Ace Frehley has always been in his own stratosphere. The original Kiss guitarist's musical prowess led to solo success after he left the band, setting him apart from his cohorts Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss.
Now that he's eight years sober, the Space Ace, 63, has returned back to Earth with a long-awaited new album, "Space Invader," and a tour that lands at The Paramount in Huntington Thursday.
How has being sober impacted your career?
I'm focused and I follow through with things whereas before I'd miss stuff. I'm much more together now and in fact I'm producing my own records. It's a great feeling to be in charge of your own destiny.
Does the fans' anticipation put pressure on you when making an album?
It doesn't put pressure on me, but during the production process I try to imagine what my fans are going to like. I think about things that they've said over the years.
After all the Kiss controversy about who is getting in or playing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, did you enjoy the moment?
I had a great time. I wasn't going to let the negative press that preceded the event rain on my parade. Everybody was on their best behavior. We've all known each other for so many years. I think the negative stuff between us gets blown out of proportion. In my mind we are all friends and brothers in rock and roll. My only regret was that we didn't perform. Unfortunately, Paul and Gene made that decision.
Do you speak to original drummer Peter Criss much?
I speak to Peter occasionally. Outside of Kiss, we never clicked musically. If you listen to his records and mine there's a discrepancy there.
Current Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer wears your signature Spaceman makeup and costumes now. Do you think he should have been his own character?
Well, that's what most of the fans are saying. With Kiss now it's all about money. My makeup and costumes are much more recognizable than some new one that they would concoct. That's why they are using it. It's just unfortunate the way things went down.
Do you fear people think he's Ace Frehley?
I'm sure there are some people who don't even know that's not me. The casual fan that doesn't do their homework won't know the difference. The educated fan is going to know. It is what it is. There's nothing I can do about this. I still get checks, and I've moved along with my career.
Your solo albums have always sold the best. Was there any backlash from that?
There wasn't any backlash, but there wasn't any praise either. Gene to this day says his album did better than mine, and I don't know what he's talking about.
Your recording of "New York Groove" is played at almost every sporting event in New York. What does that mean to you as a New Yorker?
It feels great. I grew up in the Bronx and I used to go Yankee Stadium as a kid. It was so much fun. Once in a while they even throw me up on the JumboTron. I even had the pleasure of performing "New York Groove" at a Rangers game a few years ago.
Have you read Paul and Peter's books?
I've skimmed through them, but I haven't read them extensively. There are a lot of discrepancies. Everybody's memory is different.
Your name is Paul, but they call you Ace. Where does that stem from?
I got it from my high school chums in the Bronx. I used to set my friends up with girls all the time. They would say, "You're such an Ace," and it stuck.
In 1973, Kiss used to regularly play the Daisy in Amityville. How do you look back at that time?
Those were Kiss' formative years where we experimented with different kinds of makeup and really formulated who we were. When we got our record deal we had some money to get our leather costumes made and -- BOOM! -- you had Kiss.
Fans get way into Kiss despite their age. Is that a surprise?
It's always been like that with the Kiss Army. How many bands have an army that follows them around? It's very flattering. They are die-hards, and I consider myself lucky to have fans that dedicated.
Why do you think fans connect with you the most?
I don't know -- I am who I am. If the fans can connect with me then so be it. But it's not planned.
Do you think there will ever be a final Kiss show with the four original members?
Well ... Gene says I don't deserve to wear the makeup. I don't know where that comes from because I designed it. But I'm the kind of person that says, "Never say never." I'm open to anything.
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m., Thursday, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO $25-$59.50, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com