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Tommy Thayer on Kiss Makeup Controversy: ‘It’s Understandable’

Tommy Thayer
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Kiss drummer Eric Singer clearly doesn’t have a ton of patience for all the bellyaching and carrying-on surrounding the current lineup’s use of replacement players in the original members’ makeup, but guitarist Tommy Thayer proved far more diplomatic during a recent Rolling Stone interview.

“I didn’t have any input on that. That was a decision that those guys made,” he pointed out, although he quickly added that if it had been up to him, he probably wouldn’t have made a different choice. “There was not even a conversation about it, because I think it was so obvious, that they weren’t going to introduce new characters 30 years into the band. I never thought that there should be some new designs or something. I thought that would have been ridiculous.”

That being said, Thayer obviously understands that some fans regarded the move as a betrayal of original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. “You’ve got a lot of push-back from some of the diehards. And that’s understandable. Hey, you know, if you lived in the ’70s and Kiss was your favorite band, and that’s what you grew up with, and suddenly there’s another guy wearing that makeup, I can understand how some people, it might not have appealed to them as much,” he conceded. “But as time has gone by, a lot of people have changed their mind.”

To his credit, Thayer laughed and shrugged off Frehley’s contention that Kiss replaced him with a guy who was just “their road manager, who used to be in a Kiss cover band,” saying, “That’s one way to put it, I guess, even though that’s not really accurate. These guys like to say that, oh, he was the road manager. He never paid his dues. Well, you know, if you look back, I’ve been in music professionally for over 30 years now, and I’ve made just as many records as they have, probably.” And as for Frehley’s contention that the current Kiss lineup is an unfair ruse for fans who are being duped into believing they’re seeing the real thing in action, Thayer offered a polite but firm rebuttal.

“I don’t think that’s really accurate,” he retorted. “I don’t think there’s anybody going to a Kiss concert thinking that it’s Ace Frehley on stage. I really don’t. And if it is, then they’re really not paying much attention at all. But the vast, 99.99 percent of people that are there, they know what’s going on.”

Next: Clash of the Titans - Ace Frehley vs. Tommy Thayer

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