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Bob Kulick Talks About His New Solo Record Filled With An All Star Lineup, Gene Simmon’s New Box Set And The Kiss Kruise

By Andrew Catania

Bob Kulick is a legend.   A guіtаrіѕt and Grаmmу Awаrd-wіnnіng rесоrd рrоduсеr, bеѕt knоwn fоr hіѕ ѕtudіо wоrk wіth Kіѕѕ, аnd fоr hіѕ tеnurе іn W.A.S.P. Bоb Kulісk wаѕ bоrn іn Brооklуn, Nеw Yоrk, аnd іѕ thе оldеr brоthеr оf fоrmеr Kіѕѕ lеаd guіtаrіѕt Bruсе Kulісk, whоm hе ѕuggеѕtеd Kіѕѕ hіrе.

At a vеrу уоung аgе, Bоb Kulісk оnсе gаvе a уоung Jіmі Hеndrіx a ѕраrе guіtаr ѕtrіng whеn hе brоkе hіѕ durіng аn аudіtіоn іn Nеw Yоrk Cіtу. Kulісk tооk a сhаnсе іn 1973 аnd аudіtіоnеd fоr thе lеаd guіtаr ѕроt іn a thеn-nеw bаnd саllеd Kіѕѕ. Thе bаnd, wіth Gеnе Sіmmоnѕ, Pаul Stаnlеу, аnd Pеtеr Crіѕѕ, wеrе vеrу іmрrеѕѕеd bу hіѕ реrfоrmаnсе, but іt wаѕ thе glіtzіеr Aсе Frеhlеу (whо аudіtіоnеd іmmеdіаtеlу after hіm) whо wаѕ сhоѕеn tо fіll thе ѕроt.

Bоb Kulісk lаtеr рlауеd (unсrеdіtеd) оn fоur Kіѕѕ аlbumѕ: Alіvе II (thrее оf thе fіvе ѕtudіо trасkѕ), Unmаѕkеd (рlауеd Lеаd Guіtаr оn Nаkеd Cіtу), Kіllеrѕ (аll fоur nеw ѕtudіо trасkѕ), аnd ѕоmе mіnіmаl wоrk оn Crеаturеѕ оf thе Nіght. Hе аlѕо рlауеd оn Pаul Stаnlеу’ѕ 1978 ѕоlо аlbum аnd оn hіѕ 1989 ѕоlо tоur.

Eаrlу іn hіѕ ѕеѕѕіоn саrееr, Bоb Kulісk рlауеd lеаd guіtаr fоr Lоu Rееd оn hіѕ Cоnеу Iѕlаnd Bаbу rесоrd. Kulісk fоllоwеd thіѕ uр wіth a lоng-runnіng ѕtіnt іn thе Nеvеrlаnd Exрrеѕѕ, Mеаt Lоаf’ѕ tоurіng bаnd, оn аnd оff fоr уеаrѕ, whісh lеd tо арреаrаnсеѕ on ѕеvеrаl Mеаt Lоаf аlbumѕ, mоѕt nоtаblу оn 1984’ѕ Bаd Attіtudе. Bоb Kulісk аlѕо fоrmеd a bаnd саllеd Bаlаnсе, wіth Pерру Cаѕtrо (fоrmеrlу оf thе Bluеѕ Mаgооѕ) аnd Dоug Kаtѕаrоѕ (multі-рlаtіnum rесоrdіng аrrаngеr аnd Brоаdwау соnduсtоr), whісh hаd mоdеѕt сhаrt success іn thе еаrlу 1980ѕ, fоllоwеd uр bу рlауіng rhуthm аnd lеаd guіtаr оn Mісhаеl Bоltоn’ѕ 1983 ѕеlf-tіtlеd аlbum.

Bоb wаѕ іnvоlvеd wіth a рrоjесt саllеd Skull, rеlеаѕіng оnе аlbum, Nо Bоnеѕ Abоut It, іn 1991. Bruсе Kulісk, hіѕ brоthеr, whо wоuld bесоmе a mеmbеr оf KISS, со-wrоtе оnе ѕоng аnd арреаrеd аѕ a guеѕt guіtаrіѕt оn аnоthеr trасk. In аddіtіоn, Kulісk рlауеd оn thе W.A.S.P. аlbumѕ Thе Crіmѕоn Idоl аnd Stіll Nоt Blасk Enоugh. Bоb Kulісk wаѕ оnlу іnvоlvеd wіth thе ѕtudіо wоrk аnd nеvеr tоurеd wіth W.A.S.P. оr bесаmе a mеmbеr оf thе bаnd. In 1996 hе rеlеаѕеd Murdеrеr’ѕ Rоw wіth hіѕ bаnd оf thе ѕаmе nаmе. This grоuр іnсludеd Dаvіd Glеn Eіѕlеу (оf Gіuffrіа аnd Dіrtу Whіtе Bоу) оn vосаlѕ.

