Bob Kulick: Only Guitarist Who Worked With Lemmy and Michael Bolton
Veteran guitarist Bob Kulick has had the kind of career that speaks volumes of his range and talent. He’s the kind of musician who can lay down guitars on anything from hard rock to R&B and not even flinch. He first came to most music geeks through his work with Kiss in the ’70s and his stint playing in Meat Loaf‘s Neverland Express band. If you want to see Kulick and his brother Bruce (who later became lead guitarist for Kiss) in action you should check out the just released ‘Bat Out of Hell: The Original Tour’ DVD which was filmed in 1977.
As killer as Kulick’s resume is, there was one name in it that stood out like a sore thumb. Noisecreep spoke with the guitarist and asked him about his association with a certain vanilla crooner.
You were born and bred in New York during the ’50s and ’60s, do you remember which bands first hooked you in?
The Beatles and all of the acts that appeared on the Murray the K (legendary N.Y.C. area DJ) concerts I would go see had the most impact on me. I also loved the U.K. artists like the Animals, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Moody Blues. How about all of the black acts? I’m talking people like Little Anthony and the Imperials, Patti LaBelle, Ben E. King, the Ronettes etc.
Most Kiss fans know you from your various sessions with them throughout the years. How did you initially come into their world?
I originally auditioned for the band but the one day Paul called me and said that they were taking Ace but that I was the better player. He also said that we should keep in touch, which we did.
It’s widely known that you played Ace Frehley’s parts on several Kiss albums but you were often not credited in the liner notes. How did this work? Did you have to reach some kind of financial agreement to keep things under cover?
By that time, Paul and Gene were my good friends but I especially got along with Paul and we hung out a lot. One day they asked me the favor of filling in and I did. There was never a piece of paper or anything like that. I was paid and never made a big fuss about any of it. I wanted them to hear what they would have sounded like with me so there it was. They got the best solos they had ever had (laughter).
When your brother Bruce got the Kiss lead guitar spot after Mark St. John, did you continue to work with the band at any capacity?
No, but Paul and Gene recommended me for stuff all of the time, like the Diana Ross gig and other sessions.
How do you feel about Kiss going out with Tommy Thayer playing the role of Ace?
I just have to say that he plays the stuff better than Ace (laughter). Tommy’s a friend and I’m happy to see him up there.
Your resume is long and varied with everyone from Lou Reed and W.A.S.P. to Meat Loaf and Motörhead. But one artist sticks out more than the others. Please explain your connection to Michael Bolton.
Michael Bolotin aka Michael Bolton! We worked together a lot years ago when he was doing a Robert Plant kind of thing singing and dancing in the streets and rocking up R&B songs but it never worked. As soon as he started singing the straight-up R&B songs that he wrote, he became a megastar.