INTERVIEW AND LIVE PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
Former KISS guitarist, Bruce Kulick, returned to the KISS Kruise after last his highly successful debut last year. This time, Kulick performed not only with his solo band, but with KISS, for the first time since 1995! Seeing Kulick perform with KISS was a historical and certainly memorable moment for fans, including myself. So, after I get home from the Caribbean, I decided to make a call for Bruce and ask of his thoughts about the Kruise and other current things in his life and career.
So first of all, congrats once again for amazing Bruce Kulick band shows on the KISS Kruise. In fact, many fans have said that was the definitive highlight of the whole thing and I agree with them. What do you think about that?
Bruce Kulick: Thank you. Appreciate that.
I think you have heard it a couple of times already?
Bruce Kulick: Yeah. But I don’t– you know what I mean. I take it lightly. I don’t know why they get crazy? But it feels good because it was a lot of work to prepare it.
So, last year, you performed with your brother Bob Kulick. That was also a fantastic show, and fans and critics loved it – not only because of the excellent musicianship of the band but also because now people finally had a chance to hear a lot of songs played live from your era of the band. That concept seems work great on the Kruise, but how would you sum up the whole thing, how you picked the songs to play, and how you overall put the entire thing together with the new Bruce Kulick band?
Bruce Kulick: Yeah. I mean, look, it was pretty obvious that with Bob it would make the most sense, which is what we did last year to kind of represent his contributions and then for me to represent mine. But honestly, I always felt I could be a little bit short-changed with that because as much as Bob had some wonderful contributions to KISS story, I had all those albums and tours and videos, and that kind of burned images and memories into all the fans’– into your minds. So, I really had to, along with those terrific guys that I played with, say like, “Okay. We have to stop with the list because we can’t do all these songs.” I made a playlist to prepare for the Kruise just me playing my era and trying to go deep and not touch anything that the current or recent Kiss has bothered with at all. And the playlist was very, very large. It turned out to be 70 to 80 songs that I kind of touched upon, and we really had to pick and choose. And that was where that medley idea came in. And I had experimented with that in the past on some gigs in Australia. But I realized that that was a valuable thing to do once again because of the fact that I’d rather give them a few good moments many times even if it isn’t a four, a five-minute version. And then if I can cleverly link them together, I get the desired effect. So, medleys are actually, I mean you’re a musician too, but for people who don’t play, they’re actually kind of their own challenge. So, there’s learning the songs that go into it and then it’s the medley becomes a song, in a sense, because you have to link them all, you have to know what turn you’re going to make. And I sometimes, when I counsel and teach people music, I describe learning a song sometimes as kind of like you know when you’re going to drive to your parent’s home or something, you know how to go, and you even know some alternates if you have to but you got to know a song like that. You got to know how to get from A, to B, to C, to D. So, medley all of a sudden becomes a much longer trip. So that was a challenge too.
But I felt great about it and most of them, except for the CARNIVAL OF SOULS, had some full version songs in it. And it’s interesting that the one that was just more of the teaser one, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, turned out to be not any full version of any of the songs in it and that one was so well received. I think they all were well received but, I guess because CARNIVAL OF SOULS being a somewhat controversial album in the history of the band and everything and so underrepresented, but it went over great, and I have to admit, too, that we also did “Jungle” separately too, that represented that, and we did that as a full song, so.
