Ask prolific guitar player Bruce Kulick why being a judge for the School of Rock¬†"Battle of the Bands" June 29 and 30 at Summerfest is important to him and the¬†former member of KISS says that "seeing them be creative or just cover a classic rock¬†tune is truly a joy to me."
It‚Äôs that love of music that has fueled a career that has continued to climb since¬†1975. Kulick debuted as a touring member of Meat Loaf‚Äôs band playing dual¬†guitars with his brother Bob. From there, Kulick rocked in Blackjack with Michael¬†Bolton, opened for Ozzy Osborne with the band The Good Rats, played on Billy¬†Squier‚Äôs "Tale of the Tape" and perhaps most famously, held down lead guitar¬†for 12 years for the "hottest band in the world," KISS.
Kulick is kind, warm and well spoken. A workaholic and animal lover, Kulick¬†is refreshingly down to earth, but still possesses little eccentricities that¬†communicate he is a highly creative individual. Dressed sharply in designer¬†denim, a tailored jacket, fabulous shoes and tasteful "rocker" jewelry, he exudes¬†a confidence and mastery for his craft that only comes with the experience he¬†has garnered working with some of the music business‚Äô biggest and "baddest."
Could there be anyone left for Kulick to shred for? He says, "I always wanted to¬†jam with Paul McCartney! I love that he still rocks and he is in his 70s. A real¬†inspiration for all."
With a resume that reads like a who‚Äôs who of rock n‚Äô roll, Kulick offers some¬†great advice for the up-and-coming artists he will be judging this weekend on¬†the Summerfest stages:
"Be patient, and follow your instincts. Being a clone of¬†another band is never a great idea. Be influenced by the bands that you love, but¬†don't copy them exactly. Put yourself into your own idea of what a band or artist¬†should be."
School of Rock is a national, franchised music education program that utilizes¬†the expertise of stars like Kulick for mentorship and instruction. The Summerfest¬†"Battle of the Bands" will showcase over 200 students in 30 bands on several¬†stages over the two-day contest where Kulick will be joined by fellow celebrity¬†judges Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats), Earl Slick (David Bowie), Jim¬†Peterik (Survivor, Ides of March), Metal Mike (Rob Halford), Eric Bloom (Blue¬†Oyster Cult), Nathan Willett and Matt Maust (Cold War Kids).
The battle‚Äôs finale¬†will be staged at the BMO Harris Pavilion on Sunday, June 30. For detailed show¬†times and stages click here.
This will be Kulick‚Äôs first Summerfest outing and he is thrilled that it will give¬†the School of Rock hopefuls the chance to "get to feel like a pro." Part of¬†that experience is the fans. The School of Rockers will be joined by over 300¬†supporters and will be garnering new cronies with every note they play.
KISS¬†fans are known in the music world as some of the most dedicated devotees.¬†Kulick makes several appearances at KISS Expos around the world and¬†describes KISS fans as "amazing, loyal, and opinionated."
He is moved by how his part in rock history continues to inspire. "I am blessed¬†with my 12 years playing guitar for (KISS), as I was able to get a body of work¬†that won't be forgotten. What's amazing me lately is meeting young fans of mine¬†that are crying and shaking saying 'hello' to me. Guess what? I have been out of¬†the band longer than their age! So, I am quite moved by that."
Kulick currently plays lead guitar and tours with Grand Funk Railroad. He also¬†keeps busy with his two side projects, Union (with John Corabi) and ESP (the¬†Eric Singer Project.) He is involved with session work, producing new artists,¬†instructional DVDs, music compositions and Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp.
Kulick has also released three solo albums, most recently BK3 (available on¬†iTunes and from Kulick.net) that includes the vocal debut of Nick Simmons, son¬†of KISS bassist Gene Simmons on the song, "Hand of the King."
Was working with Nick anything like being in a band with his notorious father,¬†"The Demon?"
"Anytime I worked with Gene it was 'Gene Simmons¬†of KISS!' You know, he (Gene) has lots of experience. Nick is fearless, but he¬†didn't have that experience yet," said Kulick. "My producer and I watched him grow in his¬†confidence and ability and his performance was 'stella.'"
Perhaps the most exciting impending development for Kulick will be more¬†personal than professional. He is engaged to be married in early 2014. The¬†challenges and triumphs of relationships for road-traveling musicians have been¬†documented sonically since needle scratched vinyl, so will tying the knot affect¬†Kulick‚Äôs career or perhaps inspire his own ode to love on the road?
"Marriage will give me an even firmer foundation than what I already have. Lisa,¬†my fiance√©, obviously has been a huge part of my life and having her become Mrs.¬†Kulick, will be a strong statement of what she means to me. If it helps a song,¬†great, but honestly sometimes it's heartache and trouble that inspires musicians.¬†But, I am not opposed to a love song here and there, so who knows!"
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Lindsay Garric
Published Aug. 24, 2015
The Blue Moon rose on July 31, 2015. This astrological wonder hadn't occurred since 2012 and won't varnish the sky with its indigo face again until 2018. To my delight, the early hours of the "morning after" presented a celestial show that will have to sustain me until I can witness it again.
Published Aug. 5, 2015
Lindsay Garric gets personal with Alice Cooper - her husband, Chuck, is Cooper's bassist - and asks him five great questions. Cooper gigs in Milwaukee on Friday, Aug. 7.
Published July 19, 2015
In addition to the hefty work it does through the family support group, the CJ Lomas Foundation has hosted The CJ Lomas Recovery Foundation Golf Outing each year to raise money for opiate recovery organizations and to provide financial assistance for those in need to get help. This year, the event takes place on Friday July 24.
Published June 30, 2015
Sluts can relax. There's yet another demographic being shamed.
Published June 17, 2015
The breeze cools the tops of my feet and sneaks between my toes as my soles deftly navigate every detail of the varied terrain through the most minimal athletic shoe I have ever invested in - Bedrock Sandals.
Published June 1, 2015
If farming had professional athletes, Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm would be an all-star. Her certified organic, family-run farm located in Broadhead, Wis. has provided nourishment through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to Milwaukee and neighboring cities since 1994.
Published May 20, 2015
Penelope Shihab, founder of biotech company MONOJO and CEO of Milwaukee's Columbia Biotech USA has an innovative take on creating and maintaining clear skin.
Published May 6, 2015
Scott Roush is the drummer for Rossonian, a "hot pop, garage soul, electro-sensual rock & roll" band returning to the area to appear at The Jazz Estate on Thursday, May 7.
Published April 24, 2015
It would seem that Sir Mix-a-Lot was ahead of the curve(s) when he confessed, "when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, I get sprung." Milwaukee-area fitness professional Angelina D'Amico is taking full figured advantage of the bodacious booty trend.
Published April 13, 2015
This is what happens when someone who writes a blog "with a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends" binge watches the first season of "Lost."