Cameron Edney of the Yahoo! group Inside_Out666 recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer. A transcript of the interview follow:
Inside_Out666: I'd like to start by talking a bit about BLACK 'N BLUE. Can you tell us how the band formed?
Tommy Thayer: "BLACK 'N BLUE formed in Portland, OR in 1981. Myself, Jaime St James and the other guys wanted to form a new heavy metal type band because at the time the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was starting to hit state-side as well as MÖTLEY CRÜE in LA, it was an exciting time."
Inside_Out666: Do you remember anything from the first performance you guys did?
Tommy Thayer: "Jaime was originally the drummer of a band we had previous to BLACK 'N BLUE. One night at a Portland nightclub he jumped up front and starting fronting the band and the rest is history."
Inside_Out666: After almost ten years apart you guys got back together for one night in your hometown of Portland, OR to record the live album "One Night Only Live". Did you guys ever consider doing a whole tour or did you know that this would only be a one off event?
Tommy Thayer: "We knew it was clearly a one-off."
Inside_Out666: Being a huge kiss fan yourself it must have been surreal to have Gene Simmons produce two of BLACK 'N BLUE's albums "Nasty Nasty" and "In Heat"?
Tommy Thayer: "It was great because we were fans."
Inside_Out666: What comes to mind when you look back on those early experiences with Gene?
Tommy Thayer: "He was very diligent and dedicated to doing a great job. He put a lot of time into the production and we appreciated working with someone like that."
Inside_Out666: Can we expect to see a DVD release of old BLACK 'N BLUE footage anytime soon?
Tommy Thayer: "I don't think so."
Inside_Out666: When it comes to song writing particularly looking back in the early days with BLACK 'N BLUE, Do you sit around listening to your influences or do you shy away from them?
Tommy Thayer: "Neither. You just try to write something that sounds great and rocks."
Inside_Out666: You first met Gene and Paul in 1984. What do you recall from the encounter?
Tommy Thayer: "Yes, it was at a KISS show in late 1984 in Long Beach, CA. They came in for a meet/greet prior to the show and were very gracious."
Inside_Out666: As early as the late '80s you have been working behind the scenes with KISS. Co-writing on "Betrayed" and my personal favorite song on "Hot in the Shade", "The Street Giveth & The Street Taketh Away". You have also worked on the "Kisstory" books, "Detroit Rock City" & "The Second Coming" DVDs just to name a few. Of all the behind the scenes duties you have performed what have you enjoyed doing most?
Tommy Thayer: "I was fortunate to have a job doing something that I really enjoyed doing, so any project I was involved in was gratifying."
Inside_Out666: Working behind the scenes for so long did the thought ever cross your mind that you would one day end up becoming a member of one of the world's most influential bands?
Tommy Thayer: "Not at all. The ironic thing is that it wasn't something I was looking for."
Inside_Out666: As a longtime KISS fan myself I couldn't express the emotions I would have working for them let alone becoming a member of the band. How did you react to the proposal to join KISS & who was the first person you told?
Tommy Thayer: "Doc McGhee just said to be there and get into makeup, you're going on!"
Inside_Out666: During the rehearsals for the 1996 reunion tour you spent a lot of time with Ace showing him various guitar riffs he played during the seventies. That must have been an awesome experience. Was he an easy guy to work with?
Tommy Thayer: "Yes, we've always had an amiable relationship. We had a lot of fun trading licks, it was a pleasure."
Inside_Out666: Every KISS fan around the world is dying to know if there will be a new studio album recorded anytime soon. Can you tell us if there is any writing in the works suggestions for an album name being thrown around etc?
Tommy Thayer: "Just wait and see!"
Inside_Out666: You are currently working on the "Rock the Nation" two-disc DVD set. Can you tell us what to expect & if there has been a release date set yet?
Tommy Thayer: "The shows were shot in Hi-Def and the DVD will include many KISS songs that haven't seen the light of day in years. We had cameras rolling behind-the-scenes every day on tour so that we can show you what goes on beyond the stage door and travelling on the road. There also will be a multi-angle interactive feature called Select-A KISS, so that you can watch any one band member for an entire song or switch around to different cameras as you please."
Inside_Out666: In the past you have worked on various kiss projects like "Kiss Symphony", VH1's special "Beyond the Make-Up" etc. I don't know one kiss fan who wouldn't want to see the vintage shows remastered & released on DVD. Can we expect to see more of the older footage released on DVD anytime soon?
Tommy Thayer: "It's possible, but the 'KISS Rock The Nation Live!' DVD will be slamming video stores doors down by late spring or early summer, it will be something to see!"
Inside_Out666: What was the 1st guitar you ever owned?
Tommy Thayer: "A Fender Mustang."
Inside_Out666: Over the last few years hard rock and heavy metal music has changed quiet a bit. What do you think of the direction the music has taken?
Tommy Thayer: "Always good, new is good."
Inside_Out666: Are you currently listening to any of the newer bands if so who?
Tommy Thayer: "JET, THE USED, ADEMA, PACIFIER, THE DARKNESS, PUDDLE OF MUDD and EVANESCENCE."
Inside_Out666: Tommy thanks so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to answer these questions for all our readers. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Tommy Thayer: "Thanks everybody! It was good talking to you."