There has never been an American rock and roll band like KISS, recognized around the world for their hard-rockin' and spectacular stage show. Over the last decade, while many of their colleagues have struggled to keep an audience, KISS has enjoyed a renaissance with sold out tours around the world, great record reviews, and a renewed spirit.
Much of that can be attributed to lead guitarist Tommy Thayer. Thayer had been a behind-the-scenes member of the KISS family since 1985 working as a songwriter, guitarist, and even a video producer. But in 2002, Thayer joined KISS full time as the legendary "Spaceman," giving the rock legends an explosive new sound and attitude. Now, Epiphone is proud to present the Ltd. Ed. Tommy Thayer "Spaceman" Les Paul Standard Outfit, a beautiful Les Paul Standard in a one-of-a-kind Silver Flake color finish that's worthy of KISS's 21st century "Spaceman." Epiphone spoke with Thayer about his Les Paul, joining KISS, and his first trip to Hollywood in the early '80s.
Tommy, thanks for speaking with us and congrats on your Ltd. Ed. Tommy Thayer "Spaceman" Les Paul Standard. Epiphone fans have been very excited about this guitar. What when through your mind when you realized that you could design your own guitar?
I've always been a traditionalist when it comes to amps, guitars and gear in general. When the opportunity came up for an Epiphone Tommy Thayer signature guitar, the first thing I thought of was offering a pro guitar for musicians that looks amazing and is also affordable. I wanted it to be the guitar I play onstage with KISS but also a classic looking instrument that would catch the eye of any player.
You grew up in Beaverton, Oregon which some might not consider the best place to see a lot of live rock n' roll.
To the contrary, Beaverton is a suburb to Portland, Oregon where I saw tons of great rock shows at the Paramount Theatre and the Memorial Coliseum through the 1970s and early 80s. I went and saw literally every rock band that came to town. At the Coliseum you could walk around the top section of seats that went behind the stage. Before the show started, I was fascinated looking down at the amps, guitars and gear the bands were using. I dreamed of someday owning a stack of amps or a Les Paul guitar. I used to hang out at the local guitar shops in Beaverton or Portland and stare at the guitars on the wall, dreaming about owning one. I never would have imagined that one day I would have my own Epiphone Tommy Thayer Signature Les Paul!
Tell us about the signature model: what were you looking to do with this model that you've never seen before?
I'm proud of the Epiphone Tommy Thayer "Spaceman" Les Paul Standard. It's modeled exactly like my silver sparkle top Gibson Custom Shop LP Standard I've played onstage for years with KISS. People don't realize it, but I wanted my first signature guitar to be an Epiphone. It's a quality-constructed instrument utilizing the same parts I use on all my Les Pauls, including Gibson 498 pick-ups and Grover™ Deluxe tuners. It's a truly professional guitar for real musicians but available at a price that's afford able for everyone. The guitar comes in a custom silver hard-shell case together with a very cool studded black and silver leather guitar strap just like the ones I use. I'm playing my Epiphone signature model onstage with KISS now and I couldn't be happier with the sound, the look and the performance of the guitar, it's outstanding!
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