Sіnсе thеn, Kulісk hаѕ ѕеrvеd іn vаrіоuѕ ѕіdе рrоjесtѕ such as Blасkthоrnе аnd Observation Bаllооn. Hе аlѕо рrоduсеd Mоtörhеаd’ѕWhірlаѕh” (wіnnеr оf thе 2004 Grаmmу Awаrd fоr Bеѕt Mеtаl Pеrfоrmаnсе), рrоduсеd аnd рlауеd guіtаr оn thе thеmе fоr WWE wrеѕtlеr Trірlе H, аnd hаѕ еаrnеd 11 рlаtіnum оr gоld rесоrdѕ wоrkіng wіth Kіѕѕ аnd Dіаnа Rоѕѕ. Kulісk аlѕо соmроѕеd, рrоduсеd аnd реrfоrmеd “Swееt Vісtоrу” wіth ѕіngеr Dаvіd Glеn Eіѕlеу аnd Erіс Sіngеr оf KISS іn thе SроngеBоb SԛuаrеPаntѕ еріѕоdе “Bаnd Gееkѕ” оn Nісkеlоdеоn. Thе ѕоng furthеr арреаrѕ оn SроngеBоb SԛuаrеPаntѕ: Thе Yеllоw Album.

Bоb Kulісk tаlеntѕ hаvе еаrnеd Kulісk a dоzеn gоld аnd рlаtіnum rесоrdѕ, аnd аѕіdе frоm wrіtіng fоr thе trаdіtіоnаl аlbum fоrmаt, Bоb Kulісk wrіttеn аnd реrfоrmеd ѕоngѕ fоr Nісkеlоdеоn’ѕ SроngеBоb Sԛuаrе Pаntѕ (Dаvіd Glеn Eіѕlеу’ѕ “Swееt Vісtоrу”) аnd thе thеmе ѕоng fоr WWE’ѕ ѕuреrѕtаr wrеѕtlеr Trірlе H, “Thе Gаmе“.

Bob was gracious enough to spend some time with me to discuss Skeletons in the Closet and his future plans.

What made you release a solo album after all these years?

Well, I guess as they say you sometimes know fate and synchronicity just kind of wind up. And then you see what the plan is. In this case, my girlfriend Julie Bergonz who is a professional photographer she took all the pictures of me that are on the CD. She kept saying to me why don’t you do an EP of original material just do a few songs. Do something of your own for a change. 

I was of like, I’ve done all this other stuff with everybody else every time I wanted to do something of mine I would put a band together of some shape or variety and me kind of thought you know well you know this could be interesting if only the parts that I would need would fall into place. So, Julie introduced me to Bobby Ferrari who wound up co-producing the record with me and provided the awesome Vegas recording studio that we did the five new songs at.  It’s a real studio and it ties into the story in that all of the other stuff the skeletons in the closet saga the five nuggets that were the retrospective songs the songs that were already recorded before previously released to score songs that two murderers row songs and the one song can’t stop the rock actually was never released.

It’s part of the retrospective part that all got tacked on after we did these five original songs to have a whole record when it was suggested that you know the five new songs are great. You wonder if you had an entire record it might be cool with people suggesting but what about those skeletons in your closet.  What about all those tracks that never really got to see the light of day.   So those wound up getting dragged out, and that’s how the back five wound up attached to the front five. And I would also mention the other person who is critically important to this was my old balance band bandmates Doug Katsaros who co-wrote the four originals that start the record.

Did Bruce contribute to your record? 

BK:  Bruce provided two things. One of the songs he’s a co-writer on which is Not Before You. One of the new songs on he also engages in the guitar do on Guitar Commandos. One of the retrospective songs that we do with skulls though he’s on both as a lead player playing with me and as a songwriter

What does the future hold for you? 

Will be doing the Kiss Kruise Gene Simmons had contacted me about releasing a box set of songs that he had written back in the day of which I have 4-5 songs which may end up on his box set.  That should be out next year.  As far as touring or new stuff, we’ll see what the future holds.

