Interview: BRUCE KULICK
wait is finally over for the first relevant Rock Record of 2010
as BRUCE KULICK
is set to unleash BK3.
While the name may not jump off
the page to the average music listener his musical contributions
to the guitar world are significant.
began is storied career with MEATLOAF
on the 1977 “Bat out of Hell” World Tour;
followed up by sessions work with BILLY SQUIER & MICHAEL
In 1984 he would become the newest
member of the “Unmasked” era of KISS.
During his twelve year stint he recorded five studio albums
Crazy Nights, Hot in the
Shade, Revenge, Carnival of Circus:
The Final Sessions)
along with two live recordings
maintains close ties to many of the former members of the band
& continues to be a fan favorite of the KISS
also remains the longest tenured member of KISS
aside from the original foursome.
Since 2001 the Guitar Slinger has been scorching
the rails for GRAND FUNK RAILROAD touring the world performing
the bands Classic Catalog.
New Year finds KULICK
unveiling an eleven track attack loaded with well crafted lyrics
and exceptional guitar work. The record fires right out
of the chamber with the explosive opening track “Fate”
barreling through to the records expressive closer “Life”.
Lyrically the guitarist strips away the layers of his life opening
the door to his soul as friends & former bandmates like
GENE & NICK SIMMONS, ERIC SINGER & JOHN CORABI (Motley
to name just a few join in to help weave the tale.
Rapport had the pleasure
of talking to BRUCE KULICK
about his exciting new record set
for release on February 2nd.
Thanks so much for taking time
out for the Rock
Rapport, great to speak
with you again last time we spoke was at the sold out GRAND
FUNK shows at the Fallsview Casino?
KULICK - Good to
catch up with you again too CAT;
we had a great time playing the Falls they have a great venue
off congratulations on this very impressive new record
your first solo release since
album really has a purposeful flow to it worthy of a straight
KULICK - That’s great
to hear, that’s the way I feel about it too.
I co-produced the record with JEREMY RUBOLINO who did
a tremendous job helping me bring these songs from a vision
to an achievement we’re both very proud of.
held nothing back on the album; it’s as personal as it gets
with topics ranging from being a random shooting victim in 2003
to paying homage the BEATLES GEORGE HARRISON, not to
mention a pretty remarkable cast of guest vocalists mixed in
for good measure.
KULICK - I was extremely
honored to have had such great guest contribute on the record.
Everyone that participated really stepped up and added a unique
element to the songs turning some already well written material
into some powerfully poignant tracks.
the songs written with the various singers in mind or did you
decide on the collaborations after they were completed?
KULICK - That’s a
fair question that I’ve been asked quite frequently; truthfully
the entire approach was very organic. None of the songs
were written with any particular vocalist in mind, JEREMY
& I really just set out to write some great songs.
Some of the songs I had originally planned on taking a stab
at vocally myself but as the process went along and people got
on board with the project it changed things up.
I knew that JOHN CORABI (Motley
Crue, Union) would be involved from the beginning with the
chemistry & working relationship that we share. We
ended up choosing “No Friend of Mine” for JOHN
which really showcased the best that he has to offer as a vocalist.
What really changed the landscape of the songs was when
involved that raised the stakes.
I had already approached
to play drums on “I’m the Animal” which he naturally
did an amazing job on; that particular track was the one we
be into if he accepted our invitation.
Once he agreed we started to work on
that song, ultimately he was hearing the song differently then
what I had envisioned. At that point like all good collaborative
efforts we decided to head in a different direction which ended
up being “Ain’t Gonna Die”.
that would have been cool to have three quarters of the unmasked
lineup in tact for “I’m
I have to say
was the perfect fit for
How did NICK SIMMONS get involved,
the negotiating guru cut that deal?
KULICK - I
wouldn’t say that although he did make it very clear that he
thought that NICK
make a solid contribution to the record, which I had absolutely
no problem with.
I was aware that NICK had a
working band and sang but I wasn’t really sure what style he
- KISS fans
have seen NICK SIMMONS dabble musically on “Family
Jewels” seems he’s the real deal.
He makes his debut singing on the first
single off BK3
“Hand of the
tell us about working with
KULICK - He did a
really great job with the song, NICK
a unique vibe to the session.
I know he and GENE
as proud of the song as I am. I know the A&E site
are getting behind the song as well as
which shows that Poppa is proud, as well he should be.
Another stand out track on the disc is “Dirty
featuring THE KNACK frontman DOUG FIEGER, hard
to believe it’s been thirty years since “My Sharona”
was an international hit, how did he get involved with the project?
KULICK - I have to
admit I wasn’t sure the extent of DOUG’S involvement
as he’s been battling cancer the last few years. He didn’t
necessarily want to contribute writing lyrics so JEREMY &
I presented him with a solid finished track; something we felt
DOUG could get excited about. Fortunately for
us he was, next thing we knew he was in the studio belting out
half the album contains guest singers one of the many pleasant
surprises is the strength of your vocals, especially on the
very personal tracks “Fate”,
Tell us your feelings as you stepped
up to the mic exposing yourself through the songs?
KULICK - Thank you
for that I like the way you put that because that’s exactly
how it felt. I’m not a natural singer so I’m never all
that comfortable singing which is exactly the reason I brought
JEREMY in to work with me.
I knew that with his help we wouldn’t settle for anything that
didn’t match the standards of the other singers; that was a
commitment we made to each other from the very beginning.
