Tommy Thayer en Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer Discusses Epiphone White Lightning Les Paul, Momoiro Clover Z and More <!--paging_filter--><p>Kiss guitarists and Les Pauls just seem to go together. Just ask Tommy Thayer, who just introduced his new Epiphone White Lightning Les Paul. </p> <p>We caught up with Thayer—just days before he headed out on a whirlwind tour of Japan—to discuss the new guitar, Kiss and a whole lot more.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: It’s been two years since you teamed up with Epiphone to release your signature Spaceman Les Paul. How is the new White Lightning Les Paul different?</strong></p> <p>There are a lot of similarities. The look, design and color scheme are different, obviously. The pickups are different too. In the last year or two, I started using Seymour Duncan JB pickups again. </p> <p>I used them a long time ago. I was using Gibson pickups for a long time. I’m not sure why, but one day we put a set of JB’s back in the guitar and it sounded great. It was just one of those things where you are chasing the sound; it was something different that peaked my interest. </p> <p><strong>As far as the neck and the body shape, is it pretty similar to your other model?</strong></p> <p>It is. The neck is the same. It's somewhere between a 1960 and a 1959 profile. It’s not a baseball bat, but it’s not super-thin either. It’s kind of in between, which I like more. The cool thing is it has this great white metallic finish [see the photo gallery below]. It’s a really stark white. It isn’t a pearl color like some of the Gibson Custom models. I wanted it to be a really striking guitar that would look great on stage. I wanted to have all the chrome parts to offset that. </p> <p>The pickup rings and pick guard are all chrome. Originally the idea was to do a chrome binding as well. It became difficult even for Gibson to figure out exactly how to do that. When they did the original two guitars last summer, the ones that were the inspiration for the Epiphone, we couldn’t figure out how to do a chrome binding. I ended up using a three-ply black-and-white binding, which actually was a better idea. I think it looks great.</p> <p><strong>I think any manufacturer would admit it’s hard to get chrome on wood.</strong> </p> <p>They cut those Les Paul shapes out of wood and they leave a strip or a channel on it for the binding. Even before they paint them, they put the binding on and they sand them with the binding on. That’s the traditional process and why it was so difficult to do with chrome. It was funny; we went back and forth with Gibson for months trying to figure out what to do. It turned out great in the long run.</p> <p><strong>On the Spaceman Epiphone, you had gone back and forth with Epiphone on the size of the flake. When you are doing a finish like this and you're playing on one of the biggest stages with the lights, do you have to play around with and give consideration to how these guitars look on stage?</strong></p> <p>Absolutely. It’s very important to have a guitar that on stage pops out and looks like it works on a Kiss stage. A lot of that is taken into consideration. It’s a very flamboyant, theatrical show so you need flamboyant, theatrical guitars. Coincidentally, that is the kind of guitar I like the looks of anyway. I’m sure Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] feel the same way. You don’t want to just do something plain or generic. You need some pop to it. We know what works by experience. </p> <p><strong>Are you a tinkerer, guitar-wise? Do you mess around with a lot of configurations, or do you have a pretty good handle on what you like?</strong></p> <p>I used to do a little bit of that back in the old days. I messed up a couple of good guitars fooling around. I had a few Les Paul Jr’s., a ‘58 or '59 Sunburst Jr., and I took the pickup out of it and I don’t know what I did. I did stuff you shouldn’t do by today’s standards with vintage guitars. That was 30 or 35 years ago. There was a point where I had a few Strats, even though I was always more of a Les Paul guy, and I messed around with the necks and parts. These days I try to stay away from that stuff and let others deal with that. I’m not really interested in messing around and tinkering. I just like to play them. </p> <p><strong>In the Eighties, there was a dip in the vintage guitar market with everyone going to the “super” Strats. The guitars everyone prizes now weren’t quite as valuable back then, and people took a lot of liberties with those guitars that they wouldn’t dare now.