KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer spoke to the Oregon Music Guide shortly prior to the launch of the group's North American "Rock the Nation" tour. The following are some of the highlights from that interview:
On KISS' newly expanded set list:
"Obviously, up through last year, with Peter [Criss] in the band and everything, the whole set list was very stagnant...pretty much because it had to be. It was just hard to work up new tunes and have that flexibility for reasons I don't want to go in to. That's just the way it was.
”Now, with Eric Singer playing drums and the line-up as it is now, we have flexibility and the opportunity to completely rework the set list and do a lot of things that KISS hasn’t done in a long time or haven't really ever done."
On first starting to work for KISS as part of their road crew:
”I came in and started bottom rung of the ladder and worked my way up. Essentially, when I first started working for those guys...for Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley]...over 10 years ago, I was doing anything that needed to be done, whether it was running errands, getting the coffee or doing, well, anything. I did it and I did it with a great attitude and I worked really hard, long hours. I just established myself like that."
On replacing Ace Frehley:
"When you imagine being a new member in a huge band, you imagine auditions and a decision making process and that kind of thing but it couldn’t be nothing more the opposite.
"I was working with the band and, over the years, especially since the reunion tour, I've done an awful lot of rehearsing, sound checking and, even, recording with KISS. So, when Ace decided he didn’t want to do this anymore, it was just a natural thing for me to just step in and start doing it."
On being called an "impostor" by original drummer Peter Criss during an interview with New York's Q104.3 last month:
"I can't say anything bad about him. I really can't. I like him and I guess I don't understand why he said some of the things he said."
On some fans' belief that he should develop an original character or remove the make-up altogether.
"Non-makeup...I don't believe that’s the answer and, at this point, I don't know if the original four guys is the answer, either. You can see what's gone on with that.
"But, I'm not trying to put anything down, either. It's just, this is the natural evolution and I'm sure there's good reasons why things are the way they are. I’m sure it's the best...I believe it's the best road the band can possibly take. I try to say that without being too biased.
"I’ve been on the inside of this thing and seen the inner workings of it for years now. I can't go into the details or explain why, specifically, on certain things but, trust me, I believe this is the best path the band can be taking."
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