PITTSFIELD — Former KISS guitarist Paul "Ace" Frehley, recently recalled exactly when he decided to be a guitarist.
"I was maybe 15 or 16," he said, "And I went to see Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. And opening for them were Cream and The Who.
"It sort of encapsulated everything I ended up being," he said. "The theatrical nature of The Who and the power of Cream. Because KISS became a theatrical band and a power band. It really changed my life."
Frehley and his crack band, featuring drummer Scott Coogan, bassist Chris Wyse and rhythm guitarist Richie Scarlet, will be at the Colonial Theatre on Tuesday night.
Frehley was a member of KISS from 1973-82 and again from 1996-2000. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. He is certainly one of the more influential guitar players of the '70s — not to mention one of the best.
Frehley embarked on a solo career in 1978, and is the most successful solo member of KISS, with his first solo effort "Ace Frehley" going platinum in 1978 and his last solo disc, "Space Invader" reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 2014.
Frehley is touring in support of his latest CD, "Origins, Vol. 1." The CD features no original material, but instead is packed with a host of covers, including several covers of songs from his old KISS days.
These include some pretty heavy duty numbers, including Cream's "White Room," Jimi Hendrix' "Spanish Castle Magic," the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man" and Led Zepplin's "Bring It On Home" (which is actually a Willie Dixon cover.)
"Well, yeah, I think in the back of my mind, I thought about it," said Frehley, asked if there was any hesitation in soliciting comparisons with Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
"I mean, I've been around a while," he said. "So I really felt I could do justice to these tracks. I thought my versions would hold up as well as anyone's.
"Plus I had some crack musicians working with me, including Scott Coogan, who's touring with me.
"A lot of these guys influenced me when I started playing guitar," he continued. "I used to sit in my room and try to figure out Jimmy Page's leads, Keith Richards' leads. I think my style is an amalgamation of some of those musicians."
The Colonial Theatre is one of the first dates in Frehley's fall tour.
"I usually go out on the road for a couple of weeks now," he said. "I just don't want to kill myself like I used to years ago, by going out for four or five months. It's a little more relaxed now."
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.
Who: Guitarist Paul "Ace" Frehley and his band
When: Tuesday evening at 8
Where: The Colonial Theatre, 111 South St,. Pittsfield
How: 413-997-4444; berkshiretheatregroup.org; in person at Colonial Theatre box office