Prior to Frehley’s Comet, which is what I best know you from, and even prior to 707 what were you doing?
Prior to 707 I just moved to LA from San Diego, and I ended up playing with a bunch of original bands, one of which that I formed initially myself. Then I ended up playing with some guys in a band called Valentino who coincidentally, two of the guys- the bass player and the guitar player, they became the replacement players for Cheap Trick. That’s how I got into Cheap Trick eventually over the years. But I did that for a few years then I finally auditioned for 707 because they were looking for someone who could play keyboards and guitar and write songs and sing a little bit.
So you audition for 707, did they find you and bring you in or did you find out about the audition yourself?
I had friends tell me about the band and told me that I should check them out because I could do all the things they needed. I went to see them at a place called The Starwood, it’s long since gone but this was when I first moved up to LA. And I thought I could fit, even though I felt I was heavier as a musician I thought it could work. So I auditioned for them twice, first time I was a little too Hollywood for them- the manager told me ‘this could work, you just gotta tone it down a little bit’. So I came back the next time and toned it down, they loved me and listened to my songwriting abilities and shortly after that we were on tour opening for REO Speedwagon on the ‘Hi Infidelity’ tour.
Oh, that’s their best record!
It was huge, just huge.
You’ve got some hits with 707 and you end up in Frehley’s Comet shortly after, right?
Not quite. 707 had a good charting song called “I Could Be Good For You”, it was recorded before I joined the band. We toured for about three years out of LA and San Fransico and then after the band was just winding down, we ended up doing some background vocals for Ted Nugent. So early ’84, January of ’84 or even the end of ’83, Ted’s camp got a hold of me and asked if I could come out and do the tour with them. And I said well yeah I can, 707 is no longer and I’m broke so yeah, I can do that! So that’s how I got with Ted Nugent and that was a good part of ’84.
Frehley’s Comet started happening in ’86, or ’85 right?
Originally Frehley’s Comet started in ’85 with a different line up, Richie Scarlet and Arthur Stead. Good band, great band of course. I ended up from Ted Nugent going on to play with Cheap Trick from 1985 through all of 1986. That’s when we toured with John Waite on his ‘Missing You’ tour, and that’s when John Regan was playing bass with John Waite. So that’s how I met John Waite who saw what I was doing and told me he had a project he was working on and that I might be good for it, that project being a four band member Frehley’s Comet. So I join them in December of ‘86, I quit doing the side stuff with Cheap Trick and then went right into the studio.
How was Frehley’s Comet overall? I’m sure you had a lot of good times working with Ace Frehley.
We had a really good time, there was a different dynamic. You know it was Ace’s band, Ace was the star. But it was a band and we had a very good time, not a lot of stress. There’s always marital type things within a band and that took place later on, it was nothing huge, just typical stuff. It was a good band though. I got to sing lead, I got to play guitar, I got to play keyboards even though we never toured with keyboards. The band broke up before I could ever play keyboards on a tour.
I know you’re on the two Frehley’s Comet records, but when Frehley’s Comet wasn’t Frehley’s Comet and it became more of Ace Frehley’s solo project they released Trouble Walkin’, you weren’t on that. Why?
Well there was three Frehley’s Comet records, we had the first one-
And the live one.
And the ‘Live+1’ album, you got it. And then we had Second Sighting. Well what happened is the tour of ’88 went basically bankrupt, I decided to leave because I was told that most likely the next record would involve Ace singing and writing everything. And I said, what good is that gonna do for me? From a business standpoint, I didn’t really want to leave but I had no choice in my mind. I called up Ace and said I gotta bail, so consequently the next album to come out is ‘Trouble Walkin’’, that’s why I wasn’t on that one.
Are you and Ace still friends? Do you still talk?
On a great occasion. I haven’t seen him since he was doing his book tour, he was living in San Diego oddly enough which is where I live. But he never called, I gave him my information. He’s been busy with his own thing; we talk in person very, very little. It’s just the way things go, I’ve been doing my own thing and he’s been doing his thing.
I know you’ve released quite a few solo records, what inclined you to want to do those?
I did them for creative release and also to see if I could get something signed, and I did get one band signed to Gene Simmons’ label. I did a lot of business with Gene and we were getting ready to release it, it was recorded and everything and all of a sudden grunge came in.
Oh yeah that swept everyone off their feet!
Yeah we got dropped like a hot potato. So I kept trying, always doing solo stuff. I did I think two or three completely by myself and two with band members. When you’re an artist you always create, whether you’re big or not you’re always gonna write. Our guitar player in Four By Fate, Patrick, was just talking about that today.
Fast forwarding to now you have Four by Fate, how’d that start?
That started with talk between John and myself about a twenty five year Frehley’s Comet reunion with Ace. And a friend of ours, Mitch Lafon-
Oh I know him! He’s so nice!
Great guy. Big Kiss fan of course, you know that. He helped kind of circumvent that so it could maybe happen, but Ace passed on it. So we ended up putting a band together so we could do some Comet stuff, maybe a couple Kiss songs and just have fun. Eventually it morphed into us doing our own band and doing some Comet stuff. And that is what Four By Fate is today.
I was going to bring that up because I know you guys started out playing covers of Kiss songs and things like that, what made you want to venture out into your own record? At what point?
Well it wasn’t too far out after the inception of the band itself. We’ll do a couple covers of our favorite bands and things like that but primarily I wanted to write some songs and we wanted to play some of the old songs. It was kind of a fresh catalyst to keep it going. Let’s write some new stuff to keep moving.
And I commend you for that because I know not that many people are out looking for new music, so it’s kind of a hassle to get things out, get them promoted and things like that.
There is, there’s a strange percentage of people buying physical CD’s. Another strange phenomenon is how they’re doing a lot of downloads, but it’s kind of switching back and forth. But I think the youth is going to propel that into what it’s gonna end up being.
As far as this goes, what’s next for Four By Fate? Are you going to try and tour this album out?
We are going to work this album into early next year. Things will really start to roll for us, I believe, next year. We kind of got a late start, and while all this is happening Pat and I are already writing songs for the next record. We’ve already got some songs. But we’re going to push this because it’s still our new album, and we’re going to get it out there to more people and hopefully they’ll enjoy the genre and the style. Because I mean, we’re not out there to please everyone, that’s not gonna happen. You’ll go nuts trying to do that. So as long as there are people who enjoy it, that’s what we’ll be doing.