Again I will never be comfortable or
happy with my singing but I felt more confident about it with
him guiding & pushing me in the right direction with the
songs we chose for me.
I recognize my limitations, I’ll never
sing like PAUL McCARTNEY or PAUL
so I took the same approach I did when I sang
In the end all the songs you mentioned
are well crafted songs and stand up well on their own.
The closing track “Life” which was
a tribute of sorts to the late great GEORGE HARRISON was
probably my biggest challenge because I wish I could sing like
have to admit when I received the disc I expected the record
would be instrumentally heavy but the only instrumental track
is the perfectly placed gem “Between
That track features you & Cool Hand Luke
STEVE LUKATHER (TOTO) trading licks its shredders
The song also features our
Rock Rapport bud
monster drummer KENNY ARONOFF (MELLENCAMP, FOGERTY);
tell us how you put together that powerful arsenal of musicians?
KULICK - It’s
interesting that you mention that;
it was a complete oversight
as the album kept evolving with the additions of
TOBIAS SAMMET then DOUG; I said to JERMEY don’t
you think we need an instrumental? He said “that wouldn’t
be a bad idea” so that weekend I wrote what became “Between
As for the players on the songs I talked
to KENNY about it at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp
and he said he’d love to play; he actually played on two tracks
on my first record “Audio Dog” in 2001.
As for LUKATHER that was pure
luck I actually was trying to reach a studio that he had been
associated with in the past so he got back to me with the contact
Next thing I know we’re having lunch
chatting it up about the music industry, guitars what have you.
Before I had even met up with him
JEREMY was like “you have to ask him to play on the instrumental
for the album”. I said your crazy I’m sure he’s busy not
to mention the fact that he’s such an intimidating player; he’s
not only a strong player he’s one of those rare few like
JEFF BECK that can play outside the box.
Ultimately when I did find the right time to bring it in to
the conversation he actually shocked me and said yes.
When we finally got it all together about six weeks later he
really came to the party with some great stuff.
What was really cool about the whole
process was we didn’t really have a plan going in. JEREMY
& I had the themes down but we didn’t have a direction
to lead STEVE, we were just looking for communication
between the two guitars.
We gave LUKE some vague ideas of what we were trying
to accomplish; in the end we just captured his extraordinary
After that we spent the rest of the
day moving things around I would jump in and answer his riff
or jump in and harmonize where ever it made sense.
Honestly it was almost like performing
surgery it was crazy but what we came up with just blew me away;
I’m absolutely thrilled with that track.
You’ve enjoyed a long & diversified career in the sense
that you’ve covered the guitar gamut of musical styles; covering
the Classic catalog of GRAND FUNK, to the Metal Riffs
even scaling the Pop end of the Musical Spectrum with
artists like MICHAEL BOLTON & KAYNE WEST.
You managed to merge all those
techniques on the BK3
record was that done intentionally?
KULICK - What it
comes down to is that I’m just a huge guitar nut & I do
love several styles of playing. My record collection consists
of artists like JOANIE MITCHELL, STEELY DAN, OZZY OSBOURNE,
THE KILLERS & RADIOHEAD. Obviously each of those
bands has a very different approach as to what role the guitar
plays in each band respectively.
I also have many different kinds of guitars as well; I use each
one as a tool if you will, choosing the one that will help me
create the sound I’m looking for to complete the task at hand.
To answer your question each song was
born from my guitar, my experience with all the bands you mentioned
obviously comes through in my playing; that coupled with JEREMY’S
talents & knack to conceptualize what he’s hearing and
turning that vision into a song is a scary gift that he possess.
talk about being part of the legendary American Band
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD; if I’m not mistaken this year marks
a decade touring with the influential Rockers.
Seems like a great gig being able to
tour with such talented musicians like DON BREWER & MEL
SCHACHER; not to mention giving you the flexibility to be
creative enough to put together such a great solo album like
KULICK - Yeah I feel
really very proud and fortunate to be part of the band, they
are a great group of guys who are still performing at an extremely
The GRAND FUNK tour schedule takes up about a third of
my year; the shows are truly a blast for both the band &
The guys allow me to step it up during
the live performances, I actually get featured & showcased
more per song with GRAND FUNK then I did with
I’ve always been fortunate to be able
to wear different hats as an artist. Next week I’ll be playing
a session with TOBIAS SAMMET for his new ADVANTASIA
record, a week later I’ll be jamming “Some Kinda Wonderful”
with GRAND FUNK then making a stop at the Rock
‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in between.
the record will be out on Feb. 2nd with a CD release
party at the KISS
Coffeehouse in Myrtle
Beach, SC on Sat. Feb. 6th, tell us about that
KULICK - Yeah there
lots of things in the works to help promote the record as we
speak; I may have a impromptu release party on the strip in
L.A. with a little jam session at midnight on the 2nd
if everything falls into place.
The Myrtle Beach Release Party will be more of an intimate Meet
& Greet type of session with a listening party.
I’m looking forward to getting up close
& personal with the fans and getting feedback on the new
would like to Thank
for taking time out for us; we would also like to Thank Kymm
Britton of 60 Cycle Media for setting
The new disc will be in stores on February
2nd as well as @
The songs will also be available on ITUNES.
You can also follow
on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace
& You Tube.
FRIEND OF MINE
(Featuring JOHN CORABI)
OF THE KING
(Featuring DOUG FIEGER)
(Featuring TOBIAS SAMMET & ERIC SINGER)
THE LINES (Featuring STEVE LUKATHER
& KENNY ARONOFF