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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Nov 24th, 2014

On The Road with Ace Frehley: Interview with bassist Chris Wyse

Chris WyseI had the opportunity to speak to rock bassist Chris Wyse once again (see here for the first time we spoke), a musician who seems to always be working, whether with his own band Owl (their album Things You Can’t See will be out in the first quarter of 2015), playing and recording with The Cult, or manning the low end, as he will on 11/24 and 25th at B.B. Kings, with rock and roll legend fret-master Ace Frehley.

How are the Ace shows going?

We’ve gotten the first few shows under our belts and from the first to the third now things have started to gel, they have improved really fast and it’s a blast. It’s a high energy show, great band, with Ace of course, out in front.

The last time we spoke you were out with The Cult. It should be obvious to anyone who hears them to tell the differences here, but looking from the inside out, how does playing with The Cult differ from playing with Ace Frehley?

The Cult music has a certain element of post punk to it, or that’s at least where they come from, with Ace it’s classic rock and roll, based on his songwriting, character, voice, all of it. And in The Cult it’s not so riff oriented and Ian’s voice and Billy’s rhythm make the swing so much a part of it. There are countermelodies and an almost tribal thing at times to their drums.

But I have to tell you, recreating those bass parts in the Kiss songs that we play in Ace’s set you realize what a great bass player Gene Simmons was. I mean, he never really talks about the music, the guy is into so many other things, but recreating Kiss songs, it became apparent to me pretty quickly that these are great bass parts.

Growing up with Kiss in the 70’s, I have always felt-like him or not-that Ace was a very influential guitarist to a lot of American rock guitar players.

Yes, those Kiss Alive solos, they were so groundbreaking and this was years before a guy like Eddie Van Halen came on the scene. Ace Frehley is a true original in every sense.

You also have had time to fit in your own band, Owl, between all his live playing.

Yes, Owl’s new record, Things You Can’t See will be coming out in the first quarter of 2015. On this new album we’ve gone to some places we haven’t gone to before, getting down to a deep journey in the songs, some craziness; we’re pushing boundaries. As always I have tried to infuse some real character in my singing, we have some piano here, string orchestration, some beautiful stuff.

And you produced it right?

Yes, I did.

In the end, how do you balance all of this…beyond just making sure you have it scheduled well before hand? Though you seem to have the best of all worlds, producing/writing/recording and playing with Owl, plus touring with these great artists. Do you find it’s a slightly schizophrenic approach to doing what you do?

I get in my two cents where I can. I have gained a longer standing with The Cult so I certainly play my particular approach to their music when we record, being allowed more freedom with them the longer I have played with them. But just as with Ace, you just need to be sensitive to who you are playing with, focusing your personality as well as your playing.

And with Ace especially there is a lot of history, pre and post sobriety, the Kiss stigma.

Yes, there are all of those factors, and actually I just congratulated Ace on being 8 years sober, but really he’s cool about it all. It’s like anyone else really, nobody wants to be hit over the head with their history all the time, but Ace is aware and approachable about it all, while we all play hard to bring this current rocking show to the audience…I even get a bass solo during the set.

You really seem to be having a great time…in all that you do Chris. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, and have a great run with the Ace Frehley tour.

Thanks very much. It was great to speak with you again.

Get out to see Chris with Ace Frehley at BB Kings on 11/24/ 11/25, get tickets here.

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On The Road with Ace Frehley: Interview with bassist Chris Wyse