Bruce Kulick – The KISS Asylum Interview

©Elizabeth Sneed/Elizabeth A. White – Please do not reprint/reproduce without express written permission.

KA: Bruce, you must be very relieved that “Carnival of Souls” is finally being released after well over a year of being in limbo. Perhaps you could run down the tracks on the album and give fans your thoughts on each song.

“Hate” – A very aggressive track form Gene that is very heavy and mean, classic Gene in the “Unholy” vibe.

“Rain” – A dark and slippery track that Paul wails on in the chorus. Nasty guitar work that I love. Trippy time signature too.

“Master & Slave” – A great, catchy riff from Paul that was a tough one to arrange, but it really shines with a dark bridge and great ending.

“Childhood’s End” – Gene’s opus to a friend, not sure if the friend is real. Great classic hooks and lots of production, kids and all, in an Ezrin fashion. Recording debut of my signature ESP in the solo, with double harmony guitar there.

“I Will Be There” – Great acoustic stuff here with Paul on 12 string and me on a 6 string acoustic with a classical guitar solo on nylon strings, which was a KISS first. Written for Evan, Paul’s kid.

“Jungle” – A nasty bass line with a wild, repeating guitar riff that sets up a jungle rhythm. Very much fun to play and reminds me of one of my favorite bands, CREAM.

“In My Head” – Dark, ugly and relentless guitars and vocals from Gene. Love the solo.

“It Never Goes Away” – Very moody song from Paul that has a 12 string Rickenbacker solo. Gene got me the Rickenbacker for my B-day!

“I Confess” – Very moody again from Gene. We used a string section on this that I played along with on my signature ESP. Cool, trippy Les Paul solo in the middle and at the end…. sounds like I was drunk!

“Seduction of the Innocent” – Gene’s trip to the middle east with tablas and all. Cool slide guitar from me with lots of delay for the dreamy effect.

“In the Mirror” – Some Hendrixy stuff from me there.

“I Walk Alone” – My epic song that was very hard, but that I am very proud of. It was fun to sing, but to recreate the demo with all the backward stuff was a challenge. I am very proud of how it came out and it was a prophetic title for me.

KA: What guitars did you use on the “COS” album?

Mostly my favorite ESPs and of course my vintage Gibson Les Pauls, ES355, and even a BC RICH. Main solo guitars were the yellow ESP from Crazy Nights and my vintage Les Paul Standard and Custom.

KA: In general, the songs on “Carnival of Souls” are somewhat different than past albums. They are a bit darker and the riffs are the heaviest they have ever been. Some fans think the album is not a true representation of the KISS sound, but rather that it is a deliberately crafted “formula'” album of sorts. What do you say to the people who think the album represents KISS just emulating the grunge sound because it was big around the time “COS” was written and recorded?

It was meant to be dark and moody and modern, and I am very proud of it. I think people are entitled to their opinion, but we followed no trend, just heavy guitar riffs done in a unique fashion. To me the influences are vintage Hendrix, Beatles, Cream, Black Sabbath and many other 60’s and 70’s bands.

KA: Looking at the song writing credits it is obvious you were heavily involved in the creation of “COS,” as you are credited with co-writing 9 of the 12 tracks on the album. Was there a conscious effort on your part to become more involved this time, or did it just turn out that way?

I worked hard on coming up with riffs, and I came up with lots that Paul and Gene liked. It wasn’t an accident, just hard work that paid off.

KA: Why did it take so long to record “Carnival of Souls?” KISS had been writing for this album as early as 1993, and its been mentioned that Bob Ezrin was brought in at one point in the early stages to produce but that he ended up leaving. Is that correct and, if so, how much impact did he end up having before he did leave?

Ezrin was involved and set the pace of it being a dark record. It did take time before we got into the studio because we were constantly doing other things like touring in South America and doing KISS Kons, but once we went in it didn’t take that long. Toby Wright, our co-producer and engineer, picked the same songs that Ezrin liked (Hate, I Walk Alone, M&S).

KA: “Carnival of Souls” marks your vocal debut. How did that come about?

I asked Gene and he said “Sure, try it.” Toby was supportive because he knew it would make for an interesting track and one that might of been better for me than Gene or Paul or Eric.

KA: What did it feel like to finally play “I Walk Alone” live for the fans at the Detroit convention earlier this year?

I was very excited and it was quite a thrill. Glad it came off cool.

KA: You were with KISS from 1984 to 1996. What was it like last year knowing that they were on tour, but that you were not with them? Do you still keep in touch with Gene and Paul?

Very odd of course to be home with them touring and all, and I missed the fans and the gigs. We did many huge shows that are such a thrill. I still am close to them both and we speak pretty often.

KA: Ok, we all know at this point that you and John Corabi, formerly of Mötley Crüe, have teamed up and are working on an album together, but take us back to the beginning. When did you and John first meet and how did the idea to form the band come about?

I met John during his tenure with the Crüe and liked him, but I wasn’t really close with him. Nikki Sixx suggested that we work together. I was excited to meet with John about forming a band, and when we played together it was destiny.

KA: How about giving us some information on the other band members and their backgrounds.

