Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Fake Ace interviewed
JH: You do Ace better than Ace.
TT: Oh people have said that and I take that as a compliment, but we can’t forget that Ace is the one who created Ace in the first place.
JH: So do you have to work at it?
TT: Not really. The main thing is to play the music faithfully, but I'm careful not to try and mimic him too much onstage because then it comes off too much like a caricature. I try to blend the Spaceman with TOMMY THAYER onstage, it's cool.
JH: And you don’t have any pyrotechnics on your guitar or special effects like he did.
TT: We're looking at starting to add some of my own effects into the show, which is important.
JH: Your sound is pretty close to Ace’s. Did you keep his same setups and guitars?
TT: No, but I've used the same guitar/amp set-up for the last thirty years, probably almost as long as I've been playing guitar, and that could have been directly or indirectly influenced by Ace. It's basically a Les Paul with humbuckers into a 100 watt Marshall, no effects, no nothing. The only effect that I use was on "Christine Sixteen" where the guitar has an octave divider on it. For God’s sakes, growing up he was one of my favorite guitar players, so of course that’s the kind of sound and guitar player that I aspired to be. It’s really just an offshoot of the BECK-CLAPTON-PAGE blues-based English hard rock guitar style.
JH: What is the biggest misconception about KISS?
TT: I’m saying this purely from the perspective of a knowledgeable guy who has been around a long time and also been in the inner-workings of the band forever. In a few cases, there is a lack of open-mindedness about where KISS is going and accepting that the band is always evolving and reinventing itself and people shouldn’t fight that. There are reasons for that and sure if Gene and Paul had their way, they would play together with the original guys and do what they did in the heyday of the mid 70’s. I know I sound biased, but it's 2006 and as a fan of KISS, it's absolutely amazing that the band is still very, very strong.
JH: Gene and Paul think that, that they’d like the four originals?
TT: If you ask them, I think they would say in a perfect world, of course they would.
JH: Where do you see KISS going it the future?
KISS in makeup is a timeless thing. Kids are attracted to it today just as much as ever, and I know that for a fact, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes and seen how they react to it. There is a timeless appeal to it, almost like a comic character like Superman or something where you have these characters and somehow they have these crazy rock and roll costumes and boots and it still works. It works and it regenerates itself that way, it works because KISS is completely unique.
JH: Has the subject of a new studio record come up at all?
TT: Yeah, we get a lot of emails with people talking about that stuff and I'm sure when the time is right, there will be one. There was even a petition started recently that people want a new KISS record.
JH: What’s your favorite place to play?
TT: I’m not just saying this, but I really like going to Japan. It’s kind of something about everything there, the culture and the food, it’s just a great place to go to and travel to and experience and some of the most dedicated KISS fans ever are in Japan too. KISS and Japan have always had this kind of synonymous thing with kabuki-style makeup, the HOTTER THAN HELL album has a sort of Japanese look, just something about it where there’s always been this close-knit relationship with Japan.
JH: Paul’s high falsetto voice just floors me whenever I hear it. He’s some kind of performer.
TT: What people don’t understand about Paul is like he sings three-quarters of the set, but the thing that really makes it tough on him are all the raps. People don’t realize that he’s on the top of his voice on those raps and he doesn’t get a break even between the songs. I was talking to him on the last tour and his voice was getting real gravelly after one show and I said, man, you sing all those high songs, it must be really hard to do. He said, that’s not the hard part, the raps are the hard parts because that’s the point where you kind of want to take a break and get a drink of water but he’s always up there shouting like an evangelist or something. I never realized that until he brought it up and then it all made sense.
JH: Any message for the fans in Japan?
TT: Well this is so cliché, but I’m psyched that we’re coming back over this summer and I always look forward to touring in Japan almost more than anywhere and I can’t wait to see all the fantastic Japanese fans when we arrive!
JH: That’s it.
TT: Alright, right on, John!