KISS Related

Mitch Weissman (2013)
Background vocalist/original "Beatlemania" cast member recalls his contributions to Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album and his work with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on albums such as "Animalize" and "Crazy Nights," plus a potpourri of KISS stories and tangents.

David Snowden (2013)
Longtime KISS fan and former head of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion fan club talks "All Systems Go" and various KISS-related topics

Mark Opitz (2013)
Producer details his work on "KISS Symphony: Alive IV"

Bruce Foster (2012)
Grammy-nominated musician discusses working with KISS and playing piano on "Nothin' To Lose"

David Wolfert (2012)
Grammy- and Emmy-nominated producer recalls working with Peter Criss on his first post-KISS solo album, 1980's "Out Of Control"

Bob Ezrin (2012)
Legendary producer details "Destroyer: Resurrected" and the making of the album

Lydia Criss (2012)
Author discusses the second printing of "Sealed With A KISS" and various Peter Criss- and KISS-related topics

Jean Beauvoir (2010)
Songwriter/recording artist recalls collaborations with KISS on "Animalize," "Asylum" and more

Kenny Kerner (2010)
Recalling KISS' early days with the co-producer of "KISS" and "Hotter Than Hell"

Eric Singer (2010)
Exclusive interview with KISS' current drummer regarding a variety of topics

Ace Frehley (2009)
KISS' original Spaceman details his first studio album in 20 years, "Anomaly"

Bruce Kulick (2009)
Non-makeup-era axeman discusses KISS tenure and latest album, "BK3"

Mike Japp (2005)
A discussion with KISS collaborator on the "Killers" and "Creatures Of The Night" albums

Dick Wagner (2004)
KISS' favorite "ghost" guitarist discusses his guitar playing on "Destroyer" and "Revenge"

Jesse Damon (2003)
Former member of Silent Rage on his collaborations with Gene Simmons

Stan Penridge (2000)
Peter Criss' right-hand man talks Chelsea, Lips and working with the Catman

Bruce Kulick (1999)
Guitarist talks Union project with John Corabi, Eric Carr and ESP

Sean Delaney (1998)
A brief encounter with the "fifth" member of KISS

Bob Ezrin (1998)
Former KOL webmaster Michael Brandvold grills the legendary producer regarding his work with KISS

Indianapolis Expo '99 Encounters with Bruce Kulick

By Julian Gill

I'd got the chance to sit down and talk to Bruce about a few things the night before the Indianapolis KISS Expo. I'd like to thank Bruce for taking time out of his evening to talk to me, and his patience with the troublesome tape recorder with which I was not familiar. I'd also like to thank Mike Brandvold for setting the interview and Keith Leroux for his assistance in grabbing Bruce! While it was an amazing experience to get the opportunity to sit down with a musician I respect, Bruce was an incredibly friendly, animated, and down to earth guy.

KissFAQ: Union is about to release their second album, with Live In The Galaxy, what was the thinking behind releasing a live album so early in the life of the band?
Bruce Kulick: When we were asked to record one of our shows it just seemed like an OK thing to do. We got to play songs, besides songs from the first record. We had the opportunity to play the Cheap Trick song all bands that we care about. In that way also, not that we're trying to be a cover band, it also represented stuff from our pasts because we're not going to cover Jungle on a Union album. It was just a great opportunity, there are a couple of bonus songs, an acoustic live and the Beatles "Oh Darling". It was quick and easy and is very much a live record.

KF: I believe that you stated somewhere online that the live recording was pretty much left untouched, unlike as sometimes been the case in KISS' past?
BK: Well, a lot of bands do that so let's not just pick on KISS. Unfortunately, on Alive III, the only live record I did (though Unplugged was live too but it wasn't really touched up at all, to be honest), Alive III had a lot of problems when it was recorded apparently and hence the touching up. But it still was basically what we were, it's not like we made a studio album. But this record, I was really impressed by how we really sounded.

I only heard a couple of board tapes when we did some of the shows and I was like, "we sound good". Because John's a good guitarist as well and we have the two guitar sound going. So I thought, "well, why not"? So I didn't have to do anything. Just pan one guitar left and right. You'll hear us like you're standing in the middle, about fifty feet back from the stage, and that's what the album sounds like.