Our drummer is Brent Fitz and he is from Winnipeg. I met him in LA through Lenita Erickson. He plays drums, keyboards and guitar great, and sings! Jamie Hunting is a bass player’s bass player. He is from Pasadena, has worked with David Lee Roth, and I can’t describe how talented he is. He also plays keys and guitar and sings amazing. Also has a scary 12 string bass that rocks.

KA: It was recently announced that your band is going to be called UNION. Why UNION?

UNION for us represents the joining of John and I and Brent and James to form something we believe in 100%. We can’t wait for everyone to hear our new music and be a part of what we created.

KA: You came on the AOL bulletin boards recently and said that the band has signed with Mayhem records. What was the appeal of signing with them?

They are a major independent which means they have a parent company (Atlantic), and they loved the music and had vision for what John and I are about.

KA: What’s the songwriting situation looking like for the new album? Is the entire band involved, just you and John, any outside songwriters? Any working song titles you can share?

Except for some other musician friends of Curt’s on one song, it is John and I with Curt Cuomo. In the future the whole band may contribute. Some titles are “Old Man Wise,” “Try,” “Heavy D,” “Tangerine,” “Around Again,” and “October Morning Wind.”

KA: Are you going to sing in the new band?

I might sing some leads, certainly backgrounds.

KA: Who’s producing the album and what is the production going to be like – large with a lot of effects and pedals, or more stripped down?

John, myself, and Curt Cuomo are co-producing together. Curt and I are a great team and I thank Paul Stanley for introducing me to him. Some songs are large as you say, but the song dictates the production for me.

KA: You’ve finished 4 or 5 demos for the album at this point, how would you describe the sound? Is it anything like “Carnival of Souls” or the album John did with the Crüe? (“Mötley Crüe”)

It has elements of all of that, but it is a unique combination of what turns us on. I think it really is strong material and well crafted.

KA: Have you discussed with John or Mayhem the idea of making a video for one of the songs from the new album? Is that something you would be interested in doing?

We are very interested in it if they want us to do one.

KA: What kind of tour do you envision when you go out to support the album? Something with a large stage and effects, or something more intimate?

It is hard to say about a show right now. New bands are at a disadvantage with that. We will tour though, and feel confident about pulling off our songs well live. Also, we will do some KISS and Motley stuff that you won’t see with those bands. We can do “COS,” the instrumental I did for “Return of the Comet,” the Scream, and some Rod stuff from that tribute. We can cover lots of bases.

KA: Speaking of that Ace Frehley Tribute CD “Return of the Comet,” how did your involvement with that project come about?

I was approached by the Shock Records people and they wanted a new track from me, kind of a bonus. I was flattered and knew that fans were aware of “Liar” from my clinics, so I cut it with Brent playing drums. I played all the guitars and bass and it came out great. Eric’s track is very, very cool too.

KA: You have an Internet site, “Bruce Kulick’s Virtual Studio.” Do you do any of the HTML programming yourself or do you pretty much let Next Level take care of that?

I have been a little behind lately with all the activity with my band, but I give them the pictures and press and they put it up. I am very proud of the site and they do an amazing job for me.

KA: Do you think the new band will have its own web site, or will you just use your existing site and other online forums like KISS Asylum to promote the band?

I am not sure yet, but it is possible that the band will have its own. It is too soon now to say.

KA: We recently interviewed Andre Augustine and asked him this same question, but we are really interested in getting your thoughts on the matter as well. Gene has been quoted on more than one occasion as saying he thinks online fans are “warped.” How do you feel about online fans?

I only am concerned with the people who spread rumors. Lies can hurt people, but in general the internet has lots of cool things in the way of communication never before possible.

KA: We spoke with Loretta Carravello not long ago about Eric Carr’s “Rockheads” creation. In what capacity are you involved in that project and do you anticipate the release of any of the “Rockheads” music down the road?

I hope that could happen. I do have the master tapes of it. I do not have the time now, but in the future it should happen.

KA: On a somewhat related topic, Eric was the inspiration for an online fan tribute album, “KAOL: Music from the Folder,” all the proceeds of which are being donated to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in his name. Have you heard the CD and do you have any thoughts about the project?

I did hear some of it and it was well done. Kudos to the people involved.

KA: We know that you are incredibly busy at this point in your life, but when you do get some free time to yourself what kind of things do you enjoy doing to relax? Did you have a chance to watch any of the MLB League Championship games?

I enjoy movies and a great meal, and guitar shops are fun too. I have been too busy to watch, but I do like baseball and I was disappointed when the Yankees lost.

KA: You have been so kind with your time in answering our questions Bruce, so here’s your open forum – is there anything else you would like to say to all your online fans and supporters?

I am so glad to have had 12 great years with one of the biggest rock bands in the world. The fans have been very supportive and I must thank them again. I am also very proud of the fact that John and I have created a band that we are very proud of, and it is my second dream come true. The first was being in KISS! I hope you all enjoy “COS” and check out my band’s new CD when it comes out. Thanks!

Note: This interview was originally posted on the website KISS ASYLUM, which I was co-owner/content manager of from 1997-2004. As fate would have it, very shortly after this interview my husband (then fiancé) and I took over Bruce’s website and have been the developers / content managers of it ever since.
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