Kiss ex Ace Frehley recalls high school roadie stint with Jimi Hendrix

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley (Image credit: Getty)

Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley recalled the “surreal” time he snuck backstage at a Jimi Hendrix show on Randall’s Island in New York when he was in high school.

After being caught out by a road crew member, Frehley was then asked to help them set up – and admits that he even spoke to drummer Mitch Mitchell without realising it was him because he had changed his look.

He tells KFM-BFM: “There was a peace concert at Randall’s Island, which is right next to Manhattan island in New York City. I was watching people walk in and out. I was watching the bands walk out to see other bands, and then I watched them walk back, and they’d just walked up with their head high and looked like they were somebody.

“So I just kind of walked in with this presence, like I was in one of the bands, and the security guy just figured I was in one of the bands. So I’m back there about 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and people were starting to say, ‘Who is this fucking guy?’

“Finally, one of the road guys came up and said, ‘Are you in one of the bands?’ I said, ‘No. I snuck back here.’ He said, ‘Well, can you do anything?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’

“Next thing you know, I’m setting up Mitch Mitchell’s drums. It was crazy.”

Frehley continues: “And then Mitch Mitchell walks over – but he he had changed his look. Because originally he started off with the afro, like Noel Redding and Jimi, and then he changed his image – he got the beard and he got the headband.

“So when he initially walked over to check out the drums prior to the show, I didn’t realise it was Mitch. And here I am walking around in high school with Jimi Hendrix’s first album under my arm every day, and next thing you know, I’m talking to Mitch Mitchell and I didn’t realise it was Mitch Mitchell.

“The roadie goes to Mitch, ‘Hey, Mitch, what snare are you gonna use tonight?’ And I thought, ‘Jesus Christ! It’s Mitch Mitchell.’ And that whole thing was a surreal day.”

Frehley recently said that his former longtime bandmate Gene Simmons is a “sweet and sensitive” person – but admits he is more “outspoken” than he used to be.

Frehley has a number of solo tour dates scheduled over the coming months.

Ace Frehley tour dates 2016

Aug 26: Chicago House of Blues, IL
Sep 30: Poughkeepsie The Chance, NY
Oct 01: Lakewood Rock Carnival, NJ

Paul Stanley reconnection with Ace Frehley won’t lead to Kiss return

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.