Bruce Kulick on revisiting his first band and more

Matt Wardlaw | Ultimate Classic Rock

Jim McGuire

Jim McGuire

We spoke with former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick last year for an extensive two-part interview as he marked the 30th anniversary of joining the band and he had plenty of great stories to share regarding his 12-year run with the group.

During that chat, he spoke about his early influences, guitarists like Jimi HendrixEric Clapton and Jimmy Page and Steve Howe of Yes and in the process, dropped a hint at that time in regards to his planned activities for the new year.

“I listened to Yes a lot when I was young,” he said. “I loved Steve Howe, who is very different than Eric Clapton, but a very creative guitar player. I still love Yes. I’m going to be putting out in 2015 a band that I had from 40 years ago and we just cut a new song. I would say that we were a cross between like a kind of Cream and Yes because there’s a lot of sections that are very progressive.”

More than 40 years after Kulick went into the recording studio to lay down tracks with singer/bassist Mike Katz and drummer Guy Bois, fans now have the chance to hear the recorded results of those early sessions with the project that was effectively his first band called KKB. Incredibly, the songs have been freshly remixed and remastered from the original session tapes which had been lost for a number of years but happily, Katz found them in 2013 and got in touch with Kulick, who quickly made plans to revisit and release the material.

As referenced, there’s even some new music to enjoy — the original three members came together virtually to record their first new song since the original sessions in 1974. “Got to Get Back” is the result of that new collaboration and fits in seamlessly with the ‘70s material.

On an early Saturday morning recently, Kulick spent some time discussing the vintage recordings with us and how the new song and EP came together. We also discussed Blackjack, his hard rock band with Michael Bolton that came about at the end of the ‘70s and also, his work with Billy Squier on the The Tale of the Tape album.

The story of this KKB release is pretty incredible. Many folks have fond memories and maybe some recordings of that first band in their early days of playing music, but it just doesn’t usually happen that you find the multi-tracks of that material. I don’t know how much you thought about this stuff over the years, but it had to be a pretty incredible feeling, having that realization that you not only had those tapes, but you could revisit them and perhaps address some things that you all collectively might have wished you had done at the time.

Well, it was really exciting once Mike Katz, the principal singer/songwriter, found them. I did have a version of it that I remember playing Gene [Simmons] and Eric [Carr] years ago and them going, “Wow, this is pretty cool.” It was just like a footnote or whatever, just saying, “Hey, check out what I was doing when I was 20.” I’ve been trying to archive as much as I can, because we all know that the different mediums of music do degrade and you have to be careful about that if you’re trying to preserve things.

So I know I was transferring and digitizing a lot of things from even rehearsals with Michael Bolton for Blackjack and live gigs and then songwriting with him, which was late ‘70s. The reason why I bring it up is that I found this King Biscuit Flower Hour performance that I only had on a cassette, which is why I needed to digitize it. There’s this jam section of the live gig where we all went off and did our own thing, where Sandy Gennaro played some drums and then I go into a riff — and the riff was the riff that I contributed to this [KKB] song called “Trying to Find a Way.” I go, “Oh my God!”

So here it is in ‘79 and I realized, even though we weren’t going to go into that song, we needed a link in the performance between drum solo, bass riff, into something else, right? So that freaked me out — I always knew that I had that live King Biscuit Flower Hour performance, which was mostly songs from our album — and I think we might have done a cover song, like “Rocky Mountain Way” was something that I know I would do with Michael sometimes — but that was crazy, that there was that riff from KKB. So it wasn’t as if I completely ignored it and I know you started the question with saying that it was an early band — I don’t even know if we called ourselves a band.

The whole thing was just getting together and creating these songs that Mike was very clear about. As you can tell, since you digested the music, they’re pretty complex. Some of them are very, you know, there’s time signatures and there’s tricky riffs and to think I was doing that at such a young age was for myself, something I was very proud of myself.

Read More: Former Kiss Guitarist Bruce Kulick on Revisiting His First Band and More: Exclusive Interview | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bruce-kulick-interview-2015/?trackback=tsmclip

Gene Simmons’s son says he’s ‘full of shit’

Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

Ethan Miller

Ethan Miller

When we’re kids, our fathers can seem impossibly huge and infallible, and getting to know them as adults — and understand their real personalities and human foibles — is often an unexpected, and very liberating, experience. And if your dad is Gene Simmons? Multiply all that by about a thousand.

