In a career spanning more than fifty years, few musicians have had more impact on so many artists than Bruce Kulick.
His guitar work with Meatloaf in the ’70s and KISS through much of the ’80- ’90s, his hosting of Rock n Roll Fantasy Camps, and his occupation since 2000 as lead guitarist for one of the original arena rock bands, Grand Funk Railroad, as well as his studio and technical work on many albums have all made Bruce both admired and respected by his peers.
Arriving in Minneapolis a day early before his Saturday night performance with Grand Funk Railroad at Mystic Lake Casino, Bruce will be doing An Evening with Bruce Kulick at Outtakes Bar & Grill in New Hope Friday night. Bruce will be playing guitar and answering questions about his legendary career.
We had a chance to ask him a few questions before the Evening with Bruce Kulick.
[MiM] After touring for so many years, do you have any Minnesota memories or experiences that you would share?
[Bruce Kulick] Minnesota was always great to visit in mild summer weather. All the lakes and very clean air, a true joy when you grow up in NY and lived in LA (now Vegas). Winter, now that’s another story! Minus 24 degrees a few times, and what can I say, you can’t breath when you’re outside when it’s like that! I also always admired the MN connection to Prince. He was a true music legend.
[MiM] With so many musical credits in your career, what is one thing you have learned throughout your time in the music industry that you wish you knew before starting, and how do you believe it would have changed anything you have dome musically in the past?
[Bruce Kulick] I would have wanted to better understand how sensitive musicians are, so when you work with others, being brutal is not good. Although when I teach or counsel at the Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp, it’s BOOT CAMP to me! But they are not pros. They are just there to learn and immerse in making music under my guidance. But with professional players, having the smarts to being careful with your words goes a long way.
[MiM] Obviously, music fans first associate you with your work with Kiss through most of the ’80s and ’90s (which I believe has been their best music era… My opinion is that Carnival of Souls could be one of the most underrated guitar albums of all time. …Just saying). You have also worked with everyone from Meatloaf, Don Johnson, Kanye West, Lita Ford, Micheal Bolton, and so many others; has their ever been a project that you just knew was going to be huge and are there other projects that you just felt where not going to go anywhere?
[Bruce Kulick] I really never knew any artists that I worked with would necessarily be huge. Of course, starting from the ground up with Meat Loaf and seeing that huge success happen, was thrilling. Billy Squier was one artist that I really admired. I did guitars on The Tale of the Tape (His first solo LP) I thought he was super talented and meticulous. It was his next release that made him a star! So I was dead on.
[MiM]With so much technology in this world, from selfies to youtube, do you think it has helped or hindered the musical process?
[Bruce Kulick] I think it helps and hurts. Naturally, back in the day, you sang well, or not. Now you can have vocals fixed digitally. Record labels are not in the mix like they were. So artists need to self promote and somehow hope to connect. So the selfies and YouTube can make someone a star! Upside is that I can keep in close touch with my fans.
[MiM] What is your most memorable musical experience and why?
[Bruce Kulick] I would say some of the “biggest shows” I was involved are very memorable. Monsters of Rock with KISS, playing Madison Square Garden with KISS. Then the smaller venues, like “Unplugged MTV” with KISS. Meat Loaf on SNL in the late ’70s. All very memorable.
[MiM] What is some advice you would give to artists trying to break into the music industry?
[Bruce Kulick] Well being good, no- great, is very important! And doing it uniquely really will go a long way. So use your influences, make it your own, and make the music come from your heart. That is what people respond to.
[MiM] Since joining such a historical line up with Grand Funk Railroad, and spinning off their lyrics in American Band, how committed are you to “Coming to our town to help us party down”?
[Bruce Kulick] Well when you’re my age, coming to your town, and partying it down, would be more a celebration of the music that moves people. Moves their hearts, moves their feet! So it’s not about the after party. No way! It’s the party on stage!