What can I say? I mean, considering the amount of time that I had with Todd, Brent, and Zach (Thorne) because of their schedule with Slash– Zach’s another one that works with a lot of different people all the time. And then me with travels with Grand Funk, it was a challenge to figure out the… coordinating rehearsals and making it make sense in the sense of the hard work that goes behind a performance. But those guys are real professionals. I take everything I do very seriously. I had also to reassess my playing, my limitations, that I’m not 30 years old anymore and some of the stuff that was maybe a little easier to do then, I was now kind of very challenged with. And that was frustrating for me and but it made sense because it’s, like an athlete. There’s no way that that amazing baseball player, or football star, or soccer star, at 30 could ever be at 64, okay, in any similar manner. And actually, musicians in many ways are super blessed because an instrument is a little more forgiving than sports, okay, where you got to be top of the game to make it happen. But still, there were solos, and there were things that we were doing back then– remember, the tempos of some of those songs were crazy; they were too fast. And it’s okay when you’re young but– and I begged Brent, “Please, don’t do “King of the Mountain” too fast. It’s going to be really hard for me.” But I also had just to reassess everything that way and be responsible to the fact that there will be a way to make it work and everybody will feel like they went down that road of their memories of hearing “Uh All Night” or “Let’s Put X in Sex and”, certainly, some of those CARNIVAL OF SOULS songs. That album has always been an anomaly to me so I can’t tell like, “Oh, they really like “Rain,” or, “Oh, I love “Master & Slave.” Do they love “Take A Look in the Mirror?” I don’t know? But the reactions have just been amazing, and I kind of did feel very confident when we were putting it together that I would say something to my wife and say while I was practicing, ” Oh my God. I think they’re going to cry when they hear this. You know what I mean? [laughter].” Because I remember times at the Kiss conventions where we just fooled around with songs and even if I didn’t know it and it was just Paul and Gene, and maybe Eric just banging around something like “Love Theme for Kiss,” that I didn’t even know there was such a thing. You know what I mean? And I’d see the reaction from the fans. So, I knew that they would– because we did fool around with “Let’s Put the X in Sex” then but we never did it live on a concert stage or even a club, and it’s such a party song, I mean, that was like pool deck heaven. I mean, come on. So really, I was just so blessed with the right playlist to choose from and even Paul and Gene, much more so Paul, I haven’t gotten a lot of feedback yet from Gene, but I’ll probably see him early in December. But Paul has reached out an expressed his enjoyment of what we did, okay? And I hope it reminds those guys of an era. Certainly, they didn’t forget that era when the Hall of Fame thing came up which is why at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul especially said a lot of fortunate about how they’re ignoring some important years and important members that contributed to this band. But I do know, at least in the sense of a cruise experience, that the fact that I could serve up a menu that they haven’t had at their buffet in quite a while they ate it up. You know what I mean? Very well. And Paul recognized that and he also respected the fact that we did it the right way.
And we didn’t try to reinvent them. I had the players that could perform it properly, and Zach became a great Gene. And I apologized to him. I said, “Look, I wish there was more than we include right now for you to sing but clearly a lot of the 80s focused a bit more on Paul because he was really spearheading the band then.” Paul’s songs dominated it. And Zach understood, but it didn’t– it was so great that I could have the Gene voice to sing along because there are many Kiss songs where they both sang or they kind of answer each other or the harmony was right. And Brent is another secret weapon because he’s got a great voice too although he didn’t do any lead vocals. His contribution was tremendous too, not only on the drums. So, to have those voices and such good players that love Kiss and they were always pushing me too. But it took me being the leader and saying like, “No. Okay. Look. We can’t do all these songs. There’s only 75-minute set on the cruise, and we got to just concentrate on what we know we could work on and not get crazy.” But we realized there’s so much yet that we could explore in the future when we have those opportunities. So, it’s such a win for everybody. I know they feel really empowered by it. And I obviously, all year this was hanging over my head. How am I going to pull off a set like this because I haven’t done a lot of those songs, ever? So, it was a big success. So obviously I feel really good.
Well, that was one long answer [laughter].
Bruce Kulick: Yeah. But also, I did cover a lot. “Laughs”
BOB’S ABSENCE FROM THE KRUISE
Kiss Kruise went great for you and the band, but one open question is what happened to Bob? Why was he not involved this time?
