Bruce Kulick Says Fans Have ‘Hungry’ For ’80s &’ 90s Kiss Songs
Kiss fans of the ’80s and’ 90s enjoyed a plethora of rarities and hits from the era live thanks to former guitarist Bruce Kulick’s performances on the last two Kiss Kruises. He tells UCR that the Kiss Army is “hungry” to hear the songs, which is part of what he calls a “strong rebirth” that is occurring with the material of his time in the band.
Kruise’s performances left those same fans hoping for a similar event on dry land. They will make their wish come true on December 30, 2021 at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas as Kulick’s band, which also includes vocalist / guitarist Todd Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz and bassist / vocalist Zach Throne, will perform their first gig in a traditional place.
According to Kulick, Vegas’ performance won’t go as far as their previous sets, but fans can still expect surprises.
Before the show, he checked in to discuss some favorite cuts selected by the resident Kiss maniacs of the UCR team. Here are some excerpts from that conversation, which you can listen to in full on our YouTube channel.
“Love is a deadly weapon”
From: Asylum (1985)
We were recording at Electric Lady [Studios]. Now, I’m officially the band’s new lead guitarist at this time. i would work with gene [Simmons] and i would work with paul [Stanley]. When you’re in the studio, you know you can make a lot of things work that you can’t actually do – or experience. [in concert].
Because you’re playing and then you can go in and combine tracks and switch to the other channel. They did that a lot. So there were times, I was like, “Okay, I don’t mind you flipping the channel, but it’s not very realistic what you just chose. Sometimes when I listened I mostly agreed with what the final solo was. [after it had been] account.
But when I look back now, I’m like, “That was crazy!” I think they tried to make me so wild [as possible]. You know, George Lynch was called “Mr. Scary”, because he’s a scary guitarist. He has tremendous ability with speed, tone, action, and technique. So that’s what they do. were doing, they were doing my solos a bit off the map. And when you go from 86 to 2021, it’s been a lot of years there! So it’s always something that I look back and tell a young man: “Better you than me!”
“King of the Mountain”
From: Asylum (1985)
There is a video where I show how I made these riffs. I remember watching it with [my wife] Lisa, not that long ago, during the pandemic. I was just like, ‘Oh wow, that’s cool. This is how I made this riff, let me try this. I have done this a few times. Now these riffs are nothing like what I’ve played with Grand Funk Railroad for the past 20 years. I don’t do anything with anyone, really.
So all of a sudden I was like, “Ouch, my hand doesn’t feel so good. It’s just muscle memory, that’s what I was doing then, so it wasn’t that hard. But then when you walk away from that kind of wild tapping, I played Eddie Van Halen the best I could. You know, he was the king of it. But I was able to integrate some things at the time. I haven’t used these techniques for the past few years, so I was quite impressed.
I watched a 1988 Crazy nights guitar solo, live at Budokan, found on YouTube. I literally look at the screen, “Come on, Bruce! Oh my God! ”Lisa couldn’t believe what she was watching. I go,“ This is awesome. ”I love watching him and my God, I don’t even know how I did it. Because he was a furious game. But you know I’m in my prime [then]. The guitar is a bit athletic. I think everyone knows that. But I think that I interpret and that I hold on. You know, I always play well. But I would joke anyone to say that I can play as well as I did in the 80s. In the sense of speed and flash, that’s it.
“No no no”
From: Crazy nights (1987)
“No, no, no” was another really funny thing. Eric [Carr] obviously loved the double bass and Alex Van Halen. Like I said earlier, I was [almost like] a student of Eddie Van Halen, trying to emulate and use the techniques I learned from him to be creative. Eric and I worked on the intro and brought it to Gene. It was Gene who started with the idea of ”No, no, no, no”. In many ways, that was a bit of a nudge to a Van Halen thing, with Gene as the singer and lyricist. I don’t think Paul really liked it, but we did a lot. You know, he was prancing on stage playing it. It didn’t turn out to be a bad song and we used it live.
I used to do a guitar solo and then I would go out and start “No, no, no” and we would go after Eric’s drums thing with me. It was an important song. The very, very intro, was not made for the demo. I think it could have been [Ron] Nevison saying, “Why don’t you go out, Bruce, and play.” Go for it. I see myself in the studio with my yellow banana guitar. This ESP has always really had a wonderful, screaming tone. I was just flashing a few riffs and then of course Eric joins me at the very end with some drums and then we jump right into this big double bass song. It’s a cool song. I wouldn’t be surprised if other people ended up covering it up.
From: Warm in the shade (1989)
This song has been a long journey. Eric [Carr] wrote it in different ways. He wasn’t called “Little Caesar” at first. It started off as a demo called “Ain’t That Peculiar”. It was actually slower. I have all the demos. He and I fleshed out a lot of things, because we had this great relationship working on his Rockheads, you know the idea of the cartoon. We wrote other songs [at that time as well].
To have it on the Kiss album, it took [some work]. It was like, “It’s gonna have to really adapt to the Kiss thing.” At first, it was more tight and also [much like] Aerosmith and a little too mid-tempo. Then he engaged with [songwriter] Adam Mitchell and Gene. We picked up the tempo and got better lyrics, writing a song that could [be related to] a nickname for him. It was like, “Hey, little Caesar.” I think, given that there wasn’t a big footprint of Gene and Paul, it went really well with the Kiss thing. I was so happy that Eric had his own song on a record.
From: Revenge (1992)
I was very grateful for “Tough Love”. I had this riff, the verse riff, that starts the song. I introduced this to Paul and Bob Ezrin, who I really enjoyed working with. They liked it and we started working on it. It was very fun. I was always aware of the amazing songs and records that Ezrin was able to produce with Kiss. So for me to sit in a room and co-write a song, originally coming from a riff I created, was a real pleasure. I was really proud of it.
But the only funny thing about the song – I think it was that – maybe we should have kept moving around the key, playing the riff in a different way. I could mistake this for “Heart of Chrome”, but if it was “Tough Love” obviously Ezrin could always count on me to transpose and figure out how to make it work. Because you know, if the singer isn’t comfortable with the arrangement you’re doing, you don’t have a song. It’s not going to be done. I know “Tough Love”, for me, that and “Heart of Chrome” had symmetry, so I’m really proud of the fact. [that I was involved with that]. It was the third track on the album and it was always so enjoyable.
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