Artist: Ace Frehley
Title: “Behind The Player”
Label: Red Distribution
Release Date: 1/19/2010
Genre: Hard Rock
Fans of the Space Ace will definitely love what is going on with this “Behind The Player” DVD by Interactive Music Video because it gives you an inside look into the playing and thought processes of the one and only Ace Frehley. This is one “episode” so to speak of a multi-volume set of similar releases and as I watched it, I was reminded of the drum instruction videos I used to love when I was actively pursuing music many years ago. The video begins with Ace Frehley sitting in a rehearsal studio and lining out his humble beginnings as a musician and how he eventually landed the gig in KISS. He brings up his original departure from the lineup and talked about his solo years before he once again donned the signature face paint and embarked on the reunion tour to end all reunion tours. We even learn why he decided to move on from the band once again and he briefly touches upon his addictions and proudly informs the home viewer of his sobriety which at the time of the filming had reached three years. There was not too much in this part of the film that I didn’t know already as a lifelong KISS fan, but it is great to hear it from Ace as opposed to Gene and Paul who always seem to hog the screen time when such disclosure is happening. One of the main parts I found of interest was Ace describing how he first came up with the smoking guitar idea and then the lighted ones and rocket launching ones. Viewers should be aware that stuff like this was not done in concert until Ace came up with it for the KISS shows. That’s pretty wild when you think about it.
The core part of this DVD is the video instruction of two of Ace’s biggest songs or most popular ones for lack of a better description. We go all the way back to the KISS vintage of 1973 for “Cold Gin” which as you might remember was sung by Gene on the bands debut album even though Ace wrote it. He mused how it was always either Peter or Gene that sung his songs since he felt he was too shy to do it. Of course the shyness ended when he not only wrote but sung “Shock Me” for the album “Love Gun” and this is the second tune that we get a one on one lesson from the man on. If you’re a guitar player of any kind you most likely already have learned these songs a number of years ago, but I had to say that even as a former skin basher, it was a whole lot of fun watching Ace explain how the song was to be executed. From there the DVD takes us to the jams and each song is performed with Ace and features musicians John 5, Tommy Clufetos, Matt Sorum and Scotty Coogan. The down side of these jams is that there is no vocal being done for them. I guess in the end that is ok, because anyone watching at home was very likely singing it from their chair as the musicians jammed out. The common gripe about this part of the DVD is that is only gives us two songs but let’s face it, that is better than nothing in the end. The instructions also present you with animated video tabs and that gives you a better look into just how the parts are played, but this will likely only help you out if you are a guitarist where the other content is across the board enjoyable.
Special Features: We get a very odd commercial for “Anomaly” that I could have done without, but I did enjoy the “Pain In The Neck” jam and was a little surprised that more focus was not paid on the guitarists new album since it is very, very good. Viewers will likely be wrapped up in the various guitar solos from across the years that we get as a feature. Most all come from his solo performance years and I will tell you that not all of them sound or look that great as they were not professionally shot. These are strictly camcorders in the crowd kinds of videos. Either way it’s nice to have and they work as compliments to any Ace footage we find on the massive amount of official KISS DVD’s. There is also a segment about the “Little Kids Rock” organization which is a group that bears some resemblance to the Paul Green School Of Rock in case you wish to lend them support.
I enjoyed this film very much and am hopeful that perhaps time will find an Eddie Van Halen or a Paul Stanley one being released as I would love the chance to enjoy their tunes after learning how they came to present them to us and what thoughts were going through their heads when they were being written. Check it out because it’s a fun way to spend an hour or so.
1. Interview Bio
2. “Cold Gin” Lesson
3. “Shock Me” Lesson
4. Studio Jams
Official Website: http://www.acefrehley.com
Official Website: http://www.behindtheplayer.com