The all star list of musicians to appear on Skeletons in the Closet include:

Musicians appearing on Skeletons in the Closet include:

Lead vocalists – David Glen Eisley, Andrew Freeman, Todd Kerns, Robin McAuley, Dennis St. James, Dee Snider, Vick Wright. Bassists – Kjell Benner, Bobby Ferrari, Bruce Kulick, Dennis St. James, Rudy Sarzo, Chuck Wright Keyboardists – Doug Katsaros, Jimmy Waldo Drummers – Vinnie Appice, Frankie Banali, Chuck Burgi, Scot Coogan, Brent Fitz, Bobby Rock, Jay Schellen, Eric Singer.

Skeletons in the Closet will be out September 15th, 2017 via Vanity Music.  Check Bob out @ https://www.facebook.com/BobKulickMusic/

Legendary Guitarist Bob Kulick To Release First Solo Record On September 15th

Fifty years is a long time to have a career in any industry. However, fifty years in the cut throat music business is a miracle unto itself. Not to mention a relevant, successful run in not only one but several fields.

Grammy Award winning guitarist/songwriter/producer extraordinaire Bob Kulick began his musical profession at 16 – when most high schoolers are still trying to figure out where they’re going in life – appearing on the 1966 album, ‘Winchester Cathedral’ from the Random Blues Band, the “baby band” that Bob played in that played The Café Wha in New York’s Greenwich Village alongside Jimmy James and the Blue Flames (later rechristened Jimi Hendrix). “This was the first club gig I had experienced and it completely changed my world!” recalls the guitarist.

1973 saw Kulick make the connection that he has been associated the most with throughout his career. He auditioned for – and got passed over by – KISS. Instead of being dejected the six stringer aligned himself with the band over the years, playing on the studio material on ‘KISS Alive 2.’ providing solos on the ‘Killers’ album, co-writing “Naked City” from ‘Unmasked’ and guesting on Paul Stanley’s 1979 solo album and tour a decade later. He even suggested his brother to the band. “It took multiple tries but we finally got him there!” Bob laughs.

Aside from KISS, Bob has, of course, played with Meat Loaf, Balance, Lou Reed, W.A.S.P., Skull, Murderer’s Row and several other bands and studio projects over the years.

Fifty-one years after making his recording debut, the well-respected axe slinger has decided it’s time to release his first actual solo album, Skeletons in the Closet. Kulick explains, “I started writing new music in 2015 which then turned into songs co-written with my former Balance bandmate, Doug Katsaros and my brother Bruce. I’ve had the thought of doing a solo project using some of the musicians I had worked with in the past for some time. Now armed with four new original songs my girlfriend (photographer, Julie Bergonz) introduced me to producer Bobby Ferrari at Vegas View Recording and he loved the idea of working with me, the guest artists, and the four new songs and that introduction led to the making of this album.”

A ten song affair, Skeletons in the Closet is half brand new songs and half material from his storied past. “The idea of doing these new songs/retrospective songs as one CD only came to me after the new original songs favorite. Then we added our cover of “Goldfinger and pulled five of my all-time favorite songs out from my “closetcreating Skeletons in the Closet.”

Kicking off with “Rich Man,” the uplifting track is the lyrical juxtaposition between what we don’t have and being “rich” because we have “you” – a girlfriend, lover or a guitar or whatever it is that makes everything else alright. “Not Before You,” co-written with Bob’s brother Bruce, is a specific reference to, in this case, a new love. “London,” Bob says, “is Jack the Ripper sideways. Our homage to Sweeney Todd and a six / eight tempo and feel that, with Dee Snider’s vocal, takes you to that place in London where ‘No one hears you scream in the darkness.’ Frankie Banali’s unique drumming concept helped turn this into a larger than life song. “Goldfinger” is a tongue in cheek tribute to James Bond films – a dark version of the classic Shirley Bassey song. “Player” is a theme we’re all familiar with – getting “played by someone.” This is another take on that story. Bob’s back catalog begins its appearance with Murderer’s Row’sIndia” with an Indian / mid-eastern metal double bass drum guitar gallop and with a coral sitar solo played by Kulick. With the title track, Bob states, “I often look to start and end recorded songs by setting a mood, vibe or sound effect that ‘speaks.’ In “Skeletons in the Closet” you can hear the skeleton sounds at the beginning of the song, helping set the dark mood.” “Can’t Stop the Rock” “was written produced and recorded when David Eisley and I came up with the Sponge Bob song “Sweet Victory.” This is another “rock” lyric song but a fun one we came up with which went great with “Sweet Victory” at that time. From Bob’s Skull days, “Guitar Commandos” sees him trading lead guitar licks with his brother Bruce. “It’s a song about the road and touring,” he says. Wrapping up the album, “Eyes of a Stranger” is a song about how crazy love is. “The ups and downs of love, ya know, but also an uplifting and driving track to finish things off.”

