BRUCE KULICK Discusses "Reunion" Performance On KISS Kruise VIII - "It Was Like MTV Unplugged Revisited"
December 12, 2018, a month ago
Former KISS guitarist, Bruce Kulick, returned to the KISS Kruise after his highly successful debut last year. This time, Kulick performed not only with his solo band, but with KISS, for the first time since 1995. Seeing Kulick perform with KISS was a historical and certainly memorable moment for fans, including Metal Rules' Marko Syrjälä.
After Marko returned from the Caribbean, he called Bruce to ask for his thoughts about the Kruise and other current things in his life and career. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Marko Syrjälä: Let’s discuss next the historical “reunion” of KISS that happened on the cruise during the acoustic show. It was just magical to see you and Ace performing with the band again. And it was something that many, including me, didn’t believe ever going to happen. But how about you? Did you believe that there would be a day when you’re playing with the band again?
Bruce Kulick: "Right. I thought it could happen, but I was never, there was no kind of commitment to it happening or knowing for sure. And fortunately, it turned out to be another amazing thing to happen on that cruise besides having all the Kiss guitarists performing and to have a reunion on stage, Tommy and Ace and me. It was like MTV Unplugged revisited. It was quite amazing."
Marko Syrjälä: If I have understood correctly, you were already on board, when you received the info that you would perform with the band in a few hours. How did you get the info and how did you react when you realized that it really will happen now?
Bruce Kulick: "There are some people working with the band who kind of mentioned like, 'Heads up. It might be happening.' And yet my panic is always what guitar am I playing? That’s important to me because I can’t - I know the strings that Paul likes to use. They’re not for a lead guitarist, and I wasn’t sure what Tommy had on his guitars. I mean, as much as we’re friends, I’m not like, 'What are you playing? What do you use?' I’d seen him at some of those platinum packages with those Chet Atkins guitars which are terrific, but right after Eric and I had that brief conversation, that’s when I text Tommy. I go like, 'Oh, you’re on the boat.' He goes like, 'Come to my room in 30 minutes.' You know what I mean? It was that, okay, because he did want to go over things. He did want to discuss the songs and how they’ll be performed and then how we can - in other words, that little bit of time we spent together…
"Ace didn’t need to relearn Ace. You know what I mean? He wasn’t playing my songs, but in a sense, Tommy was going to play along on 'Domino', which I don’t think they do, and then we were going to play together. They have done 'Hide Your Heart', but they make a slightly different breakdown arrangement, so I wanted to check that with Tommy. And then it was really appreciative by me to have that time with him. And there was a lot of stress involved with it too because one of the Chet Atkins he had on the boat, all of a sudden, the electronics didn’t work. The ones he had were definitely made in the ’90s, so they were older guitars. I was just like, 'Oh, don’t say that.' And that’s when I begged Tommy, 'You got to let me play the better one.' One just had a better neck and felt better, that’s very typical with guitars. No two guitars are exact all the time. So, I said, 'Please let me play your Chet Atkins, and then I’ll switch back to you when you’re going to be featured again. Let’s do that. It will look really good.' And he agreed with that, and that was kind of him, and it still looked very unusual.
"Sonically, I thought the drums were so loud on stage, again, that’s nothing that you would know unless you were sitting in that chair, where Tommy is. So that was really distracting to me, but I knew that the moment was very, very special just for how many years it’s been and to finally break that kind of wall, that I could finally be on stage with those guys. I couldn’t see Gene. I feel bad about that. Paul, of course, was the frontman as he always is. It was real to me when he said, 'Hey Bruce, save us. Save us.' You know what I mean? That was such a cool thing to say. Yeah, that’s what he said. And then I’m like, 'Oh my God, 'Domino'. All right.' And then Eric didn’t remember the ending of 'Domino'. We did it again. But that’s what was fun about that kind of performance. They could be very organic and casual.
"There were a few musical chairs with Ace coming on, and then me moving down and then eventually switching guitars. And actually, Tommy played the solo for 'Rock and Roll All Nite' because it was… as I told Tommy, 'Ask Ace if he wants to do it and I doubt he will because he’s playing kind of one of Paul’s acoustics that was set up not so much for lead playing.' You know what I mean? 'And that’s going to be a challenge for him.' And that’s what he said, 'I don’t want to play the solo on this.' Because again, he really rose to the occasion too, not a guitar that he’s comfortable with or that he owns. But it was really smart that we did know slightly before, but not a week before that it was going to happen. So, it all worked out wonderful. I think all the performances later on the cruise kind of almost overshadowed it, but now there’s more press about the unplugged reunion, and I think the fans are pretty excited about that."
Read the complete interview at Metal-Rules.com.