Ace Frehley Says Non-Sobriety Figured in the Firing of HIs Band
Frehley, who struggled with addiction issues during and after his time with Kiss, before finally resolving them, admitted he’d put his former colleagues “through hell” and that he now had no time for people who hadn’t learned the lesson he’d finally grasped.
“I think Paul [Stanley] and Gene, when I left the group the last time and I was strung out on drugs and alcohol, they probably thought I was just going to fade away and maybe O.D. or disappear,” Frehley recently told the Juliet:Unexpected podcast. “What happened was I got sober, and I came back stronger and bigger than ever.” As an example, he added, “I just went to Australia with Gene, showed up on time, played well, sang well.”
Asked if his issues had contributed to the “toxicity” within Kiss, he said, “In the past, yeah. They were right about a lot of things. I mean, today I have no tolerance for being around drunk people. I put those guys through hell – if I do say so myself – but, I mean, I get it. But it took a while for me to understand.”
He continued, “I got sober a couple of times over the years… but invariably I’d relapse because I’d get on a bus with a bunch of musicians who were getting high, smoking pot and drinking beer and whatever. How long you gonna last on a bus before you end up saying, ‘Gimme a cold one’? … So, pretty much, my [addiction] sponsor said to me, ‘The only way you’re gonna get sober, Ace, is if you get rid of all the people around you who get high, and surround yourself with sober people… or at least with musician who keep it behind closed doors… You don’t want to see it, you don’t want to smell it. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Frehley borrowed Simmons’ backing band during the Autralian tour, then decided to keep them and ditch his own outfit. He said his new bandmates subscribed fully to his sober approach, but it hadn’t been the same with the people he’d fired. “At least one of them was missing flights every other show, and the playing started to deteriorate,” he revealed. “I don't have the tolerance, you know? I'm an established superstar, so if you want to play with me, you've got to play by the rules or you're not going to be around.”