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Tommy Thayer Says Kiss Rocket Guitar Isn’t as Easy to Fire as It Looks

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Tommy Thayer has revealed the difficulties of firing his rocket guitar while playing it onstage with Kiss.

The band just started the European leg of its KissWorld 2017 tour, and Thayer is gearing up to once again use the special instrument that can launch rockets during the shows. “A lot of people don’t realize it’s not as easy as hitting a button,” Thayer told MusicRadar. “There are levels of safety that go on. Our pyro man will load the guitar, which sits on the side of the stage waiting for whatever song has the rocket guitar solo. Then he’ll connect the wire which plugs it all in.”

Then it gets a bit complicated. “There’s also a killswitch, this secondary button I have to hold down with my thumb before it activates any of the three rocket switches,” he continued. “It’s a little complex when you’re trying to play riffs and look cool. There’s a lot going on – more than people think, anyway.”

Thayer said the first time he used the rockets was literally a trial by fire. “We didn’t get to soundcheck the rocket guitar the first time, so my initial experience was onstage, live in front of a concert audience,” he recalled. “You need to make sure you don’t accidentally point it at the crowd and shoot somebody. That could cause real problems, not only for safety. We don’t want to get into a lawsuit!”

Thayer recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of his first Kiss show, after replacing Ace Frehley in the band. The KissWorld tour returns to the U.S. in July.

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