That Time Ace Frehley Punched His KISS Replacement, Tommy Thayer

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Sometimes musicians and touring crew don’t get along. Tensions are bound to occasionally flare up between people who are working and living together for months on end.

It’s a relationship not dissimilar to a dysfunctional family: Fucked up money issues, arbitrary rules, and enough substance abuse to send the hardest road dog crying to their AlAnon group for years to come.

Ace Frehley, Kiss’ original six-string slinging Spaceman, is not is no stranger to scrapes with his former bandmates. As you might imagine, that ill-will very much extends to the man currently wearing his make-up, Tommy Thayer. However, Frehley’s anger isn’t just over some ego trip.

As it turns out, Thayer’s original job with Kiss was as a tour manager. In an interview with Ryan J. Downey at the Musician’s Institute, Ace opened up about the time he spent with Thayer on the road, and why it led to him decking his eventual replacement:

“The only women allowed in the dressing room are the women that dress us… we have a standing rule that no girlfriends or anything are allowed in the dressing room,” he says.

I had a girlfriend with me… and of course, she always had to wait outside. When Gene’s (wife) Shannon (Tweed) and Paul’s wife came on tour they just pranced around into the dressing room.

I let it go, I didn’t make a big deal of out it.” Frehley continues, “On the last day of the tour in Australia, everybody has left the dressing room. So my girlfriend was standing outside so I said, ‘Hey honey come on in, nobody’s here.’

So five minutes later Tommy Thayer comes walking in and goes, ‘Ace, you know the rules: no women in the dressing room.’ I go, ‘There’s nobody here. It’s the end of the tour.’ And he started being authoritative with me, so I gave him a shot. I got aggravated. I guess the Bronx boy in me came out.”

If you think Frehley has let bygones be bygones over time, then you haven’t been paying attention to the Spaceman for the past 50 or so years. He cited not wanting to share the stage with Thayer as part of the reason that he refused to perform with Kiss during their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction 2014.

On top of that, Frehley makes no bones about refusing to relinquish his title to Thayer, as Gene Simmons not only approves of but actively encourages.

In discussing his eighth solo album, which he wanted to title “40 Years Later,” the guitarist mentions how he ultimately settled on the final title.

“I was doing a ‘Vault Experience’ with Gene in Miami. We were doing a Q&A… and I polled the audience… “I said, ‘What should I call the next album? ’40 Years Later?’ and I got a lukewarm response and then Gene says, ‘Ace, you should call the album ‘Spaceman.’ I said, ‘Okay, coming from you: great! I don’t want Tommy Thayer knocking on my door going ‘I’m the Spaceman.’ I don’t think so. I do not think so.”

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