ACE FREHLEY's '10,000 Volts' Collaborator Says There Was 'A Ton Of Mediocrity' On Some Of Ex-KISS Guitarist's Previous Solo Albums

March 3, 2024

In a new interview with Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Interview Series, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Steve Brown, who is best known for his work with TRIXTER, spoke about his collaboration with Ace Frehley on the original KISS guitarist's latest solo album, "10,000 Volts". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "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 a cover of "Life Of A Stranger", originally sung by French actress Nadia for the 2002 action film "The Transporter". 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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