Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tommy Thayer Interviewed

Tommy Thayer Discusses the New Album, Replacing Ace Frehley and Inaugural Kiss Kruise
Tommy Thayer says he is still considered the "new guy" in Kiss — despite having worked with the band for more than two decades.

By Dustin Schoof/Lehigh Valley Express Times

"I've been so much involved with Kiss and (singer/guitarist) Paul (Stanley) and (singer/bassist) Gene (Simmons) so many years, we're talking 25 years, there's a repertoire there already. For me to start as the new lead guitarist was actually a kind of natural, easy transition because we knew each other so well," Thayer says over the phone. "It wasn't like there was a learning curve there."

Before replacing founding member Ace Frehley as the band's lead guitarist in 2002, Thayer co-wrote two songs for Kiss' 1989 studio album, "Hot in the Shade." He continued to work with the band behind-the-scenes until getting the go ahead to don the Spaceman regalia after Frehley's departure, although the decision was met with backlash by some longtime Kiss fans.

But Thayer isn't concerned with criticism. He says he's just doing his best to make the Spaceman character his own.

"The biggest step was replacing one of the great guitar players of our time who has influenced so many people. Those are big shoes to fill," Thayer says. "The biggest challenge walking into that situation and succeeding was that good things take time. Getting in there and trying to fill the role he played and play the parts as well or even try and do it better ... it slowly becomes a little more me and just being the Spaceman, it's been quite a process. There have been so many amazing fans who have been so supportive and honest about letting me know I'm doing a great job and to keep it up."

Kiss is currently on the final leg of their "Hottest Show on Earth Tour," before they return to the studio to complete their follow-up to 2009's "Sonic Boom." The group performs Wednesday night at Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center in Bushkill, Pa.

"The band is good. The last several years, the last two or three years, we've been on fire out there," Thayer says.

Thayer says the songs on the next album, which he says should be in stores by early 2012, will be "more riff-oriented" and will be slightly heavier than those on "Sonic Boom."

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