That’s the impression given, anyway, by an affectionate and funny Vice editorial written by Simmons’ son Nick. Titled “My Dad, Gene Simmons, Is Full of S— and So Are You,” it looks back on the younger Simmons’ experiences living with the Kiss co-founder for a father — and his eventual realization that even if his dad has millions of fans who love him as their fire-spewing Demon, he’s still just a guy.

“I thought everything my father said was written in stone, and wrought from ages of experience and trial,” writes Nick. “But as I grew and he began to shrink, I started to see the cracks. I started seeing his pores, his grey hairs — those small flaws that made him human.”

And as anyone who’s been through this experience with their own parents understands, that dawning realization doesn’t necessarily mean seeing your father as somehow diminished; in fact, it can often lead to a richer and more rewarding relationship, as Nick argues has definitely been the case for the Simmons men.

A large chunk of the essay, which is well worth reading in full, looks back on the first time Simmons realized he disagreed with his father, and points to that moment as the beginning of the end for their lopsided personal dynamic. “It’s important to disagree. It’s important to kill your heroes. And, sometimes, you have to kill your father,” he reflects. “Kill him so you can love him, and his flaws, better than one can love a hollow archetype. The most important thing he taught me is that — just like everyone else — sometimes, he is full of shit.”

 

Bruce Kulick: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley ‘Were always really the driving forces’

Blabbermouth

brucekulickrocking2015new_638

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”.

 

ACE FREHLEY Performs At U.K.’s DOWNLOAD Festival

Blabbermouth

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

KISS’ Gene Simmons: ‘I Blame the Fans’ for Lack of Rock Stars

Chad Childers | Loudwire

Gene-Simmons-630x420KISS‘ 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.”

Gene-Simmons-630x420Finishing 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.

 

ACE FREHLEY Talks Upcoming Covers Album, Follow-Up To ‘Space Invader’

Blabbermouth

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.”

Regarding which songs he is planning on recording for his covers album, Frehley said: “I’m trying to pick songs that, kind of, influenced me through my career. You know, groups and certain songs… I’m doing another [THE ROLLINGSTONES song. That’s no… I’m not a stranger to redoing STONES songs. But, yeah, I’m working on an ANIMALS song, and maybe a [JimiHendrix song. And a couple of… I think I’m gonna be doing ‘Parasite’ and ‘Cold Gin’ — songs that I wrote that I didn’t sing on the original KISS records. So that’ll be a treat, too, for the fans.”

“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”.

 

KISS is raking it in with golf courses, a limo service, and ‘KISS Kruises’

Marc Burleigh | Business Insider

afp-make-up-cruises-and-mini-golf-kiss-on-monetising-their-brandDownloading 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.

Gene Simmons Wins At Metal Hammer Golden Gods

WENN | Contact Music

metal-hammer-golden-gods-awards_4782174The 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.

 

Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick hits the right notes on ‘Got to Get Back’

Leslie Michele Derrough | Glide Magazine

kulick3-578x289“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.

Continue reading…

KISS to perform another acoustic concert

Wes Woods | Daily Bulletin

7V00VGUDDNLI6OML-fill640x320Rock 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.

The legendary band Kiss, who played an acoustic show in April 2014 at the casino with fan favorites like “Rock and Roll All Nite,” return July 23.

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.

For more information, head to www.sanmanuel.com, 866-448-7849 or www.ticketmaster.com.

 

Q&A: Paul Stanley for Sportswear International

Sportswear international

12137-orgPaul 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.

Gene Simmons and Sammy Hagar debut new radio shows

Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

Sammy-Hagar-and-Gene-Simmons-630x420Sammy Hagar and Gene Simmons never met a microphone they couldn’t use, and they’re proving it all over again with a pair of brand new radio ventures.

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.

Top Rock Countdown begins during a typically busy time for Hagar, who’s also prepping a new reality TV show while promoting a new live album, At Your Service, with his latest band the Circle.

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.”

 

 

KISS performing without makeup at Ace Frehley’s 1976 wedding, (upgrade)

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.”