Interview with Kiss Alum and Guitar Great Bruce Kulick

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By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Bruce! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it’s greatly appreciated.

CV: Prolific is one word that would describe your career.  However, inspiring seems to be even more appropriate, especially when we look at what that career has done in the way of demonstrating to others how passion creates opportunity; providing a life that's filled with doing what you love to do. How would you describe your career and do you see it as inspiring to others?
Bruce Kulick: I always loved music, and especially guitar. I of course, care greatly about my performances, and that makes me particular with my work. But that also will hopefully move the listener and enjoy the playing. If I have inspired anyone, it’s a joy to hear!  I do play from the heart.

CV: You have managed to work and perform with several music legends including Meatloaf, Billy Squier, Michael Bolton, Grand Funk Railroad and of course Kiss; a testament to your talent and versatility as an artist. Was there ever a time when you considered yourself as only one type of guitarist or has the versatility you possess always been part of your musicianship and make up?
BK: I was always such of fan of very diverse music…even loved some classical and very much loved Jazz. That made me explore many elements of music, some not related to guitar playing at all. That curiosity made me, in my opinion, more rounded in my playing and approach to music. Luckily I was able to bring the right playing to all the bands I worked with.
CV: Bruce, your time with Kiss, in my opinion, was iconic on many levels. To me, your tenure finalized bridging the transition the band made after removing the make-up, making Kiss one of the most successful bands of the Hair Metal era. What do you see as your greatest contribution to Kiss?
BK: Looking back now, I am very proud that my era of KISS, although diverse, was in some ways very represented by my guitar playing being an integral part of the music. I was directed to be current in style, not really Ace/Spaceman with the approach. It helped keep me different, and the fans of the band that started with my era, are SO excited about the music. It always makes me happy to know how much many of those LP’s were a soundtrack to their lives.

CV: Do you have one favorite Kiss album in particular from your time with the band? If so which would it be and why is it your favorite?
BK: Each of the LP’s I have highlights from. But Revenge would be my personal favorite…something very cohesive about it…powerful and quite perfect in direction and execution.

Photo by Nico Ciccarone
CV: Fans and critics alike seem to point to 1992's "Revenge" as Kiss' strongest album during the non make-up years; reaching the Top 10 and spawning five singles. Unfortunately, it also marked the first without drummer Eric Carr, though it does include some musical performances. What do see as the album's finer quality that presents itself as a particular powerhouse addition to the band's catalog? Was a conscious decision made to make the album such a deliberate, heavier departure from previous releases?
BK: Bob Ezrin was a big part of the attitude and success of that music. It was amazing to work with him.  The band was driven to do great work, NO compromise. Of course the tragedy of Eric Carr only made us work harder.

CV: Former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent was brought in during the making of the "Revenge" as well. Did you feel it was a necessary move at the time and was it looked at as a collaboration or more of a contribution on Vinnie's part with the band?
BK: Vinnie proved himself with songs on Creatures and Lick it Up. He was able to co-write some great songs with Gene and Paul, with Ezrin there to direct at times.

CV: How much interaction did you personally have with Vinnie during that time? What was your experience like?
BK: None really. And that was perfect actually.

CV: Bruce, so much has been said and written about the late Eric Carr.  He seemed to exude so much love for his craft and more so for the fans. Tell us about your relationship with Eric. Being that both you and he were "replacement" members, was there a certain amount of kinship shared between you that was different than your relationship with Paul and Gene?
BK: My relationship with Eric was in many ways different than Paul’s and Gene’s. They were his bosses…his employers, the band leaders. I was the other guy in similar ways, not driving the car, but one of the wheels. It made Eric and me very close.

CV: Every era of Kiss has unfortunately appeared to have had some level of perceived drama associated with it...from the original lineup, to replacement members.  That is, so it appears, except for your time with the group. Do you see this as an accurate perception from the viewpoint of a fan like me or are we not seeing the whole picture?
BK: Not that my era was completely without drama, but it could NEVER compare to what the earlier original line up band experienced.

