by Alisha Jackson
Have you ever tried to sneak into a concert? You have to really look like you belong if you don’t have some sort of pass. Apparently, even during his teenage years Ace Frehley looked like a rockstar, because he blended in with the roadies just fine when he tried to sneak into a Jimi Hendrix show. So much so, that he actually ended up setting up Mitch Mitchell‘s drums with the crew! “I always figured if I was gonna make it famous, I had to look famous before I even got there,” Ace said about his pre-fame days.
“There was a peace concert at Randall’s Island, which is right next to Manhattan island in New York City,” he recalled. “I was watching people walk in and out. I was watching the bands walk out to see other bands, and then I watched them walk back, and they’d just walked up with their head high and looked like they were somebody. So I just kind of walked in with this presence, like I was in one of the bands, and the security guy just figured I was in one of the bands. So I’m back there about 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and people were starting to say, ‘Who is this f****** guy?'”
“Finally, one of the road guys came up and said, ‘Are you in one of the bands?’ I said, ‘No. I snuck back here.’ He said, ‘Well, can you do anything?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ Next thing you know, I’m setting up Mitch Mitchell’s drums. It was crazy.”
When Frehley had the chance to meet one of his idols, he didn’t even realize it was him at first. “Then Mitch Mitchell walks over,” he continued, “but he had changed his look. Because originally he started off with the afro, like Noel Redding and Jimi, and then he changed his image – he got the beard and he got the headband.”
“So when he initially walked over to check out the drums prior to the show, I didn’t realize it was Mitch. And here I am walking around in high school with Jimi Hendrix’s first album under my arm every day, and next thing you know, I’m talking to Mitch Mitchell and I didn’t realize it was Mitch Mitchell.”
“The roadie goes to Mitch, ‘Hey, Mitch, what snare are you gonna use tonight?’ And I thought, ‘Jesus Christ! It’s Mitch Mitchell.’ And that whole thing was a surreal day.”
Watch Ace’s full interview below!