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Bruce Kulick on Revisiting His First Band and More

UCR spoke with former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick last year for an extensive two-part interview as he marked the 30th anniversary of joining the band and he had plenty of great stories to share regarding his 12-year run with the group.

During that chat, he spoke about his early influences, guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and Steve Howe of Yes and in the process, dropped a hint at that time in regards to his planned activities for the new year.

“I listened to Yes a lot when I was young,” he said. “I loved Steve Howe, who is very different than Eric Clapton, but a very creative guitar player. I still love Yes. I’m going to be putting out in 2015 a band that I had from 40 years ago and we just cut a new song. I would say that we were a cross between like a kind of Cream and Yes because there’s a lot of sections that are very progressive.” More than 40 years after Kulick went into the recording studio to lay down tracks with singer/bassist Mike Katz and drummer Guy Bois, fans now have the chance to hear the recorded results of those early sessions with the project that was effectively his first band called KKB. Incredibly, the songs have been freshly remixed and remastered from the original session tapes which had been lost for a number of years but happily, Katz found them in 2013 and got in touch with Kulick, who quickly made plans to revisit and release the material.

As referenced, there’s even some new music to enjoy — the original three members came together virtually to record their first new song since the original sessions in 1974. “Got to Get Back” is the result of that new collaboration and fits in seamlessly with the ‘70s material.

On an early Saturday morning recently, Kulick spent some time discussing the vintage recordings with us and how the new song and EP came together. We also discussed Blackjack, his hard rock band with Michael Bolton that came about at the end of the ‘70s and also, his work with Billy Squier on the The Tale of the Tape album.

The story of this KKB release is pretty incredible. Many folks have fond memories and maybe some recordings of that first band in their early days of playing music, but it just doesn’t usually happen that you find the multi-tracks of that material. I don’t know how much you thought about this stuff over the years, but it had to be a pretty incredible feeling, having that realization that you not only had those tapes, but you could revisit them and perhaps address some things that you all collectively might have wished you had done at the time.

Well, it was really exciting once Mike Katz, the principal singer/songwriter, found them. I did have a version of it that I remember playing Gene [Simmons] and Eric [Carr] years ago and them going, “Wow, this is pretty cool.” It was just like a footnote or whatever, just saying, “Hey, check out what I was doing when I was 20.” I’ve been trying to archive as much as I can, because we all know that the different mediums of music do degrade and you have to be careful about that if you’re trying to preserve things.

So I know I was transferring and digitizing a lot of things from even rehearsals with Michael Bolton for Blackjack and live gigs and then songwriting with him, which was late ‘70s. The reason why I bring it up is that I found this King Biscuit Flower Hour performance that I only had on a cassette, which is why I needed to digitize it. There’s this jam section of the live gig where we all went off and did our own thing, where Sandy Gennaro played some drums and then I go into a riff — and the riff was the riff that I contributed to this [KKB] song called “Trying to Find a Way.” I go, “Oh my God!”

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