BRUCE KULICK



"Transformer" (Self-produced; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick has released his latest solo CD, "Transformer," and the title couldn't be more appropriate. With "Transformer," Kulick really shows his chops, demonstrating everything from his impressive chops as a shredder to his ability to play any style of rock'n'roll he damn well chooses. And, even though several tracks are instrumentals, Kulick shows that his vocal talents are coming along quite nicely as well.

The CD starts out with an instrumental, "Jump the Shark," that may not shred but that rocks solidly. "I Can't Breathe" is up next and its chunky riff draws the listener in immediately. Other tracks worth mentioning include "Inn of the Mountain Gods," another great instrumental track. The thing that's great about Kulick's instrumentals is that they don't sound like the work of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. They stand on their own and Kulick's personality is apparent throughout. "Crazy" sounds like something off the new Boston album - a little lighter than one might expect from the former KISS axeman. Maybe his time with Grand Funk had something to do with that. "It's Just My Life" features former Union bandmate John Corabi on vocals and sounds like it could have come from KISS's "Carnival of Souls" (which Kulick was supposedly the main force behind). 

Though there isn't a weak track on the CD, there is one weak chorus. "All That I Need" is a classic KISS sex ditty and it rocks well enough. But Kulick's chants of "I got to have you, babe, I got to have you" come off too flat, in a (gasp!) Ace Frehley sort of way. Don't worry, though. Kulick's a way better vocalist than Frehley. (Guitarist, too, for my money).

Overall, "Transformer" is a better album than "AudioDog" and that may simply be because Kulick sounds so confident on the new CD. He sounds as if he knows exactly where he's at in his musical career and that, maybe, his transformation is complete.

Performing on Transformer are: Bruce Kulick - all vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, basses, mandolins and dulcimer; Brent Fitz - drums on tracks 1-11; Stephen Hanuman - percussion on track 12; John Corabi - vocal on track 8; Curt Cuomo - background vocals; Tim Cashion - keyboard on track 7.

For more information, check out http://www.kulick.net


"AudioDog" (Audio Dog Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Bruce Kulick gave KISS some of their better moments in the band's last years sans makeup. His performance on such albums as "Asylum," "Revenge" and the underrated "Carnival of Souls" gave the veteran band an edge they desperately needed. It's too bad that Bruce got left by the wayside when the clown make-up went back on and KISS returned to the (psycho) circus.

But Bruce apparently wasn't one to sit on his laurels. In addition to joining Grand Funk Railroad (with whom he is currently on tour), Bruce found time to record "AudioDog" shortly after leaving KISS. The result is a solid rock album that, perhaps not so surprisingly, echoes Bruce's later work with Stanley, Simmons, et al.

Of the CD's eleven tunes, seven feature Bruce's vocals while four are instrumentals. While Bruce's vocals won't bring to mind Robert Plant or even Paul Stanley, they're more than serviceable, as anyone who's heard Ace Frehley's robotic chanting will certainly attest. As might be expected, Kulick's guitar is the real star here and the fretwork shines throughout. 

"AudioDog" begins with the Satriani-like instrumental, "Pair of Dice." It's one of the tamer tracks on the CD and it still kicks ass. "Strange to Me" is the second track and, though not quite as heavy as one might expect from the former axeman of KISS, it rocks well enough. "Change Is Coming" and "Need Me" follow, both of which could have been written for KISS and both of which feature incredible lead work by Bruce, especially "Change is Coming" which is laden with blistering leads. "Monster Island" is another instrumental highlight.

Without going through each and every track, suffice to say that "AudioDog" gives Bruce Kulick fans a dose of what they've been looking for - some new material from a very talented musician. 

Also performing on "AudioDog" are Curt Cuomo and Brent Fitz.

For more information, check out http://www.kulick.net


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2017 13:05:03 -0400.