In an extensive new interview with music writer Joel Gausten, former KISS and current GRAND FUNK RAILROAD guitarist Bruce Kulick discusses various topics, including the recent release of the “Got To Get Back” EP with his very first band KKB, the new vinyl version of his 2010 solo album “BK3″ and the 30th anniversary of KISS‘s “Asylum” album.
Of course, Kulick wasn’t a complete stranger to the KISS camp before becoming a member in 1984. His brother, Bob — a renowned session player whose credits include everyone from Lou Reed to W.A.S.P. — had a long history with the band dating back to 1973, when he first auditioned for the spot taken by original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. Later, he played on Paul Stanley‘s 1978 solo album, co-wrote the song “Naked City” for KISS‘s 1980 “Unmasked” album and contributed guitar session work to the KISS releases “Alive II” (1977) and “Killers” (1982). Despite this longstanding family connection, Kulick didn’t gain true insight into the inner workings of KISS until he landed the job and started working alongside Stanley and Gene Simmons, who both co-produced “Asylum”.
Fan-filmed video footage of original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley‘s performance at the 2015 edition of the U.K.’s Download festival, which was held last weekend in Donington Park, can be seen below.
Asked what he is going to be working on for the remainder of the year, Ace told Planet Rock: “I’m working on a new covers and remix record for eOne Music, and in Europe, it’s SPV. And after that, I’ve already started working on a new studio record. And between those two things, I’m touring, and I’m doing a cruise after the New Year to the Bahamas, I think — a classic rock cruise. So that’s gonna be a lot of fun. That’s a first for me.”
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/video-ace-frehley-performs-at-u-k-s-download-festival/#O219d31wfTxf3r6M.99
Chad Childers | Loudwire
KISS‘ Gene Simmons stirred up plenty of debate over his “Rock is finally dead” comment, but perhaps lost by some in the context of his overall point was that the bassist was discussing the downfall of the music industry structure and how it’s hurting future generations of musicians. The rocker circled back to the topic during a recent interview with Planet Rock that can be heard here.
When asked if today’s acts give up too easily on the idea of being “rock stars,” Simmons brought the conversation back to the point of the current industry construct and how it plays into the downfall of the “rock star.”
He explained, “I blame … This is gonna break your hearts … It certainly breaks mine. I blame the fans. Because the fans have decided en masse– in other words, the masses have decided — that they should get free music, download, file share … And you’re not hurting KISS; we’ve been around a long time and we make a good living. You’re killing the next Elvis and the Beatles and the next KISS and the next whoever, because you have to give your music away for free. And who did that? Big corporate entities? No, they didn’t do that. Actually, big corporate entities — record companies — gave bands money that they never had to pay back — ever! If the band failed and the records were a complete disaster, the advance money was all [the band's]. What other business would give you that? If you go to a bank and they give you a million dollars, and your business goes under, they don’t care it failed; they want their money back.”
He continued, “Record companies were a gift from heaven. Yeah, they’re greedy, they’re this … but they wanna make money just like you do. But they gave you money — millions! And if it wasn’t for record companies, there’d be no Sex Pistols, there’d be no punk, there’d be no nothing. There would be punk, but it would be in a small club. It would never become huge.”
Finishing his thought, Simmons concluded, “It’s not the industry; it’s the fans … It’s disappointing, because they would prefer not to support a new band. Remember, it doesn’t affect [KISS]. It affects the next great band, who won’t have a chance. Why? Because the talent isn’t out there? It sure is. The fans killed it. They killed the infrastructure. Imagine England existing without the value of the pound, if things were free. You would have chaos.”
What do you think readers? Does Simmons have a point? Has the advent of downloading, file sharing and free music and the downfall of record companies essentially killed the idea of the “rock star”? Voice your opinions in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.
An audio journey through Cassius Morris’ life-long love affair with Rock & Roll. Bands covered include KISS, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Cream, Sublime, and MANY more!
Planet Rock conducted an interview with original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley at the 2015 edition of the U.K.’s Download festival, which was held last weekend in Donington Park. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked what he is going to be working on for the remainder of the year, Ace said: “I’m working on a new covers and remix record for eOne Music, and in Europe, it’s SPV. And after that, I’ve already started working on a new studio record. And between those two things, I’m touring, and I’m doing a cruise after the New Year to the Bahamas, I think — a classic rock cruise. So that’s gonna be a lot of fun. That’s a first for me.”
