ACE FREHLEY Was ‘Shocked’ To Hear Collaborator STEVE BROWN Take Credit For Writing ’97 Percent’ Of ‘10,000 Volts’ Album

In a new interview with Canada’s The Metal Voice, Ace Frehley shot down rumors that almost all of the songwriting on his latest album, “10,000 Volts”, was done by his collaborator, TRIXTER guitarist Steve Brown. The original KISS guitarist said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I got aggravated the other day ’cause I heard that people were saying I didn’t write any of the songs on the record. And [they were saying] it was all Steve Brown. And Steve, he was doing [the] ‘Three Sides Of The Coin’ [KISS-centric podcast], and he kind of confirmed that by saying, ‘Yeah…’ The [interviewer] said, ‘Well, how much did Ace bring to the table?’ And he goes, ‘Well, I pretty much brought about 97 percent.’ And I was really shocked when he said that, because that’s not the case. And I called him up and he apologized to me.”

Ace continued: “[Steve is] a wonderful guy. I love him. He was so excited about the record, and they were asking him questions that weren’t rehearsed; he had no idea. Everybody sometimes toots their own horn a little more than they should sometimes without thinking. He was so excited about the record, he made that statement, but he admitted to me last night that that wasn’t the case. And I brought up ‘Up In The Sky’ and several other things. What’s that one song that everybody’s jumpin’ on bandwagon now? ‘Fightin’ For Life’, saying it’s one of the best songs on the record. I rewrote the whole chorus for that.

“I’m a very good lyricist,” Frehley explained. “I always have been, but when it came to this album, if Steve brought a song to me with lyrics, ultimately I ended up rewriting at least 50 percent of the lyrics, just because I’m a better lyricist, and I think he’d be the first one to admit that. But he’s definitely a much better engineer and producer than I am, and a great guitar player. And a good songwriter and very knowledgeable on Pro Tools — much more so than myself.

“I like to give credit where credit’s due,” Ace added.

Asked by interviewer Jimmy Kay if the songwriting split was more like 50-50 in terms of how much each person contributed to it, Ace said: “We just decided, no matter how much one of us brought to the table, we’re gonna split everything in half — because it’s a lot easier doing it that way than… Because I don’t need the money that bad. And I know Steve worked really hard, because not only did he co-produce it, but he engineered the whole record himself. And I didn’t have to pay for an engineer, so that saved me thousands of dollars. Whatever one guy brought to the table or the other guy, it really didn’t matter. To me, the most important thing is the end result. I sang lead on all the songs. I played guitar solos on 80 percent of the songs, 75 percent. A couple of solos that he came up with, they were guide solos for me to copy. And I said, ‘Steve, those solos are so good, let’s just leave ’em.’ He goes, ‘Well, I don’t want any credit.’ [He’s] humble. And I said, ‘I’m gonna give you credit, because I like to give credit where credit is due. I don’t wanna take credit for your solo if I didn’t write it.’ That’s the kind of relationship we have. And it really doesn’t matter who came up with what first. I always end up Ace-ifying it, putting my stamp on it. You can’t get away from my voice; the minute you hear my voice, you know it’s Ace Frehley.”

Ace went on to bring up a few specific instances on the record where his contributions made a significant difference.

“We did a cover song, which was my idea, a song by [French actress] Nadia called ‘Life Of A Stranger’ [for the 2002 action film ‘The Transporter’], which turned out great,” he said. “And I wrote ‘Back Into My Arms Again’. I wrote that 20, 35 years ago or something, with Arthur Stead.

“When [Steve] brought me ‘Walkin’ On The Moon’, there was one line in the chorus called ‘Walkin’ on the moon,’ but it wasn’t the crux of the chorus. And I said, ‘This song has to be called ‘Walkin’ On The Moon’.’ He came over to my house and we worked it up and I rewrote most of the lyrics. And it turned out great.

“As far as I’m concerned, it really doesn’t matter who does what, as long as the end result is what I want and what Steve wants,” Frehley explained. “And we’re always on the same page, for the most part. Of course, we’d have our differences from time to time. I mean, he wrote a song, and I can’t remember which one it was, he brought a song to me, and it was kind of finished, but it was like a drum machine, and I wanted to bring in a different drummer and change a few things on it. And I said, ‘This song needs a bridge.’ And he said, ‘Nah, it doesn’t need a bridge.’ I said, ‘Trust me, it needs a bridge. I’ve been writing songs for 50 years.’ I wrote a bridge in 10 minutes, and we inserted it after the second chorus, and he goes, ‘Wow, that’s really good.’ So, that’s the way we worked… We didn’t use any Auto-Tuning, like some people are saying. I have perfect pitch, so I can tell if I’m singing flat. I just redo it.”

