Bruce Kulick feels a lot of the rough mixes for songs on ‘Carnival of Souls’ sounded closer to ‘Revenge’
Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick was recently interviewed by Eamon O’Neill for eonmusic. Kulick continues to promote and reminisce about his KISS era when the band members were not wearing their traditional make-up.
O’Neill noted that KISS‘ album Revenge (1992) was released only five years after Crazy Nights (1987) but was very different. Kulick was asked whether there was a deliberate attempt by KISS to darken their sound and image to which the guitarist replied:
“Well, music was evolving, and it always does. Every ten years I see a shift in what the next generation of kids want. ‘Revenge’ had [producer] Bob Ezrin, and it also had a lot more maturity in a sense, and it was darker. You’ve got to remember that Nirvana was out by then, and things were getting darker and hair metal wasn’t the same, so we answered that with a tough record. ‘Carnival of Souls’  took it even beyond that, as you probably know, and that’s coming up 25 years soon. So, it was appropriate for the time, but at the time you don’t plan that, you don’t know it; it’s just the way music evolves. Every band has an evolution.”
In terms of whether KISS‘ album Carnival of Souls was a step too far into the grunge territory, Kulick noted (with slight edit): “Toby Wright, who co-produced that record, he had both his feet in that world, working with Alice in Chains, and he had big success with that. Even though he knew KISS because he helped engineer some other work previously, he did take it very far that way, and Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley]’s attention by the time the record was being mixed was the reunion tour. Eric Singer [drums] and myself speak many times about when we look at ‘Carnival of Souls’; a lot of the rough mixes after we recorded sounded closer to ‘Revenge’, because Toby took it one more step when he mixed it.”
With respect to how he felt about Wright changing the sound of the songs on Carnival of Souls with his mixing, Kulick indicated: “Well, I certainly was able to make ‘I Walk Alone’ [the final track on the album on which Bruce sang lead vocals] what I envisioned for it. That one, I did! But it is true that a lot of that record was a big, big step into what you would call ‘grunge’ then. I still stand by the performances and the music. Sadly it was bootlegged, and all those versions that were out there were terrible, going cassette to cassette, and I remember this on guy that I used to work with, he thought that I leaked it! Why would I do that?! I had nine co-writes! What would be in it for me to have people bootleg my music?! They’d be ripping me off! I wanted to kill him when he said it to me.
But the point is, that record is really odd because of when it was being created, because of the style, but also more because of what the KISS band business was going through at the time. The fact that they were going to keep paying Eric and I for a year to be sure that the reunion tour was real, and Ace [Frehley, original guitarist] and Peter [Criss, original drummer] could do it. All their attention was on that, and business-wise, they did a pretty smart move, because if they made four million a year working with us being the other band, they made forty million that year headlining stadiums and playing in make-up. Everybody had to go see them.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Bruce Kulick at eonmusic‘s website.