Although Ace Frehley is considered the quintessential Kiss guitarist
most fans (he was an original member and vital force), it was Bruce Kulick
who occupied Kiss' guitarist position for the longest amount of time - 11
years, from 1984-1995. Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 12, 1953,
Kulick discovered music through his older guitar-playing brother, Bob.
Before joining KISS, Kulick
performed and recorded with platinum artists
Billy Squier, Michael Bolton, and Meatloaf, with whom he toured the world
on the "Bat Out of Hell" tour in 1977-78. After that Kulick formed the band
Blackjack with Bolton and played guitar for Squier's first album, Tale of
Kulick then got the call
to work with the legendary rock band KISS in 1984.
For twelve years Kulick handled the lead guitar duties, performing around
the world many times including stadium shows with attendance of over
100,000 at a single concert.
In 1995, Kulick took part
in MTV's KISS Unplugged, which saw both versions
of KISS perform together to the delight of millions around the world. As
KISS decided in 1996 to perform only in make-up, Kulick joined forces with
John Corabi to form UNION.
UNION released its debut
CD in Feb of 1998 and a live CD, Live in the
Galaxy, in May of 1999. The band toured in North America, Argentina, and
During 1999, Bruce and
former KISS bandmate Eric Singer, John Corabi and
Karl Cochran (formerly of the Ace Frehley band) formed a side project
called ESP. Together they recorded and released on Rock Hard Records, an
album of 70's cover songs by bands that influenced them.
Bruce has also been involved
with the music of Eric Carr, drummer of KISS
for 11 years. Eric died in 1991 of cancer but left his music and other
projects for Bruce and his family to oversee. He has produced a CD of his
music titled Rockology on which he co-wrote and performed the guitar
duties. A long form video of Eric Carr called Tale of the Fox, was also
released in 1999 in which Bruce shared his thoughts and personal footage of
his departed friend.
In February 2000, UNION
released its second studio album on Spitfire
Records, The Blue Room. Co-produced by Bob Marlette, its 10 songs has shown
the growth of the band in which Kulick and his band mates define what has
become UNION's brand of honest rock with a fresh approach. The CD includes
"Dear Friend" the sentimental tribute that Kulick sings to his deceased
friend and former KISS drummer/band mate Eric Carr." The review concludes
by saying "UNION is the perfect choice to usher rock 'n roll into the year
In the Spring of 2001 the highly anticipated full-length Bruce Kulick solo
album, "Audio Dog," became available and in stock on Bruce's website
www.Kulick.net! The 11 track CD features 7 vocal tracks and 4
instrumentals: "Pair of Dice" * "Strange To Me" * "Change is Coming" *
"Need Me" * "I Don't Mind" * "Monster Island" * "Please Don't Wait" *
"Liar" * "I Can't Take" * "Dogs of Morrison" and "Skydome".
You can order the CD online at www.kulick.net
In addition to the solo
disc, Kulick is working with author Ken Gullic, an
industry executive and KISS expert, co-authoring a book on Bruce's career
from growing up in Brooklyn dreaming of the spotlight, to joining KISS for
his 12 year stint. The tentative title is "Honorable Discharge" (12 Years
in the KISS Army and More).
I've had the opportunity
to meet Bruce Kulick as a fan about half a dozen
times before this night. In fact I still have (and showed him) a short
letter he wrote to me in reply to a fan letter I sent to him. But this
night was different. Bruce had hosted a KISS Expo in Detroit earlier that
day, and flew into Chicago for the "Fox Fest". A benifit for the Eric Carr
Foundation. The weather was terrible and coupled with the fact that it was
held the same day as Ozzfest, the crowd was sparce. Still as tired as he
was Bruce still took the time to speak, and meet every person till everyone
was satisfied. After the doors closed my friend J-Sin a drummer (Monkeys
With Handguns) and I retired downstairs in the green room with Lauren
Silver the KISS Online girl (www.laurensilver.com) to interview a very
tired yet cordial Bruce Kulick.
Alex Zander: Since we are the Fox Fest, tell us how you got involved with
over here and helping out with the end of it that you had to do with.
