According to Kiss Kollector Online, both Richie Sambora and Yngwie Malmsteen recently stated in interviews that they were asked to audition for KISS. The two guitarists are believed to have been contacted by KISS around 1981 when Ace Frehley was too incapacitated by drugs to play with KISS any longer. Another guitarist who was unknown then, Adam Bomb, has also made it clear he was asked to audition for KISS back in 1981. In Bomb's biography it states that in 1981 "at age 16, Adam was asked to audition for KISS. He flew to Los Angeles and played three songs with KISS." A year later, he'd hook up with future GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Izzy Stradlin and also became friends with future KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer (who back then was still the guitarist in BLACK N' BLUE).
As for Richie Sambora, he says in an interview in the December/January issue of Germany's Metal Heart magazine that Gene Simmons had invited him down to Los Angeles to audition for KISS even before he joined BON JOVI. "Gene Simmons called me and invited me to come to L.A. to audition for KISS," Sambora said. "KISS absolutely wasn't my favorite band, but obviously it was a big honor and a big opportunity for me. In the end, nothing came out of it, but at least I had a couple of great weeks in Los Angeles." Upon returning home, Richie's then-bass player told him he should hook up with a certain Johnny Bongiovi. They hit it off, and a few weeks later they started writing songs together. Long story short, John Bongiovi changed his name into Jon Bon Jovi, and Richie and Jon would become very famous with their band BON JOVI after releasing their debut album in 1984 and opening for KISS that year.
Yngwie Malmsteen states in a September 2005 interview on Glam-Metal.com, "I remember once when I was living in Sweden and I got a phone call from KISS. It was so funny because it was like, 'Yeah we hear that you are really, really hot' and I'm like, 'I don't know... it's quite cold here.' (Laughs) Stuff like that, I didn't fucking get it at all. Then they asked if I was at least 6 feet tall and I'm like, 'I don't know, I'm 1 meter and 83 cm.' I had no fucking idea what they meant at the time. There was a real communication problem there."
Yngwie was discovered in 1982 by Shrapnel Records founder Mike Varney (also a writer for Guitar Player magazine) and asked to fly in from Sweden to L.A. to play on the debut album by STEELER. After STEELER, Yngwie joined ALCATRAZZ and in '84 he released his first solo album under the name "Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force".