This weekend, Bruce Kulick, former guitarist from legendary rock band Kiss, will be playing at The Bridgeway Hotel.
Bruce’s music career began in 1975, and he first gained notoriety as a guitarist by playing on Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell tour.
Since then, he’s had many other musical collaborations and has now released his third solo album BK3.
Speaking to us from Los Angeles, Bruce says he’s looking forward to getting back to Adelaide after many years.
“I have a lot of friends in Australia and I haven’t been to Adelaide very often even though I’m very aware you’re kind of that pocket of Australia that’s kind of like Texas, you know, country-like. I look at Sydney as New York and Melbourne as L.A.; and I look at Brisbane as Florida,” he says.
“These are very loose comparisons and I don’t mean to stereotype in any way but that’s how I immerse myself in each one of the cities. I’ve always felt very comfortable in Australia. I haven’t been to Adelaide in quite a few years so I’m looking forward to getting back.”
The catalyst for the upcoming tour was a Kiss convention but it didn’t take much for Bruce to want to come over and share his music with us here in SA.
“One of the guys I’ll be performing with, Paul, is from Adelaide and he’s been in the industry many years now and he’s been a part of my band every time I’ve performed there. Every year we talk about how I can get over there but what really kicked it off was that another guy I know who’s a huge Kiss fan and part of the extended Kiss family, who lives out of Melbourne, wanted to do a Kiss Convention so that was the start of bringing me over,” he says.
“Then I spoke with my manager; I had a window of opportunity. Grand Funk Railroad was not busy because our drummer Don Brewer is on the road with Bob Seger so there was a lot more liberty to make an international trip. Adelaide came up very quickly wanting a gig, so here I come!”
Grand Funk Railroad are a band who were hugely popular in the 1970s, and were a band who were highly influential on Bruce Kulick as a young musician.
In 2000, he was invited to join the band and has played with them ever since.
Grand Funk Railroad tour around 40 shows per year, so we are fortunate Bruce has time in his schedule to bring some of his solo music and a lot of Kiss material to The Bridgeway on 21st March.
“The fans that will be there are fans of Kiss so I have a nice set of a lot of material,” he says. “I’ll probably focus on a lot of stuff that came from Alive 3 which was released around the first time I came to play in Australia with Kiss. That was 1995, almost to the month 20 years ago, so I’m looking at playing a lot of stuff from that album with a few other things thrown in, so it’s going to be a fun night.”
And Bruce reckons it will be a good time to introduce young people to the music of Kiss and celebrate the classics with long established fans.
“Kiss is such a unique band, so for this generation, some people might be curious and want to come and see me play because they didn’t’ have an opportunity before. They may not have necessarily been a fan yet or they weren’t old enough. It’s remarkable that it’s a band who seem to pass it down through generations,” he says.
“The parent shares it with their children, and they’re all excited about Kiss music and then they start looking at all the videos and all the records and they explore online and all of a sudden they know who I am and they weren’t even alive when I played in the band! I see a lot, the power of Kiss being one of those iconic bands who get passed down through generations and that gives me new blood every time I perform.”
Despite being a solo artist now and playing in Grand Funk Railroad, Bruce still has a high regard for Kiss and is still close with the band.
“Kiss is one of the bands that continues to make an impact. I’m very tight with the guys; they came to my wedding a year ago and I love the fact that they’re touring right now. It’s great they keep it alive like this and at a very high level. It turns more and more people on to the band. My era is a unique time of Kiss because it was the majority of the non-makeup years but it was still Kiss and I love that people still discover my era. There are people I meet that are clueless and they think that the band only wore the makeup so I’ve got to slap them around a little bit. I never wore the makeup but I was in the band for 12 years,” he laughs.
Even though Bruce has been a noted and professional musician for the better part of 40 years, he still understands the challenges musicians and venues face and he hopes he can do his bit to help out while he’s in Adelaide.
“The one thing in the music industry that hasn’t suffered completely is live gigs. Getting the word out when you could be entertained all night on your phone is hard, but I’m hoping that with me making a really long journey that people will make the relatively short journey to come hear some live music,” he says.
“I don’t normally put it on the poster but my Australian fans are pretty used to me doing a meet and greet after the show where I can have the opportunity to sign some stuff for them. I hear really good things about The Bridgeway and the promoters are very excited about expanding and getting some rock and roll in the Adelaide area so if I can be a notch in the belt for them, that’s all good to me.”
Bruce Kulick will play The Bridgeway on Saturday 21st of March; tickets are available through Moshtix.
By Libby Parker
Photos courtesy of Bruce Kulick
Originally published in BSide Mag