Tommy Thayer Says He Felt Pressure During His First KISS Show


In a new interview with Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips, KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer admitted that his first official gig with KISS was a little bit traumatizing due to the pressure on him.

Having been in the music industry for over four decades now, Tommy Thayer had met KISS bassist Gene Simmons before joining the band since Simmons was the producer of the two albums he recorded with his group Black ‘n Blue. Later, the guitarist contributed to KISS’ 1989 album, ‘Hot in the Shade’ by playing session guitar and co-writing a few songs with Simmons.

Thayer kept in touch with KISS members in the following years and started working part-time beside them. He was there to help them wherever they needed him. When Ace Frehley left KISS in 2002, the band’s first choice for the new lead guitarist was no other than Tommy Thayer. Following a successful onstage performance, he became an official KISS member.

During a recent conversation, the guitarist recalled his first official show with KISS and shared his feelings at that special moment. Thayer admitted that performing as the band’s lead guitarist in Melbourne for the first time was a little bit traumatizing because he felt immense pressure. It was being recorded live for the band’s 2003 live album, ‘Kiss Symphony: Alive IV,’ and everyone’s eyes were naturally on Thayer. Despite his initial tension and excitement, the guitarist was very happy after the show as it had gone amazingly well.

His first official show with KISS, in Tommy Thayer’s words:

“My first official show as the lead guitarist of KISS was in Melbourne at the Telstra Dome, as it was referred to at the time. It was a huge gig, and it was amazing coming out for me because it was, of course, with the Melbourne Symphony, and it was being recorded for a live album, a DVD, and a documentary, so a lot was going on.

I felt a little bit of pressure, I have to admit, at the time because that was the first one and a lot of eyes on me for sure, but looking back, a lot of fond memories. It went amazingly well and was a real success, so I was happy about it at the time. I have to admit I was a little traumatized.”

You can check out the rest of the conversation below.