KISS is where is all began for me! My cousin Ron played KISS Destroyer for me and I was hooked. I must've been about 14 years old. I loved 'Detroit Rock City' and 'God of Thunder'. Just hearing the guitars gave me such a feeling of power.
I have been playing drums with the Bocsey brothers in my bedroom at that time but I wanted to move onto the guitar. I got a copy of 'Destroyer' and started listening to the guitar playing. Jim Bocsey had been showing me power chords from Tony Iommo (Black Sabbath) and I started to apply them to KISS. Soon I was able to play some of those songs.
I got KISSs 'ALIVE' album and really felt the power of a crowd and live music!
I really started to get into playing solos and of course bought all of the KISS albums that were available. I can remember when 'Love Gun' came out and buying it at the 'National Record Mart' that was in Monroeville Mall. I still have that album but I don't have the 'pop' gun that was part of the packaging.
Ace was really a great player to learn from. He isn't the fastest guy on earth but he sure has soul and heart. I love his slow vibrato and sound. He had a great attitude as well. My favorite Ace solo is on 'Firehouse'. I really love his playing on 'Shock Me' and 'Cold Gin'.
I also remember that his solo on 'Alive II' included the hammering on with his pick. I didn't think much about it at the time but I believe that 'Alive II' came out before 'Van Halen'. Ace may have jumped Eddie Van Halen BUT Gene Simmons (KISS bass player) was producing Van Halen's demo tape so Ace could have been exposed to Eddie's style at that point.
I was fortunate (and lucky) enough to actually meet and record with Ace Frehly back in 1986. He was working at Master Sound Astoria in NYC and I was at a GIT seminar in the same complex. I played on a song called 'Rock Soldiers' on his 'Frehley's Comet' album.
I wrote and article about the whole experience for AceFrehley.com a few years back. Although that site no longer exists, here is the article as I submitted it and as it was published