KF: One thing that strikes me is that it sounds "perfect". Do you guys ever hit a bum note?
BK: There are some mistakes, but I've got to admit that we had some good performances and that the band was always competent in performing live. But, for example, there's notes in the "I Walk Alone" solo that I'm absolutely, "that's not the note I wanted"! But none of this was to the point of, "do I want to plug in and fix this"? It was like, "no way"!

KF: So, does Union "gel" because of musical ability or does the personalities play a part?
BK: It got really tight after a while. I think there's a lot of musicianship in the band, of course. Like all bands, personalities are all over the place in a band. And in some ways the tour really made us stronger and it's going to help us to be tighter to create our next record, which is what we've been working on. A little bit of both though.

KF: How did a cover of Cheap Trick's "No Surrender" (ED. I got the title wrong, duh!) come to be a part of your live set and album?
BK: Well, "Surrender" was always one of my favorite songs and then we were in the Mid-West and the next thing I know... Chicago was the gig that we were getting ready to perform and we did a soundcheck, and all of a sudden Jamie and John went to dinner, or something, and said, "c'mon let's try this". And I was like, "OK, cool". And I knew the song basically though I had to go over it and we learned it at soundcheck and did it that night. In a way it's a tip of the hat to Cheap Trick, the Mid-West, and everything. And then we started using it as the "soundcheck" song. It's a great version and I'm very pleased with that. We're all fans of that band and they never got their due.

I find a little irony in the lyrics mentioning KISS, I thision than necessarily Brent and Jaime's because they came in when we were already creating the record. Because I didn't just want to like wait that long to do that. So it all worked out very fairly in the sense that I got a chance to do my music and people got a chance to hear it. It's going to be re-released in June because some people never got a chance to hear it, they were aware of it but didn't run out and buy it, but I can't control any of that. I find more and more people, and the great thing about doing a CD is that's it's timeless, and I'll always try to make it available. In fact our new record deal, the guy who signed us was at Mayhem who moved onto a new label he called Spitfire, and he bought the rights for the first album so that it can always be available.

KF: So is Spitfire releasing both the live album and re-release?
BK: No, the live album is actually Deadline Records, which is a different label, it's just a one-off thing. The first album will eventually be re-released in June, I believe, on Spitfire, with "Oh Darling", a bonus track.

KF: That one you did for the first record? When did you record it?
BK: That one we recorded when we did the record. It's kinda a demo, but it actually sounds great. It's not unlike "Surrender".

KF: You've done that one with ESP, when you switch over to bass, at the Orlando Jam last year?
BK: I can, we did fool around with that one, but this one is the band, two guitars, bass, and drums.

KF: Your debut is very strong, I think, both musically and lyrically, is there anything on that first recording that you'd change, looking back on it?
BK: I think that some of the stuff on the first record was rather less "party" than I wanted it to be, but I wasn't in a partying mood! But, no, I wouldn't change anything, I was actually very happy with it. But I know our next record won't be a clone of that record because Union is going to develop, although I don't think that we're ever going to give up a lot of the basic elements of it. Actually the rehearsals for the new record have been going very very well and we've been helping each other with the new material, being really open about it like, "I like this", or, "this isn't strong enough, let's work on that". And we already have a really good foundation of what the second Union record will be. And that's pretty good from just two weeks of rehearsals. I'm feeling really good about it, though it's a very difficult process I have to admit.

KF: That moves very nicely into my next question I was going to ask: You're currently working on the second Union studio album. How are the songs going with that? Are you writing, demoing, or just preparing?
BK: Everyone's just still showing riffs or ideas that they've had, but on four or five songs we've very much already dissected them and put them together. And there's going to be some clearer timetable things and announcements about it, but it's still a little to early to talk about it.

KF: So, still early stages?
BK: Yes, but I'm really pleased and the band's like... Speaking maybe somewhat prematurely I'm very excited and kindof blown away by the fact that something that's very difficult to create, making new music, that we've finally got our feet wet, and it feels good.

KF: So Brent and Jamie are giving input to the second record?
BK: Of course.