CV: Your talents have also had you appearing on a handful of tribute records including tributes to Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Queen, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin and even Kiss...almost like a tribute to yourself in some regards.:) Does doing such projects open the door to new audiences for your own career or is it more of a way for you to keep the circle of music alive for fans while paying homage to other artists?

BK: All of those bands are worthy of a tribute. And why not contribute?! So it was good session work on projects from great bands.

CV: With tribute acts becoming increasingly more popular, do you think their rise is detracting from the growth of original music for young and upcoming bands looking to make a hit?
BK: Well, maybe. Clubs will book tributes, and not so much original bands. But then there’s Greta Van Fleet! Love them.

CV: Everyone dreams of having the chance to someday meet and work with their favorite artists. Your involvement with making those kinds of dreams come true with the Rock 'N Roll Fantasy Camps has made it a reality for so many.  How did you come to participate and be a counselor at the camps?

BK: Jack Blades introduced me to the mastermind behind the camps, David Fishof.  I have been involved when I can, for over 12 years now.

CV: Bruce, do you enjoy the hands on approach the camps provide to work with aspiring musicians and artists? Do you find it rewarding?

BK: Very rewarding…and it always is great to see the transformation of the campers. Playing music, with good direction, and performing on stage, all very intoxicating!

CV: Along with your brother, Bob, you released an instructional guitar DVD on Kiss classics as well as your “Hot Licks” title. Is being a guitar instructor, on a more regular basis, something you would consider as part of what you do?
BK: I do offer guitar lessons, but don’t really advertise it.  It’s always great to help someone know the secrets of playing better.

CV: The industry is no stranger to successful musical couples; Pat Benetar and Neil Geraldo, Sonny and Cher and Ashford and Simpson to name a few. What's it like working with your wife Lisa Lane Kulick? Is there a certain music magic for you because of the personal emotional bond you share and will we see more music coming from the two of you?

BK: Our personal bond, I do feel is a great element. It is funny working with her, as I can be very hard on her, and then very sweet. She isn’t the best communicator in what she’s feeling about a song or the arrangement, and interpreting that for me can be a challenge. And most of the time, what she wants is exactly what the song needs. So she’s very intuitive with presenting a song. Making it her own. I love her voice. It gives me chills. I hope to do much more with her musically.

CV: Knowing you are a Star Wars fan, how have you seen the franchise's impact taken hold on society...even for those who may not find a connection to the films? Has everyone been affected by Stars Wars on some level in your opinion?

BK: As a fan, I would say yes. It’s a cultural phenomenon that has great heart and excitement. 

CV: Has the Star Wars phenomenon played a role in your life besides just being a film fan? Are you a collector?

BK: Not in the serious way, no. But I do have a Stormtrooper doll in my white Lexus, and I nicknamed the vehicle “Stormtrooper”!!

CV: Did Han shoot first? Your thoughts.

BK: LOL, very interesting and Lucas probably changed things on that one!

CV: Bruce, given your already astonishing long list of notable artists whom you have shared projects with, is there someone specific you hope to have the opportunity to work with sometime in the future? Do you keep a bucket list of names?
BK: I always dreamed of playing with Paul McCartney!  Such a talent…and super smart and classy.

CV: What people want to be remembered for and what they are actually remembered for can sometimes be drastically different, depending on situations.  Thinking on such a topic with regards to your career, what would you like to be remembered for most and what do you feel fans and peers will find as your most reflective achievement?
BK: They know I am polite to the fans, and don’t say bad things about all the drama that can be in the music business. So I do appreciate they like that about me. But I do hope I am remembered for my contributions musically. That’s a good feeling, to think, “Forever” can live on at weddings!

CV: What next for you? Maybe a new solo record…?

BK: Actually want to do recordings with the KKVIII band!  Keep you all posted when we get busy, it should be killer!
CV: Thank you again Bruce for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It has been an honor. I wish you all the best and continued success.
BK: You’re welcome!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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