BRUCE KULICK – FORMER KISS / CURRENT GRAND FUNK RAILROAD GUITARIST INTERVIEWED
Grand Funk Railroad will be performing at the Mt. Airy Casino’s Under The Stars’ Summer Outdoor Concert Series, 44 Woodland Road, in Mount Pocono, PA, August 18 at 9 PM.
Tickets are $25. and $40. The venue phone is 877-682-4791. The web site is
Formed in 1969, Grand Funk was born out of the ashes of Terry Knight & The Pack, another band from Flint, Michigan. Currently the group includes original founding members Don Brewer (vocals and drums, writer and singer of the hit, “We’re An American Band”) and bassist Mel Schacher. Joining Don and Mel are true “ALL-STARS”– Max Carl (38 Special, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, Max Carl and Big Dance), lead guitarist Bruce Kulick (12 years with KISS and credits with Michael Bolton, Meatloaf and Billy Squier), and keyboardist Tim Cashion (Bob Seger and Robert Palmer).
Together, Brewer and Schacher have created a dynamic and multi-talented five piece band that will not only carry on the tradition of Grand Funk hits, but also has the potential to create a new chapter in the legacy of Grand Funk Railroad. With Grand Funk reforming in 2000, this new chapter in the band’s biography is being written daily. Both seasoned Grand Funk lovers and contemporary rock fans– discovering the group for the first time on CDs and VH-1– will be able to see and hear firsthand that Grand Funk Railroad’s train is back on track.
I had the opportunity to speak with Bruce Kulick about the up coming Grand Funk Railroad Show at The Mount Airy Casino in Mt. Pocono PA. As well as Kiss and some of his solo projects. Check out the interview below.
RN: You have been in Grand Funk Railroad just as long as you were in Kiss right?
Bruce Kulick: Yeah, this is the twelfth year. Every time you get involved with a new opportunity you have to be honest with yourself, you never know how long any situation will last. Because there are so many things that could happen, just like Kiss, I never expected twelve years. Grand Funk is going strong. It’s a unique bunch of guys based around the two original guys, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher. We all get along, we play well together and we respect one another. Our primary goal is to do a kick ass show and have people go home knowing they seen an amazing show, and I think we accomplish that.
RN: What made you decide to join Grand Funk?
Bruce Kulick: To be honest after Kiss I had my own band along with John Corabi we were called Union. I still work with John. Grand Funk does not take up my entire year. It’s about one hundred to one hundred and fifty days of travel so I still have time for other things. But when the gig opportunity came up I didn’t have to think about it to long. I was influenced by these guys when I was younger. Between Mel’s bass playing and Don’s drums which sounded so big, and of course Mark Farner did a great job on vocals. So I met Don and kept in contact through the years. When Don and Mel decided they wanted to continue Grand Funk Railroad they had a short list of guitarist and I was on it. We talked about it and I realized that it was a good opportunity because it was a steady gig, with a great bunch of guys that are not only talented in their own right, but a band that is important in the history of rock n roll. I like to consider myself a versatile guitarist but I love the classic style. I think I definitely fit what they needed.
RN: You once said you were not a fan of Ace because you are a fan of what Ace is a fan of.
Bruce Kulick: Yes, that really is true, and that’s no disrespect to Ace at all. But he was influenced by Jimmy Paige, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix. They are the same for me but the next generation is going to listen to bands from the 70’s and be influenced by them. I have to admit a lot of Kiss Fans my not be that familiar with Grand Funk until I tell them a few titles and they remember or say, “ Yeah I know that song”. There is a lot of respect for the band in the industry. Yeah, it’s different than Kiss but I like to consider it all Rock n Roll. It all started with the Beatles with the British Invasion, and I think Grand Funk was the American answer to some of the stuff that started to come out of England like Cream and The Who. It’s no accident they sold out Shea Stadium. Playing with these guys is great. There is a solo in every song and playing with a rhythm section like this is amazing. Don is such a pocket drummer and Mel has had an influence on me too. I play bass as well. I play bass on my solo records.
RN: Considering you followed behind some great players. How do you approach playing some one else’s material?
Bruce Kulick: I think I have the right approach when it comes to playing some one else song. I try not to loose the essence of what made that song or that solo great but at the same time I try to put my own emotion into it. That’s always a challenge. The Grand Funk song that always hit me the most when I was younger was, “Inside Looking Out”. It’s a very heavy blues driven song with a lot of attitude and that’s a big center piece of our show. I really enjoy it. I get to step up and do a lot of guitar playing.
RN: As a Kiss Fan and considering this is the 20th anniversary of arguably one of the best albums Kiss ever released, “Revenge”. I have to ask you, if it were approached would you do a Revenge reunion tour.
Bruce Kulick: If they ever wanted to do something like that I would certainly consider it but to be honest I don’t see any motivation for them to take off the makeup. I’m on great terms with all the guys. I was at Paul’s 60th birthday party back in January. I was at Gene’s wedding last October and he also sang on my last solo record. His son Nick has also worked with me, he has a song on my solo record. I have a really good relationship with them. Me not being in the band has nothing to do with a falling out. It was just natural for Tommy to come in and take Ace’s spot. And he does a great job at it. My time in Kiss is special to me and to the fans.
RN: How about a new solo record?
Bruce Kulick: It’s been over 2 years since I put out BK3. I will put out another one. I just need to buckle down and get it done.
RN: You also put out a limited edition run of your first solo CD Audio Dog.
Bruce Kulick: Everyone that is familiar with me knows Joe was my kid. Even though he was an 8lb dog he was my kid. He had the greatest personality and everyone that met him loved him. I just ran out of stock on the last printing of the CD but I had a lot of left over booklets and it makes no sense not to do a limited run on the CD. I don’t want to release Audio Dog forever with a song on there that I am singing for Joe. But I thought it would nice to do a limited run with the disc saying limited edition. Those are the original eleven songs but I added a bonus from the e.p. called “495”. It’s just a 3 way jam instrumental. As well as a recording I did for Joe. It comes with pictures and there is some thing written in there explaining how I put it all together and a part of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Pet Adoption Fund, the place I adopted Joe from in California.
RN: It has been a long time since Grand Funk put out a studio album. Is there anything in the works? And if not what has kept the band going?
Bruce Kulick: We have no new product out, but we do a few new songs during our live show. The goal of being on stage and performing where ever we go is just to communicate through the music and just have an amazing time. That is what it always comes down to. The same goes for Kiss, makeup or not the goal is to make everybody feel good. Just Rock n Roll, and to let everybody become one at the concert and to be moved by it in some way. Forget your troubles, forget whatever is going on in you daily life, and just escape. Live music is a blessing for some people especially if it’s good music. That’s what everyone is going to hear when they come to the Grand Funk Railroad gig at The Mount Airy Casino in Mt Pocono PA. A bunch of guys who are extremely thrilled to be on stage, like playing great music, and making sure everyone is having a great time.
RN: Is there anything you want to say to your fans before we call it day?
Bruce Kulick: I think my biggest frustration is I really think my fans are missing out on the fact that Grand Funk Railroad is a great band. If you do not know much about Grand Funk it’s not too hard to check us out. I think they would be really impressed not only with the music but with the fact that we really enjoy doing what we do. It’s not a Kiss show. It’s not supposed to be a Kiss show, but its great Rock n Roll. I think you will really enjoy us come check it.
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TICKET INFO FOR THE MT. POCONO PA SHOW