Tommy Thayer Says He’s ‘The Ronnie Wood’ of Kiss
Kiss lead guitarist Tommy Thayer feels secure in his legacy with the band, calling himself "the Ronnie Wood" of the group in a recent interview. Thayer reflected on his tenure with the face-painted rockers in a new Guitar World interview. "I don't know if many people realize this, but I’ve been the lead guitarist in Kiss longer than any other Kiss guitar player," he said. "But I will always be known as 'the new guy,' though — no matter what happens. I'm the Ronnie Wood of Kiss."
Wood joined the Rolling Stones in 1975 following the departure of guitarist Mick Taylor and has played on every Stones album as a full-time member since 1976's Black and Blue. Thayer, meanwhile, cowrote "Betrayed" and "The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away" on Kiss' 1989 album Hot in the Shade, and performed backing vocals on parts of 1992's Revenge. He has played on all of the band's albums since 1998's Psycho Circus, the reunion album that found Thayer sharing guitar duties with original lead guitarist Ace Frehley, and has been a full-time member since 2002.
“When I came in — in 2002 — I came in just as a fill-in, really," Thayer said. "Because they didn’t know what they wanted to do after the reunion tour ran its course and things got screwy with Ace and Peter [Criss] again." Thayer said his "first official gig as Kiss' guitar player" came in 2003 when the band performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the Alive IV album.
“My legacy will be a guy who came in, worked hard and was the glue that kept the band together for a long period of time," Thayer continued. "I think the kind of character and personality that I have is that of a team player, and somebody who can bring people together and bind things together."
Kiss will resume their End of the Road farewell tour next year. The trek launched in January 2019 and faced numerous postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic, for which Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons both tested positive earlier this year.
When asked if the End of the Road tour would really signal the end of Kiss, Thayer said, "You’d have to ask Gene and Paul that question," but for the time being, "that’s the plan, and legitimately what we’re doing."
"None of us are getting any younger, particularly Gene and Paul – they’re edging into their 70s now," Thayer added. "To do a Kiss performance, it takes a lot more than your average band to do this. Kiss is in a different category in terms of the physicality and what it takes to actually do a show."