Ex-Kiss Ace tells of near-death moment which inspired song – and how he can prove he’s smarter than ex-bandmate Stanley
Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley has told of the moment he thought he was going to die after suffering an electric shock during a show.
The axeman went through the ordeal in Florida in 1976, and says it inspired the band’s hit single Shock Me – even though Kiss mainman Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley played his influence down.
And he reveals how, tired of feeling like he was being bullied and underrated, he sat an IQ test with Stanley to prove he was smarter than his bandmates thought he was.
Frehley tells The Morton Report: “I had an argument with Gene and Paul, who said that because they write most of the material, I wasn’t very bright. I said, ‘You’d be surprised how bright I am.’
“I bought these IQ tests and Paul and I took them. There was no fooling around – we timed it and went by the rules.
“Paul’s IQ is 140, which is very good, near genius. Mine is 164, which is genius. I always knew I was brighter than the next kid; I was just bored.”
Frehley believes he was always undervalued during his time with Kiss, which he admits was overshadowed by his drinking problems. And he says the band wouldn’t have recorded 1981 flop album Music from The Elder if his bandmates had listened to him.
“Paul and Gene never wanted to give me credit,” he maintains. “I can’t remember them ever saying, ‘Wow, that was a great solo,’ about some of the classic guitar solos.
“I told them from the outset the Elder album was a huge mistake, and they didn’t listen to me. I knew we needed to do something heavy and powerful at that point in time. I was really frustrated doing that project.”
He says the negative attitude was so bad that Kiss wouldn’t even acknowledge his electric shock had been the motivation behind a song.
“It was a pretty traumatic experience – I almost died,” the guitarist recalls. “I felt pain for an instant then I blacked out. I woke up behind the amplifiers and I said, ‘I can’t play.’
“Then the fans started chanting my name and I finished the show. I don’t know how I did it, because I had no feeling in my hands. I guess it was all adrenaline.
“But for a few days after I was nervous, because I remembered reading that some guy got electrocuted and he died two days later. So I was saying, ‘Am I going to die two days later?’ Because it was a bad shock. I had burns on my fingers.
“It inspired Shock Me – but that’s something Paul and Gene don’t even talk about because they don’t want me to get any press about it.”
Frehley rejoined Kiss in 1996 then left again in 2002, but he says there’s not much chance of a third stint: “I think it’s probably passed. It came and went. But that’s okay. I did the reunion tour – I feel I was there for them when they needed me.”