Eddie Kramer, who helped secure Kiss’ future with his production work on their 1975 album Alive!, recalled how nervous Ace Frehley could be in the studio.

In a recent interview with Guitar World, he said he’d resorted to special measures in order to get the best out of the guitarist for his 1978 self-titled solo debut.

“Ace is interesting because many interesting things go on in his brain – but you must get him in the right mood to get that cool stuff out,” Kramer said. “I had to have him lie on the floor with a pillow behind his head and a bottle of Heineken because he was too nervous to stand up.

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“So I’d have him on the floor with a bottle of whatever to calm him, and the more takes we did, the more confident he got. By the second or third take, he was up on his feet, and I said, ‘Alright, Ace, keep going. It’s cool.’”

Alive! was the source of some controversy on its arrival, as the result of the amount of overdubbing overseen by Kramer. “The thing with Kiss was we knew we had to get everything down on tape no matter what it took,” he explained.

“It was hard because they were always jumping around, and we had to do a bunch of work on the album after the fact, but that’s how it was.”

Asked if the band members had input into what changes were made, he confirmed: “They did. And the album came out bloody great because the guys in Kiss were very particular about how it should sound and be mixed.”

Why Kiss’ ‘Alive!’ Had to Be Tweaked in the Studio

He added: “There were just bits we had to fix for obvious reasons – like the guys being on stage in six-inch boots, bombs going off and rockets and flames shooting to God knows where!

“It takes a lot of work to keep in time and tune while jumping up and down. They can do it now – but in those days, not so much.”

While Kramer regarded Paul Stanley as an “okay” guitarist who “became very good later,” he was a fan of Frehley from the start. “I knew that Ace would be a star – that’s for sure,” he said.

“Ace had intuitive talents; he could play blues and rock, and I loved that he could play all these cool blues licks but make them his own. Ace wasn’t scared of anything… [he] had this huge sound from the start, and his talent was instantly recognizable.”

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Gallery Credit: Jeff Giles

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