</strong> </p> <p>There was a time in the Eighties when no one wanted Les Pauls. Everyone wanted Charvels and Jacksons. I actually bought one of my best guitars back then. This one was a ‘72 Deluxe that was routed out for regular humbuckers. I bought it at this guitar shop in Hollywood in 1985 or 1986 for like $350. No one wanted them, but I sure did and I took advantage of the great prices. By the time Guns N' Roses came out, things changed and Gibsons became real popular again. </p> <p><strong>This is your 12th or 13th year with Kiss if I’m not mistaken.</strong></p> <p>It’s not exactly clear when I started. The first gig I did with them was in 2002 as a filling-in situation. The first official gig was in early 2003. It could be 12 or 13, depending on how you look at it. </p> <p><strong>You guys have a lot of tour dates coming up including Japan, and you're hitting every continent outside of Antarctica. Is the entire year mapped out at this point?</strong></p> <p>This year is fairly well mapped out, even though we haven’t announced what is going on specifically later this year. It is primarily international tour dates, which starts in Japan for a few weeks. By the way, we have a Number 1 single in Japan right now with Momoiro Clover Z [a female Japanese band]. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>How did that come together?</strong></p> <p>That was very interesting. I don’t even know whose idea it was. There is a teen idol band over there called Momoiro Clover Z. They are all in their late teens and early 20s. You wouldn’t know it; they look like they're about 13 [laughs]. We did a collaboration with them, and it’s very Kiss and has a very Japanese flavor and taste to it. We filmed the video for the song, which is spectacular. It’s become very popular over there now and has gone to Number 1. </p> <p><strong>You guys are also doing South America pretty hard. Are there places you still haven't gone?</strong></p> <p>I’ve been there on two or three tours with Kiss, and it's a mega-market for us. In April we are doing several weeks. I think we are doing about five in Brazil and going to a couple of places we haven’t been before. We haven’t played Montevideo, Uruguay. There might be a couple others. It seems we have covered every country down there at one time or another. It is really over the top down there. The fans are crazy, crazier than almost anywhere in the world. Kiss fans are crazy everywhere, but down there is especially insane.</p> <p><strong>During the tour, are you able to get away and enjoy some of the culture of the places you visit?</strong></p> <p>I like to do that, actually. I’m not a stay-in-the-hotel-room guy. Sometimes it’s a little bit of a challenge because you are traveling on days off. A lot of times you just need to rest. Some days you just have to recharge the batteries. Other days getting out seeing the culture and the people and enjoying the food is exciting. It is an amazing opportunity when you do these tours because you go to places you may not otherwise have the chance to visit. We are lucky in that regard. I like to regard those extra pleasures along the way. </p> <p><em>Kiss kick off their South American tour April 10 in Bogota, Colombia and have 10 shows planned in South America, culminating with Monsters of Rock in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They return to Europe in May with dates throughout June, and they're back Australia in October. Visit <a href=""></a> for more info about Thayer’s White Lightening Les Paul. Visit <a href=""></a> for more about Kiss.</em> </p> <p><em>John Katic is a writer and podcaster who founded the <em><a href="">Iron City Rocks</a></em> podcast in 2009. It features interviews with countless rock, hard rock, metal and blues artists.</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Epiphone John Katic Kiss Tommy Thayer Interviews News Features Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:00:26 +0000 John Katic Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer to Perform with Steel Panther at NAMMJAM 2015 <!--paging_filter--><p>Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer will perform with headliner Steel Panther at NAMMJAM 2015. </p> <p>NAMMJAM 2015 is considered "the hottest ticket at NAMM." Now in its sixth year, this invitation-only party will take place Friday, January 23, beginning 6 p.m. at the Grove of Anaheim.</p> <p>Presented by DELVE TEXAS and sponsored by EPIPHONE GUITARS, MONSTER ENERGY, AFFLICTION, CORONA LIGHT, FX GROUP, NEWTEK, GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE, SIT STRINGS, KRAMER GUITARS, BAND GEAR and GOTHAM STANDS, NAMMJAM 2015 will be a rocking evening of music, fashion and camaraderie. </p> <p>Performances at NAMMJAM 2015 will include:</p> <p>· STEEL PANTHER - the American glam metal band whose profane, funny and all rock-n-roll<br /> satirical send-up has made them legends in their own time.