Hey there, and a very Happy KISSmas in July! As you may or may not know, KISS is a huge band, commanding a huge and devoted following. Most fans have favourite eras and line-ups and enjoy them regardless, but for some arguing about who & what is best seems to take up most of their time and energy. Personally, I just like the music, and the performance, in and of itself, no matter what era or line-up.
It’s all Rawk N Roll to me.
So, channeling the great Matt Porter from The Kiss Room, I’m keeping it positive and showing my unashamed appreciation of the members who made KISS what it was, and is, and will always be.
Tommy Thayer is lambasted by many as the fake-Ace and disparagingly called Gene’s caretaker; a guy who isn’t fit to lace the Space Ace’s boots. I find all that stuff more than a little churlish considering most of us would sell our own Grandmothers just to work for Gene Simmons in any capacity, let alone tour manage or direct documentaries for the band before actually joining them, writing new music and touring. I mean, come on. Tommy Thayer deserves your respect for doing the right thing by the band that you love, so that you can continue to enjoy them. He is an incredible guitar player in his own right who is currently on his second signature series with Epiphone as well as touring the world playing sold-out stadiums with KISS.
“Shout Mercy” is probably my favourite Tommy moment, a blistering rock track with an unbelievable hook that Thayer co-wrote with Paul Stanley. It totally rocked me out the first time I heard it, and it spent most of the following month in heavy rotation at high volume. The main riff, with those distortion soaked guitars, just sucks you straight in and never lets go before the insanely catchy vocal harmonies kick in over the chorus – “Wooh! Wooooh!”.
The guitar solo probably isn’t my personal favourite (listen to “Eat your heart out” to hear Tommy really cut loose) but it shows he is every bit as able as any other KISS guitarist in building a punchy solo, that compliments the song, over a relatively short space of time.