Guitarist Bob Kulick Reportedly Dead at 70
"I am heartbroken to have to share the news of the passing of my brother Bob Kulick," Bruce wrote. "His love of music, and his talent as a musician and producer should always be celebrated. I know he is at peace now, with my parents, playing his guitar as loud as possible. Please respect the Kulick Family’s privacy during this very sad time."
In 1972, Kulick auditioned for a then-unknown Kiss, but was beaten out for the job by the man who played right after him: Ace Frehley. He then became a studio musician, performing lead guitar on Lou Reed's 1976 album Coney Island Baby. He also toured and recorded with Meat Loaf, Michael Bolton, W.A.S.P. and Diana Ross.
In 1977, with Frehley unable or unwilling to participate, Kulick was secretly recruited to perform on the new studio tracks included on Kiss' Alive II. He went on to earn recording and songwriting credits on three more Kiss albums: Unmasked, Killers and Paul Stanley's 1978 solo LP. Kulick's younger brother Bruce joined Kiss in 1984, and remained their lead guitarist for a decade, until Frehley returned for an original lineup reunion tour in 1996.
In 2017, the Kulick brothers performed a full set of Kiss music live together for the first time on the band's annual Kiss Kruise. "It meant a lot to both my brother and I, the fact that we pulled it off so well and that it was so well received," Bruce told UCR afterward. "It's a good feeling. The love from the Kiss fans - it’s been a huge shot in the arm for my brother both professionally and emotionally."
The duo was set to perform together again on the following year's Kruise, but a contractual dispute resulted in Bob's departure from the bill. Last November, he publicly accused his brother of "backstabbing" in a dispute over merchandise sales, and expressed frustration at Bruce's alleged unwillingness to tour and record together.
In a 2018 UCR interview, Bob Kulick said he had no problem keeping his work with Kiss a secret for so many years. "In this circumstance, being friends with Gene [Simmons] and Paul, it was important to me that when they said ‘This has to be between us and us only,' that I’m going to keep my word. It’s all about integrity, and that’s how I’m able to keep going," he explained.
"I make great music; I don’t settle. I never went for the easy way: 'Oh, just take the money.' I never did that, it’s just not me. I never recorded an artist and took their money if I thought they were below the bar line, like ‘this is going to be embarrassing.' It wouldn’t help them, it wouldn’t help me."