The KISS guitarist talks us through his latest signature Epiphone model: the White Lightning Les Paul.
"Last summer, Gibson made me a prototype for this guitar at the Custom Shop. They made two for me actually. I wanted a bright White Metallic finish, all chrome parts; pickup covers, pickguard, tuners and everything else. I ended up calling it the White Lightning.
"Actually, Eric Singer, our drummer, inspired me with the guitar and helped me choose that name. Eric's a great guitar aficionado himself, so I love to hear what he has to say and I took his advice to heart. After the initial two White Lightnings Gibson did, Epiphone wanted to do this new limited edition."
I wanted it to be something that was more affordable to everybody because being in KISS, there's a lot of fans who want to own the guitar to collect it
"The metallic white is beautiful, and looks great on stage. The three-ply binding, you might see that on a Les Paul Custom and I thought it would nice. Black binding or grey binding would look kind of blocky on this so I thought this was a nice touch."
"A lot of people have asked, why Epiphone? Why not Gibson? I actually decided before I ever talked to Epiphone or anybody that I wanted to do an Epiphone guitar for my signature.
"I wanted it to be something that was more affordable to everybody because being in KISS, there's a lot of fans who want to own the guitar to collect it. They don't necessarily play. But also if you're a beginner and you play at home or you play professionally, it suits all needs and covers the bases.
"They're great guitars, great value and better for most people. Nothing against Gibsons, because I play Gibson, but they get more expensive and are tougher for some people. So before it even became a question of Gibson or Epiphone, I wanted to use Epiphone."
"I'm using Seymour Duncan JB pickups now. Whereas in the Spaceman [Tommy's other signature model] I was using the Gibson 498s, which are very good pickups too. But for some reason last year I was just messing around with my guitars and I asked the guitar tech to put JBs in as an alternative. I was just looking for something different. As guitar players we always do that, and I really liked the way it sounded. So I ended up changing all my pickups and I'm using the JBs now."