INTERVIEW WITH BOB KULICK AND DAVID GLEN EISLEY
Date: December 11, 2019
Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda
Bob Kulick (Meatloaf, Diana Ross, Blackthorne, Skull, Murderer’s Row) and David Glen Eisley (Giuffria, Dirty White Boy, Murderer’s Row) released a newly recorded version of their song “Sweet Victory” in remembrance of late SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg. The song was written in the late ’90s by the duo and was featured in the 2001 SpongeBob episode ’Band Geeks.’ It was also included on the 2005 soundtrack ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: The Yellow Album.’ An interesting fact about “Sweet Victory” is that the episode ‘Bands Geeks’ was developed around the song.
Sleaze Roxx caught up with guitarist Bob Kulick and singer David Glen Eisley on December 11th to talk about the newly recorded versions of the song “Sweet Victory.” There’s a second version that features strings. We didn’t delve into anything related to that band with the makeup or the guitarist, who used to play in that band, when they took the makeup off, but wore just as much makeup. All that has been covered ad nauseum, and there’s nothing more to say on the matter. We touched on the future of the partnership between Bob Kulick and David Glen Eisley, their past musical histories and of course who’s their favorite SpongeBob SquarePants character.
Sleaze Roxx: I was familiar with “Sweet Victory” because at the time, my kids were younger and they loved the SpongeBob SquarePants show. You’ve reissued the track, or was it re-recorded?
David Glen Eisley: It’s newly recorded. It’s an entirely new recording.
Bob Kulick: It’s totally new. There’s new background vocals. There’s a version with orchestration on it.
David Glen Eisley: It’s based on the original version which is the ‘Sponge version.’ There was a petition in 2018 for its use for the 2019 Super Bowl. The response was just so ridiculous, that I looked at Bob and said, “Let’s just recut the thing!”
Bob Kulick: One of the distinctions with the original recording is that it was done pre-pro tools, so this wasn’t a song that was put together by cutting and pasting it together. David Glen Eisley sang it the way you heard it. That’s not the case today. It’s just not. We first started working on this song in 1996, is that right David?
David Glen Eisley: That is correct.
Bob Kulick: This man Stephen Hillenburg went from being a marine biologist to creating a franchise called SpongeBob SquarePants, that not only affected children but adults as well. The man was a genius. He told stories within these cartoons that taught lessons. In the case of “Sweet Victory” — a beautiful song that can join everyone together — is worth its weight in gold, which is what we’re seeing now.
David Glen Eisley: That was one of a series of compilation of tunes that Bob and I wrote back when we first met, which led he and I into Murderer’s Row. That’s one of those albums that was a ‘one off’ that both of us are particularly proud of, because of how it happened. It was so haphazard. The players that perform on it are phenomenal and I think it still holds up today. So, “Sweet Victory” was written back in that period. We were on a baseball field and we were like, “You know, we might be able to write together.”
Bob Kulick: I’ve always admired Dave. I kicked myself for not approaching him with something worthy of his talent. When I had the opportunity to work on these songs, the end result let me know that the proof was in the pudding. I don’t think I have written a better song in my life. I think we were drawn together to write this song. This is our “We Will Rock You.” This is our “We Are The Champions.”
Bob Kulick and David Glen Eisley‘s remixed track “Sweet Version”:
NEW!! Sweet Victory – Tribute to Stephen Hillenburg Version. As featured in Sponge Bob Squarepants. Written and performed by David Glen Eisley and Bob Kulick. Mixed and Edited by Mike Gillies (Metmixer).
Sleaze Roxx: So were you even aware that Stephen Hillenburg was using the song on the ‘Band Geeks’ episode?
David Glen Eisley: Not at all. At the time, my daughter who was about nine years old, comes running into the living room and says, “Dad! The Sponge is singing. SpongeBob is singing and it’s you!” I followed her and listened and I was like “Holy shit! That’s me! What is going on?” I immediately called Bob. I said “Bob, do you know what’s happening? Tune in! This is crazy!” The way he tooled that was brilliant. So he heard the song, he liked the songs and then he wrote the episode around the song. So we didn’t write to the cartoon. He wrote to the tune.
Bob Kulick: That’s why we decided to release this again as a tribute to him, Stephen Hillenburg was a genius that was taken from us way too soon. David and I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you if he had not realized that this is an inspirational tune. He was instrumental in “Sweet Victory” touching millions, dare I say billions of people around the world? This song is nothing short of magic. When I saw it on TV, I was in shock. Here was SpongeBob singing the crap out of the song, then there was another character playing my guitar parts! It was insane! I had friends who had kids who were fans of the show, who would say stuff like, “You know your favorite song “Sweet Victory”? Bob co-wrote that song!” The kids would look at me and say, “Wow! You really wrote that?” It was pretty nuts!
