Editor’s Note: What does an interviewer ask a legend in rock besides their new album? Bob Kulick has performed with the who’s who of music, but he also spent a portion of his career in the band KISS, with his guitar work being credited on the classic KISS albums “Alive II”, “Unmasked”, and “Killers”, and also shredded with Paul Stanley on his 1978 and 1989 solo tours. Bob also has appeared on Lou Reed’s “Coney Island Baby” album, been Meat Loaf’s touring guitarist, and played with W.A.S.P. Recently, Bob Kulick has released his latest album entitled “Skeletons In The Closet”, which features the likes of Dee Snider, Brent Fitz, and Eric Singer. It was an enjoyable discussion with this down to earth person. Without further delay, here is my conversation with legendary guitarist Bob Kulick.
M.T.C.: Thank you Bob for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with Madness To Creation. Tell me what can fans expect from your new album entitled “Skeletons In The Closet”?
Bob: They get to hear the best of Bob Kulick five brand new recordings that they have never heard and original tunes and our cover of “Goldfinger”, they get to hear some retrospective songs cleaned out from the closet, where I’m able to pull these awesome “skeletons” out for this record. We also have 23 guest artists including my brother, Dee Snider, Vinnie Appice, Frankie Benali, Rudy Sarzo, just a whole bunch of people, including Todd Kerns, very lucky to have 23 of the best in the genre on my record.
M.T.C.: I really like the “Goldfinger” cover, are you a big James Bond fan?
Bob: Well, over the years, I’ve done a bunch of different recordings with a bunch of different material, for example taking Frank Sinatra songs and having a bunch of singers take them up like Glenn Hughes sing on them, it just seemed like taking the James Bond song, and it was iconic for what it was and put it into a metal context, it just seemed like something fun to do.
M.T.C.: Kind of an offshoot question, what is your favorite James Bond movie or James Bond moment in the James Bond series?
Bob: One of all of our favorites would be the classic when he introduces himself at the casino and says, “I’m Bond, James Bond” or in Dr. No when he says “you’ve had your fix”. There were some great moments, in “Goldfinger” when Goldfinger had him strapped to the table and putting the industrial laser in between his legs and James Bond says, “you expect me to talk” and Goldfinger says, “no, James Bond you just need to die”, I looked at that and thought that was one of the most funniest things, but as always, our hero gets out of it and lives on to fight another day.
M.T.C: Back to “Skeletons In The Closet”, you mentioned earlier that you put together 23 guest artists into creating this album, what do you look for when you place musicians in the different songs or what do you look for in a musician when they work with you on crafting a song or do a recording?
Bob: Obviously, you want stylistically to have somebody put their best foot forward, so these songs were all handpicked for the artist that sang them, obviously when you have drummers the caliber of Scot Coogan and Brent Fitz, the great Vinny Appice, and the amazing Frankie Benali on there, its hard to go wrong, and having said that, I believe that in my years of producing and knowing all of these guys really well, I picked the proper tool for each job so to speak.
M.T.C.: Absolutely! One person that I want to highlight for the album is Dee Snider, and you collaborated with him for the song “London”, what was your favorite moment working with Dee Snider and what did he bring to the table?
Bob: We’ve done a bunch of stuff together and has always excelled. The guy is an awesome singer, a lot of people don’t give him the credit that he deserves, people say, “well, he’s from Twisted Sister” and all of that, but the reality is is that the guy is a monster singer and I knew that “London” would be one that he would gravitate towards, which he did and when he put his emotional raspy voice on some of those parts, he really brought it home, he is very underrated, I’m hoping that with him singing on this, singing in 6/8, which is the time signature of the song, it was very unique that he was able to wrap his head around it and deliver the performance that he gave, it really exemplifies his talent.
M.T.C.: What’s the song talking about?
Bob: It’s a throwback to the days of Jack The Ripper. It’s trying to conjure the past in a way that one could kind of feel the craziness that occurred back in England back in the day. I think we’ve all seen the movies with Jack The Ripper and Sweeney Todd and all of that, so it just seemed like a great opportunity to have the musical version of the movies that we saw.
M.T.C.: What made you decide on the song selection for “Skeletons In The Closet”?
Bob: Well, some of those were my favorites. I played these songs for Bobby Ferrari, who is my co-producer and we went through the nuggets that were in the closet to pick these five and we were in agreeement that these songs fit in with the rest of the original new material, so they made the best “next five” for this record.
M.T.C.: What did Bobby Ferrari bring to the table as a co-producer when you worked with him?
Bob: First of all, Bobby is a stellar musician and stellar engineer and amazing producer. Based on the objectivity to the songs and performance with his bass playing on “London”, the fact that he can produce the best sounds around today that I can gather at this really great recording studio, it really gave me the opportunity both sonically and performance-wise, he was so meticulous on the new tunes that it doesn’t make me flinch or wince, there was nothing that wasn’t addressed that it couldn’t have been made as good as it could be. He gave me the opportunity at the time and his talent also added an enormous amount into making of those five songs.
