Tommy Thayer, who joined KISS in February 2003, stepping into the boots the band's original guitarist, Ace Frehley, was asked in a new interview with The Rockpit what it it like putting on the "Spaceman"makeup for the first time, and what he thinks it will be like putting it on for the last time when the group plays the final show of its "End Of The Road" tour. He responded: "Well, the first time that I put it on was when I did my first show with KISS. I wasn't officially in the band at the time; I was really just filling in. It was a private concert we did down in Jamaica in 2002. And, obviously, there's a lot of excitement and anticipation in doing that, but also a certain level of maybe anxiety or nervousness, to be honest with you, because those are huge boots, or shoes [laughs] to fill and to go out there and do that. So there were a lot of emotions with that for me, because, honestly, to begin with, you're almost in a 'no-win' situation with people, because they're really scrutinizing you — all eyes are on you — and they're all trying to determine if you're up to snuff or not. I think, fortunately, I pulled it off pretty well, but it's been a big growing experience and a big developing experience being in a band like this over the years. I obviously feel very comfortable where I am now, but it took a while for me to find that comfort zone. As far as putting the makeup on for the last time, I think that's going to be a very emotional experience, and I think it's going to be a mix of all kinds of feelings — a celebration and excitement, but, on the other hand, maybe a little bit of sadness at the end."
Two and a half years ago, Thayer told The Aquarian Weekly that he wasn't bothered by the fact that a small segment of KISS's fanbase can't accept him performing in the "Spaceman" makeup and attire, even though he has been working with KISS for decades and been the group's lead guitarist for more than 15 years. "You can't be fooled by a handful people that go on web sites and complain," he said. "Some people complain about everything, really, not just who's the guitar player. In that context, it doesn't really mean anything to me. If anything, I chuckle and smile when I hear things like that. It really has nothing to do with what's happening in reality. Put it this way: KISS continues to go out and play big shows and be the phenomenon that it is. I give more merit to that fact, than what a few oddballs say online. I don't really care."
In 2014, Frehley spoke out against Thayer in an interview, describing him as "just a guy up there copying me and trying to move like me and trying to sing like me and trying to play like me." But Thayer declined to fire back at Frehley, telling Australia's The Herald: "I don't want to get into a back-and-forth, but I'm sure you can kind of assess what you think when you hear all that." He continued: "I think [Ace] had every opportunity in the world to continue in KISS and be in KISS as long as he did the right thing, but it worked out better for me and he has to lead his life. As far as the jabs and all that, he can say that stuff and I'm not going to say anything bad about him."
Last weekend, KISS announced 75 new shows as part of its "End Of The Road" farewell tour, including what it says will be its last show ever, set to take place in New York City on July 17, 2021.
KISS's current lineup consists of original members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, alongside later band additions, Thayer and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).
Formed in 1973 by Stanley, Simmons, Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, KISS staged its first "farewell" tour in 2000, the last to feature the group's original lineup.
In its 46-year career, KISS has accumulated 23 gold and platinum albums — more than any other U.S. band.