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Guitarist Adam Bomb Recalls His Audition for Kiss

New Haven Publishing / Jason Merritt, Getty Images
New Haven Publishing / Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Kiss auditioned dozens of potential replacements after Ace Frehley departed the lineup in the early ’80s — including a teenage guitarist calling himself Adam Bomb, who recounts the experience in his upcoming memoir.

Classic Rock has premiered an excerpt from Bomb’s book, titled 911 Is Disconnected … So This Is Rock & Roll, in which he takes readers through his version of the events surrounding his brief brush with Kiss. At the time, he was just a young musician looking for a gig, and had no idea when he responded to a Billboard ad from a band seeking a guitarist that he’d end up on the phone with drummer Eric Carr.

Invited to audition — and informed he’d have to make his own way to Los Angeles — Bomb hurriedly brushed up on the four songs he was told he’d need to play: “Firehouse,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Black Diamond” and “Calling Doctor Love.” Determined to take his shot even though he was neither old nor tall enough to fit the description posted in the ad, he learned “every lick, shake and squeak that Ace Frehley made on the live and studio albums. … If nothing else, I was going to play those songs with Kiss.”

Arriving early enough to catch another hopeful’s failed audition, Bomb made his way into the rehearsal studio — and, as he tells it, regardless of how the experience ultimately turned out in terms of employment opportunities, it lived up to his dreams. “I wanted to scream but I kept my cool. I was still a huge fan. I pictured them in my mind from the record jacket for Kiss Alive and from seeing them in concert in Seattle. I felt like the whole world stopped turning for a moment,” he wrote. “It was just me in a room in Hollywood, playing lead guitar with Kiss.”

As Kiss fans are aware, Frehley’s spot was officially filled by Vinnie Vincent in 1982, and Bomb says he knew before he even left the building that he hadn’t gotten the gig, recalling that Gene Simmons told him he was “too good looking” and he’d make Paul Stanley jealous. It wasn’t his last time rubbing shoulders with rock royalty, however; more of Bomb’s exploits — including his experiences with members of Van Halen, Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Bon Jovi, Queensrÿche and Def Leppard — can be found in the pages of 911 Is Disconnected …So This Is Rock & Roll, due out April 10 and available to pre-order now.

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