Tommy Thayer recalls playing lead guitar and Bruce Kulick playing bass on KISS’ album ‘Psycho Circus’

Photo by Christopher Carroll ROCK Photography

Tommy Thayer recalls playing lead guitar and Bruce Kulick playing bass on KISS’ album ‘Psycho Circus’

KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer was recently interviewed by Vinyl Writer Music‘s principal Andrew Daly.

It was noted that Thayer ended up playing most of the lead guitar work on KISS‘ album Psycho Circus, which was advertised as a “reunion” album by the original band line-up of frontman Paul Stanley, bassist Gene Simmons, lead guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss.

In terms of why he ended up playing on the album more than Frehley, Thayer indicated:

“At the time (early 1998), I had been working behind the scenes for KISS. I remember there was a lot of unknowns; the Reunion Tour had just finished, and I was hearing the band wanted to record a reunion album, but Ace and Peter for whatever reason weren’t going to show up to do the record. Gene called me one day and asked me to come down and record guitars, which I was happy to do. It needed to be on the down-low, so I agreed to a buyout and they wrote me a check (laughs). They had to keep the ball rolling and this was the only way to do it. Bruce Fairbairn had been hired to produce, so Paul, Gene and Bruce did preproduction and arranged tunes for a few weeks. I was looking forward to working with Bruce again because he’d produced Black ‘N Blue’s Without Love record years before.

In early January ‘98, we set up at One on One Studios in North Hollywood and recorded most all the tracks there. (Drummer) Kevin Valentine and I did all the basic tracks except, “Into the Void.” If it was a Paul tune, he’d play guitar on the basic, too. I don’t remember Gene playing much bass guitar, maybe a couple tunes. Bruce (Kulick) came in and played bass on most the tunes. I recorded most of the guitar solos and played bass on, “We Are One.” Eventually they came to some sort of terms with Ace and Peter, so they came in and cut one track and did some vocals and a couple guitar solos.  At that point, most of the overdubs and lead vocals were done at A&M Studios in Hollywood. I thought the record sounded good and most of the tunes were great, particularly “Psycho Circus,” “I Pledge Allegiance…” and “We Are One.” One song I never got was ,“You Wanted the Best.””

You can read the rest of the interview with Tommy Thayer at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.

KISS‘ “Psycho Circus” video: