The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Ace Frehley’s ‘10,000 Volts’ puts him back in the groove

Michael Singer/New York State Music Magazine
Ace Frehley, former Kiss guitarist, released “10,000 Volts,” his eighth studio album more than 45 years after his solo debut.

Ace is back and he told you so. The phrase “rock ’n’ roll is dead” is frequently tossed around. With the rise of other genres like hip hop, pop and hip-hop, music fans have seemingly placed the rock genre in its theoretical coffin. Don’t tell that to Ace Frehley.

Frehley has long been one of the faces of the rock genre, with or without his signature spaceman makeup. A singer, songwriter and guitarist, Frehley embodies what it means to rock through his work with Kiss — as well as his solo career spanning decades.

On Feb. 23, the former Kiss guitarist released his eighth studio album, “10,000 Volts,” more than 45 years after the release of his self-titled solo debut in 1978. The album — Frehley’s first collection of original material in six years — signifies more than just another addition to his discography. It proves that rock  ’n’ roll is not dead at all.

The 11-track album showcases Frehley’s continued ability to deliver his distinctive style of classic rock ’n’ roll, appreciated by Kiss fans, who have followed Frehley’s career, in and out of the band. The title track and opening song, “10,000 Volts,” kicks off the album with a flanger-esque guitar chord, followed by a patented Frehley riff, setting the tone for the rest of the album.

Many defining features that make Frehley’s albums unmistakably his resurface on this project. His signature sunburst-colored Les Paul guitar, the Jimmy Page-inspired solos and the references to the stars and space — evident in song titles like “Cosmic Heart” and “Up in the Sky” — are just a few noteworthy elements. Even the album artwork features Frehley playing his guitar in space, surrounded by UFOs and amplifiers producing what looks like enough voltage to power his hometown of New York City.

Unlike his previous albums, “10,000 Volts” does not include any guest musicians. In the past, Frehley collaborated with artists such as Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, John 5 — currently touring with Motley Crue — and his former Kiss bandmates, vocalist Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons. While guitarist Steve Brown, formerly of the band Trixter, assisted in producing the album, all the music was performed by Frehley and his band.

The song that best exemplifies Frehley’s ability to blend his melodic guitar playing with his singing is the track “Walkin’ on the Moon,” released before the album and reminiscent of the style  of “I’m In Need Of Love” from his debut album. This single preceded the album’s release and accompanied a new music video featuring playful visuals, including Frehley donning a NASA-style astronaut suit and aliens playing inflatable guitars.

A hidden gem for hardcore Kiss and Frehley fans lies in the lyrics of the fourth track, “Cherry Medicine.” It’s chock-full of innuendos, including the line, “You make me feel better when you’re in your black leather.” This directly references Frehley’s vocal debut on the Kiss song “Shock Me,” featured on the 1977 album “Love Gun,” where the lyrics state, “Shock me, put on your black leather.”

The seventh track, titled “Blinded,” resonates with a more serious and contemporary theme in 2024, addressing the topics of computers and artificial intelligence in its lyrics. Frehley’s interest in the technology of tomorrow is not only expressed through his lyrics but also embodied in his on-stage persona.

Frehley’s entire spaceman gimmick originated from his fascination of the evolution of technology. Put a guitar in his hands and a microphone in front of him, and you get a song like “Blinded.”

In the lyrics, Frehley refers to the growing technology in the world as “a mind attack” that lacks empathy. Lines like “Cause we’re blinded by science and we’re blinded by fear,” as well as “We’re the victims in the web of despair,” clearly target the influence of technology on modern life. Even non-Kiss fans can find resonance in this song as it deals with such a prominent theme.

The album concludes in typical fashion, mirroring the conclusion of many of Frehley’s solo projects with an instrumental track. “Stratosphere” marks the finale with an acoustic composition that clocks in at just over three minutes. The piece resembles Frehley’s earlier work, “Fractured Mirror,” an acoustic piece that finished his 1978 debut.

The album is not only available to digitally stream on Spotify and Apple Music. The album can be purchased physically on vinyl. Frehley, whose roots in the music industry go back to a time when vinyl was the predominant format, continues to embrace this tradition. More than 40 years later, he is ensuring fans can still consume his music through the same tactile experience that defined the early years of his career.

For rock music fans, “10,000 Volts” is definitely worth a listen. With its cool guitar licks, fun and straightforward lyrics reminiscent of the ‘70s and ‘80s and an undeniable power that aligns with its name, the album demonstrates that rock music is very much alive and thriving in the 21st century.

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    LouMay 17, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    Ace had the most talent in kiss and when he left in 82 they just followed whatever trend was in…
    Gene and Paul homogenized the band into a forgettable joke.

    Kiss was dead in the water until ace and Peter revived the band in 1996.
    And they knew it, for gene it was never about the art of music… just money.
    That’s why they put two others in makeup and milked the fans for a 25 year farewell tour.
    Glad to see Ace get his due, and for Gene and Paul to just go away!!!

  • F

    FordMar 6, 2024 at 9:48 am

    Thats great but really Too bad he can’t show up on time for a show on the Monsters of Rock Cruise almost an hour late putting all other show schedules out for people to see others.