Introduction: You wanted the best you got the… oh wait this isn’t a KISS thing… it’s better, it’s an Ace thing! Ace Frehley’s new memoir “No regrets” is the most recent addition to the box shelf here at the Toy Box and I gotta tell ya, it is perhaps one of the new top five titles in my non fiction library. And yes I have been a fanboy of the Spaceman for as long as I can remember. From being a five year old kid in 1978 who wanted nothing more from Santa than an Ace Frehley Mego to 1987 when I started getting serious about playing guitar to 2011 where I find myself ‘living the dream’ of doing what I always knew I would be doing from a very early age (mind you I’ve got some tweaking to do), Ace Frehley has been a constant influence on me. And with ‘No Regrets’ Ace is again helping inspire me to dream big and play hard. Now let’s get down to the business of learning more from the mind of a man who for four decades has perfectly personified a true guitar hero and rock star. And even better has done it with a few apologies but no regrets. Let’s rock…
What it is
Ace Frehley’s – No Regrets… By Ace Frehley (with Joe Layden and John Ostrosky)
From Simon and Schuster – Released nationwide in hardback November 1st, 2011.
Purchase your copy today at Amazon via a link from the Mego Museum. http://megomuseum.com/community/showthread.php?p=832447#post832447b
Where it came from
I actually bought this book at retail (Target). Seriously. For those that know me in the real world, the fact that I broke my habit of being very patient (and cheap) when it comes to buying most things, especially books know that it takes something very special to talk dead presidents out of my pocket. Case and point, if there is a title that I really, really, really want to read I at least wait for the paperback. Otherwise it’s rolling through used bookstores or surfing around Amazon or ebay for a super cheap used copy (sure there are things called libraries but I have a problem with late fees, believe me when I say I’m better off just buying a used copy. It averages out). This title however wouldn’t allow my frugal nature override my desire to imbibe these 305 pages of Ace Frehley insight and reflection. I will admit that the 30% off that Target offered didn’t hurt but I honestly would have paid the full pop for this hardbound, dust jacket wrapped trip through the Spaceman’s archives.
The greatest ‘good’ that I come away with from this book is that it really feels like a conversation between the reader and Ace. And I’m sure that comes from the style in which Ace dictated to the co-authors and if so bravo anyway. It really works on that level. This particular style makes it an easy page-turner for me. Plus with the ‘conversation’ flowing I wouldn’t want to walk away and be rude.
Another thing that is a top five ‘good’ thing when it comes to the book is that for once and for all Ace has put his side of the KISS story on the record forever locked on the printed page. That in my most humble opinion is a textbook example of balls. The reason I feel that way in regards to this book, is that no one on the planet would know better than Ace the possibility of libel lawsuits from the Simmons / KISS camps if there were misleading information. I’ll cover this more in a few.
And one of the other really big things that makes this book so cool to me is that in reading between the lines you easily see what the book really is; a thank you letter to the fans and also it serves as a middle finger directed very pointedly. Ace is no punk kids. This man is the real deal calling out those that need it. But in doing so Ace doesn’t come off as trying to pick a fight but if the need arose I don’t think he would have any bones about ‘settling’ the problem the old fashioned way. Again more on that aspect in a few.
This is going to sound stupid but it is an honest observation; Ace doesn’t cuss well. I’m serious, in the instances where profanity is used (there’s really not very much by the way) it almost seems forced. I would sight specific examples but considering the normal PG content of the Toy Box I don’t care to go all shock jock now. But for example sometimes it seems like the ‘F’ word is used where the ‘S’ word would fit better. But than again it could simply be a regional thing. Having never been to the Bronx, NY area what the s*** do I know about proper regional dialect?
Another thing that does leave me a little cold is the way the later chapters seem to thin out on details and go into a ‘fast forward’ pace. This aspect makes the book feel a little lopsided. Overall I’d say it takes away a little from the overall title but not enough to leave the reader dissatisfied. Still the last few chapters seem so rushed which is a disservice to this otherwise well paced tome. .
Why I like it
Honesty. As a guy who can only read the written words and take them at face value versus being able to strap Ace to a lie detector, I really believe he’s shooting straight from the hip. I really believe him and truly don’t see any reason as to why he would lie about any of these recounts from his personal and professional life. Also I love the fact that Ace doesn’t pull punches. Literally. Avoiding being an a-hole I don’t want to give away anything but I gotta say that the tale of Ace punching a wannabe (he’s named in the book) in the jaw made me smile wide and even giggle.
I also truly appreciate Ace’s honesty when it comes to drugs, alcohol, and women. I love that he doesn’t go all preachy now that he’s sober. Considering most reformed folks turn into a sappy, weakling. Not our man Ace! While he doesn’t endorse or promote his particular quirks for other folks to do he doesn’t apologize for simply being a guy. That’s very refreshing in this watered down, politically correct society. .
Another thing I really appreciate in his reflections is that from the cradle to the present Ace has a way of ‘keeping it real’ as far as his roots go but also appearing down to earth while at the same time acknowledging his celebrity and accomplishments. Sort of like the wise old sage who has seen so very much from the mountain-top but when he came down the lack of oxygen at the peak didn’t damage his brain and turn him into a ‘better than you’ a-hole..
Why you should or shouldn’t get one
Why you should – A KISS fan would be insane to no read purchase and this book. I point out purchase because I feel it is very important to show your favorite entertainers your real support where it counts, from the pocketbook. Plus I think it would a nice gesture to help Ace see his book out sell Gene’s two to one (or more).
Why you shouldn’t – For the non-Ace or non-KISS fan you’ll probably be left a little cold. But then again if your not a Ace or KISS fan why would you care about this book in the firs place? And while Ace does do some moderate name-dropping, the tell-all aspect isn’t inflammatory enough to draw in the gossipy types.
Being that I am a fanboy of Ace one would think that my credibility in offering an objective review would be in jeopardy. I hope by this part of the process you see that is not the case. I recommend this book (seriously go BUY it) no matter what level of fan you may be. I can also confidently say that after you do, you won’t be disappointed. So pardon me guys while I go order my copy of ‘Anomaly’ and also replace my copies of Trouble Walking and Second Sighting. This has been a regular ‘Rocket Ride’ gang so until next time… Go Play! – Jim 11/16/11