Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer understands that despite his 20 years in the band — he’ll never be considered a “veteran.” Thayer, who replaced Ace Frehley back in 2002, explained to Guitar World, “I don’t know if many people realize this, but I’ve been the lead guitarist in Kiss longer than any other Kiss guitar player. But I will always be known as ‘the new guy’ though — no matter what happens. I’m ‘the Ronnie Wood‘ of Kiss.
He went on to say, “My legacy will be a guy who came in, worked hard, and was the glue that kept the band together for a long period of time. I think the kind of character and personality that I have is that of a team player and somebody who can bring people together and bind things together.”
Thayer, who had been working for Kiss in numerous capacities over the years, also served as Ace Frehley’s understudy in case the co-founder was unable to make the gig, From 2004 on Thayer and returning drummer Eric Singer have been onboard and utilizing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss‘ makeup.
He shed light on Kiss being a smooth and well-oiled machine today: “I think the reason that we’ve done so well and so consistently in the last 20 years is because of the personalities, the give and take, and the ability to keep everybody happy. . . and keep working together on a professional level. It works well. I’ll probably be that guy that has been in the band longer than anybody else besides Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley), that kept things together, and was the glue that made it work.”
Although the Ace Frehley persona is revered by Kiss die-hards, Tommy Thayer looks at his use of it from a theatrical, rather than a historical perspective: “You’ve had different guitarists in and out of the band, and different members — at this point, if you start introducing new characters and new makeup designs and things, that I think that it really dilutes the whole core and, y’know, the original foundation of what Kiss is. And those four original characters are certainly the whole basis of it. To change that and come up with a new design or character, it just convolutes things.”
Kiss kicks off a 17-date tour of Down Under and South America on March 19th in Melbourne, Australia.