Tommy Thayer didn't officially take over as lead guitarist of Kiss until 2002, but in a recent interview he admits he was prepared to hop on stage in a moment's notice as early as 1998. Due to recurring problems with Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons made Thayer the "heir apparent."

“Because of the volatility in the band from 1998 on, I was literally on standby backstage for several tours to take over on guitar if necessary," Thayer told “Behind the scenes, I had my own Kiss outfit, boots and makeup kit in case of an emergency situation."

In November, Simmons told Revolver that the current lineup of Kiss should have been the lineup from the beginning. “Eric and Tommy have revitalized the band, made Paul and myself realize what lucky bastards we are to be in Kiss and to have each other."

Thayer said he didn't try to insert himself creatively much until recent years as he knew well the band's long history. Prior to picking up the guitar for the band, he worked from them off-stage, and before that he was in his own band called Black'n'Blue. All along he was a Kiss superfan, but didn't dream of touring with them, let along enjoying the type of success the band is enjoying one decade later.

"The success of our tours, particularly since 2008, have been astounding," he told Epiphone. "Going back into the studio in 2009 to record 'Sonic Boom' and then again with 'Monster' has been an incredible growing experience."

The Kiss Monster tour will continue in Australia and Europe in 2013. Thayer says other dates will be announced soon.

More From Ultimate Classic Rock