Anyone who’s heard Space Invader knows Ace still has what it takes to rock an arena. The critically-acclaimed album has been praised for its pure unadulterated rock power and reflection of the guitarist’s former years with KISS. It shows Frehley continuing to grow in his craft and truly is an extension of his years with the glam rock kings.
Although Ace is definitely the center of attention, his touring band is nothing to balk at either. Guitarist Richie Scarlet is well-known for sharing the stage with Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach, Alice Cooper, and even Chubby Checker. Drummer Scot Coogan has served time with Nikki Sixx’s Brides of Destruction and Lita Ford.
Bassist and Vocalist Chris Wyse is a newcomer to Ace’s live band and successfully carries the bottom end on the Space Invader Tour. He’s no stranger to the Rock ‘n Roll world, having worked with The Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, and others. I had the opportunity to speak with Wyse about his work with Ace Frehley as he geared up for another stop on the tour.
“I met Ace a few years ago on the DVD shoot and we hit it off really well. When he started recording the new record, he asked me in on a couple of tracks which is really cool. That was an awesome and super experience. I did ‘Starship’ and ‘What Every Girl Wants’ on that album. Then he asked me to be in his touring band, which is awesome,” Wyse started.
“The click was instant between Ace and I. We hit it off and there was a natural click. Ace is a real styled musician… and loves playing and so do I,” he expanded.
Wyse also shared what audiences can expect at Trees in Dallas, TX on December 1st. He didn’t go into too much detail on whether we’ll get to see smoking guitars or missiles being launched into the rafters of the stage. He also didn’t name off any specific titles found on the song list. It was just enough of a teaser to make fans salivate in anticipation.
“When we get on stage, we have a lot of fun. We take it seriously, but we have a good time. I like that balance Ace has. We worked hard to get ready for the tour and we practiced a lot. It’s all been smooth sailing. Probably the most difficult thing was choosing the songs because there are so many good ones,” stated Wyse.
“Playing with Ace is probably one of the most musical experiences I’ve had. I sing a lot. I sing lead on one song… but I sing back up all night with lots of harmonies. Plus, I get to rip a bass solo every night. I haven’t been asked to do that in a long time unless it was my band,” Wyse continued about his role on stage with the Spaceman.
“It’s very high energy. Ace has had some really great bands. I think this is a fireball kind of band. Everyone has features in the show. You don’t want to go up there and try to be the hit because it’s the Ace band. Each guy in this band has super strong personalities, voices, and presences on stage. The lead singer role goes around the room a little bit. It makes it interesting for the fans. It’s very gracious of Ace to give his bandmates such spotlight. It’s a really nice blend of all the stuff. It’s a nice blend of his whole career I think. We’re doing a bunch of the new, too. It’s a nice blend of early KISS, his first solo record all the way up to this record,” he shared.
Besides his career as support and studio musician for several industry legends, Wyse finds the time to devote to his own alternative rock band Owl. He’s the chief songwriter, bassist, and vocalist for the group and considers it his personal passion and outlet. It gives him the opportunity to experiment and stretch his boundaries. He performs many times with an upright bass which he plays with a bow. A wall of delays and different sound effects give the songs a unique sound that sets the band apart from other acts.
“Owl has a unique sound. It’s become something we didn’t even expect. I know I have a sort of unique approach to my songwriting and I think I have a lot of strong melodic content and cool lyrics. The one thing about Owl is it takes you on a journey. It invokes a lot of emotion and the tunes come from an emotional place. I think the music really helps people transcend to another place. They feel like they just went on a little trip to see a movie or something like that. Many people say ‘They’re like a Floyd or a Zeppelin. There are no rules. They just have a certain sound all to themselves,’” Wyse expresses.
The entire audio interview can be heard below. Wyse and I spoke for a good thirty minutes about different aspects of his career and his aspirations as an artist and musician. I found him to be a very warm and enthusiastic individual whose work ethic is to be commended.
You can get more information on Ace Frehley right here.
The official website for Chris Wyse’s band Owl can be found here.
More information and tickets for Ace’s show at Trees in Dallas, TX are found here.