“Sweet Victory” performance by Band Geeks on SpongeBob episode:
SpongeBob, Sandy, Patrick and Squidward give you all the feels at the Bubble Bowl when they sing SWEET VICTORY! 🎤 Catch more SpongeBob SquarePants on Nicke…
Sleaze Roxx: Bob, I have read and listened to interviews, where you mentioned that you either had pitched or had an artist in mind to cut the song. Is that still the plan?
Bob Kulick: David and I have the multi tracks for the song, which means that we are able to go in there and change or fix or alter or do whatever we want to do with it.
David Glen Eisley: We have all the parts for someone else to recut it now. We didn’t have that in the past because they just didn’t exist.
Sleaze Roxx: I remember hearing “Sweet Victory” years ago. As I mentioned, I had a couple of kids that were really into the show. My first impression of the song was that it had this really cool ’80s AOR vibe to it, then I thought [Sylverster] Stallone soundtrack tune!
David Glen Eisley: [Bursts into laughter] Man, that is so cool! I knew the Scotti Brothers really well, by the way!
Bob Kulick: I’ll call Sylverter tonight [laughs]! I know what you’re saying. He does a great job selecting music for his soundtracks and he makes epic movies.
David Glen Eisley: We have all the pieces of the puzzle available for the song and we can do whatever we want with it and people can take pieces [of the recording] and use it for TV, film or whatever. Ruben, I don’t think you realize how many versions of this song are going to be out there.
Bob Kulick: We have been approached about doing a Himilayyan version of the song! Either someone can sing it in a different language or we can have Dave do it! The possibilities are endless.
Sleaze Roxx: Will you be working together to write more material for yourselves? Will you record this material for a project as a duo? Have you been approached about writing for other artists?
David Glen Eisley: I would say all of the above. We’re already working on songs for our own use for a future release. We’re ‘buttoning up’ some of our legal stuff to be able to be totally approachable when it comes to people approaching us about “Sweet Victory” or multi-tracks from our Murderer’s Row record. We just found them about a week ago. Bob calls me up and says, “You’re not going to believe what we found in Jimmy’s [Waldo] garage! There were boxes of two inch tape!
Bob Kulick: You could have heard my jaw hit the floor! This was just what we had been missing. I was so embarrassed. I had turned those tapes into Jimmy. Thank God he took care of them! This music needs to be heard and I think that’s part of the reason that these tapes are all of a sudden reappearing. You can add to these multi-tracks. You can subtract to it. You could add orchestration to it. The possibilities are just endless!
Sleaze Roxx: There’s a baseball connection to this which will lead into Murderer’s Row. You were watching a game and there’s a tie to the New York Yankees with the name of the band.
Bob Kulick: We were playing in a game, but you’re right!
David Glen Eisley: Yes, Murderer’s Row is a reference to the Yankees. We used to play softball games with all of these musicians — Pat Torpey, Ricky Phillips, Chuck Wright, Dave Amato, Michael Bolton, John Purdell, Bob and myself, and the list goes on and on and on. We’re all out on the field. That’s where Bob and I met. The Murderer’s Row album was a collection of songs that Bob and Jimmy had written. They had cut these blank tracks. They were meant for possible use as a Blackthorne record. Bob and I met and he was talking to me about these tracks.
There was a 12 day deadline to get finished tracks presented to Polydor Records. He asked if I would be interested in getting some tracks and doing my thing with them. I took him up on the offer. If the songs spoke to me, I would do something with them. I figured I’d get two to three songs. He handed me the whole record [laughs]! I took the stuff home. I started mapping shit out and cramming as much stuff as I could on four tracks. I brought a cassette to Bob and Jimmy and they said, “Cool, let’s take it into the studio and cut it with [producer] Pat [Regan].” The next thing I know, I’m in the studio, cutting lead and background vocals for the next week and a half. We mixed the album in about a week and a half. I asked, “What are we going to call this thing?” At that point, I knew that Bob was a New Yorker and I knew he lived and died for The Yankees. He’d take a bullet for The Yankees, so I said, “ Why don’t we just call it Murderer’s Row? After The Yankees?” He quickly replied, “Yeah! That’s it! It’s fits so well!”
Bob Kulick: I have to interject that what Dave did on that record was nothing short of miraculous. He didn’t have the luxury to come back and do edits. He could only deal with what was there. He had to marry his melodies and vocals to these ideas in a way that not only worked, but was amazing, “Red Rain Fallin’” and “India” — these songs sound like they’re songs that someone spent six months crafting, when in fact he came up with this stuff in a matter of days! To me, that was all I needed to know. Not only was this guy an awesome singer, but as a writer, he mopped the floor with everyone else that I had worked with!