“Space Invader”, the first new solo album from Frehley in five years, sold around 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 9 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD arrived in stores on August 19, 2014 via Entertainment One Music (eOne Music).
Ace‘s previous CD, “Anomaly”, opened with around 17,000 units back in September 2009 to debut at No. 27.
“Space Invader”, which was made available in Europe on August 18, 2014 (three days earlier in Germany and Scandinavia) through SPV/Steamhammer, included 11 brand new original songs as well as a cover of Steve Miller‘s “The Joker”.
Marc Burleigh | Business Insider
Downloading may be eviscerating the music industry, but rock legends KISS say they are pioneers in monetising their image — from a limo service, cruises, and even lunch with “Lord Simmons”.
The US band recognises it has escaped the worst impact of the availability of cheap music online thanks to the fact that its glory years were in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Internet was in its infancy.
Now, while exploring other ways to profit from its huge following, the band is also standing up for new, unknown talent struggling to win financial backing from music companies.
“It doesn’t hurt us, it only hurts new bands, and that’s the sad part,” said Gene Simmons, the 65-year-old bass guitarist and co-lead singer, his face streaked with demon-like paint.
“Where’s the next Beatles? Where’s the next Stones? Where’s the next Elvis? Where’s Prince? Where’s anybody?” he asked.
Eric Singer, KISS’s 57-year-old drummer, whose make-up was done in his trademark cat face, said: “The mentality of young kids, they just think it’s OK, it’s common to go ‘Oh, I’ll just go online and get the music.’ They don’t realise you’re supposed to pay for it.”
He added that “rock ‘n’ roll’s not dying because of the bands or fans not buying it — it’s because there’s not a business to support it.”
Singer boasted that KISS had pioneered the exploitation of its brand, blazing a path that many other top artists now follow in a bid to prop up sagging record sales.
“There’s no doubt almost everything you see in a live rock or pop setting performance stagewise and all that, merchandise and everything… at the forefront was KISS.”
“If you’re in Las Vegas, go and play golf at our golf course…. If you want to hop into a limo, hop into our limo service: KISS Limos…. (and) we’re doing the KISS Kruise,” Simmons said.
The cruise sails from Miami to Jamaica later this year on board the Norwegian Pearl, “the central hub for all KISS maniacs worldwide”, according to the Kiss Kruise website.
“What’s more rock ‘n’ roll than mini-golf?” the website for the band’s Las Vegas branded mini-golf course observes blithely.
Singer added that a lunch with “Lord Simmons” was also available, for a price.
- ‘Utter idols’ -
The pair spoke to AFP just before performing at a Paris concert midway through a worldwide tour.
The tour is celebrating the band’s 40 years of performing, but the songs that drew the biggest welcome at the Paris concert were standards from its early years.
People in the venue, the 6,000-place Zenith in northeast Paris, cheered loudly when “I was Made for Lovin’ You” and “Rock and Roll All Nite” wrapped up a show that featured the band’s signature stage pyrotechnics and over-the-top posing.
One of their revenue-spinning activities could be seen backstage before the concert: around 100 people lining up to get individual photos with the band as part of a VIP package costing 1,000 euros ($1,100) each.
“They are our utter idols. This is a boyhood dream,” said one French fan, an 18-year-old student named Lucas Chaplin.
WENN | Contact Music
The KISS veteran was awarded the Legend title at the prizegiving, held at London’s IndigO2 venue, while Queen guitarist May was handed the Riff Lord prize and Megadeth frontman Mustaine won the ceremony’s most coveted award, the Golden God.
Mustaine took a ‘selfie’ picture with the audience from the stage and uploaded it to Twitter.com, adding, “Thanks to @MetalHammer for such a great night! I am still smiling and so humbled…” while May took a picture with his award and wrote, “Thanks Metal Hammer for naming me Riff Lord, and for a great evening…”
Slipknot won Best International Band, Bring Me The Horizon were named Best U.K. Band and Of Mice & Men won the Best Live Band award. Other winners include KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, who was named Defender of the Faith, Richie Faulkner won the Dimebag Darrell Shredder Award and Faith No More won Best Album for Sol Invictus.
