This IS going to be a true rant and I apologize for that. It is an early Sunday morning and I had just had an interaction with a supposed KISS fan through Facebook. The post in question was in regards to a picture that former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick had posted of him performing with ESP in Switzerland and a poster who will only be known as Johnny 5 (not his real name but since a robot is a tool we use, the name fit) asked Bruce when he thought Tommy Thayer would steal his look and join Grand Funk Railroad, which is Bruce’s current gig.
I replaied with:
“@Johnny 5 – so if you’re a guitar player who already had a working relationship with the band….you did a lot of grunt work behind the scenes…and Paul and Gene offered the gig to tour the world….record cds…make some really good money…and let you do what you love….you wouldn’t do it???…you would turn down the fame and the money???…good for you…
You make it sound like Tommy kicked down Ace’s door…poured alcohol into his mouth…filled him up with drugs and stole his stuff…
Bruce is an amazing guitarist and one of my fav out of the KISS guitariists and yes…Ace is the original…but I also enjoyed Vinnie’s work as well… between this Ace/Peter vs Tommy/Eric stuff and the Tarja vs Anette bs with Nightwish it just makes it hard for those who just want to enjoy the band….no matter what the current incarnation is…”
I want to make something VERY clear….I am a MASSIVE and I mean MASSIVE fan of KISS. I love Ace Frehley and respect him more than anything for his talent, song writing and what he meant to KISS. Some of my favorite tunes are songs that Ace had written or had a hand in writing. I know he was a rare talent that brought a charisma and sense of danger to the band through his off the wall personality, sense of humor and his vices. I am NOT anti-Ace and never will be and I will not pass judgement on his addictions and behavior while he was in KISS as I was not there…..and I was not him. I am however, someone who can understand what he went through and still enjoy his music that he had recorded in the past and still records today.
Tommy Thayer was a struggling musician who was in the band Black & Blue that imploded in the 1980’s. He was in a KISS tribute band as Ace Frehley and was hired by Gene Simmons as an assistant. He was a go-fer of all sorts and worked behind the scenes producing DVD releases, setting up venues for the KISS Konvention tours of the early 1990’s and was offered the chance by Gene and Paul to step into the Spaceman role. He has grown int he role and with their latest release “Sonic Boom” was able t assert himself for thew first time creatively with the solos on the album.
(Tommy and Ace with a goatee)
So my big rant is this…….if you love a band and they have a personnel change, do you grow bitter and gripe about it constantly? Or do you understand that sometimes people out grow the band or there is an issue that prohibits the person and the band to continue to co-exist?
I know Tommy is not Ace and I do not blame Tommy for walking in Ace’s shoes. I would have accepted the offer if I was in his situation, but there is something I do know. I know I want to see KISS continue as long as it can, maybe it is selfish on my part but this is how I feel. Just like I respect Ace and his place in KISStory I can say the same thing for former lead guitarists Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John and Bruce Kulick. I can also say it for Tommy Thayer, as Tommy is in a tough spot and knows he will be criticized for his place in the band.
My advice to the Tommy haters is this…..get over it.