Bruce Kulick: Faith, the
organizer, was obviously a big fan of Eric's for
and she started approaching me probably about a year ago and was very
about trying to do this- which I warned her about the upside and downside
though I didn't want to stomp on her enthusiasm by any means- because even
the regular Kiss Expos in proven places on an annual basis goes up goes
you never know what's going to happen like I said I didn't want to not be a
part if I could be a part so I kind of did an unusual thing today, it (Fox
Fest) happened to fall on the same day as the Detroit Expo so I was able to
do both really you know so that was kinda cool as much as it rained this
intense monsoon earlier over at O'Hare, I still survived and got in right
before it. I was happy to be a part of it because I think if I had booked
any other reason a little later flight I never would have made it probably.
A.Z. I had definitely
had to come to this one cause it was pretty important
to me, I blew off another show and interview actually. It was worth it, I
a good time today. Well, I didn't know about your book until I saw it ---
B.K. That's the only reason
why I try to get out there as much as I can to
get the word out as to what's going on with me. Yeah it's gonna be a good
take on the Kiss years through my eyes and not only that a lot of people
aren't that aware or just mildly familiar with of some other bands I've
played with and there's a lot of great stories there, it's like Spinal Tap
to Z. So I'm cool to all that, plus there are some interesting photos.
A.Z. What's it called....
B.K. Right now, Dishonorable
Discharge, No- Honorable Discharge actually,
(laughs) I wasn't dishonorable, I could be, no.
A.Z. That was something
that I didn't even know about and I look at the
Asylum website all of the time I see that they promote everything that
B.K. Well, yeah, in general
I haven't really hyped that up too much because
it's not quite ready, but it's being worked on. So, lets say there's three
or four chapters done it's not one of those situations where I'm looking
publishers and I'm gonna hunt it down that way, it's gonna be finished and
I'll be ready to put it out myself if I have to.
A.Z. So, it's definitely
going to be more of a book about you and not some
dirt people want..
B.K. I really have no
reason to trash anybody, I've had a really fortunate
career and if I was purely doing it for the money, I would pick the darkest
story about everyone I've worked with and just trash them to hell, but I
always try to take the high road in life and steer away from the negative
things that are so apparent in this industry. I think my story is bigger
that that I don't need to just sound like a bunch of sour grapes about
A.Z. Meat Loaf. You and your brother (Bob) both did that, right?
A.Z. Wow, You were pretty young then, huh?
B.K. I remember my first
couple of gigs touring the world were with disco
artists, like George McRae who had a big hit with "Rock You Baby" and
True who really wasn't a great singer but she was an ex-porno star that
hooked up with this pretty talented guy who got her the song "More, More,
More, (how do you like it?)" that was a big hit too. So I got to tour
different areas of the world with both of those artists- being a rock
player though- that was the interesting part of it. But that was a value
I could do both. I had a cover band in New York at the time and we were
really good so the whole band got hired, basically. So, there I was doing
that but when I came home from the Andrea True thing I wanted a rock gig
I really wanted to play rock n roll and my brother who a few years before
that auditioned for Kiss, was at this time doing different session work. He
did an album with Lou Reed, did the "Welcome to My Nightmare" tour with
Cooper in Australia. I mean he was plugged into all the right people and
talented, very talented.
A.Z. I see his name all over the place.
B.K. Yeah, and then all
of the sudden he got this audition for this Meat
thing but they needed two guitar players, so he kind of dragged me in. I
like " O.K., It's kinda Rock n Roll I don't know, the guy looks like a
circus clown.". It was a weird gig Meat Loaf but we did the entire "Bat Out
Of Hell" tour.
A.Z. What about Michael
Bolton, did you play on "Everybody's Crazy"? What
soundtrack was that on?
B.K. That was the title
song to the album but it wound up...it was what's
that guy.. I can't get no respect... Rodney Dangerfield!!
A.Z. "Back To School"!
B.K. "Back To School" right, it ended up on that soundtrack.
A.Z. I used to rock out to that song.
B.K. I'll tell you an
interesting story about that, definitely one for my
book. We got invited to a showing of it, in the industry they'll do that,
scene comes up and it's a party scene actually and it goes (sings)
"Everybody's Crazy" then just resolves to my solo and that was it, there
no other vocals, just my solo and I'm sitting going "This is great!" It was
long solo. He (Michael Bolton) was so fucking pissed off, even though you
the money still would've gone to him because he was the writer of the song
but, no, I love him he got his rewards later on.
