Tommy Thayer of KISS talks fandom, first shows, and rock n' roll
Ace Frehley's replacement started out as a mega-fan
By Danny Sigelman
Like most KISS fans, I remember the exact moment they came into my consciousness. That moment is all too vivid. My second-grade classmate, Jim Brown, and I were sitting together with a girl in our class at one of those fake Formica tables listening to storybook records.
Jim waited long enough for the teacher to leave us at the table when he pulled out his own bag of the good stuff, his KISS records. Yanking "Peter and the Wolf" from the turntable, he dropped the needle on the first one. It had a cover with a close-up photo of this demon face, staring at me with black and white make-up and red eyes. It was the Gene Simmons solo record. I couldn't stop staring at the picture of him with blood trickling through his teeth. Watching the label in shock as it spun around, I had never heard anything like that before. I looked across the table at the girl who was sitting with us. She looked terrified. I was hooked.
Right up there with all the great Minnesota traditions - agriculture, politics, and straight-up excess - the band who was once accused of being satanic some 30-plus years ago, KISS, will be headlining the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair as part of their "Hottest Show on Earth" tour this Saturday. From his hotel room in Uncasville, Connecticut, Tommy Thayer talked to me about one of our favorite bands, KISS.