Ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley: Maybe the Mayans are on to something

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Ace Frehley, the former guitarist with Kiss, has taken a close look around — and he’s not so sure the Mayans don’t have a point when it comes to their end-of-the-world predictions for 2012.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped Frehley from continuing work on his first album since 2009’s Anomaly, as well as a sequel to last year’s autobiography “No Regrets.” He’s also scheduled a series of dates as part of Hard Rock Hell between November 29 to December 3, even as his record label produced a special silver-vinyl reissue of Anomaly last week — with special gatefold packaging, and a limited pressing of just 1,000 copies.

Still, Frehley — who was with Kiss from its inception in 1973 through 1982 and then again from 1996-2002 — can’t help but notice that “there’s all sort of things going on.”

And it could get worse, he says, as we approach Dec. 21, 2012 — the date when the Mayans’ “Long Count” calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era.

For instance: “The sun has an 11-year cycle and it’s coming towards an end,” Frehley tells Classic Rock magazine, so they’re expecting more sun-spot activity, solar winds and solar flares that could affect computers and power grids. Some planets are aligning, from what I understand, so that could cause an earthquake and severe weather. So, a lot of crazy of things could happen.”

Fans have to be particularly intrigued by the talk of a rare studio album from Frehley, who has cleaned up after years of career-damaging substance abuse problems. Following his celebrated 1978 self-titled solo debut, Frehley was very active in the late 1980s — issuing 1987’s Frehley’s Comet, 1988’s Second Sighting and 1989’s Trouble Walkin’ — but then didn’t issue another album until Anomaly.

Whatever the fate of the world, Frehley says he’s going to go without regrets: “It doesn’t scare me,” he added. “If I died tomorrow I’d die happy, because I’ve lived 10 lifetimes over what a regular person might have experienced.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Ace Frehley and Kiss. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

NEW YORK GROOVE (ACE FREHLEY, 1978): Everybody had their disco song, back in the day. Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, even Frank Sinatra. And, yes, Kiss. The beat is there, as is the chanky-chank riff — and, of course, the lyric: about a pretty lady in the back of the limo racing toward some night of debauchery amidst the towering skyscrapers. This being Ace Frehley, though, he sings with the kind of blissed-out somnambulance that only comes from too many women and way, way too much booze. That adds a more sinister feel to the Russ Ballard-penned “New York Groove” — something beyond the party anthems of the day, something that sticks with you.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: KISS – REVENGE (1992): There is one non-makeup Kiss record that certainly belongs in the conversation with the band’s best work. Released in 1992, Revenge came on the tail of two snoozers — 1987’s Crazy Nights and 1989’s Hot in the Shade — that were completely lost in the keyboard-laden, ballad-heavy 1980s radio rock sound. Revenge, though, was a different beast. There were still plenty of mindless sex and party anthems. It wouldn’t be a Kiss record without those. But there was a darker, heavier edge to the album, which was loaded with Gene Simmons’ gruffer vocals.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: KISS: News that Kiss is back in the studio, working toward the 2012 release of a new project called Monster, got us scurrying back to our old album collections. And not just because of those fond memories of playing air guitar with former guitarist Ace Frehley during Kiss Alive. Bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said something interesting about the sessions: “This new record feels heavier than (2009’s) Sonic Boom. It feels like a connection between Destroyer and Revenge. Those were but two of the favorites we discussed here.

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