Bruce Kulick is quite possibly the most talented person to ever strap on a guitar for KISS.
He spent nearly twelve very productive years with the group (1984-1996) and recorded five albums with them. He was with the band when they were on top in the 80's and when they were starting to fade in the 90's before the eventual reunion with original members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. He's one of only two members (Mark St. John being the other) who never wore facepaint with the band, yet he is featured on some of their biggest singles (Forever, Crazy Crazy Nights, Tears Are Falling, and God Gave Rock n' Roll To You II).
He's also one of the least talked about members of the group outside of KISS fan circles. Why? Because in a group that thrives on excess and showmanship, Kulick simply played the music. He never really stood out from the rest of the band, seemingly content to be the steady guitar player in the background while Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons took the spotlight and Eric Carr embraced the fans as the "new guy" even though he hadn't been the new guy since Vinnie Vincent joined the band in 1982. He also never got into trouble due to alcohol, ego, or illness. In short, he was a good guy who played his role and let the rest deal with the drama that has followed KISS from the beginning.
Kulick's style was very similar to that of many contemporary glam and hard rock artists of the 1980's. In fact, one listen to Crazy Nights and you'll be thinking that you're listening to Eddie Van Halen on a couple of the tunes.
Before KISS, Kulick was involved with bands like Good Rats, Meat Loaf, and even a Michael Bolton-fronted group called Blackjack. After his KISS tenure, he'd go on to perform with artists such as John Corabi and has finally settled in with the classic rock group Grand Funk Railroad.
Kulick has been known to attend KISS expos and still has a large following of KISS fans including myself. I missed the chance to see him live recently when Grand Funk Railroad played at a local casino.
It really is a shame that Kulick hasn't had a more prominent role in music. I would love to see him step back on the stage with KISS, even if it's just for a one off show, but with Tommy Thayer having solidified his spot in the group, I doubt that will ever happen.
Here's to Bruce Kulick, the quiet one from KISS.
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Kendall Fontenot (kfontenot)
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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