December 12, 2009
Tommy Thayer interview with The Sault Star


To some, Ron Wood is still the spankin' new Stone -- and he officially joined ranks with Mick, Keith and boys in 1976.

Tommy Thayer hasn't strutted his stuff as a member of Kiss for nearly as long, but he concedes to feeling some kinship with the famed British musician when it comes to being dubbed new kid on the block.

"If Ronnie Wood is the new Stone after 35 years, I'm definitely the new guy in Kiss," says Thayer, who officially took over lead guitar duties when original axeman Ace Frehley finally departed for good in 2002.

"But my place in the band has become more and more fortified as time goes on, and that's great. Good things take time and this continues to build and grow for Kiss and for me personally, too."

And, of course, Thayer can take some comfort that drummer Eric Singer, who first joined Kiss in 1991 but departed for a spell in the mid-1990s when the band reunited with Frehley and original drummer Peter Criss for the Alive/Worldwide Tour, is not original, either. And Thayer is not the first axeman to take over during the notoriously troubled Frehley's absences from the band; Bruce Kulick, Vinnie Vincent and the late Mark St. John also did guitar duties, some for longer than others, some painted up, some not.

But overall, Thayer appears secure in his own skin -- or, perhaps, makeup.

"It's an amazing feeling. You know, we're riding a big wave right now and I'm honoured to be playing lead guitar in Kiss now."

No doubt. Maybe that's because Thayer has found his promised land.

The Portland, Ore., native, now 49, was just another Kisscrazed kid in the 1970s, whose desire to learn the electric guitar was likely sparked by the likes of Frehley and other such notables of that decade, including Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

The profound difference, though, between Thayer and his young counterparts lies in the fact he would go on to actually trade guitar licks with Paul Stanley, sport the flamboyant Spaceman persona once occupied by Frehley and stake claim to being part of Gene Simmons' inner-circle, ever so coveted these days since the ample-tongued demon's side career as a reality show darling took off.