“London” by Bob Kulick featuring Dee Snider
M.T.C.: You have won Grammys as a producer and as a musician, what is one thing that people can take away from you in terms of learning the craft of producing or playing their instrument?
Bob: I think its my honesty and commitment to the music, I feel very passionate about this music, producing some younger artists now to help pass the torch, so that when things change, there will still be rock, there will still be blazing guitar players, so I’m doing that as well to keep this vibe going, music is one of the most uplifting things that people can have in their lives and to be able to provide distraction and inspiration, it’s a great job to have. I will always look at it that way as well.
M.T.C.: Your career has been all over the map, what is one thing that you want to accomplish that you have yet to accomplish in your career?
Bob: I would like to write music for a film score, and making sure I’m good with that, I’ve done the theme for Triple H in the WWE with Motorhead, the “Sweet Victory” song for Spongebob Squarepants, the episode for “Bad Geeks”, I’ve been involved for some films before, for tv shows, I’ve written the them for one of Steven Seagal’s old TV shows, for “Auction Hunters” and stuff like that, I would like to have another crack at that. I would like to work with some people that I admire that I have yet to work with, like James Hetfield of Metallica or Billy Gibbons of ZZTop. I’m not done, I’m concentrating on my record right now, but you never know what is going to happen, that’s the beauty of it.
M.T.C.: What was it like working with Triple H and Motorhead for “The Game”?
Bob: Motorhead was approached by the WWE to do this song back in 2000, and I have been working with the band at the time, so they contacted me, I’ve always been a big wrestling fan from back in the day, so I was looking at a picture of Triple H because I wasn’t following wrestling at that point, I was able to realize what we were looking at, and was able to tailor the song to the two-note solo to where Triple H would spit that water out, I had no idea that he was going to do that, the band went back on the road before the song was finished, we had to glue this thing together, it was like pieces put together, but when someone listens to it, it is one of the proudest moments of my career, I feel like we hit the nail on the head so to speak.
Triple H coming out to his entrance music. WWE owns this video, I claim no copyright.
M.T.C.: Do you still keep in contact with the guys in KISS?
Bob: Yes, as a matter of fact, I’ll be performing on the KISS Kruise this coming November. My brother, myself, Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz are going to do an hour show. As a matter of fact, I was on the phone with Gene Simmons recently, he’s going to be doing a boxed set of old recordings, of which four songs that I co-wrote with him back in the day are going to be included on the boxed set.
“Naked City” by KISS. KISS owns this music, I claim no copyright on it.
M.T.C.: Give me one moment that stands out to you during your time with KISS?
Bob: I think being on stage with Paul Stanley was one of the great moments and to be able to play the songs with him on his solo record it was very rewarding for me. It gave me that feeling of playing on the record, now you’re playing the song live, you’re on stage with Paul Stanley, it was a dream come true.
“Tonight You Belong To Me” by Paul Stanley. Paul Stanley owns this music. I claim no copyright on it.
M.T.C.: If you get to work with James Hetfield what would you show James?
Bob: I would show James one of my specialty tunings and see if we can come up with something unique, “London” was one of those specialty tunings, maybe try something in a different time signature, he is someone that is very, very advanced in terms of what his capacities are as a player, writer, singer, and performer. I gravitate to somebody that’s got the magic.
M.T.C: I’m giving you the floor to add anything else you want to add in regards to “Skeletons In The Closet” or message to the fans?
Bob: Just want to say thank you for your interest in the record and I hope amongst these songs, you can find a song that you can relate to and that I hoped I picked some of the artists that you liked as well. Play it loud and enjoy!
“Not Before You” by Bob Kulick. Bob Kulick owns this music, I claim no copyright on the music.
M.T.C: Thank you so much Bob, it was truly an honor.
Bob: Thank you for the great questions and the time. I appreciate it.
And there you have it! Bravewords has the album via Soundcloud in its entirety. Click here to listen to “Skeletons In The Closet”. Fans can also pick up a copy of “Skeletons In The Closet” by Bob Kulick here.
Find Bob Kulick on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BobKulickMusic
On November 5th-10th, KISS Kruise VII will be setting sail from New Orleans, Louisiana to Cozumel, Mexico and Costa Maya. The following have been confirmed on the Kruise:
KISS, Steel Panther, Extreme, Derek St. Holmes, Big Rock Show, Biters, Led Zepagain, Hard Day’s Night, Sophie Simmons, The Dives, Jake J And The Killjoys, KI, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, “Big” John Harte, Michael James Jackson, and Lydia Criss. For tickets, waiting list, and further information, please click here.
Special thanks to Dave Tedder and to Bob Kulick for setting this up!