</p> <p>· HARDCORE SUPERSTAR - the Swedish sleaze rockers have been together since 1997<br /> with three #1 hits on the Sweden music charts. This will be their first U.S. performance<br /> in ten years! </p> <p>· OTHERWISE - blending plaintive post-grunge and driving, alternative hard rock, the<br /> Las Vegas quintet have three hit singles. </p> <p>· NICK COLIONNE - combining jazz, R &amp; B, blues and funk, his unmistakable sound and<br /> vibe is instantly recognizable as he takes the guitar to unexpected places. </p> <p>· AFFLICTION FASHION SHOW BY JONNY COFFIN - highlighting America's premier,<br /> rock-n-roll lifestyle clothing brand, AFFLICTION, this high-energy fashion show is always<br /> an eye-catching treat.</p> <p>In the spirit of supporting the next generation of aspiring rockers and young music industry creatives, DELVE TEXAS has organized a silent auction to be held at NAMMJAM 2015 benefiting the HOUSE OF BLUES MUSIC FORWARD FOUNDATION. NAMMJAM 2015 attendees will have the opportunity to bid on autographed guitars from EPIPHONE and KRAMER GUITARS; autographed items donated by CHRIS ADLER (LAMB OF GOD); photographic prints of DIMEBAG DARRELL and ZAKK WYLDE taken and donated by legendary photographer, CHAD LEE; and numerous other memorabilia donated by music industry notables.</p> <p>NAMM SHOW attendees who would like an opportunity to obtain a ticket* to attend NAMMJAM 2015 should visit the DELVE TEXAS booth 4130 Thursday, January 22, by 4 p.m. or Friday, January 23, by 2 p.m.. *First come, first served and while supplies last.</p> NAMM 2015 Steel Panther Tommy Thayer News Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:23:15 +0000 Guitar World Staff Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer Discusses 'Montrose' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Montrose</strong><br /> <em>Montrose</em> (1973)</p> <p>“I came of age in the early to mid Seventies, and in that era, the most influential album to me was the first Montrose record. </p> <p>"I still remember the first time I heard it. It was actually at a party at my house. I had these older brothers and sisters, and we would have these huge parties when my parents were out of town. </p> <p>"We’d have kegs and hundreds of people there. So this guy brought the first Montrose record out and put it on. When I heard 'Rock the Nation' into 'Bad Motor Scooter,' I was like, ‘Oh, my god. I love this!’ It was so powerful. People that grew up in the Sixties might scoff at that and say it’s derivative or second generation…and it is. But I was 13 years old when I heard it, and it blew me away. </p> <p>"There’s no doubt that Ronnie Montrose was one of the quintessential hard rock–blues guitarists of all time.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> July 2014 Kiss Montrose The Record that Changed My Life Tommy Thayer Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:55:32 +0000 Tommy Thayer Review: Epiphone Spaceman Tommy Thayer Signature Les Paul <!--paging_filter--><p>If the Kiss Army were to appoint a general, it would have to be the band’s lead guitarist, Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer. </p> <p>Long before he donned Ace Frehley’s iconic makeup and became the band’s official ax master in 2003, Thayer had already developed an impressive service record with the group, included writing and recording demos with Gene Simmons, managing the 1995 Kiss Worldwide Convention Tour and working as producer and editor on the Kiss films <em>The Second Coming, Detroit Rock City</em> and <em>The Last Kiss</em>. </p> <p>Thayer’s signature Epiphone Spaceman continues his tradition of stellar contributions to the Kiss legacy. It’s a souped-up tour de force of tone and certainly one of the most thrilling and well-balanced Les Pauls created in recent years. In addition to featuring a pair of Gibson’s hotter 498T pickups, it has an ultra-cool retro-style silver-flake finish. Epiphone is making only 1,000 of the limited-edition Spaceman, and at a street price under $700, they’re sure to go fast. </p> <p><strong>Features</strong> </p> <p>Epiphone’s Spaceman is a true example of harmonious design, where each component’s special tonal characteristics purposely and appropriately complement the instrument’s ultimate response and sound. Vintage-style Grover tuners contribute to precise note definition, the thin maple top adds just the right amount of bright bite on top of the mahogany’s naturally thick midrange, and the deep-set, Sixties-style mahogany neck and LockTone Tune-O-Matic/stop-bar bridge provide extra sustain. </p> <p>Playability across the rosewood fretboard’s 12-inch radius is Les Paul perfect (low action and tight string snap), and each Spaceman comes with a custom silver hard case, signed certificate, Epiphone strap locks and Tommy Thayer edition studded strap.