Doug Aldrich Recalls His KISS Audition To Replace Ace Frehley

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Former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich recently appeared as a guest on the Rock Experience with Mike Brunn and opened up about his audition for KISS back in 1982.

After a period of enormous success and popularity, KISS’ original lead guitarist Ace Frehley decided to leave the band in 1982 due to his personal and creative differences from the rest of the band. The guitarist said in his later interviews that he was exhausted from the band’s constant touring program, so he wanted a break. Following his departure, KISS needed a new guitarist competent enough to replace Frehley.

They auditioned many notable musicians like Doug Aldrich, Punky Meadows, Richie Sambora, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but the lead guitarist position went to Vinnie Vincent in the end. In a new interview, the host asked Aldrich how things would have been different for him if he had gotten the job at such a young age. The guitarist, who was just 18 when he went to the audition for KISS, said there was no way he could’ve achieved it because he was super excited.

Then, Aldrich explained that although he loves KISS and respects each member, he doesn’t think it was the right band for him. Doug stated that his style was more compatible with Led Zeppelin’s sound, but he still wanted to try for KISS. He tried to do his best by playing in the way that KISS members wanted. However, as a young guitar player, he wouldn’t have been a suitable replacement since KISS members were at the height of their fame as worldwide-known rock stars.

Doug Aldrich speaking on his KISS audition:

“No way, I was pissing my pants. To be honest, I’m going to be totally straight with you. I love KISS. I think over the years, they’ve proven to be great songwriters, and they are amazing. They are super cool guys but to be really deadly honest, my band was Zeppelin. KISS was my younger sister’s band, but I went out to Los Angeles, and I was too young. I was a kid.

I played the guitar the way they wanted at the moment because they were trying to get a little more of an aggressive lead player. I did that, but I was just too young. Those guys were worldwide rock stars. You can’t put that together with a young kid,  just in very rare situations. In certain situations, like Ozzy did it with Zakk. Zakk was maybe 19. But for me, KISS, it wasn’t possible.”

You can watch the full interview below.