Earlier in the month, Ace dismissed rumors that most of the guitar work on “10,000 Volts” was laid down by Steve, telling Ultimate Classic Rock: “Listen to previous albums by Steve Brown. Do they sound like this record? I don’t think so. Number one, I’m doing all the vocals. Number two, I’m doing the majority of the solos. You know, Steve grew up idolizing me. And he’s a wonderful human being and a great producer and a great engineer and a great guitar player and singer and songwriter. And working with him was such a pleasure. Sometimes he’d come up with his solo idea and I’d recreate it, because he’s been studying my guitar style since he was a little kid, you know?”

Frehley did admit that Brown played “a couple of” guitar solos on “10,000 Volts”, explaining: “Yeah, he’s only 50 or 51. I’m 72. So a couple of times he laid down a solo, but he played it like me, in my style, because he studied my style his whole life. As far as I’m concerned, it really doesn’t matter who plays what, you know … as long as the cut sounds great. A couple of them, I thought Steve laid down so well that I said, ‘Let’s just keep it.’ But that’s as far as that goes. I played the majority the guitar solos on the record, absolutely.”

A couple of weeks earlier, Brown told Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Interview Series about his collaboration with Frehley: “Yeah, it’s been an incredible journey, the last year and a half with Ace. Ace and I have been friends for 30-plus years, but it’s over the last year and a half of making this record, we’ve become best friends and brothers and an incredible songwriting and production team.”

Steve went on to say that “the response to the record has been overwhelming. And what I love about it — and of course, I knew this was gonna happen — the love for it, and there’s also a lot of hate for it,” he explained. “I haven’t seen this much sort of, let’s say, controversy over a record in a long time, so I’m happy to be a part of it. 95 percent of it is all positive. But even the negative, you know what? All you haters out there, first thing, all the hate that you do, it just sells more records because people are curious now.”

Regarding his mindset going into the project, Brown said: “I told Ace this the day we started working together, when we finished working on ‘Walkin’ On The Moon’. I said to him, I said, ‘Listen, man. I’m one of your biggest fans. I’m a huge KISS fan. You and Ed Van Halen are the reasons that I started playing guitar, you two guys, and KISS and VAN HALEN were the two bands that got me going in 1978.’ I said, ‘If you trust me, I promise you, we will make the best record that we possibly can, and it will probably be the best thing that you’ve done since your ’78 solo record.’ So, I really, honestly, in my heart, I believe we accomplished that.

“Now, the KISS world and everything, all I’ve said all along is I made this record, I brought in most of the ideas for the songs and stuff like that, but it was — every idea that I brought in was as a KISS fan, and as an Ace fan, and my whole thing was, I’ve listened to everything Ace has done since he left KISS. And it’s, again — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and I say it with love — there are moments of brilliance, one or two, maybe three great things on some of these records, surrounded by a ton of mediocrity. So my goal, and Ace said this to me the first day we were working, we got done. He said, ‘I wanna make sure every song is great. And that was music to my ears, because, look. I told him, I said, ‘Listen, brother, I can’t do anything if the whole record is not awesome. We’re doing 11 songs. They’re all gonna be great. Even the cover song and even the instrumental.’ And he was all about it.”

Brown said that both he and Frehley are thrilled with the final result.

“From day one, we set out to make the record that we made, but in all honesty, in my heart, and I know Ace feels the same way, we exceeded all of our expectations, and the fan response all around the world has just been, it’s been spectacular,” he said. “So thank you to all the KISS fans out there, all the Ace fans. We love you. And again, like I said, I made this record — I helped, and Ace did too — when we made this record, we made this for all of us. And like I said, as a KISS fan and as an Ace fan, this is not just for me and Ace — this is for the world. This is for all of us fans who have kind of been, like, over the last 30 years, ‘Man, yeah, there’s some good things there, but kind of missed the mark,’ you know what I mean? So, this is for you guys.”

Ace reflected on the writing process for “10,000 Volts” in a recent interview with Guitar World magazine. He said: “It was mostly the combination of Steve and me who brought completely new elements. Most of the harmonies are Steve‘s, and his songwriting and lyrics, along with my guitar work and his combined, took ‘10,000 Volts’ to another level.”

Frehley added that “there was a trust factor” between him and Brown. “On the first day, [he] said, ‘Dude, if you trust me, I fucking promise you we’re gonna make the best record we can make,'” Ace told Guitar World. “And we did. It’s possibly the best record of my career.”

Ace‘s first album of original material since 2018’s “Spaceman”, “10,000 Volts” contains 11 tracks, including the aforementioned cover of “Life Of A Stranger”. Frehley and Brown played most of the instruments on the LP, joined by a handful of drummers and other musicians.

Steve and I clicked so magically that I really can;t put it into words,” Frehley told Billboard. “He lives, like, 40 minutes from me [in New Jersey]. He has a studio in his basement; I have a studio in my basement. We bounce back and forth. He’s a great engineer, a strong writer, singer, guitar player. Every song just came together really easily. If I couldn’t come up with a great solo, he’d play something that was real similar to the way I would’ve played, and sometimes I’d double it or duplicate it. I think I left one or two of his solos on the record because they were so good.”

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