Kiss’ Tommy Thayer Speaks Up on Gene Simmons’ and Paul Stanley’s ‘Big Egos’, Reveals How They Behave These Days

Say what you will, but for a great band to succeed, you need a firm hand to lead it. And that goes for pretty much any business or even an artistic collective. You may not like someone’s ego or how difficult and demanding they are. But it if yields results, then we have nothing to complain about. One of the bands that come to mind here is Kiss, with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley calling all the shots and leading the way to their international success.

While guitarist Tommy Thayer is a full-time band member, everyone knows that he’s just that – a hired band member. But we can say that for almost all members who went through Kiss. And, what’s more, it seems that Tommy doesn’t mind that at all. In a recent chat with 60 Minutes Australia, the guitarist was asked whether he could let fans in on some of the “secrets” in the Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons relationship, to which he replied (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“Oh, this is a tough one. Well, they’re so different in so many ways, but then they’re kind of uniquely similar in certain ways as well. I mean, I can’t really get into it, but there’s – I’ll just say one thing, there’s only so much air in the room. And sometimes it takes a personality like me, or Eric to just be there and you know, do what we do…”

KISS - Let Me Know -Soundcheck Gothenburg 2022-06-22

However, he also added:

“So I think somehow, the thing that really works with Kiss these days is the chemistry between the personalities, there’s just no doubt about it. And a lot of people don’t realize [how] that’s really important [for] the success and the longevity of a band. You know, you see so many bands; they break up, they hate each other – you’ve seen that all the time. Because of the personalities, this seems to work very well. And I think that’s why the band is so good today.”

When asked whether they’re competitive, Thayer answered:

“Absolutely. Big egos. But let’s be honest, that’s what it takes to be Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. I’ve known these guys for almost 40 years now. And I have lots of respect that they’ve given me great opportunities in my life, obviously. And I appreciate it. I mean, they’re not simple, easy to deal with all the time either. Nobody really is. But overall, I couldn’t be happier, and just to be part of this, and be in Kiss and have a great relationship with Gene and Paul for so long.”

Photo: Nashville69 (Kiss Cracow 2019)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.