Friday, April 30, 2010

Ace Frehley's Effect on Man

Welcome to my blog, friends, and my very first post. My name is Sean Patrick Dooley. And, yes, I’m of Irish descent. I only say that because throughout my life I’ve heard “you must be Irish” so many times after my name is given that I thought I’d just confirm the obvious up front. Please, call me Sean.

I live in Nashville with my two kids. I was born and raised in Dallas, graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, moved to L.A. in what turned out to be a half-hearted attempt at a career in music (then acting, then writing – it’s the writing that eventually caught on). We fled the West Coast for Nashville after the last monster earthquake, and it is right here in Music City where I was eventually able to parlay my love of music and writing into a respectable career.

For that, I have Ace Frehley of KISS to thank.

You see, I was a KISS fanatic when I was a kid. I’m talking posters on the walls, albums, KISS Army membership, the comic book printed with the actual blood of KISS themselves - you name it. And Ace Frehley - he was my guy. I wanted to be Ace Frehley (and for a couple of Halloween’s, I was Ace Frehley!). There was just something different about Ace that set him apart from Paul, Gene and Peter. I was just this side of young enough to believe, on some level, that maybe Ace really was from outer space, which made him just that much cooler to me.

When I was thirteen, my father’s job transferred him from Dallas to Oklahoma City. To assuage his guilt over moving the family to a new city, he promised me that if I made the 8th grade football team at my new school, he’d buy me an electric guitar. (I know my father, and he would have bought me the guitar even if I hadn’t made the team, which I did. Side note – ice hockey’s my sport, and I’ve played my entire life; still do. I played football in junior high to position myself, at the very least, on the periphery of the cool crowd, which I did.)

After making the team, my father took me on the afternoon of Halloween to the Rock World music store in Oklahoma City. I had my eyes set on the sweet Les Paul Sunburst copy, the exact guitar Ace Frehley played (except for it being a copy and all – Ace played Gibson’s, of course, but I didn’t care – looking the part was more important than owning an actual Gibson guitar.) I knew there was no way my dad would ever spring for a Gibson, and I didn’t give a rat’s ass. I was gonna have the same guitar as my hero, even if it was a copy.

An hour later, my father and I walked out of Rock World. I was the proud new owner of a Gibson Les Paul! A real Gibson guitar! Technically, it was a Gibson “The Paul,” which is similar to a Les Paul Studio, but an actual Gibson guitar!

I turned out to be a quick study on the guitar. I was in my first band less than a year later – we called ourselves Rigor Mortis – and a year after that I was playing professionally.

Fast-forward to today, and I still play my Ace Frehley-inspired guitar – it’s the best guitar I’ve ever owned, and I’ve had a few over the years. I also work for Gibson Guitar at their headquarters in Nashville and am surrounded by Les Pauls.

In less than one week I’m going to interview Ace Frehley for I hope it takes place on his spaceship!