Leslie Michele Derrough | Glide Magazine
“This music represents a time in my career that I feel helped define the potential of my guitar playing.” Bruce Kulick is not talking about KISS or Grand Funk Railroad. He is talking about the time he spent in 1974 with a couple of best friends in a basement in New York, playing and creating music, when that was all that really mattered. “To think that so long ago I was involved in something this powerful that sat in my closet unheard for nearly thirty-five years made me furious,” Kulick stated upon the release of Got To Get Back. “Play it loud and imagine three young men pouring their hearts out making music, never concerned about anything but the music. That was the intention. It was pure, it was real.”
Kulick, vocalist/bass player Mike Katz and drummer Guy Bois were fresh out of high school and just getting their feet wet in the real world when they formed KKB. They recorded some songs but before they knew it, life began moving them in different directions and the tapes were stored away for many years. Kulick came across his tape in 2008 and released a limited-edition CD but it wasn’t till Katz found the originals that they decided to give the old songs a new lease on life. After a remix and remastering, KKB is seeing the light of day once again, if only for a short shining moment. The CD contains the six original compositions, plus a brand new track the trio wrote and recorded, keeping it true to the early 70’s sound of the band. It has a funky feel with some hippie-psychedelia undertones. It’s fun and it’s rocking.
Kulick would continue his journey into music, spending twelve years in a makeup-less KISS and now fifteen years and counting with Grand Funk Railroad. In between, he was in Blackjack with a pre-pop Michael Bolton, in Union with Slash drummer Brent Fitz and current Dead Daisies vocalist John Corabi, as well as touring with Meat Loaf on his Bat Out Of Hell tour. Kulick has released three solo albums, not to mention contributing his guitar magic to many projects by other artists.
In our recent interview with Kulick, the well-known Beatles fan talked about those heady times when KKB was the whole world, his years in KISS and Union, why music fans should come see bands like Grand Funk, and having The Knack’s Doug Fieger sing on his 2010 solo record shortly before the “My Sharona” singer passed away.
Wes Woods | Daily Bulletin
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Kiss are scheduled to take over the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino stage in July, while punk rock’s The Vandals are set to rock Pomona that same month.
Tickets for an acoustic evening with Kiss ($65-$75 plus fees) went on sale June 5. Note that all shows at the casino are restricted to those age 21 and older.
The casino keeps the tunes coming with R&B’s Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, who are scheduled for a July 16 concert.
The group’s No. 1 R&B hits include 1989’s “Can’t Get Over You” and 1985’s “Back In Stride.”
Tickets for the show range from $35-$55 plus fees. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert is set to start at 7:30 p.m.
Unfortunately, Aretha Franklin is no longer playing at the San Manuel casino next month.
A scheduled July 30 show at the casino for Queen of Soul was canceled with no reason given on the venue’s website.
The casino is at 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland.
Paul Stanley, co-founder and singer/songwriter of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, KISS, will launch his own lifestyle and fashion brand, Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels. Here, he talks about his attitude towards fashion and style and his aim to also design womenswear at some point. Interview by Melanie Gropler
You designed the band’s costumes. Why did you decide to start a commercial fashion collection?
I have always been excited by finding new ways to express myself creatively, and my successes point to a general affirmation of those outlets. My individual Look, whether more formal or casual, has always been based on a combination of elements rather than mirroring fashion. Fashion makes creating a style possible using various pieces, looks and eras, but on it’s own, fashion is better served on a printed page as art rather than something that looks organic to the individual who might wear it. My hope is to take some of the work out for the consumer by creating pieces that are compatible.
Do you see yourself as a part of your design?
I have no desire to endorse anything that isn’t conceptually mine. The idea is to develop my point of view in a broad range of areas starting with men’s apparel.
What will be the look and the feel of the collection? What’s the heart of it?
Style over fashion. Fashion is momentary. Style is timeless.
You’ll start with men’s fashion. Can you imagine to design women’s wear as well? Women have always loved and commented on what I wear and I have always had a great eye for helping women find ways to project a comfortable look that is sexy without looking contrived or obvious so my answer is a confident “YES.”
Kiss is well known for their extraordinary costumes and performances. How important is fashion for you personally?