A.Z. Yeah, the pipes are rock n roll.
B.K. It's a very hard
road and there was a lot of competition there and he
kind of made his own niche in another market and he certainly became
A.Z. You mentioned the
lawsuit, I remember reading a little bit about that,
about "18" and "Dreaming" and you said that's over with now, that's all
A.Z. I found that quite
ironic because I heard a lot of Eddie Cochran and
some other guys on the Revenge album. "I Just Wanna" has a little of the
"Summertime Blues" thing and nobody mentioned it.
B.K. Absolutely! I know.
I know, I used to say that too, again, it's up to
the owner of the copyright to make that move or quite honestly, that artist
to get the lawyers involved because that is what it takes. In that case,
ironically enough the publishers were lawyers, see what I mean, so they had
some opportunity to buy his publishing and they did, so there you go.
A.Z. It was also ironic
to see your name pop up on Psycho Circus as a
B.K. I was really happy,
of course, to get that. As much as it was
bittersweet where the other unfortunate thing happened where I was part of
lawsuit and being served a summons.
A.Z. I am not quite as
big of a Kiss fan as I was before, when they put it
(the makeup) back on that was just it for me. It kind of bummed me out.
B.K. It's nostalgia and
I kind of compare it to-not to diffuse it at all-
I went to see the Star Wars movie. I even bought The Phantom Menace
when it was available, but that movie is not the other movies okay, and I
think Kiss doing makeup is really important to going back into it and the
nostalgia strength of that is kind of like that. It doesn't have to live up
to it and it probably can't in any manner live up to the special moments
people saw from 73-80 or whatever makeup it was in that particular manner.
You still go to see it; you still buy the album.
J-Sin : It's still exciting
to see, In fact I was too young back then to
it the first time live.
B.K. You can see it through a more mature set of eyes.
J-Sin: I didn't care for the 3-D thing as much
B.K. They needed an angle, so it was pretty brave of Gene to do that.
A.Z. The MTV Unplugged
thing, how was that to work with on acoustic with
somebody like Ace?
B.K. First of all, the
song with Ace, the rehearsal didnâ't take that long
and we had that experience doing the convention tour. The band with Eric
I were really tight and the only thing about it was we couldn't use the
guitars and I used these Chet Atkins models and they looked like electric
guitars than acoustic guitars and MTV were trying to make that whole thing
really pure and they were like "Look, you gotta play acoustic guitars". So
found some Ovations that worked and that was probably my biggest challenge.
A.Z. What about at the
conventions when they just throw a song out?
I saw Gene miss a few lyrics, I've got the whole thing on tape. Aas there
where you're just like, Okay I gotta wing this?
B.K. I had to. Actually
I learned more about the back material, the back
catalog at the convention tour than anywhere else.
A.Z. It was fun!
B.K. Because then Paul
would just play and sing having fun saying "Wow, we
haven't done that in a long time" or " I remember writing that". As much as
thought that $100 was a lot of money if you could afford it, it was a very
intimate moment with people who really meant a lot to you. Then I could
follow along when the songs would pop up a few times, because I wasn't a
fan like most of the people who obviously follow the band. They knew like
every song! I didn't know "The Love Theme From Kiss".
A.Z. Did you get a request for that?
B.K. I remember one time
they mentioned a bunch of bootlegs of their stuff,
A.Z. I see your name on
a few of the Deadline/Cleopatra tributes, is that
worth playing on those, is there really any money in that?
B.K. The truth is, fortunately,
the ones I do are the ones generally my
brother is involved in, I haven't done any for anybody else. My brother is
really into quality and if you'll notice all those really do sound good.
Probably the only criticism is that one of them just got reviewed, the new
Ozzy one, in Entertainment Weekly but I think they'd like to see the artist
reinvent the songs, but that's not necessarily a criticism towards my
brother, that is up to the artist to do, whatever. He has a great engineer
works with. Financially is it real rewarding? Not real rewarding, it's a
painless couple of hours, I always pick a song that I like, I always like
I love to have a shot at it, you know? I get off on it, I don't have a
problem with it.
