KISS Guitarist Tommy Thayer – “Ace Frehley Was At The Top Of His Game On Those First Three To Four Albums; There’s No Question About It”

Anthony Morgan at Metal Forces Magazine recently caught up with KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer. An excerpt from the interview is available below:

January 2013 box set The Casablanca Singles: 1974-1982 collects all of the 29 KISS singles to be originally issued through Neil Bogart-founded label Casablanca Records, many of which KISS still perform live to this very day.

“My favourite early KISS material is the first three albums (February 1974’s Kiss, October 1974’s Hotter Than Hell, and March 1975’s Dressed To Kill),” Tommy cites. “The first four albums I should say, including Alive! (September 1975). Anything on any of those records is just phenomenal stuff. The band was new, the band was raw, and you can hear it in the singing. You can hear it in the guitar playing; Ace (Frehley) was at the top of his game on those first three to four albums. There’s no question about it.

“That’s really where I cut my teeth when I was starting to play guitar. I’ve been playing all of those tunes for almost 40 years now (laughs), and that’s why I know them so well. Really though, some of my favourite stuff is off of our new album Monster. The guitar playing on that and the guitar solos are something that I’m very proud of. I really came out of my shell on this. It’s very in-your-face, and the guitar playing and the album itself is something that we’re all very proud of and very excited about. I’m looking forward to everybody hearing that.”

Performing pre-existing licks, the axe-slinger doesn’t opt to deviate away from original renditions.

“Whether it’s Ace or any of the other guitar players that wrote and recorded guitar parts on the KISS records, I want to try to play them as faithfully as I can to the way they were originally written and recorded,” he divulges. “I think that most fans and most people who go to the concerts want to hear them that way. I know that when I go to see a show, I want to hear those songs played the way that I know them. It’s always disheartening when you see maybe a new guitar player come into a situation or into a band that you like and you’re seeing them live in concert, and he’s not faithful to the parts. It’s not as good to me that way, and I’ve never liked that as much. I’ve always tried to get that stuff as close as I can to the originals, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be and that’s the way it’s supposed to sound.”

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KISS have scheduled a run of Canadian shows in July and August, which will include smaller cities the band have never visited on past tours.

Scheduled dates, with venues and further details to be announced, include:

5 – Victoria, BC
6 – Vancouver, BC
8 – Penticton, BC or Ketowna, BC
10 – Lelthbridge, AB
12 – Edmonton, AB
13 – Calgary, AB
14 – Moose Jaw, SK
16 – Saskatoon, SK
17 – Estevan, SK
18 – Brandon, MB
20 – Cadot, MB
22 – Winnipeg, MB
25 – London, ON
26 – Ottawa, ON or Hamilton, ON
27 – Ottawa, ON
29 – Montreal, QC
31 – St. John, NB

1 – Halifax, NS
3 – St. Johns, NL

Stay tuned for updates on this Canadian trek.

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