KISS - Tommy Thayer Burrn! Interview Part II Available

June 25, 2006, 12 years ago

ii news rock hard kiss has posted part II of guitarist Tommy Thayer's interview with writer/photographer John Harrell for Burrn! Magazine. An excerpt follows:

JH: How long have you known GENE SIMMONS?

Thayer: "I've known Gene for almost 25 years. The first time I actually met him I was in BLACK N’ BLUE; we had just come out with our first album and we all went down to Long Beach Arena to see KISS play with QUEENSRYCHE opening up. It was the Animalize tour and Bruce Kulick was new in the band. We were lucky enough to get backstage for a meet n’ greet before the show and Paul and Gene walked in and we were introduced and that was a big thrill for us. When we were introduced to Gene he said, "Black 'N Blue, oh, good band, good band." Then about six months later we came out with our second album Without Love and our manager Warren Entner called me and said that we were going to be opening up for KISS on the Asylum tour starting in a month and that was so unbelievable to me. We got on tour with KISS and that’s when I started getting to know them. We were really intimidated by Gene because he kind of comes off with that whole aura of intimidation, which he does on purpose just to keep people off guard. The first night was Little Rock, Arkansas and the next show was in Nashville or Memphis. Jaime and I were sitting out in the arena watching their sound check and Gene walked offstage afterwards and started walking over towards us and we were like, oh----here comes Gene. So he came over and asked us how we were doing and then said that he had one little thing to talk about: he says, your intro------we had this intro that was like (in a deep, gruff voice) ALL RIGHT------FROM LOS ANGELES-----BLACK N’ BLUE!!!! Some kind of thing like that and he goes, there’s something about your intro; it kind of reminds me of this band that’s been around since about 1902 and it’s too similar to their intro and it would be a good idea if maybe you guys changed that up a little bit and we were like sure, no problem."

JH: What is your favorite stuff to play?

Thayer: "Probably the early stuff, more like the first two or three albums up to KISS Alive, that’s my favorite stuff; '100,000 Years'. I mean I love playing all the other stuff like 'Detroit Rock City' but my heart, really to begin with, is in that early stuff so anything off of the first three albums is just real special. It’s funny though because one of my other favorite songs to play is 'God Gave Rock And Roll To You'."

JH: So what’s your favorite part of the show, walking out at the beginning, the encore with the confetti coming down, what?

Thayer: "There is always a real magic right when you come out onstage, just that initial excitement. There is something really urgent and exciting about when the curtain drops and you're running out there and a huge crowd going crazy. I felt the same feeling the very first time I was ever onstage when I was 14 or 15 years old playing at the junior high school dance. There is something about being onstage and walking out there when you've got a crowd that’s into it, it’s really a magical thing, it’s a rush. We haven't been on tour for a while and when you're away from that you kind of miss it."

JH: As a fan what has been your favorite stage or production?

Thayer: "I think my favorite is the Farewell Tour, which up till now and what we did on the last tour was very similar, but we put video monitors in where some of the guitar cabinets were and I think since 2000 it’s my favorite KISS set because it's huge. It’s got three-tiers with all 4 x 12 cabinets and now we have video screens mixed in with the cabinets and I think it’s most impressive. There is a huge video screen in the middle, two KISS signs - It’s the most massive and impressive-looking set. Some people might say, oh I love the Love Gun set from ’77 but what's interesting is if you really look at a video or old photos, it’s not that big. People remember it as huge with the staircases that lit up and it did look great, but it wasn't as big in real life as people remember it. The lighting wasn't anything more than a basic box truss with about 100 lights. For the time it might have been amazing but compared to the production today it’s really a popcorn fart."

To read the entire interview head to this location.

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