Bruce Kulick: Yeah. I think Bob really explained it best when he did some press that he described it in one sentence which really is very– it’s true. There was a contractual issue that Bob was uncomfortable about, and I couldn’t make it more comfortable for him, so he saw that as, “Okay. Then I won’t perform.” You know what I mean? Basically because of this situation, and I don’t want to say more than that because it’s really his kind of emotional response to what was happening. And I had to respect that, and it actually– believe me, it put a lot more pressure on me. You know what I mean? Because if you think about a set with the two of us, “All right. I have to learn rhythm for his songs.” You see what I mean? Not as hard as a full set of my era, but of course, I welcomed the challenge. I will admit that. I did.
After it was announced that Bob wouldn’t be on the Kruise, there were many months of silence. The fans didn’t know what was going to happen – who will play with you, are you going to perform on the Kruise either, etc. It was a bit confusing time for us, but there was probably a good reason to keep it quiet for a while?
Bruce Kulick: Right. Well, to all the cruisers, there was that very, very honest statements saying that Bob won’t be joining us. Because again, when it comes to business type things, it’s not for the promoter or the band to state any details. Okay? But it was very clear that I tagged it, meaning, I promised Sixthman, I go like, “Okay. Bob’s not going to be there. But I need you to let the fans know that they’re going to get an incredible set representing my twelve years of the band. Okay?” And they’re like, “Yeah. Good. Done. Great. I get it.” Because obviously, they are promoters, Sixthman, and they deal with a lot of acts and a lot of cruisers. How much they totally know of everything related to Kiss, I’m not 100% certain. But indeed, when I explained that to them, they jumped on it and made that announcement. And then, I left it alone too, because I didn’t want to say anything. And then Bob let it be quiet for a while until he had something to promote – that re-issue of that really cool tribute record that he did years ago, and he revisited that, and– so that’s when he was able to speak to some people, so. I know he was always supportive of the fact that I could do a great set of my era. He knows those guys’ talent, so. And I was just happy that from kind of a stressful situation, that the fans didn’t get hurt. And obviously, there was a hard job for me to do that I feel I accomplished it. So, I was relieved about that.
DEEPER SONG DISCUSSION
Out of all that rare material performed you played on the Kruise, I was so happy to hear certain songs like: “Let’s Put the X in Sex,” “You Make Me Rock Hard,” “Sword and Stone,” the CARNIVAL OF SOULS stuff and “Little Caesar.” But which song was the most difficult to learn again, after all these years?
Bruce Kulick: Certainly “King of The Mountain,” because I know that my solos were not one take. The solo on that song on ASYLUM, we did a lot of comping and trying things. And ironically, I archived a lot of me, fortunately. And I found some really cool rehearsal tapes – sometimes it was only a trio without Paul, and then sometimes with Paul, Eric Carr, Gene and I, and/or Paul rehearsing “King of The Mountain” to do it live. Okay? And it was still fast in the rehearsal room. And those recordings became a better blueprint for me to figure out the solo because the solo on the record was clearly comped and very hard to go from one part to the other very fluidly. So that helped that I listened to it. And that was a challenge, but I love that I have that to go to. But clearly, for me, it was the hardest one to learn. “Little Caesar,” I’m glad you brought up that one. But my band, they really pushed me a lot. “We got to do a whole version of this and that. We got to do a whole version of “Sword and Stone.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay. Why? It was never released on Kiss album, and people don’t know the song”. “No, they’re going to lose it. They’re going to lose it.” So, I loved their fan perspective even though, of course, they’re professional musicians. So that worked in my favor. But certainly, “King of The Mountain” was hard. And then, some of the songs, I’ll be honest, some I love the solos on, so I try to learn them as close as I could. Some, I felt like, “Ah, I’m just showing off here. This is not that melodic or memorable.” So then, I did what I felt like doing. It’s a good thing to do, sometimes. But certainly, key songs like “Uh! All Night”, and “Tears are Falling,” and all that, I’m going to do the solo as close to the record as I can. And then some of the songs, I said like, “I don’t even want to do the solo. Let’s exit here because the song chorus and the verse are more important than the solo.” But that’s great to have that liberty. Again, I’m choosing. I’m in charge, so I like that too.
