Last year I posted about Ace Frehley’s former ultimate fan, Bill Baker and his brush with
greatness his fallen idol. It’s a real life “lovable loser” story tailor-made for a Peter Bagge comic book adaptation. In the comments of that post, a reader named Eric posted “Watch this next” and a link to a YouTube clip, part 1 of “Ace’s High,” a short 1999 documentary about—get this—an all Ace KISS tribute band then apparently operating in Detroit.
Each of the members of Ace’s High dresses as Ace in all his 70s glory and they only play songs written by Ace, or else associated with him such as “New York Groove.” That’s right, Paul and Gene are “assholes” and Peter Criss hardly gets a mention from the four members of Ace’s High (although they do all seem to harbor an apparently infinitely deep hatred of Vinnie Vincent, the guitarist who had the audacity to try to step into Ace’s unfillable platforms when he left the group in 1982.)
Here’s the thing, I’ve looked these guys up on the Internet every which way (there is precious little about them or the film) and I’ve watched this thing three times now to see if it might be a goof, but I’ll be damned I think this is—or was—a real tribute act! There will be arguments aplenty as to whether or not this is scripted or a “mockumentary” but from what I can tell, nope, these guys really did form an all Ace Frehley KISS tribute band.
Fiction is not this stupid.
The motivation as to why someone would do such a thing remains mysterious to me, but it’s, it’s… how do I put this? It was a noble endeavor?
This is SO Spinal Tap that it hurts. And take it from a man whose TV stock-in-trade was getting wackos to talk to him and keeping a straight face, this is an absolute gem of outsider documentary. Watch it on a KISS fanatics double bill with the Bill Baker videos. But do watch it, it’s the fucking best thing ever. If you like things like American Movie, the films of Christopher Guest and Documentary Now, trust me, you’re gonna like this, too… It’s a stone classic, another Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
Starring: Hotter than Hell Ace ‘74, Kiss Alive Ace ‘75, Destroyer Ace ‘76 and Love Gun Ace ‘77. Produced by AWOL. Part 2 is here.