It’s said that the best things always take time. With Skeletons in the Closet, BOB KULICK drives that expression home.

Musicians appearing on Skeletons in the Closet include:

Lead vocalists – David Glen Eisley, Andrew Freeman, Todd Kerns, Robin McAuley, Dennis St. James, Dee Snider, Vick Wright. Bassists – Kjell Benner, Bobby Ferrari, Bruce Kulick, Dennis St. James, Rudy Sarzo, Chuck Wright Keyboardists – Doug Katsaros, Jimmy Waldo Drummers – Vinnie Appice, Frankie Banali, Chuck Burgi, Scot Coogan, Brent Fitz, Bobby Rock, Jay Schellen, Eric Singer

Vinnie Vincent – The Icon Lost in the Sands of Time!

By Andrew Catania

Famous for his peculiar and quirky appearance,  acclaimed for his virtuosic guitar playing skills, Vinnie Vincent is a name that you can love, or hate but cannot possibly ignore. This is the reason why the music world has not been able to forget the daredevil guitarist, even though it has been 20 years since he went missing in action.
The ‘Ankh Warrior’ of Kiss holds an impressive career to his claim that is heavily punctuated with accomplishments, as well as conspiracies. While his professional career that kick-started in the early 1970’s, and rocketed after joining Kiss, the conspiracies related to his personal life continue to meddle with his accomplishments. He’d go on-air blazing the stage with his fiery performance on one day and would be featured as a violent lunatic, who loved to starve his dogs to death, sell out his entire possessions, and was fond of domestic abuse on the other. With so much coming from his side to fuel the gossips,  newsfeeds, his absence, escape or recluse (whatever the appropriate term may be) left the music sphere with countless questions, concerns, and doubts over his existence.
Vinnie Vincent will always be remembered for instilling a breath of fresh air in the presumed corpse of Kiss. Despite the arduous efforts of the original lineup, Kiss was somehow unable to make it to his expectations and was consistently losing its fandom. As a ray of hope, and the last resort, Kiss’s bassist Gene Simmons, who was friends with Vincent, invited him to compose lyrics and play as the lead guitarist for ‘Creatures of the Night’, an album that was still in the pipeline.
Circumstances took an unusual turn, and the departure of Kiss’s permanent lead guitarist, Frehley, paved way for Vincent to replace him in a permanent capacity. ‘Creature of the Night’ turned out to be a rocking hit for the band. ‘Lick it Up’, Kiss’s next album, also proved that Vincent had become the lifeline for the band. However, whether it had something to do with Vincent’s intimidating personality, his deviant behavior or some other disconnection that made Vincent an out of place piece in the band’s playing lineup, remains a mystery. Although it was because of him, that Kiss was picking up on its lost pace, after a couple of rifts with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Vincent and Kiss eventually parted ways.
It was as if the clouds of misfortune had completely taken over Vincent’s life. He was not just unacceptable in the band but had similar unsettling ties with his business partners, record labels, fans and media reporters. He had been bombarded with multiple serious accusations over time, was alleged of heinous domestic crimes, and deprived of his due share of royalties. His fans too took great advantage of him and used his fame to excel with their shady motives. He was hired by a fan, to design his signature guitar, that was later titled VV Guitar and was widely sold, only to benefit the investor. While Vinnie Vincent didn’t pay him a cent for his contribution.
The fellow artisans never missed an opportunity to defame Vincent, with ridiculous yet critical accusations. He was accused of multiple cases of domestic abuse, and starving his dogs to death and had to suffer a humiliating media trial. What makes it more ironic, is that all accusations were revoked, and he came out as innocent and free of all charges. However, the humiliation he had already gone through, got the best of him, and Vinnie Vincent disappeared in the sands of time, leaving behind a deserted house in Tennessee, whose trashed condition speaks for the miseries he had suffered.

Vinnie Vincent reappeared on the news horizon in 2014, to auction his possessions and keepsakes. This is tragic to note, that the lead player who uplifted the struggling Kiss and eventually landed the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to completely rock the genre through the magic of his fingertips was so conveniently abandoned by his peers, partners, and fans alike.