Clothes don’t make the man but done properly they perhaps allow you to put forward a first impression that is indicative of who you are or in other cases, how you would like to perceived.
What pieces in your wardrobe do you like best and why?
A pair of black Levi’s 511 Jeans fit great and work with almost anything. I love the timeless tailoring of a two button Brioni Suit. I love the shoulders and drape of their Jackets and whether you wear the suit or just the jacket it exudes confidence. I love a lot of what John Varvatos does. His point of view and touchstones are clothes. I wear a lot of his white wing color shirts. It’s one of my “go to’s” and work with anything. Everyone is now making great men’s shoes. I like to wear something a bit colorful and wild with blue jeans but you can’t go wrong with a great black shoe. I also need a pair of trainers or running shoes but for me they have to have black soles and trim to work with everything.
What’s your favorite designer?
Varvatos, Brioni, Christian Lacroix do some nice pieces. Actually there’s loads of great stuff out there. It’s all a matter of what you mix.
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
As previously reported, the ever-entrepreneurial Hagar is hosting a new weekly radio show he’s called Sammy Hagar’s Top Rock Countdown, which finds him counting down “lists of his favorite party songs, comeback albums, unsung heroes or best tunes from a specific year or decade.” The show has already started airing, and you can find affiliates — and listen to the first episode — at Hagar’s official site.
Simmons, meanwhile, can be heard on a recent installment of the BBC Radio 2 series I Love It Loud, which is now online and offers the Kiss co-founder an opportunity to pay tribute to bands that inspired him as well as those that he sees as musical compatriots.
“I’m flattered that BBC Radio 2 has given me the chance to play the music that I love dearly, that I continue to play over and over again, that I introduce young people to,” Simmons says in a statement. “I’ll never forget when my son, Nick, first heard ‘Boys Are Back in Town’ by Thin Lizzy, he went, ‘What’s that?’ And then I played him Queen, and goes, ‘What’s that?’ and that music continues to attracts new ears generation after generation, which is why it’s classic — classic rock.”
Here’s hoping Hagar eventually invites Simmons to be a guest on Top Rock Countdown, where the duo can recount Hagar’s infamous stint as an opening act for Kiss in 1977 — when, as he later recounted during an interview with MTV, he reacted to the crowd booing by dropping his pants and smashing a guitar. “I still can’t believe I did that to a Stratocaster. That guitar would probably be worth $200,000 today,” he admitted. “It’s funny now, but at the time, when you’re faced with that kind of rejection, it can be heartbreaking.”
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
The members of Kiss played their first official concert without their signature makeup in 1983, but they took the stage together au naturel years before that — at guitarist Ace Frehley‘s wedding in 1976.
The foursome’s brief reception set was captured for posterity in the 8mm footage above, which was initially uploaded to YouTube in 2012 but was more recently dug up by Dangerous Minds, whose report includes a passage from C.K. Lendt’s book Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup that helps set the stage for what you see in the clip.
Calling it “a huge affair at New York’s Americana hotel,” Lendt says the wedding — which culminated the long courtship between Frehley and his girlfriend Jeanette Trerotola — was somewhat complicated by the fact that her father and grandfather were high-ranking Teamster officials, and definitely not the sort of guys who were prone to putting up with rock stars’ flamboyant antics. As Lendt puts it, “One friend of the band, a gay musician who came dressed in a black leather motorcycle jacket and knee-high boots, supposedly came close to inciting a riot when he congratulated members by giving them bear hugs and huge kisses.”
Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances and the vintage of the footage, it’s fairly low-fidelity stuff, but it should still prove fascinating viewing for Kiss fans who haven’t had many opportunities to watch the band perform in such a low-key setting. Unfortunately for the newlyweds, their domestic union wasn’t destined to last — although Frehley claimed to still be legally married to his former bride as recently as 2014, when he responded to a query about setting a date with his new fiancee by admitting, “I still have to get divorced.”
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
Thayer refused to take the bait during a recent interview with Australia’s Newcastle Herald, responding to a question about derogatory comments Frehley made last year by shrugging, “I don’t want to get into a back and forth, but I’m sure you can kind of assess what you think when you hear all that.”
