A couple of things are made perfectly clear in Ace Frehley’s memoir No Regret and neither have exactly been a secret up to this point. First, fellow Kiss member Gene Simmons is a complete asshole who cares about money and little else. No shock there to anyone who has ever heard him utter a word outside of his songs or read any of his interviews. Second, fellow Kiss member and co-frontman Paul Stanley is not nearly as bad as Simmons, but pretty much plays the role of co-dependent wife to Simmons’s domineering husband. Again, nothing earth shattering there, but it feels a bit concrete to finally read Frehley’s take on the long-discussed dynamics of the glam rock band.
Frehley readily admits to his drug and alcohol problems that have been discussed for years by folks like Simmons, but doesn’t consider them to be the biggest factors in his split with Kiss. That would be his increasing discomfort with the direction the band was taking musically (after trying to paint themselves as everything from a metal band to disco enthusiasts) along with his relationship with Simmons, and to a lesser extent Stanley.
Space Ace covers his wild child teen years, his solo career (he’s still recording) and the various Kiss reunions, and even tries to relay his brush with aliens (you’re surprised?), but it’s the chapters devoted to the early years of Kiss and the band’s growing popularity that are the most compelling. Most of the stories in No Regret have been told or hinted at before, but it still makes for a fun read. Much like the band’s early offerings: nothing too substantive, but hard to ignore still the same.
No Regret: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir by Ace Frehley, Joe Layden and John Ostrosky /Hardcover/320 pages/VH1 Books/2011