Thunder Down Under 2017 Australian Tour kicked off over the weekend at the KISS Konvention where hoards of KISS fans met their idols guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Peter Criss in Melbourne and enjoyed the company of fellow soldiers in the KISS Army.
Upside News writer and diehard KISS devotee Hollee Gunter spoke with former KISS guitarist and crowd favorite Bruce Kulick ahead of his gig at the Bridgeway this Saturday, May 20.
Bruce is performing with his local resident band Sisters Doll, who are making waves of their own in the Aussie music circuit and the legendary guitarist is really looking forward to taking the stage with the guys again.
“I played with Sisters Doll back in 2015 but that was only one show,” he said. “This year, I get to do seven shows with them. I really admire the passion and drive they had two years ago, and I can only imagine they would have even more so now. Not only are they great guys, but they are extremely talented.”
Bruce has spent a lot of time in Australia and keeps coming back, much to fans’ delight and it’s the fans, Bruce says, that keep him returning to our shores.
“There are a lot of diehard KISS fans in Australia, and it’s great. That keeps me wanting to come back. My commitment to GFR (Grand Funk Railroad) makes it a little hard for me to get away to come back, but this year, it all lined up so well. I’ve been working on a new single as well and all will be revealed in spring,” he says.
Being a massive fan of Bruce’s BK3 album and wanted to let him know it was simply timeless.
“You are my best friend now!” Bruce laughs. “I find it funny that everyone always refers to BK3 as my ‘latest solo album’ even though it’s seven years old. But I had a really great reception and feedback to that record and I’m very proud of it. I had no regrets at any point throughout the recording stages and even now so, looking back.”
While Bruce is managing to come back to Australia semi-regularly, he is still gigging a lot with GFR back home in the States, which he says he really enjoys.
“GFR mainly do weekend gigs and very rarely will they do a weeknight gig. In total, GFR have about 40 gigs a year, which are mainly in USA as they are not very keen on going international, so touring is a bit different there. With my solo career, though, the pressure is on more so and it is mainly focused around the KISS crowd,” he says.
While the international superstar is a renowned guitarist, Bruce has played bass guitar on a number of KISS records.
“Bass was actually the first instrument I owned. My brother Bob played a guitar so I picked up the bass. I have an extensive bass collection including a six string bass I am yet to play; I’m waiting for the right time and right song to play that instrument on an album,” he says.
“Bass playing has always strengthened my guitar playing. When I was a kid playing music with Bob, people often asked why I wasn’t playing lead. Now, when I’m playing bass, I have a different approach and tackle it in a different way.
“I am really proud to have played bass on KISS albums Psycho Circus, Revenge and Carnival of Souls and Eric Carr played bass on ‘I Stole Your Love’ (the first track off Love Gun). And I didn’t play on those albums because Gene Simmons was being lazy! Paul Stanley just liked the way the demos sounded and wanted to use my style of playing because it was easier. I did channel the demon on some songs, though. How could you not?”
Recently, Kanye West sampled Blackjack’s ‘Maybe it’s the Power of Love’ in one of his tracks, which was a strange experience for Bruce, who was with the band with Michael Bolton from 1979-1980.
“It was weird. My agent called me and then they had to ask Michael directly. It was strange that I was approached first, but it was interesting to hear what Kanye had done with it and how he had turned it into a song on an album that went platinum. When you listen to it, you need to speed up the original song so you can recognise; although the original melody is throughout the verses,” Bruce says.
Bruce Kulick will be playing at Bridgeway Hotel on Saturday May 20 with Sisters Doll and you can grab your ticket HERE.
By Hollee Gunter and Libby Parker