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How a Studio Mistake Made Ace Frehley’s Cover of ‘The Joker’ Special

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Over the last several months, Ace Frehley has gone from covering the Steve Miller Band to performing with the Roots on ‘The Tonight Show.’ For his next trick, he may hit the road for a solo tour.

Frehley touched on all of the above topics during a recent conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock (embedded above), starting with the revelation that his version of Miller’s ‘The Joker’ differs from the original for reasons both planned and accidental. Asked about the absence of Miller’s distinctive guitar lick on the cover Frehley recorded for his new ‘Space Invader‘ LP, he recalled, “I had that on an earlier version of it and I ended up taking it out, because in lieu of that I ended up doing a solo, which ‘The Joker’ doesn’t really have.”

Later in the recording process, Frehley put his own stamp on ‘The Joker’ in a less deliberate way. “When I was doing some drum edits toward the end of the mixing process, I ended up erasing the whole drum track for the first verse,” he admitted. “But you know, sometimes mistakes are meant to happen. I listened back and I said, ‘Maybe there shouldn’t be drums there’ … It actually works better than I think I originally had it.”

Frehley also looked back fondly on his ‘Tonight Show’ gig, saying, “I’ve known [Roots guitarist Kirk Douglas] for several years now; I met him at the Gibson showroom a couple of times. We’ve talked about me coming on the show, and with the release of my new album, it was perfect timing.” Of the performance itself, he added, “It’s such a pleasure working with those guys, because they’re so professional. Real pros; they know exactly what they’re doing. Jimmy Fallon was really, really great — the whole crew was great. It was just a real pleasure. I was really relaxed through the whole thing.”

With ‘Space Invader’ now on store shelves, Frehley would like to take his act on the road. “We’re putting together shows for the fall,” he said, promising that “As soon as I know, you guys will know.”

However, as Frehley recently told Eddie Trunk, the size of that tour isn’t entirely up to him. “It all depends on what the promoters are willing to pay. I like to pay my people well. If I can’t get enough money on the road to pay everybody and turn a nice profit, I’m not gonna do a major tour, I’ll do selected shows,” he pointed out. “It all depends. And if the album takes off the way I hope it will, it’ll probably be different.”

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