</p> <p>Gibson 498T pickups produce the Spaceman’s fiery combination of punch and crunch. Focusing on tone over a uniform appearance, Epiphone and Thayer placed a covered version in the neck position and an open-bobbin style in the lead. The cover slightly alters harmonic peaks and overtones, enough so that the pickups will harmonize when played together rather than sound muddy or washed out. </p> <p><strong>Performance</strong> </p> <p>I had a hard time putting the Spaceman down long enough to write this review. I was absolutely entranced by its rare combination of spacious note separation and sustain. More than so many other guitars, it captured my musical intent and clarified difficult passages, elevating my performance and confidence. My favorite tones came from using the 498T pickups in unison. They blended seamlessly, leaving no tonal gaps and producing an energetic mix of attack, three-dimensional imaging and midrange howl.</p> <p><strong>The Bottom Line</strong> </p> <p>Kiss fan or not, whatever your musical style, Epiphone’s Spaceman Tommy Thayer signature Les Paul defines the modern classic ideal. </p> <p><strong>List Price</strong> $1,165.00</p> <p><strong>Manufacturer</strong> Epiphone Guitar Corp., <a href=""></a></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience2243367438001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="2243367438001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Epiphone Kiss May 2013 Tommy Thayer Electric Guitars News Gear Magazine Tue, 22 Oct 2013 16:51:06 +0000 Eric Kirkland, Video by Paul Riario Dear Guitar Hero: Tommy Thayer of Kiss Talks Makeup Sex, His Signature Epiphone "Spaceman" Guitar, Replacing Ace Frehley and More <!--paging_filter--><p>His first brush with success came in the Eighties with rockers Black ’N Blue, and now he’s the lead guitarist in Kiss. But what <em>Guitar World</em> readers really want to know is …</p> <p><strong>Is it true that you did manual labor tasks at Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley]’s houses before becoming a member of Kiss? — Tony Ratoni</strong></p> <p>[laughs] Those are kind of urban myths. Sure, I started working for those guys part time in the late Eighties, and my credo was that I’d do whatever needed to be done. And a lot of times when you’re in those situations you do all kinds of things. I think, somehow, through all the speculation on the internet, people started saying that I did all these strange jobs. But nothing was strange. I was just a go-getter that would do whatever task was at hand, which is normal if you wanna get somewhere in your life. I’m proof that persistence works.</p> <p><strong>Your new Epiphone “Spaceman” Les Paul looks awesome. Have you always wanted your own signature ax? — Bill Meister</strong></p> <p>I’m stoked to have a signature guitar! It’s something I’ve dreamed about ever since I was a kid. I put my heart and soul into it and made it something I’m really proud of. I think it’s a great guitar and package, with the custom guitar strap and silver case. I started using it on our South American tour. I literally took one out of the box, and my guitar tech and I set it up. That goes to show the quality of the guitar: I can take it right out of the box and straight to the stage.</p> <p><strong>Have you ever had sex while in full makeup and costume? — Missy Frommer</strong></p> <p>Yes. [laughs] And we’ll leave it at that, okay?</p> <p><strong>Your solo on “Hell or Hallelujah” from <em>Monster</em> has a totally awesome classic-rock/metal feel to it. But do you ever have to remind yourself to pull back your playing so it’s not too over the top? — Hunter Clayton</strong></p> <p>There are definitely parameters to the Kiss sound. And nobody can argue with that, because it’s something that’s been proven for 40 years now. Since I’ve been in the band, I’ve tried to be faithful and adhere to what made Kiss strong and powerful in the first place. But in doing <em>Sonic Boom</em> a few years ago, and now <em>Monster</em>, I’ve had the opportunity to spread my wings more. It’s always a balance between the two. You have to be faithful, but I need to show my colors, too.