Tuesday, January 15, 2013


We recently sat down with Tommy Thayer of KISS to discuss his rise to rock stardom including which guitarists influenced his playing. Tommy also gives us some insider info on his new signature Epiphone Les Paul and the gear he uses onstage.

Coming from your early band Black 'N Blue, could you tell us what it was like the first time you donned the Spaceman outfit and got up on stage as an official member of KISS?

It was a whole new world. Being in KISS onstage is a surreal experience guaranteed to be nothing like any other band. I can attest to that because I've been in other bands. It's a commitment physically in terms of the show, the makeup, the outfits and the boots. Unlike other artists, we start getting ready for our concerts hours beforehand. Being onstage is like being in some kind of apocalyptic, rock & roll fantasy land.. It's definitely different than your average band experience, that's for sure.

Anything going on with your old band Black 'N Blue?
Not a lot. I think they've been doing a few gigs here and there, some of the summer rock festivals.

Now that you have rocked some of the biggest stages in the world, what were some of your early influences as an up and coming musician that directly lead to you being where you are today?
Growing up I was knocked out by guitarists like Ronnie Montrose, Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton, Steve Marriott, Mick Ralphs, Mick Ronson, Alex Lifeson and Davey Johnstone. I've always been drawn toward guitarists that are great songwriters and great riff writers.

During your time with KISS, is there a favorite city you enjoy playing?
It's always a tough question because no matter where you go in the world KISS fans are insane. I'm serious, it can be Moscow, Tokyo, Sao Paulo or Anchorage, they all go nuts. A really cool thing happened recently. We just completed an amazing tour of South America. In Buenos Aires we rocked River Plate Stadium on November 7th, which was on my birthday. When we came out for the encore they brought out a birthday cake and 55,000 KISS fanatics sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I don't know many people that that's happened to recently.

When you're on the road with KISS, do you guys do any writing or recording of new material? If so, do you bring your own portable studio with you
If we're working on a new album and we're in that mode, we'll get together in hotel rooms or backstage on occasion to put new ideas together. I'd say that all four of us are very "low-tech" when it comes to electronics or recording gear. These days we use the voice memo function on our iPhones to collect new ideas.
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