I spoke briefly with Brent Fitz on the boat, and he said that this band would probably do more gigs in the future. And one of those shows might happen on the next KISS Kruise. Has this gig been officially confirmed already?
Bruce Kulick: Well, not officially. We haven’t been officially asked, but I know that the CEO was talking to me and, again, he actually doesn’t run the cruise. It’s really Paul and Gene, but he was like, “I hope you can come back next year. The reaction’s been great.” So, I’m like, “I’d love to be there.” I mean, what am I going to say, “No?” Of course. I mean, I already told Grand Funk that– because we sometimes get dates as far as almost a year out, and we do have booked dates already in September. And I think there’s something for October there already. And I told the band, please pencil this in because the cruise went really well. Obviously, I enjoyed doing it, and I’m hoping that I’ll be there. But you know how they do it. They do the pre-set it up. They offer it to the people and then– but they don’t make the line-up announcements until sometime, I think, usually late January or something like that is when they talk about it. So, we’ll see what comes. We’ll see what happens?
Let’s discuss next the historical “reunion” of KISS that happened on the cruise during the acoustic show. It was just magical to see you and Ace performing with the band again. And it was something that many, including me, didn’t believe ever going to happen. But how about you? Did you believe that there would be a day when you’re playing with the band again?
Bruce Kulick: Right. I thought it could happen, but I was never, there was no kind of commitment to it happening or knowing for sure. And fortunately, it turned out to be another amazing thing to happen on that cruise besides having all the Kiss guitarists performing and to have a reunion on stage, Tommy and Ace and me. It was like MTV Unplugged revisited. It was quite amazing.
If I have understood correctly, you were already on board, when you received the info that you would perform with the band in a few hours. How did you get the info and how did you react when you realized that it really will happen now?
Bruce Kulick: There are some people working with the band who kind of mentioned like, “Heads up. It might be happening.” And yet my panic is always what guitar am I playing? That’s important to me because I can’t– I know the strings that Paul likes to use. They’re not for a lead guitarist, and I wasn’t sure what Tommy had on his guitars. I mean, as much as we’re friends, I’m not like, “What are you playing? What do you use?” I’d seen him at some of those platinum packages with those Chet Atkins guitars which are terrific, but right after Eric and I had that brief conversation, that’s when I text Tommy. I go like, “Oh, you’re on the boat.” He goes like, “Come to my room in 30 minutes.” You know what I mean? It was that, okay, because he did want to go over things. He did want to discuss the songs and how they’ll be performed and then how we can– in other words, that little bit of time we spent together… Ace didn’t need to relearn Ace. You know what I mean? He wasn’t playing my songs, but in a sense, Tommy was going to play along on “Domino,” which I don’t think they do, and then we were going to play together. They have done “Hide Your Heart,” but they make a slightly different breakdown arrangement, so I wanted to check that with Tommy. And then it was really appreciative by me to have that time with him. And there was a lot of stress involved with it too because one of the Chet Atkins he had on the boat, all of a sudden, the electronics didn’t work. The ones he had were definitely made in the ’90s, so they were older guitars. I was just like, “Oh, don’t say that.” And that’s when I begged Tommy, “You got to let me play the better one.” One just had a better neck and felt better, that’s very typical with guitars. No two guitars are exact all the time. So, I said, “Please let me play your Chet Atkins, and then I’ll switch back to you when you’re going to be featured again. Let’s do that. It will look really good.” And he agreed with that, and that was kind of him, and it still looked very unusual. Sonically, I thought the drums were so loud on stage, again, that’s nothing that you would know unless you were sitting in that chair, where Tommy is. So that was really distracting to