</p> <p><strong>Dude! I loved your work with Black ’N Blue! Do you still see residual checks from “Hold On to 18” and “Miss Mystery”? — Kevin Katana</strong></p> <p>I don’t think Black ’N Blue was ever big enough to have super hefty residual checks. I do see some royalties, particularly the performance royalties. But as far as sales of the records, it’s bottomed out. It’s been a long time. I haven’t been in the band for 25 years. </p> <p><strong>What do you remember about the first time you played with Kiss in full makeup? And I have to ask: Why didn’t you pick another character instead of Ace Frehley’s Spaceman? — Steven Coronell</strong></p> <p>The first time was at a private corporate concert in Jamaica in early 2002. It was exhilarating and over the top, but also very comfortable. It didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. I had been around the band a long time, so I wasn’t new to the family. I’d also played in a Kiss tribute band in the early Nineties and we’d wear Kiss makeup. Actually, I even used to put on Kiss makeup as a kid. So it was more of a familiar feeling than not. It all came very naturally. But of course, you’re filling big shoes because there’s such a big legacy with Kiss. There’s high expectations and pressure to step up and do a great job. </p> <p>And yeah, some people say, “Why didn’t you come in and introduce a new character?” It’s an interesting question, but when I got in the band I was just honored to be there. I also respected where they came from and what they’re all about. So who am I to ever suggest I need a new personality or a new character, or the band needs a new guitar sound or style? That’s ridiculous. Sometimes it just takes people a long time to understand that.</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite Kiss solo to play live? Do you always stick to the original recordings or do you embellish? — Lyn DeAngelo</strong></p> <p>One of my favorite Kiss solos, and songs, is “Black Diamond.” I got the <em>Kiss</em> album for Christmas in 1974. I think those guitar solos, and a lot of the solos on the first four Kiss records, are quintessential rock and roll greatness. I tip my hat to Ace, because back then he did some amazing stuff. That’s a big part of why Kiss appealed to a lot of up-and-coming guitar players like myself. He did some stellar guitar work on the first album, <em>Hotter than Hell, Dressed to Kill</em> and <em>Alive</em>!</p> <p><strong>Have you ever considered recording a shred instrumental album? — Bob Storcks</strong></p> <p>[laughs] I have to say, with all due respect to all the great guitar players out there, I’m not really a shred fan. My roots are in the hard rock, English blues style that started with people like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. That’s more my thing and probably always will be. My favorite guitar players are the ones that not only write great solos but also write great riffs and great songs. If it doesn’t have that, I don’t put it in the highest standard.</p> <p><strong>I personally love your guitar work. But I’m sure there’ve been times when it’s been difficult to be the replacement for Ace. Are some fans ever weird about it? Does that ever bother you? — Ema Bangle</strong></p> <p>Yeah, replacing somebody as great as Ace is very challenging. But at the same time, I feel pretty good about what I’ve done, and I know the band does too. There’s always gonna be dissenters and critics. That’s just part of the job, especially with the advent of internet blogs. People have the propensity to get on and say all kinds of stuff. That’s just this day and age. Honestly, I look at a lot of that as a reflection of the people that are saying it. It’s more of an outlet for their unhappiness or frustrations in life. I know what I’m about, so I don’t have any doubts about what I do or who I am.</p> <p><strong>You do a lot of charity work. How do you go about selecting the causes you support? Was community service part of how you grew up? — Eddie Nash</strong></p> <p>That kind of community service and helping other people comes from my father and mother. That’s the kind of people they are, and it rubbed off on me. The basic concept of helping other people is an important part of our civic duty. I grew up in the Portland area, and I’m on the board of trustees for Pacific University up there. I help with their huge fundraiser called Legends. It’s a music, entertainment and golf event. Then there’s the royalties for my Hughes &amp; Kettner [Tommy Thayer Signature Duotone] head, which go straight to the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. We always need to help the younger, less fortunate people to get a step up in life. It’s really important.</p> <p><strong>What’s the worst, most uncomfortable part of wearing the costume each night? And are you able to apply your makeup yourself by now? — Harley Race</strong></p> <p>Everyone in Kiss has always done their own makeup, including me. It’s a ritual for us all to sit down and do it before we go onstage. Kiss is one of the hardest-working bands in show biz. We get started in the middle of the afternoon with soundchecks and meet-and-greets. Then there’s the makeup process, which takes two or three hours. We’re working hard way before the show. It shows when we get onstage: you can see there’s something really special in what we do. I don’t have any complaints or reservations about wearing the outfit. It’s a distinct honor. Who