Album Review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 2 (eOne)

By: Jesse Striewski

As an avid KISS fan, I’ve always been a fan of guitarist Ace Frehely’s contributions to his former band, as well as his solo catalogue. There’s just always been a certain realness to his songs and voice that fans have always found appealing, and what makes another collection of covers in the form of Origins Vol. 2 so easily digestible, even if the track list found here is once again just so-so.

Like with Vol. 1, Frehely goes back to his early rock roots, in some cases improving on the original source material. Choosing to kick off things with an admirable version of Led Zepplin’s “Good Times, Bad Times,” Frehely quickly wields his magic throughout (most) of the album’s remaining tracks, including singles like Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin'” and The Beatles’ “I’m Down.” But other renditions of more obscure dinosaur rock tunes like Cream’s “Politician” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” are sure to get lost on younger fans.

But the real highlights come in the form of the collaborations; Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander lends his voice on a lively version of Humble Pie’s “30 Days in the Hole,” while the lovely Lita Ford adds her talent to a unique take on The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” And of course Ace even tackles one from his former band KISS, going back to the Dressed to Kill album to unearth “She.” These later tracks alone do enough to cancel out nearly any of the filler tracks on Vol. 2. Overall, not a completely bad way to spend 45 minutes or so.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Bret Michaels and Lita Ford Live in Orlando on 11/3/18 Words By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke & Jesse Striewski

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Back in 2013, two kids who had been dating for a few months went to Orlando to quench their mutual thirst for ’80s rock by seeing Poison front man Bret Michaels live in concert. It was at that very show they realized they had finally found something special, and by the next weekend, they were engaged. Now married, the two make up not only a great husband and wife couple, but also a writer/photographer duo that occasionally team up to cover local concerts, such as the recent Bret Michaels show in Orlando this past November 3. This time around the two were there with a purpose, covering the show (which this time featured not one, but two ’80s icons as Lita Ford opened) with photo passes in hand. The result was truly a night to remember for all who were there.

Lita Ford has been on my personal list of artists to see live for some time now, and after several missed chances over the years, that wish was finally realized (and with the best seat in the house -the photo pit – nonetheless).

Immediately packing a punch with fan favorite “Gotta Let Go,” Lita indeed got the staged primed for a night full of great old school rock. And with only so much time to spare, Ms. Ford didn’t waste any of it, belting out classics like “Playing with fire,” “Hungry,” and “Back to the Cave,” before rounding things out with her monster hits “Close my Eyes Forever,” and of course, “Kiss Me Deadly.”

And finally, Poison frontman Bret Michaels took over the stage, getting the party started appropriately with the classic “Talk Dirty to Me.” Michaels wasted no time, and quickly followed up with “Ride the Wind” before going into a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” that the crowd ate up completely. And joined by Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham by his side, there was no denying the ’80s hard rock energy coming from the stage.

From there on out, it was one Poison hit after another; their version of “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” followed by “Something to Believe In,” “Unskinny Bop,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and of course, the party anthem “Nothin’ But a Good Time.” Although his set may have been cut slightly shorter this time due to a shared bill, the energy was still undeniable. It’s hard to imagine anyone in attendance that night went home unsatisfied.

Lita Ford opening the show (photo by Jesse Striewski).