A.Z. The way they mix everybody up and they take somebody from this band
somebody from that band, you'd expect to see you & Eric Singer together on
B.K. Well, we did that
once on a Queen tribute.That's older actually, it
in 96 I think. In fact a label in Portugal were so into...well Queen is
over there. They flew me and Rudy Sarzo over there to do a little promotion
which was actually a lot of fun.
A.Z. Were you a big fan at all?
B.K. I love Queen.
A.Z. One of my favorite
albums is "Live Killers". I love the long solos and
what I liked about "God Gave Rock n Roll To You" was that......
B.K. That was Queen-like.
A.Z. A lot of people really didn't hear it, but I did.
B.K. Well, they might
not be a Queen fan. Oh pretty ironic for Freddie
Mercury to die the same day as Eric.
A.Z. Yeah, I remember
watching MTV that day and they just had that little
I also still have the issue where you guys wrote that letter to Rolling
B.K. That's right, they just ignored it.
A.Z. They are still the same way.
B.K. They never liked
Kiss really, I didn't see it as anything personal to
A.Z. You and Eric stayed
pretty tight, I take it, being the new guys in the
B.K. He had four years on me, of course, but yeah. We were close.
A.Z. What was your favorite
part about working with him other than him just
being the powerful drummer that he was.
B.K. He had an amazing
sense of humor, he was very, very funny and he had
this nervous energy about the gig. It is a little nerve wracking traveling
and performing, dealing with Gene and Paul and the whole makeup of the
B.K. Just the whole dynamics
,is what I meant to say , of the band itself
break the tension and monotony of it with a lot of humor.
A.Z. So he was just funny.
B.K. Always doing practical
jokes, always carrying on, You can see on the
video that's out there, there is some footage that I had of him at my
and he's dancing with Gene he is interviewing people really silly.You know,
was just a lot of fun.
A.Z. We were going to
talk about the Tale Of Fox video. That's a good tape,
especially for the fans, they will enjoy it.
J-Sin It took me awhile
to hunt it down, I read about in Metal Edge and I
was so happy to hear that you were putting it together. I mean, I am such a
big Eric Carr fan, I started playing drums watching him and all that so to
see this video out there is like Yeah!
B.K. Thanks. Well, that
tape is kinda out of print because the DVD is
out, I think I'll eventually put out a video of the DVD which is upgraded
has more footage.
A.Z .One thing we had
both mentioned to each other after watching it
together was I was really surprised not to anything from any of the other
guys on there.
B.K. It's unfortunate,
but that's their way of dealing with it, you know
what I mean? Everything with those guys ,generally, there's gotta be a
business angle to it. I don't these things about Eric, although sometimes
there is some financial reward for it, I don't do it out of a business
angle, I want to do it and the fact that they won't I want to be more
involved. I don't know if that really compensates and I'm not trying to
cover for them, I just know they choose not to. Their attitude is more
well, everyone should remember him in their own way. They aren't going to
go on camera for something because then they feel like it's like a Kiss
video, it opens up a whole can of worms. I've seen Gene pitched to be a
Simmons on Bass on a Tony Iommi solo record and Gene's like 'Who? He
doesn't want to do that kind of thing.
A.Z. I got to meet Eric
one time. It was the show in Pittsburgh when the
blew out and you were supposed to play with King Kobra, and
Kix. That's the only time I ever met Eric and he was a really, really nice
guy. I was pissed off the day Freddie Mercury died and that little piece
Loder did on Eric compared to Freddie ....and in other new's....and Eric's
picture pops up.
So what's up next with Union?
B.K. Right now we are
kind of on hiatus, we weren't fortunate to be
any of the summer packages. It seems like the summer packages are all built
on real name, values and when it comes to the genre of music that Union
lumped into I don't think us on the bill with Cinderella is a bad thing,
okay, you know what I mean those kinds of bands that crowd would really
our music but then again they didn't get laid in the back seat of their car
listening to Union. We weren't around in 1988 or 1986 or whatever so we're
kind of caught in this catch 22 awkward situation. There's somewhat
work out there that doesn't scream for my band. I don't take it personally,
I understand it's the market.Then when you have the market struggling with
a Motley and a Megadeth and have them paired together with Anthrax, now
know Anthrax is out of the tour.
visit Bruces Website at www.kulick.com
Thanks to Carol Kaye for
making this interview happen and to
www.kissaslyum.com for the scoop on FoxFest.