole approach. I wasn’t really into solos because I thought it was sort of like a self-indulgent thing. I thought I was more punk than that or whatever. And then I was like, whatever, I love solos. That’s the best part.
Ace Frehley was the reason I sold all my crappy guitars and put all the money toward a Les Paul Studio. The second I had that thing I felt like I was Ace Frehley.