As he goes on to point out, Thayer is perfectly aware that he wouldn’t have gotten the Kiss gig if Frehley hadn’t played himself out of it. “I think he had every opportunity in the world to continue in Kiss and be in Kiss as long as he did the right thing,” he continued. “It worked out better for me and he has to lead his life. As far as the jabs and all that, he can say that stuff and I’m not going to say anything bad about him. I just wish all the best to everybody in whatever they’re doing.”
And while some Kiss fans may still feel that there should only be one Spaceman in the band’s history, Thayer recognizes the possibility that future members may face the even more daunting prospect of replacing co-founders Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons after they decide to retire.
“It’s possible, I mean, it’s already kind of happened with half the band, to be truthful,” he admitted. “It’s hard to imagine Kiss without Paul or Gene. But at the same time, who’s to say somebody won’t come along that blows everybody away and they could take over and continue on. Anything’s possible, you never say never, and I think part of the Kiss philosophy is there are no rules and anything could happen.”
Guitarist Tommy Thayer, who joined KISS in February 2003, stepping into the boots the band’s original axeman, Ace Frehley, had been occupying for the KISS reunion that lasted from 1996 to 2002, has refused to criticize his predecessor, insisting in a new interview that he wishes “all the best to everybody.”
Last year, Frehley spoke out against Thayer in an interview, describing him as “just a guy up there copying me and trying to move like me and trying to sing like me and trying to play like me.”
But Thayer has declined to fire back at Frehley, telling Australia’s The Herald: “I don’t want to get into a back-and-forth, but I’m sure you can kind of assess what you think when you hear all that.”
He continued: “I think [Ace] had every opportunity in the world to continue in KISS and be in KISS as long as he did the right thing, but it worked out better for me and he has to lead his life.
“As far as the jabs and all that, he can say that stuff and I’m not going to say anything bad about him.”
Thayer added: “I just wish all the best to everybody in whatever they’re doing.”
During an interview for VH1 Classic “That Metal Show” co-host Eddie Trunk‘s podcast, “Eddie Trunk Podcast”, Ace — who claims that he has “never seen KISS perform” without him and vows that he “never will” (“I’ve looked at videos on YouTube, and that lasted about 15 seconds,” he admitted) — was asked what his “evaluation” is of Tommy ”dressed as [Ace]” and “doing [Ace's] thing.” He responded: “[Tommy is] not Ace Frehley by any stretch of the imagination, number one. Number two, what bothers me the most is that I know the new fans that KISS are getting don’t know it. A lot of people that see Tommy up there think he’s the original guy that created the makeup, that wrote great songs and wrote all those solos that he’s performing, but he’s not. He’s just a guy up there copying me and trying to move like me and trying to sing like me and trying to play like me. And that’s what bothers me the most. I mean, the real hardcore fans know. But the new fans, a lot of them don’t know.”
Asked what it was like performing with a version of KISS that had Eric Singer sitting behind the kit instead of the band’s original drummer, Peter Criss, Ace said: “That was okay. I mean, Eric‘s such a solid drummer, he’s a pleasure to play with, because you know the beat’s always gonna be there.”
Pressed on whether it was weird seeing someone other than Criss playing the drums for KISS, Ace said: “Well, you know, I don’t see as good as I used to, so when I look back, I can’t tell the difference. [Laughs] Just like a lot of fans don’t know…”
He added: “I can’t tell you how many times I get phone calls and people say,’ Hey, Ace, I heard you’re playing here, I heard you’re playing there. Can you get me tickets?’ I go, ‘I’m not in the band anymore.’ Some people, still, are oblivious to that whole thing.”
Thayer told Rolling Stone magazine that he had no discomfort about wearing Ace Frehley‘s makeup. He explained: “First of all, I didn’t have any input on that. That was a decision that those guys made. There was not even a conversation about it, because I think it was so obvious, that they weren’t going to introduce new characters 30 years into the band. I never thought that there should be some new designs or something. I thought that would have been ridiculous. And the only thing is, you’ve got a lot of push-back from some of the diehards. And that’s understandable. Hey, you know, if you lived in the Seventies and KISS was your favorite band, and that’s what you grew up with, and suddenly there’s another guy wearing that makeup, I can understand how some people, it might not have appealed to them as much. But as time as gone by, a lot of people have changed their mind.”