me, but I knew that the moment was very, very special just for how many years it’s been and to finally break that kind of wall, that I could finally be on stage with those guys. I couldn’t see Gene. I feel bad about that. Paul, of course, was the frontman as he always is. It was real to me when he said, “Hey Bruce, save us. Save us.” You know what I mean? That was such a cool thing to say. Yeah, that’s what he said. And then I’m like, “Oh my God, “Domino.” All right.” And then Eric didn’t remember the ending of “Domino.” We did it again. But that’s what was fun about that kind of performance. They could be very organic and casual. There were a few musical chairs with Ace coming on, and then me moving down and then eventually switching guitars. And actually, Tommy played the solo for “Rock and Roll All Nite” because it was… as I told Tommy, “Ask Ace if he wants to do it and I doubt he will because he’s playing kind of one of Paul’s acoustics that was set up not so much for lead playing.” You know what I mean? “And that’s going to be a challenge for him.” And that’s what he said, “I don’t want to play the solo on this.” Because again, he really rose to the occasion too, not a guitar that he’s comfortable with or that he owns. But it was really smart that we did know slightly before, but not a week before that it was going to happen. So, it all worked out wonderful. I think all the performances later on the cruise kind of almost overshadowed it, but now there’s more press about the unplugged reunion, and I think the fans are pretty excited about that.
It’s amazing that although you only had a couple of hours to set all these things, decide who’s playing this and that, you managed to make it all work perfectly!
Bruce Kulick: Exactly. And it came off really well and, ironically, they wanted me to stay on stage which I had to think about for a second. “Wait a minute. I never played those Ace songs. Why am I up there?” But I think in the grand kind of look of it, I get why Paul and Gene requested that and thought it was the right thing to do. You know, on MTV Unplugged, obviously, Eric and I stepped down, and only those four guys were there, and I totally understood that. But here, this isn’t the big reunion announcement or anything like that which I think Paul was real quick– just like if the band ever played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he wanted it to be everybody, not the original four. And of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refused that. But, guess what?
On the Kruise, Paul is in charge. Paul and Gene run the Kruise, and it’s their Kruise. So good to stay up on stage from Ace’s songs and then we’re all going to do “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Believe me, “Got to Choose” was thrown in at the last minute. I never went over it with Tommy, but I used to do that with ESP, with Eric Singer, a lot. So, I knew it. I remembered it. It was not something I didn’t know at all. So, there you go. That was another interesting element of the Kruise that was very special. And then, obviously, it got captured on YouTube, so everybody’s digging it.
That show, it was pure magic, and it was also one of those “once in a lifetime” things for the fans to see.
Bruce Kulick: It’s a bit of a tease for what maybe could happen at the End of the Road tour, but I have no idea what will happen. No idea.
Right. Nobody knows.
Bruce Kulick: I think they like that, too. That, let the fans wonder. I don’t think they necessarily know what they want to do except, of course, promote that it really will wind down and that will be the end of them touring. If it could be three years, they’ll do it for three years. I don’t know.
I interviewed Gene last June in Stockholm, he played there with his solo band, and then he told me about the Farewell tour, and that it’s going to be three years. I was thinking, “How they’re you going to sell tickets for three years? The first round will be fine, of course. But then you have to add/change some elements to make it interesting, you know? You cannot repeat the same thing for three years.” That’s what I was thinking, but it’s my opinion only.
Bruce Kulick: I agree with that. And I guess they’ll have to figure that out, right? But I know people that complain and say, “They need to do this.” And there is no answer to that. And they’ll still buy the tickets, so I don’t know.
