‘It’s staying true to what made Kiss great': Tommy Thayer defends decision to copy Ace Frehley

Tommy Thayer first appeared on a Kiss project in 1998, as a sideman on Psycho Circus. Yet, even when he officially took over as guitarist in 2002, Thayer stuck primarily to echoing founding member Ace Frehley — right down to the makeup, outfit, and rocket-firing instrument.

Today, Thayer tells NoiseCreep that he feels like he’s finally coming into his own.

“Sometimes good things take time,” Thayer says. “It’s a slow growth kind of thing. People say, ‘when you got into the band, how come you were just copying the licks, and doing more of the parts as they were originally done?’ I said: ‘There’s a great legacy with Kiss, for 30 years before I was here.'”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Kiss' new album 'Monster' finds a way to balance the band's two competing personalities, featuring a just-right mix of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.]

Frehley co-founded Kiss with remaining original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and served a pair of stints with the band — from 1973-82, and then again from 1996-2002.

“It was always an important thing to capture what made Kiss strong in the first place — and not try to reinvent the image,” Thayer says. “Some people have suggested a new character, and all of this stuff. It’s staying true to what made Kiss great in the first place. That’s what has always been our intention.”

More recently, however, with the release of a pair of original albums in Sonic Boom and last year’s Monster, Thayer says he’s been able to put more of a personal stamp on Kiss.

“It’s become more about doing things that come from me,” Thayer adds, “and being true to what I am more — and letting that come out.”

Kiss’ on-going tour in support of Monster continues into Australia next month.

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