Flashback Interview (1996): BRUCE KULICK: “[…] It Hurt [Leaving KISS], But I Always Knew That They Could Do It At Some Point”

Photo of Bruce Kulick with his guitar
Photo: Per Olav Heimstad

Stig G. Nordahl caught up with Bruce Kulick in 1996, after he had been forced to leave Kiss, and subsequently formed the band Union with John Corabi.

Bruce, when did you understand that your time with Kiss was over? 

Well, we had a meeting in January of 96, just when we were kind of finishing up Carnival of Souls. And that’s when the timing of them going out on the road that year would make sense, because the Unplugged event, bringing all four of them together, making them be able to iron out some past differences. And of course it hurt, but I always knew that they could do it at some point. I was never under any illusion that they’ll never get back together. Of course I didn’t really know how it would be received or for how long they’d want to stay like that, especially because we just finished a new record. So it was a very difficult period of time for me, but then again I totally understood why it was happening then. And it wasn’t until the summertime that we had another meeting, and face to face it was basically, well, we want to stay in makeup, so that’s the way it’s going to be. So that was the end of it.

It really took some time before the Carnival of Souls album was released. How did you feel about that release when it finally was released after that long time? 

“This one was definitely very dark and heavy”

Well, I was obviously thrilled it finally came out in its full quality, because it was pretty badly bootlegged. That was very disturbing, of course. I want people to hear it great. I want them to hear it the way it was meant to be heard. So I was always very, very happy that it was coming out, and I knew it could never come out while they were in makeup on tour. So since they were in their little hiatus period, the record company jumped on the fact that, well, Kiss is a hot word and commodity in a band, and even though this isn’t the makeup band, let’s get it out.

Carnival of Souls is a very different Kiss album. Do you think you would be heading in that direction if you kept on playing with Kiss? 

Well, I think every record the band does seems to take another turn. If I start with Animalized through to Crazy Nights and then Revenge and then Carnival, every album has its own animal, each one. This one was definitely very dark and heavy, although there were some really cool moments that weren’t real dark. And it was great that I got a chance to sing a song, that was really cool. So I don’t know where the band would really go, but for that time period, that’s where our head was at, and I was very proud of the music, that it came out as strong as it did.

When you left Kiss, did you do something else before you joined John Corabi, before this Union band? 

“Nicky (Sixx) even said, why don’t you guys get together?”

Well, I was doing some clinics and things like that and some sessions, but nothing really big because I was still being paid by Kiss, which was really cool to obviously have a little cushion there until I can get my next situation going. So outside of some performing in Europe with clinics and the singer Lenita Erickson that you might have heard of, my goal was to put a band together.

How did you meet Corabi in the first place?

Well, John, when he joined Mötley, I was always close with Nicky Sixx, and him all of a sudden being in their camp was my introduction to them, to him rather. Nicky even said, why don’t you guys get together? Once they knew that they were taking Vince back, it was time for John to see what he wanted to do. He wasn’t too sure. At first we both weren’t sure where we were headed with our careers, but the chemistry was very strong right away. We were very comfortable with each other. So next thing we knew, we had the nucleus of the band, which was the two of us. Was it hard to find each other musically? No, and that was what was great. If that didn’t work, I don’t think we’d be together and there would be no Union. What was great was both of us, I played him Carnival of Souls because he didn’t know what I was up to on that last record, and he loved the record. And then I wanted to show him some of my other ideas I had, and he had a tape of what he’s been writing, things that Mötley weren’t going to do, and I was digging that stuff. So as soon as we started playing and showing each other our ideas, we realized, “hey, I think we’re very compatible”. So we have similar influences and we have a lot of respect for each other’s talents. I didn’t know what it would be like until we got together, but Nicky was right. He said that we’d be able to get along very well, both musically and personally.

So now you feel that you can use a lot of ideas that you couldn’t bring into the music of Kiss?

Well, obviously because it’s my band, I’m going to get an opportunity to really spread my wings. But Gene and Paul was open to ideas, it’s just now it’s like I’m making the decision. So there’s more responsibility and there’s more freedom, obviously, and I’m really proud of the results. I know that a lot of people go to your show because they know Bruce Kulic as the ex-guitar player from Kiss and also John Corabi as the ex-singer from Mötley Crüe.

Will you be doing any Kiss or and Mötley Crüe songs on your shows?

Yes. There’s no reason not to do some Kiss things, especially from the albums that they won’t do, like Revenge or Carnival of Souls. John certainly, Mötley, is never going to perform anything from the record that he sang. That would be really cool to do those songs, actually. I’m looking forward to it!


  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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