Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer didn’t cut loose until Monster

Tommy Thayer
Tommy Thayer (Image credit: Getty)

Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer says he didn’t reveal his true style until the group’s 2012 album, Monster.

He took over guitar duties permanently from Ace Frehley in the band in 2002. And in a new Classic Rock feature on people who have stepped into the role left by famous axemen, Thayer says he had to do things by the book when he was finding his feet with Kiss.

He says: “It’s a big role to fill. I’ve been playing lead guitar in Kiss for almost 15 years and I’ve got very comfortable with it. With Kiss, particularly since I’ve been in the band, the style and direction has always been very defined. With the solos and the guitar parts, the idea was to play them exactly as they were written and performed before me.

“I don’t have a problem doing that because I grew up with Kiss – I knew all the stuff pretty well, so it wasn’t difficult for me to do that.

“When I see bands and they have a new guitar player and not the original guy, I like to hear the songs, the solos and guitar parts plated verbatim. That might change over time. Not so much live – those songs are the songs and that’s the way everybody wants to hear them.”

Thayer says he kept to the established formula for 2009’s Sonic Boom as they wanted it to sound “like a classic Kiss record” and adds: “When we did Monster in 2012, we decided to loosen that up a little more, so a little more Tommy Thayer came through.”

The full feature is in issue 229 of Classic Rock which is on sale now in print and via TeamRock+. The Replacement Killers article also includes Deep Purple’s Steve Morse and former Motorhead man Phil Campbell.

Ace Frehley to rejoin Kiss next year?

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.