I know. We KISS fans; we are kind of crazy! “Laughs”
Bruce Kulick: Well, they’re fans, so they support the band, and they’re entitled to their opinions, but it doesn’t mean the band does everything that the fans kind of have in their mind. I had somebody, who is not a dummy, the guy helped me with some Wikipedia stuff, and he literally said to me, “Okay. I got the solution. Ace will go to his makeup and wear his makeup. But you come up with a new outfit, okay. And then you’re able to join the band as well on stage, in makeup.” And I’m like, “Interesting.” You know what I’m saying. You know how much controversy there is about anything regarding other people wearing makeup. So, like I need that. It’s funny. Look at the fact that the guy is so committed that he wants to come up with a way to do it. You see what I mean? It’s always interesting to me.
Maybe he wants to be a part of the history of KISS? “Laughs”
Bruce Kulick: Yeah. He wants to be involved. Sure.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE 80’S KISS
Actually, here is one fun fact. Yesterday, I told my bandmates at the rehearsals that we would have this discussion tonight. And one of the guys said, “Ask Bruce if he knows that when KISS is played on the radio in Finland, 95% of the songs played are from the non-makeup era. “Crazy Nights,” “God Gave Rock to You II,” and “Heaven’s of Fire” and “Lick It Up” are the usual top four KISS songs you hear from the radio in Finland.
Bruce Kulick: I did not. No, I didn’t know this. That’s great and interesting, yeah.
So, my question is the following. I find it a bit crazy that some current members of KISS would sometimes like to forget the whole unmasked era of the band. There have been comments like: “the whole era was a mistake” and that “the band was lost then.” But, if you look at the facts, like that this era songs are the most played KISS songs in the radio of Finland, I would say that the band did a lot of right things. How you see that thing now, many decades later?
Bruce Kulick: Absolutely. I mean, look, Gene and Paul are entitled to their decision or how they feel about certain years, and how they feel about playing certain things. But ultimately, people who make those playlists for the radio, the fans– I know how, especially in particular countries, certain songs, like “Crazy Nights,” were bigger hits internationally than they were in America. I remember just recently having a discussion with Eric. Somehow, CRAZY NIGHTS, the album, came up, and the song came up. And Eric said, “Yeah, we do it sometimes.” And then, we were talking about the Queen movie, and then something came up about Brain May, and he said that Brian May once had a conversation with him about that song. Well, how did he know that song? He’s not a Kiss fan, Brian May. You know what I mean? And he knows the song because it was like number five in England. So, he knew the song, and he actually commented to Eric that he liked it. So, to me, I’m like, “Oh, my God. Brian May heard my solo.” He’s one of my heroes, and yet, as you know, Finland, which is wonderful, loves my era maybe more than the classic era. I’m aware of that, and that’s a good thing.
I think it’s wonderful that there’s so much material for everyone to choose from and be particularly fond of, so. And I think there’ll be more spotlight now on some of my years from all the press and all the feedback of this recent cruise. It certainly celebrated all eras, decades of Kiss, on the cruise. And Ace got a chance, I mean, I feel like he only scratched the surface of an opportunity he had. But obviously, what he’s doing in December at this event on the East Coast, he is playing the whole 78’ solo record. That’s a big deal. You know what I mean? That’s going to be a big thing for him, and it’ll be a big thing for the fans. So, I love the fact that, it wasn’t a master plan by anybody, but somehow, I think everyone involved with the band has to kind of recognize that the fans have an appetite for all eras and everything. And if you can go deeper than your usual staple songs, it will be well received by the fans.
One thing I have to mention, when you were playing “Turn on the Night” on the cruise, it sounded amazing, and an elder couple was standing next to me. In the middle of the song, they asked, “That’s a great song. Is that from Bruce’s solo album?” I said, “No. It’s from CRAZY NIGHTS.” Both looked me and asked “What’s that? We’ve never heard about it”, so I think it was a hilarious moment “Laughs.”
