TOMMY TALKS ABOUT COFFEEHOUSE PARTY
August 11, 2011
By Steve Palisin

The party will rock and roll all afternoon and night on Saturday.

A fifth anniversary party for the KISS Coffeehouse at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, with events starting at 10 a.m., will center around two special guests from the group: drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer.

Thayer was on hand for the second-year celebration in September 2008, after KISS co-founders bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley marked the grand opening in June 2006.

Singer and Thayer will take photos, meet fans and answer questions, before a KISS Army concert and after-party to round out the evening.

Thayer, who sports the spaceman makeup, took a few minutes Tuesday afternoon by phone to talk about the group and the coffeehouse.

Question | How does this extra interaction with fans, such as through the party this weekend in Myrtle Beach, remind you how the KISS name, concept, sound and look have remained a cultural touchstone for fans through the decades?

Answer | It just shows you the uniqueness of KISS and what it promotes. … It’s just a opportunity, now that we are off tour, to get together with some of out dearest and nearest fans, at a KISS Coffeehouse. What other bands can say something like that?

Q. | What’s your greatest memory as the guest of honor for the KISS Coffeehouse second anniversary celebration?

A. | There was a kid named Todd who won a contest to sing “Forever” with me on stage. We took submissions from hundreds of fans who emailed their version of them singing our song “Forever.” He won, and he had a great voice. It was a cool, interactive thing to do with fans.

Q. | Did you have a favorite KISS song before you joined the group, and what’s a tune you love performing on stage from almost a decade on stage with the group?

A. | I remember one of my first favorite KISS songs, from the first KISS album, in 1974. That was “Black Diamond.” It’s always been one of my favorite KISS songs. In live performance, I love “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You.” It’s actually more complex than other KISS songs. It’s a very guitar-driven anthem, which I love.

Q. | What extra publicity have the A&E series “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” and Simmons’ role on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” provided for the band’s continuing popularity?

A. | Gene and Paul together have continued the KISS legacy for 40 years. You have to really tip your hat to both of them. …Gene’s TV shows have been very popular, and I think that has brought some awareness, too. … Paul is producing the new KISS studio album. When it comes to … the mission of what KISS is, looks and sounds like, he’s more hands-on in that. Sometimes Paul doesn’t say as much, and he keeps a lower profile, but that shouldn’t conceal the fact that he’s more of the driving force behind KISS.

Q. | With KISS members entertaining frequently for U.S troops around the world, how humbling an experience do you bring home each time?

A. | It’s something we take a lot of pride in. The Wounded Warrior Project was something we got involved in a year ago. … My dad is a retired brigadier general who was in the Army. I’ve been around this stuff a long time. All the troops: They are the real heroes of the country.

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If you go:

What | KISS Coffeehouse’s fifth-year anniversary party

Who | KISS drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, and a concert by the KISS Army band

When | Saturday

Where | KISS Coffeehouse, Broadway at the Beach

How much | $50, $100 or $150 ages 11 and older, and free for ages 10 and younger with an adult-rate ticket

Details | Deadline to buy tickets is Friday, available only at www.kisscoffeehouse.com

Schedule |

10 a.m.-noon – Professional photographs (for $100 and $150 ticket levels only)

12:30-5 p.m. – Meet-and-greet with Singer and Thayer

7-7:30 – Question-and-answer session with Singer and Thayer

8-10 – KISS Army concert in Celebrity Square

10:30 – After-party with KISS Army