Category Archives: Bruce Kulick

My thoughts on KISS getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and album reviews coming

If you follow the world of rock/metal online, you’d be hard pressed not to know that KISS is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. You’d also have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the controversy surrounding which members are (and are not) getting inducted. It’s become quite a mess. Gene & Paul are having it out in the press with Ace & Peter, Gene & Paul are having it out with the HOF’s induction process, the fans are having it out with Gene & Paul, etc. It goes on and on.

Here’s what we know: the Hall of Fame is inducting only Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The original four members of KISS and that’s it. They aren’t inducting anyone else and they don’t want anyone else (such as Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer) performing at the induction ceremony. Frankly, that’s silly, but look — KISS has been eligible for induction for a long time and for the Hall of Fame execs to put this restriction on the band is just their way to make the induction as painful as possible for KISS. It’s like they couldn’t put off leaving KISS out of the Hall any longer because the public was becoming too vocal about their exclusion but at the same time the Hall of Fame didn’t want to make it a fun/easy process for the band.

No one is arguing the founders shouldn’t be in but I think all members should be inducted and that they should be allowed to perform with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer (which the Hall does not want). My dream scenario is that everyone who has ever been in KISS gets inducted and then the classic line-up plays and then the modern line-up plays and/or they have all six of those guys (plus Bruce Kulick) jam together.

It’s not a big deal to induct every single member of KISS, so I don’t see why the Hall is resisting it:

  • No question, Eric Carr definitely deserves to be in. Great drummer and he contributed to the band for 11 years on many successful albums.
  • Bruce Kulick — same situation. He was there for 8 years and played on a number of KISS albums that went gold/platinum.
  • Vinnie Vincent. Not sure if anyone could even find this guy and he didn’t have the best relationship with Gene & Paul but even they would admit his guitar work and songwriting skills played a big hand in freshening up the band’s sound and giving them some of the best albums they’ve ever produced.
  • Eric Singer first joined KISS in 1991 after Eric Carr’s death, had a short stint in the early 2000s filling in for Peter Criss and has been their drummer since 2004 when Peter Criss once again left and has sung lead vocals on a handful of KISS tracks.
  • Tommy Thayer is a big force in the modern band. Great guitar player and he’s been playing with them since 2002 and has songwriting credits/vocal duties on the last two KISS albums. I could see someone maybe arguing against Tommy though given the time frame he joined, but I think he’s contributed enough to warrant the induction.
  • Given his very short tenure, Mark St. John is probably the only KISS member you could question for HOF status and say that he didn’t contribute much to the band… provided you consider playing on a platinum-selling album as not contributing much.

It’s nice that the band is getting inducted into something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when you consider the people who run the Hall and the list of people who have already been inducted, it’s anything but a legit rock hall. No one in their right mind would argue that if there is such a hall that KISS deserves to be there, but it’s sad that the RNR Hall of Fame is refusing to acknowledge the entire career of the band and wants to focus only on the 1970s.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some KISS fans but I actually applaud Gene & Paul for refusing to give in and play strictly with Ace & Peter. They want all eras of KISS to be recognized and they think Eric & Tommy deserve to stand on stage. I agree. I know there is the whole Gene & Paul vs. Ace & Peter thing, and that’s sad, but I don’t have a problem with Gene & Paul’s “all or nothing” stance.

Now, I recently noticed there’s a surprising amount of KISS albums I haven’t yet reviewed. I could’ve sworn I reviewed them all! Well, with all the buzz regarding KISS these days thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that this year is the band’s 40th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to finish reviewing the band’s catalog! Be on the look out for those reviews in the coming weeks.

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BRUCE KULICK – BK3

Bruce Kulick – BK3 (2010, Twenty 4 Records/Rocket Science Ventures)

1. “Fate” … 3:31
2. “Ain’t Gonna Die” … 4:11
3. “No Friend Of Mine” … 4:09
4. “Hand of the King” … 4:55
5. “I’ll Survive” … 4:48
6. “Dirty Girl” … 3:59
7. “Final Mile” … 4:14
8. “I’m The Animal” … 4:42
9. “And I Know” … 3:17
10. “Between The Lines” … 3:54
11. “Life” … 4:32

Musicians:
Bruce Kulick – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals (“Ain’t Gonna Die”)
John Corabi – Lead Vocals (“No Friend of Mine”
Nick Simmons – Lead Vocals (“Hand of the King”)
Doug Fieger – Lead Vocals (“Dirty Girl”)
Tobias Sammet – Lead Vocals (“I’m The Animal”)
Steve Lukather – Guitar (“Between The Lines”)
Jeremy Rubolino – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jimmy Haslip – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums (“I’m The Animal”)
Brent Fitz – Drums
Kenny Aronoff – Drums
Cliff Calabro – Backing Vocals

Producer: Jeremy Rubolino with Bruce Kulick

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this release and while I expected it to be a solid effort, I didn’t realize how much I could would to enjoy this album.

Bruce is a vocalist in the style of Ace Frehley and Joe Perry — he’s not the greatest singer, but there’s a lot of charm to his voice and he makes it work. Not that he’s the lone vocalist for BK3. There are a number of lead vocal cameos: Gene Simmons and his son Nick get a song a piece, former Union band mate John Corabi sings, as does Edguy/Avantasia vocalist Tobias Sammet (who was recommended to Bruce by Eric Singer).

Musically, Bruce covers a broad range of rock ‘n’ roll. There’s some modern hard rock, old school hard rock, heavy metal, rock/pop, fast, slow, etc. You’d think this would make for a patchy album, but it doesn’t. Somehow, it all flows together and it’s a bit refreshing to go from the trippy Kulick-sung “I’ll Survive” to the rock pop of “Dirty Girl” sung by The Knack’s Doug Fieger. It keeps things interesting.

The album opens with “Fate”, which is a fast and fun song that throws a bunch of lyrics together that rhyme. Whether there’s a reason to any of this rhyming or not, I always enjoy songs like these. Good way to kick things off and it’s probably the must care-free song on the album.

“Ain’t Gonna Die” is up next with Gene on vocals. It’s an okay song but I have to say I think Nick outdoes his dad when he sings on “Hand of the King”. That’s a great heavy modern rock song and Nick’s voice is deep and powerful, sounding a lot like Gene. Both of these songs sound like they would have fit in well with KISS’ Carnival of Souls album. “Hand of the King” is probably my favorite song on the album but “No Friend of Mine” with John Corabi on vocals gives it a run for its money — another fantastic song with a modern edge.

Anytime I can hear Tobias Sammet, it’s a real treat. One of the best singers in rock today and “I’m The Animal” is  a throwback sounding something like what you might hear on a late ’80s KISS album or even Revenge. Eric Singer plays drums on this one. “Between The Lines” is an instrumental featuring Bruce & Steve Lukather. Very cool stuff with a Joe Satriani vibe.

Overall, this is a VERY cool release that went beyond my expectations. There’s definitely a number of iPod worthy tunes here for me (Where only the elite are playlisted!) and the album as whole has received steady play since it has come into my possession awhile back. I have not heard any of Bruce’s other post-KISS works previous to BK3, but if you were a fan of his work in that group, I think you’ll like this album.

Highlights: “Fate”, “No Friend of Mine”, “Hand of the King”, “I’ll Survive”, “I’m The Animal”, “And I Know”, “Between The Lines”

www.kulick.net
www.myspace.com/brucekulick

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