Bruce Kulick: “Laughs.” Meanwhile, a very famous songwriter/producer, Andreas Carlsson, he’s in the front with Eric the first night we played. And Eric keeps screaming out, Do “Turn on the Night.” And I’m like, “We didn’t really prepare that one.” And I’m like, “No. Not tonight. No.” And then, after the show, he said to me, “Why didn’t you do that? Andreas wants to hear that? He loves that song. I was playing it for Paul.” So, I actually told the guys. I mean, that’s how good they are. Now, Brent and Todd know it because I did it on Kiss cruise seven with my brother. And part of the set list, obviously there was some other songs from the songs of my era from the performance with Bob that I could have revisited. And “Tears are Falling” was one that we did, of course, but I didn’t want to do too many of those. I felt like there were so many other songs to do. So, it turned out that all I had to do was tell Brent and Todd, “Let’s do “Turn on the Night” on that last performance.” And sure enough, Zach kind of did know it, and he went over it, and we ended the set with it which was wonderful. And Andreas was there, and he was very happy to hear it, and it was fun. So again, Andreas is a big, big Kiss fan and so successful in Sweden and the whole world with his contributions as a writer and producer. And he is a fan of my era, I mean, once again. So, it’s very interesting. It really is.
Absolutely. The path my question was going is that, from my point of view, after being on seven Kiss cruises, it seems that the European fans, as you said earlier, they’re keen of the ’80s, early ’90s Kiss stuff. But to be honest, it seems that there are a lot of these elder US fans, who might have been fans since ’74, but for somehow, they don’t know the material what the band released between 1983 and 1996 at all. Kiss didn’t exist for those guys during that era. Have you noticed that?
Bruce Kulick: Well, I think there’s a new kind of generation. My era of the band, we were very competitive with most of the hair metal bands that were really doing well, obviously, so. And as much as Slaughter still tours and Winger’s still out there doing dates, it is a little different. But I do run into plenty of US fans that are very aware of my era, but there are many that they went away. They didn’t stay, and yet, I think in Europe, they’re there. So, I don’t know. It might have been because the band was a little more generic in some ways, and in other ways, I think the European market just stayed really into it, I mean, and to my benefit, of course.
So, there is no absolute right answer to that question.
Bruce Kulick: No. Of course. And hard to know, right?
Yeah. Yeah. But now you know.
Bruce Kulick: Yes.
The next year is going to mark the 50’th anniversary year of Grand Funk Railroad. That will probably keep you busy for a while?
Bruce Kulick: Well, I mean, we’ll see if it really translates to more gigs. But usually, we do forty to fifty gigs a year. We have some dates with Bob Seger coming up this week and then in December and one in January. I think it’s incredible how fifty years ago, they started. It’s really wild. Rock and roll, that’s a great feeling to think that some band that was created fifty years ago, people enjoy their music.
You have recently published a new website (www.brucekulick.com), the BK3 vinyl has been re-released, and on your web-shop, there’s plenty of new BK merchandise available. Would you say something about these things and what the fans will find from your new pages?
Bruce Kulick: I think it’s wonderful stuff. I think some of the new stuff for me is clearly– like the website; I was working on that for a year. But it was a very, very interesting year. So many things have happened this year. And finally, I was able to share it with my fans, and I had some really special new merchandise that I was ready to share with fans. But the store was closed because I moved and I had a busy summer. And then, I wanted to share it only on the new site. So, I actually had the vinyl in my storage since actually May. It’s the 180 gram, and it is red vinyl, and there’s a couple of changes on the jacket, but the other exciting thing is the multi-swirl. Two years ago, I put out the banana guitar, and I offered some real guitars made by LTD which is a line of ESP, and it sold out in one day. But I’m moving on to making multi-swirl guitars too, but in the meantime, you know, Axe Heaven makes those mini guitars at about, I don’t know, they’re eight inches or so. Those are really fun, and I have a multi-swirl one that came out of in May. They did such a great job. So that’s on the website. There’s a little Scandinavian connection to my brucekulick.com. It’s actually a Norwegian fan that bought it for me. Because he heard me on Chris Jericho saying like, “Well I don’t have brucekulick.com, you know, because one of those people that steal the names of artists, you know, [laughter] so that they can make a profit selling it back to the artist. Uh, which is probably why there’s a PaulStanleyLive, and not Paulstanley.com, you know, or whatever. All of a sudden, I get an email from this guy. And I did meet him a year after and he gifted it to me. And he was a guest at one of the events I did in Norway. And he was, really, really lovely man and his wife, they were wonderful people. And, what can I say? The Kiss fans are amazing. So, to actually own that domain was great. Obviously, anything that was on kulick.net is still archived and lives through a link on the site as well. And I’m really proud of the new, simpler website. I haven’t even really been promoting it that much but just telling people I got the new site, I got a lot more orders than me, and my merch girl can handle right now. So, I’m just playing catch up with everything, but it’s always great.
