When the stalwart rock warriors of Kiss are absent from the stage, fans often hear about Gene Simmons' money-making merchandising projects or Paul Stanley's acting ventures, but guitarist Ace Frehley stays pretty busy also.
On November 28 he'll join forces with Twisted Sister, Sebastian Bach, Overkill and Anthrax at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom for New York Steel, a benefit concert for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The event was organized by Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, who hopes the show will bring in $100,000. Originally, Frehley wanted to schedule his own benefit concert, but instead he decided to step onboard the Hammerstein roster.
"I'm a native New Yorker. I was born 10 blocks from Yankee Stadium," Frehley said Tuesday. "So I'm eager to do anything I can to help our city rebuild from this horrible disaster."
As excited as he is about the show, he said he's a little wary of the lineup. "I'm gonna have to wear rubber gloves when Anthrax take the stage," he joked.
Frehley will play a 30-minute set with the Ace Frehley Band, which includes guitarist Richie Scarlet, bassist Karl Cochran and drummer Steve Budgie Warner.
"We'll be doing the stuff we were doing prior to the 'Unplugged' thing and the Kiss reunion tour," Frehley said.
Some of the same players who take the stage with him at the benefit will likely head into the studio early next year to help Frehley record his fifth solo record, his first since 1989's Trouble Walkin'.
"I'm in the process of building a multimedia studio on seven and a half acres in upstate New York," Frehley said. "I have three albums worth of material right now in the can, and I plan to record another five or 10 songs once my studio is completed. Then I'm gonna sit down to decide which are the best songs to put out as the next Ace Frehley solo album."
The record has a working title, The Baldest Baby on the Block, and Frehley said he hopes to have it out by spring but added that it's too early to predict the musical tone of the disc. It's also too early to tell if and when the long-rumored last-ever Kiss show will take place.
"If it happens, I don't think it's gonna be 'til the spring," Frehley said. "Maybe Shea Stadium, maybe Giants Stadium. Anything's possible, but I'll be there if it happens."
Frehley sounded equally unenthusiastic about the November 10 release of the self-titled five-disc Kiss box set featuring 91 tracks, 20 of which are previously unreleased (see "Kiss Box Set Includes 20 Previously Unreleased Tracks").
"I had no input into that," he said. "They faxed me a list, and I briefly looked over it. There's a booklet included with a lot of great shots. It will be a good representation of the band, and every Kiss fan is gonna want to go out and buy it."
So, has Frehley been calling Simmons on a weekly basis to get a tally on Kiss Kasket sales (see "Kiss Kick It In Style, Komplete With Kaskets")? Not exactly.
"On a work level, I work with them. On a personal level we don't talk very much," he said.