KISS and Lou Reed Guitarist Bob Kulick Dies at 70
Published May 29, 2020Bob Kulick — an American guitarist and producer who performed and recorded with KISS, Lou Reed, W.A.S.P. and more — has died. Kulick's younger brother, guitarist Bruce Kulick, confirmed the artist's passing in a Facebook post. He was 70.
"[Bob's] love of music, and his talent as a musician and producer should always be celebrated," Bruce wrote in a statement. "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."
Born Robert J. Kulick in 1950, he would audition to be the lead guitarist of a nascent KISS in 1972. While Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss were impressed with his playing, the group would ultimately choose Ace Frehley for the role — though it wouldn't be the last time Kulick and the group would cross paths.
In 1977, Kulick would perform uncredited on the band's Alive II album, finally having his contribution recognized in the credits of a 1997 remastered reissue. He would soon earn credits on three more KISS albums: 1980's Unmasked, and 1982's Killers and Creatures of the Night. Kulick would also play on Stanley's 1978 self-titled solo LP.
Kulick's brother Bruce would join KISS in 1984, playing guitar with the group until 1996. In a 2018 interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Bob explained he had no issues keeping his own work with KISS a secret.
"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."
Outside of his KISS audition, Kulick landed gigs as a session player, including a role as lead guitarist on Lou Reed's 1975 album Coney Island Baby. That same decade saw him join Meatloaf's touring band, the Neverland Express, which led to an appearance 1984's Bad Attitude.
In the 1980s, Kulick would play on albums from Michael Bolton and Diana Ross, while the '90s would lead to work with bands Skull, Blackthorne and Murderer's Row.
Apart from playing and recording, Kulick also worked as producer, helming tribute albums to Cher, Shania Twain, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, KISS, Aerosmith, Queen and more.