wouldn’t love being lead guitarist in Kiss? There’s nothing I can say negative about it! I just love it. </p> <p><strong>Your voice and playing on “Outta this World” [from <em>Monster</em>] is amazing! What is it like to bring in tracks for Gene and Paul? Do you have to have full demos prepared? — Enrico Palazzo</strong></p> <p>No, as a matter of fact, we decided not to do demos for <Em>Monster</em>. We pretty much wrote all the songs organically: getting together at someone’s house or hotel room, if we were touring. We thought if we recorded all these good demos then we’d be fighting the demo-itis battle, where you’re trying to top the demo when you’re doing your master. We’d rather capture the true spirit and energy of the original. </p> <p><a href="">Brad Angle Google +</a></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Dear Guitar Hero GW Archive Kiss Tommy Thayer News Features Magazine Fri, 05 Jul 2013 18:50:33 +0000 Brad Angle Interview: Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer Discusses His Signature Epiphone "Spaceman" Les Paul <!--paging_filter--><p>It's hard to imagine that 10 years have gone by since Tommy Thayer officially took over as the “Spaceman” in Kiss. </p> <p>It seemed only fitting that the Spaceman should don the Les Paul. However, as fate would have it, Thayer has been a longtime Les Paul player, even back in his days in Black and Blue. </p> <p><strong><a href="">[[ Keep up with Guitar World's NAMM 2013 coverage right here! ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Thayer's 10th year in Kiss — and the band's 40th year in business — is commemorated by Epiphone's release of its Tommy Thayer Signature Edition "Spaceman" Les Paul. Featuring an eye-catching silver-sparkle top and top-of-the-line components, and made as a limited edition of 1,000 guitars, this model is sure to become a must-have for Kiss fans around the globe.</p> <p>We recently caught up with Thayer to discuss the new model in detail. </p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: You've announced there will be a limited-edition Tommy Thayer “Spaceman” Les Paul from Epiphone. Will it be present at the 2013 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, later this month?</strong></p> <p>Yes, it'll be at the NAMM Show. And I believe it's already available through <a href="">American Music Supply</a>.</p> <p><strong>Can you talk about exactly what you did with the guitar and what makes it “Tommy Thayer” specific?</strong></p> <p>It's essentially an exact version of one of the Gibson Custom Shop Standards I've played on stage for several years. It is a silver-sparkle top, and the sides, back and neck are black. It has a cream binding. For an affordable guitar, it is a nice package. It’s using really good parts. We are using Gibson 498 pickups, which are the ones I use. The tuners are Grover Deluxe tuners. It's really well put together with good components and parts. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>I've actually taken to playing the guitar on stage for the last bit of the South American tour for six or eight shows. I played it every night for part of the set. The guitar was great. I have one that I’m playing on stage, and you really can’t notice the difference between the Gibson and the Epiphone. The sound, the playability and the feel really pleased me. Comparing it to my Gibson Custom Shop guitar, it's right there. That made me really happy. The techs were saying they couldn’t tell the difference between the guitars. It's surprising in a good way. </p> <p>The reason I decided to do the guitar this way was that the silver-sparkle top gave it a bit of a “Kiss” feel. But I didn’t want to introduce a guitar that was too stylized. I wanted a guitar that had some flash to it, but at the same time I wanted to offer a guitar that any pro musicians or guitar player that walks into the guitar shop will think looks cool. It’s not something that is so stylized that it will scare people away. I didn’t want it to have too much of a Kiss look to it.</p> <p><strong>Some guitarists’ signature-edition guitars are so specifically tailored that, as a consumer, you might hesitate. You might get up on stage and have to worry that people think you're a clone of someone. That has to be a double-edged sword with Kiss fans because some fans might want to get the guitar just because of Kiss.</strong></p> <p>That's true too, and that's why on the back of the headstock there is the Tommy Thayer Spaceman logo. But it's discreet; it isn’t too over the top. It has a look that doesn’t automatically make it look like Tommy Thayer or Kiss. Then again, for collectors, it's great because it's the guitar I play, and people can take pride in that. </p> <p><strong>As far as the paint, is it fairly similar to the Gibson Explorer you've played for years now?