Paul Daniel Frehley, or simply Ace Frehley, was born in New York City back in 1951 and started to play in bands in 1964. His career eventually would change forever after meeting Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss, with whom he would create Kiss. The group became one of the best-selling of all time, with an estimated amount of more than 100.000 million records sold worldwide
He was a member of the band from 1973 to 1982, returning from 1996 to 2002 and although his name was Paul, he was called Ace Frehley, or simply the Spaceman. But what is the origin of Frehley’s nickname “Ace”?
The origin of Ace Frehley’s nickname “Ace”
Well, like almost all the rest of the world, his nickname “Ace” was created by his friends in school, because of his incredible ability to get dates with girls for his friends. He attended the DeWitt Clinton High School, which was located on Mosholu Parkway and the Theodore Roosevelt High School on Fordham Road.
The nickname was eventually useful in Kiss since there was already another Paul in the band, so Frehley adopted “Ace” as his first name. The guitarist told the story of his nickname in an interview with Paul Guy in 1997.
“I got nicknamed Ace in high school. (It was from the) drummer in my band when I was about 16, cause he was shy, you know. We used to play gigs on the weekends, and I always used to set him up with girls. And one day he just came up to me, I’d set him up with a beautiful girl. I was with her friend, and they were both really cute.”
“He said to me, wow, you’re such a fucking ace, I really appreciate it, you know? And it kind of stuck and eventually everybody started calling me Ace. Then when I went to audition for Kiss, and I joined the group,. My real name is Paul, and every time Peter and Gene would say Paul, both me and Paul would turn around. So I said, this isn’t going to work. Call me by my nickname,” he said.
Paul, I mean, Ace Frehley released his first solo album in 1978 when he was still in Kiss, just like his bandmates. A few years after leaving Kiss he formed the band Frehley’s Comet, releasing two records before going solo again. In 1989 he released “Trouble Walkin'”, his first solo album outside Kiss.
His third album took two decades to finally be made, due to personal reasons and of course, the Kiss reunion. “Anomaly” was released in 2009 and since then the musician released five more records. The sixth “10,000 Volts” will be released in 2024.
Ace Frehley never finished high school
Frehley didn’t have the chance to finish high school. But as he told Metal Express Radio in 2020, he never had any guitar lessons either but became a millionaire. “I was always the black sheep of my family. My brother and sister were older and were more disciplined and didn’t party like I did. My sister was valedictorian and got a master’s degree in chemistry and my brother went to NYU. I’m a high school drop out but here I am a millionaire. (Also) I never even took a guitar lesson in my life,” Ace Frehley said.
Frehley still is one of the most influential American guitarists of all time. He is credited as an inspiration especially for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal guitarists.