In a brand new interview with MichaelCavacini.com, former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick was asked if he was ever approached to rejoin the band after Ace Frehley left for good back in 2001. He responded: “I know a lot of fans wonder about that. Even with Eric [Singer, KISS drummer], you’ve gotta remember there was a bit of yo-yoing there. When the band wasn’t speaking with Peter [Criss, original KISS drummer], insert Eric. Then for the tour in 2003, AEROSMITH required that there be more than two original members of KISS for the tour to happen. Since Tommy [Thayer, current KISS guitarist] was already there, they brought back Peter. Things are always more complicated than they seem on the surface.”
He continued: “From the minute this reunion tour [in 1996] was planned, Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley] were very clear that they wanted to get Ace and Peter in good shape. Tommy, who is a fine guitarist and known for being in BLACK ‘N BLUE, which was a great band, was also in a KISS tribute band — I think they were called COLD GIN. So, Tommy knew what it was like to be dressed up like Ace. And it was Tommy who was coaching Ace in the beginning, because Ace hadn’t played some of the songs in a long time. Tommy was always a valuable asset to KISS, whether it was writing songs, creating the ‘Kisstory’ book or being an understudy for Ace. He was always ready and willing to help. To me, Ace had a flippant attitude once he was back in the band. They never knew if he was going to miss a plane and not show up at a concert. So, Tommy was always ready to put the outfit and makeup on, if need be. And then it happened. Ace wasn’t willing to do certain events with the band, so Tommy stepped in.”
Bruce added: “Gene and Paul don’t like dysfunction, and when Ace was in the band, there was a lot of that. I was always worried that they’d call me up and ask me to put on the makeup and become the ‘Spaceman.’ It was very stressful for me. On one hand, I really missed being in the band. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t get to be what I was when I was in the band before. I wouldn’t be able to play the guitar the way I used to — they would probably want me to play closer to Ace. And I had already forged a style that really complemented my era of the band and didn’t poop on the previous era of the band. So, I don’t think it was a bad decision at all to ask Tommy to step into that role. As much as I missed being in the band, having to put on the makeup and become the ‘Spaceman‘ would require completely closing the door on something I was and taking on another persona, which would be awkward. I think it was much less awkward for Eric behind the kit as the ‘Catman.’ He was still his own man. But how do you put on the ‘Spaceman‘ outfit and shoot rockets out of your guitar and move around like that and play the notes like that, almost exactly like Ace, and not be the ‘Spaceman‘?
Asked if he was upset when KISS didn’t contact him to rejoin the band, Bruce said: “No, I totally understood it. I really did. For what they were looking for, Tommy was probably better at it than me. I would’ve had to really undo the way I play ‘Love Gun’ or undo the way I play ‘Cold Gin’ for it to work. And there wasn’t a problem with how I did it before. But if you’re going to stick me in makeup and I’m playing the role of the ‘Spaceman,’ it all has to change. The fans know.”
In 1984, Bruce joined KISS, where he remained as their lead guitarist for twelve years, accompanying the band on the “Animalize” tour and continuing with the band until the 1996 reunion tour. Bruce is heavily featured on “Kissology – Vol. 2” and “Vol. 3”, the band’s DVDs spanning their historic 40-year career.