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Interview with Anthony Esposito (Ace Frehley Band)

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We here at GlamMetal had the privilege to sit down with one of the nicest guys in the music business, Anthony Esposito. The interview took place in his hotel room before the second night of back to back shows for the Ace Frehley band at the Bears Den inside the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls New York. Even with all the commotion going on in his room, Anthony took the time to tell us everything from what the plans for the Ace Frehley band are to what he thinks of Ace’s guitar playing. Let’s hop onto this Rocket Ride and see where this takes us shall we??

Gus: How did you get involved with Ace? Anthony: It was a buddy of mine Frankie Gibson, who happened to pass away about a year ago. He was a killer jewelry designer. He designed all of Ace's jewelry. He was the one who introduced me to Ace. We went up to his house and played and that was it. We jammed and one of Ace's friends Jeff (who was a truck driver) played drums. So it was me, Ace, and the truck driver. I was really nervous that I didn't play well because the drummer wasn't a pro guy. But it was great! Everything was great!
Gus: How long ago was that? Anthony: About 2 to 2 and a half years ago...Frankie was still alive then.

Gus: Was there any idea at that time about starting a band? Anthony: He had all of these songs that were already written. Then he wanted to record and then it was possible down the road for a tour. He just really wanted to play. It was more like a jam.
Gus: What are your contributions to the upcoming solo release by Ace? Rumor has it the title for the new CD is called "Pain in the Neck," do you know when it will be released? Anthony: It's not called "Pain in the Neck" that's just a name of a song title (wouldn't reveal what it was called though). It's about 85% done. I play bass on the record, and Ace wrote all the songs. It was all his deal. Just trying to be there for him and do whatever he wants and let him be him.
Gus: Who else contributed to the new CD? Anthony: Scott Coogan and Anton Fig on drums, Ace on guitars, and me on bass.
Gus: How was it working in the studio with the guitarist who is revered by millions of people?
Anthony: He is the most amazing player I have ever played with! He is a naturally great lead gifted musician! He is really open to everybody's ideas. Then he thinks and chooses. He is really wise and his decisions are always on. He has great instincts and he's a great songwriter!
Gus: How do you think the songs will be received by the public? Anthony: I think the fans will love it but that's not what Ace is doing it for. He is doing it for (Gus interjects: Him.) Exactly! He is very conscious that this is the best work that he can do right now. You know what I mean?
Gus: Growing up in Coney Island just outside NYC, who were you listening to? Anthony: I actually grew up in Staten Island but close. I was born in Brooklyn, but moved to Staten Island when I was very young. Well, Kiss was my first show at the Gardens in '78 I think?? (Anthony then turns to guitarist Derrick Hawkins who was also in the room and asked what year was it?) Derrick says, "1979 on the Dynasty tour." It was at the Garden and I was in the last row. I still have the slides on my fucking laptop. My Dad passed away last year, and I took all the slides that my Dad had and I scanned them in so my Mom can look at them on the computer. I came across the slides that I took from being in the last row at the Garden. Ace is like an inch and a half big from where I was sitting and now we're going up to his house to practice. It's the biggest trip! I listened to Kiss a lot but I also listened to the Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash. I was like a punk rocker dude. I like Ozzy. I listened to rock. There was Iron Maiden. Steve Harris was great! I think with bass playing I've always been a simple guy. I like Cliff Williams a lot. I like Ian Hill from Judas Priest, who is a simple guy. They let the guitar players do what they gotta do on top.
Gus: Can you tell us about your studio? Is it still in operation? Anthony: It's gone (laughs)! It was open but they wanted to triple my rent so I closed it. So now all my gear is up at Ace's house.
Gus: Will you open up another one? Anthony: I don't know. I don't think so. The studio business is done. People record in their living rooms on their Macs now! Nobody goes to spend money anymore. There are no more budgets, no more record labels. So there are no more studio budgets.
Gus: What was your proudest accomplishment working in the studio? Anthony: I had Iggy Pop and Dee Dee Ramone writing songs in my studio.

Gus: That's cool! Anthony: Yeah, that's pretty much it right there! We also had the NY Dolls, Green Day, The Ramones, we just had so many great bands. We did the last Misfits record there. That record was Dez (Cadena) from Black Flag, Marky Ramone on drums, and Jerry (Only) from the Misfits. And we would never charge. We would be the cheapest thing in town.
Gus: That's why you are out of business.. Anthony: (laughs) No, No. The landlord wanted to triple my rent because I had a 15-year lease.
Gus: What other projects are you currently involved in? Anthony: I play in a band called "Pisser." It's kinda like a fun thing on the side. It's with Frank Ferrer, who plays with Axl (Guns and Roses.) I don't do too much stuff. My other job (art and stage designing) takes up a lot of my time.
Gus: Playing with Lynch Mob was a big part of your past. Do you stay in contact with any of your former band mates or do you ever see a reunion with the former members? Anthony: I was asked to do a reunion tour this year, and I said no.
Gus: You have the Ace thing going. Anthony: Exactly! I would love to play with Oni (Logan)! I love Oni! I love Robert! (Mason) Robert is a great guy! I talk to him to once a month. Mick (Brown) I don't talk to as much as I would like to. He tours and I tour and it’s hard. He's out with Nugent right now. I spoke to George once in the last six years, and that was to say no to the reunion tour.
Gus: After this initial leg of the Ace Frehley tour, do you see the tour being extended? Anthony: I hope we tour for two years!

Gus: That long? Anthony: I'm sure those two guys will give you the same answer. Editors note: He was referring to both Scot Coogan and Derrick Hawkins who were both in the room as well.
Gus: So there will be a European tour too? Anthony: Without a doubt! We are already slated to do the Download Festival and the Swedish Rock Festival. We are doing London on April 11 and Sheffield on April 12. I think May dates are coming out for the Southeast. Once the record comes out, Ace wants to go everywhere! He wants to go to Japan, and we're there! We want to work and this band gets along so great. It's like; we don't ever want to stop!
Gus: I saw the show last night and you guys were really tight! I also saw the show on Halloween night in New York City last year and you can see how you guys evolved as a band. Anthony: We got all our little things that we do and we're growing together as a unit.
Gus: What are your experiences with Kiss fans? As you know they are the most dedicated, crazy, and loyal fans out there so how have your experiences translated so far? Anthony: 99% positive so far (laughs.) A lot of fans give us some credit for getting Ace back out. So they are kind of happy that he is playing again. I think when they see us they see us as a part of themselves like Kiss fans who are now on stage playing those songs. We value playing "Cold Gin." We grew up listening to "Deuce" and "Cold Gin." For us, it is the biggest thrill in the world! Like Derrick walked over to me when we are on stage and said, "Dude, we are playing back in the New York Groove with Ace Frehley!" You know it really means a lot! Generally, the fans know that and feel that. We don't come off that we're not on the same level as Ace. We're backing Ace, which we honor! We take pride in ourselves in that we are doing good for him, because we want him to shine. We're there and we got his back, and that's the deal!

Gus: So you're saying 99% positive, what about the other 1%? Anthony: One guy yelled out to Coogan the other night when he was signing autographs "Don't ever sing 'Love Gun' again!" (Everyone in the room laughs) I think generally they know that we're honestly enthused about playing these songs. Were not in it because we think it's going to further our careers.
Gus: Any closing thoughts to our GlamMetal readers? Anthony: Definitely come out and see him play! It is a show that is definitely worth coming to see. He is one of the greatest guitar players ever to play guitar. He doesn't get 1/10 of the credit that he deserves as a guitar player. His solos are fucking amazing! It's definitely worth coming out to see! He smokes live.. literally (laughs!)


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