</strong></p> <p>I have a couple of Explorers that have the silver sparkle on them as well. We decided, though, that the flake of the sparkle would be less than the flake on my Gibsons. I didn’t want to make the size of the flake too pronounced. I worked a lot with Jim Rosenberg (president of Epiphone) and we went back and forth to find that perfect medium-sized flake. I didn’t want it to be too heavy. That could be the difference between someone loving or hating it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>That’s mahogany underneath?</strong></p> <p>Yes, that's mahogany and a rosewood fretboard like a standard Les Paul. It has trapezoid inlays. We have a nice package that it comes with too. We have an all silver hard-shell case. You don’t’ see that too often. That’s very Kiss! It comes with a studded guitar strap that is exactly like what I use on stage. It is a cool little memento. It also comes with a certificate-of-authenticity booklet with a signature and all that good stuff. It is a great value at the prize point. </p> <p>Actually, I didn’t even talk to Gibson about doing a guitar and called Epiphone because I felt that doing a guitar like this that is high quality but still affordable was more appealing to me. Especially for people who don’t have $5,000 or $6,000 to buy a guitar. You get this great package, and it is really affordable and that was an important thing to me. </p> <p><strong>I think every guitar player remembers back to when they were young selling newspapers or whatever it was to get their first guitar.</strong> </p> <p>My very first electric was a Fender Mustang and it was $135. My mom helped me buy it. This was back when I lived in Portland. We went across the river to Vancouver Music. For some reason, they had a great selection of guitars over there. This was back in 1973 or 1974. I was so overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe I actually had a professional guitar. Back in those days, it was either a Gibson or a Fender. I hadn’t established yet that I was more of Gibson player.</p> <p><strong>I think everyone remembers looking down at that headstock and seeing the brand of one of their guitar heroes.</strong></p> <p>Yeah, it was like a dream. It was a great blue Fender Mustang with the light blue racing stripes.</p> <p><em>Epiphone's Limited Edition Tommy Thayer “Spaceman” Les Paul Standard Outfit is available for order now at <a href=""></a> with several autographed and stage-used options. The guitar also is available at <a href="">American Music Supply</a> for the $699 street price. The guitar includes the case, custom strap and certificate of authenticity.</em></p> <p><em>For more about the guitar, head to <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Kiss will return to the road with their Monster tour in 2013 with shows in Australia and Europe already announced. For more info about the band, follow them on <a href=";fref=ts&amp;__req=39">Facebook.</a></em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Epiphone John Katic Kiss NAMM 2013 Tommy Thayer Videos Electric Guitars Interviews News Features Gear Mon, 07 Jan 2013 17:25:54 +0000 John Katic Epiphone Announces Tommy Thayer Signature "Spaceman" Les Paul <!--paging_filter--><p>Epiphone has announced one of its most anticipated new models, the Tommy Thayer "Spaceman" Les Paul. </p> <p>The new model, which is named after — and designed for — the longtime Kiss guitarist, will be available in January.</p> <p>Thayer recently commented on the guitar on his website:</p> <p>"I'm psyched to be playing my new guitar onstage as we embark on the 2012 Kiss Kruise and South American stadium tour in the weeks ahead," Thayer wrote. </p> <p>"My signature axe will soon be available in guitar shops everywhere. In the meantime, the first guitars off the line are ready for you through some very special offers on my new site, <a href=""></a>. Keep it rockin' and remember to turn it up loud!"</p> <p><a href="<br /> "></a> recently posted a demo video featuring Thayer. You can check it out below. </p> <p>We'll have more details about the guitar in the weeks and months ahead.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202012-11-28%20at%2011.00.13%20AM.png" width="620" height="220" alt="Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 11.00.13 AM.png" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202012-11-28%20at%2010.58.56%20AM.png" width="620" height="715" alt="Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.58.56 AM.png" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kiss">Kiss</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Epiphone Kiss Tommy Thayer Electric Guitars News Gear Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:30:23 +0000 Damian Fanelli