The fact that the artist has a decent web page and a good online store has become more and more important because people no longer buy CDs and other merchandise from the stores.
Bruce Kulick: Exactly. Yes. And that’s fine. I was selling AUDIODOG and TRANSFORMER from my website, and this is before Facebook was really huge, I did it for a long time. So, it’s not as much of a change for me as it is maybe for some other artists, but I do feel being hands-on and do-it-yourself is a good thing. It’s very good.
As you said earlier, you were busy in the summer because you decided to move to a new location. Many fans do not know that you have left Los Angeles and relocated to Las Vegas. Every coin has two sides, but was it a tough decision to do after living over two decades in Los Angeles?
Bruce Kulick: Well, there was a long time where I felt like Los Angeles was getting too congested, too busy, too difficult to get the fires that– I never lived in a fire area. I could not believe what just happened this Fall. It was unbelievable. And I do know people who have lost their homes. That’s horrible. But I just outgrew it. It was Brent and Todd that said a lot of positive things about Vegas, and I still felt it was very– it had the major airport and still very entertainment related, and it’s still close to the West Coast that to go to LA is just a very short trip. You could drive it, even. So, it was not that hard a decision. There are many things about LA that I still miss and I think of, but I’m very happy here, and I just kind of outgrew Los Angeles. I might have left earlier, but because my mom lived there, and I did look in on her every week and speak to her every day there. Obviously, once her story was written and she passed away, that’s when I could get serious about, “Do I want to move.” So, it wasn’t that hard for Lisa and I to make the decision to come to Nevada and leave LA.
At the end of the ’80s, you moved from your home city New York to Los Angeles. Was it a different decision compared to this?
Bruce Kulick: Both were easy. When I was in New York, I loved New York, but I couldn’t afford it, and it was just crazy. And LA got kind of crazy in the same way, so they were the right decisions, both of them. Okay? They really were like that. And again, I did these things voluntarily, and you have to understand that Kiss started. First, Gene moved out; then Paul was out in LA a lot. So, they kind of forced a hand, and Eric Carr, who we lost today, of course, many years ago, he was the one to hold out, although he even looked for a place to live in the building that I bought, a condo in LA, ironically. So, Kiss kind of brought me to LA for sure.
Right. So, it’s their fault “Laughs.”
Bruce Kulick: Yeah.
I think this was an excellent way to end this session. Anything else you want to say to your fans?
Bruce Kulick: Well, I’d love everyone to check out the new website, and it’s a simpler one, and you can leave a comment. Obviously, you could visit the store there, and I’m going to learn how to be interactive on it, and everyone knows my Facebook and everything. And I do want to thank all the fans that have been so supportive. I read so many positive things about what happened on the cruise, and that all, it really does mean a lot to me. So, I do appreciate it, and I hope I can always make them happy and feel good about my era. And they should certainly explore all the other things that I’m involved with in my life because I’m not just one dimensional all the time with Kiss, although I welcome the huge connection that I have, obviously, so. And Scandinavia is particularly incredible to me, and I do never forget that, so I really appreciate that from all you guys. It’s really great!
Thank you, Bruce.
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