KF: Does it make it easier in anyway having a full unit?
BK: Yes, I think so, there were only three songs that we all got to kinda develop and even those songs from the first album I had a rough idea of what it was from a quickie demo. There's no real "quickie" demos of any of these songs they're just rough ideas on a little tape recorder no better than what you're doing this on. And that's enough to get it going and that's the band carving out more of a band vibe, even though we're all really very different people.

KF: Both you and John have worked on some side projects in the last year, notably Eric Singer's ESP project, when did that move from being an expo jam band into recording an album?
BK: I always like to see it as something I can do. I love working with Eric, he's very talented, and the fact that it was just going to be a cover record takes away all that pressure. You're ready, you're just going to take some great songs and just record them. It doesn't mean that there's no effort involved, but the point is creating music is much harder than taking a great song and performing it. I really enjoyed doing it.

I want to say that we'll be able to do things and we all really want to do that. And how it all got started was simply doing a gig and somebody saying, "hey, how about you guys going in the studios and recording something like that". It wasn't a difficult thing to realize, "hey, that's a great opportunity, why not".

KF: Do you have a favorite track on the ESP album?
BK: I love the way "Changes" came out because I'm a big Hendrix fan. I think that they're all catchy songs. I really love the Humble Pie version of "Four Day Creep" from the Filmore. It's something like when you realize that I went to the Filmore and Paul Stanley was actually there at the Filmore when Humble Pie performed live with Peter Frampton. Watching them do that song, so it's really kindof interesting. And to have Ace on the record with "Foxy Lady", it's a fun album. And we've just cut two new songs for the proper American release.

Because, initially the ten song thing we did was basically something to sell on the internet and sell at some Expos, just get our feet wet and see if people really care about this. And people have been really excited about this actually so once some business things happen that forced us to go, "well let's sell something". Unfortunately they always go, "make it a little different", so hence we added The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again", which is of course something that KISS did from the Asylum Tour. So the package now is going to be a little different, but it's all in the same spirit. I'm not sure when it'll be out.

KF: Same label?
BK: Yeah, it'll be Rock Hard Records, I believe.

KF: Eric Carr's Rockheads EP was recently released. I'm thoroughly thrilled to finally get some of his music from that project. How did your involvement start with Eric in that project, as a side project to KISS? When did you get involved and what was it like developing the material with both he and Adam (Mitchell)?
BK: Eric, obviously at some point, had a vision for a cartoon rock band. And I always thought of it as his alter-ego band and he got to the point where he was suddenly developing characters. He was kindof both the singer and the drummer, it seemed, or something like that. But the next thing you know he's started writing some songs for it and realized that when he pitched this concept he wanted, "and here's their music, hey, hey, we're the Rockheads", that sort of thing!

And the next thing I know is that I'm in my recording studio. At the time I had, it was fairly modest but enough to record ideas and everything. And sure enough we were enjoying the songs so much, and had Adam involved that we got pretty serious about recording it and really having fun with it. And it wasn't KISS, and there wasn't that pressure, if you know what I mean, it was for a cartoon band to do...

KF: So it was a "release", you could do whatever you wanted to do?
BK: Exactly. And we had fun with it and I remember that when I mixed it I look at it just like mixing something important, but still I was very careful to work with Eric to help make his vision what he was clear about it being. So I have four very well defined master recordings of this songs which probably only a handful of people have ever heard, fortunately. And then I got the opportunity to get it released.

KF: It's nice to have the surprise for the fans finally, not something that they've all heard before. There's going to be a full-length CD release shortly, I believe?
BK: I don't know how soon that'll be, we're still like developing and getting that together at this point. So I couldn't really tell you when. And some of that stuff, I've got to admit, some of it is amazing and not very rough and some of it's really like Eric scatting. It's still Eric singing and you get the sense of a real interesting thing.

KF: Any other forthcoming projects such as solo albums?
BK: Well I am going to do a solo album, but not until 2000. And I'm real excited about if something really turns me on that I'm working on with Union, even if I wrote it with John or the guys, and I realize that it doesn't really make the record, but I love it, I can put it on my solo record. And I have plenty of other material that I feel is more something for the guitar slinger dude to do, that doesn't necessarily fit a band. And I've already cut some songs and I have in my mind a lot of the other material although I'm not sure what will happen. I'm going to dig though tons of my tapes from over the years when I get to that. But right now the priority is getting Union in the studio.

May 1999

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