David Glen Eisley: Everything I sing, I write. I could never be a ‘studio’ singer, in the sense of being able to sing someone else’s lyrics or melody, that’s not something I was that good at doing. There’s probably three people that I can think of that I can gravitate toward that set me off. Bob is one. He can play three chords and he sets me off and I’m inspired!
Bob Kulick: We hit the nail on the head with these songs right away. We caught lightning in a bottle and we knew it! We’re so blessed!
Sleaze Roxx: As far as the Murderer’s Row album, it was reissued in 2018 by a label abroad. How involved were you with that in terms of liners and additional content because the second disc on that package is a collection of demos.
Bob Kulick: We were involved with Cherry Red. Let’s face it this album was so under the radar, that nobody could find it. Not anymore.
David Glen Eisley: We did a video for “India” just for fun.
Murderer’s Row‘s “India” video:
Director: Jack Edward SawyersDP: Rachel Wyn DunnEditor: Jack Edward SawyersExec. Producer: B…
Sleaze Roxx: What was your opinion on the final product, as far as the Murderer’s Row reissue?
David Glen Eisley: They sent each of us a box of the final product. I opened up the box and pulled one out to look at the liner notes. Our history has grown since the making of that record. There’s more points of interest as far as that, the packaging and all of that is fine. As far as the record company getting behind it… we all fall victim to where there was a lot left to be desired. There wasn’t any promotion, in terms of making the release ‘newsworthy’ so to speak. It’s just the way that the business is now, it’s just unfortunate.
Bob Kulick: Let me point out that David and I entered into a licensing deal with the label. They produced the physical product, but the record is still ours. Now that we have recovered the multi-tracks of that album, we’re going to start to redo some of those songs.
David Glen Eisley: Like with “Sweet Victory”, we’ll have complete Murderer’s Row songs or pieces available to license to motion pictures or television or commercials. The possibilities are endless.
Bob Kulick: Dave and I are part of a generation where we did the work. [We] weren’t thinking about commercial use as an artist. The Beatles would NEVER allow use their music for a commercial back in the day. That is not until Michael Jackson purchased their publishing. Did you ever see any of their music used in a commercial or anything like that. The world has changed, some of the best music that I hear is on TV. I wrote music for a Dodge Charger commercial last year. That is what Dave andI are talking about. Like Dave said, the possibilities are endless.
Sleaze Roxx: David, you started out in Giuffria, then Dirty White Boy and recently also worked on an album with Craig Goldy.
David Glen Eisley: Yeah, I started working with Gregg Giuffria in 1983. Originally, it was Gregg and Punky [Meadows] who were trying to put together a new version of Angel. I walked into a studio one day and wound up auditioning for them. That same day, Gregg and I wrote two songs and Punky and I wrote one. After that, Punky dropped off and Gregg and I went on to recruit different people and Giuffria was born. Giuffria was good for two albums with two different versions of that particular band. There was a lot of internal nonsense, which I don’t like going into. We did really well. We had more than an album’s worth of material demoed. We did them at the infamous Sound City. Machines were breaking down but we managed to get 20 songs cut. That material was what was supposed to be the third Giuffria record, but that did not become the third Giuffria record.
I met up with Earl Slick and began to work with him and Gregg met up with Chuck [Wright] and they formed House of Lords, which I suppose you could call the ‘sister’ band to Giuffria. They put about four to five songs that Gregg and I had demoed and put them on the first House of Lords album. I took a lot of those demos and through Frontiers released an album called ‘The Lost Tapes,’ which was stuff that was to be used for the third Giuffria record and what was to be used for the Dirty White Boy record and some other stuff. I went on to do two solo records with Frontiers and I recently issued another album on my own titled, ‘Tattered, Torn and Worn’ which was just myself and a guitarist friend of mine named Paul Caulder. He’s become a great friend. He’s an excellent guitarist and a great engineer. Ironically, I met Paul while working on the Eisley/Goldy album ‘Blood, Guts And Games.’ I wound up having a fallout with Craig for personal and health reasons. What have you — we all have our troubles. Nobody came to the party on that record, except me [laughs]! Unfortunately, that was not a very enjoyable situation, that brings you up to date on me in a nutshell.
Giuffria‘s “Call To The Heart” video:
Music video by Giuffria performing Call To The Heart. (C) 1984 Geffen Records
Sleaze Roxx: Any more on your time in Dirty White Boy?
David Glen Eisley: Dirty White Boy, as I mentioned earlier, there are few people who can give me a lick and inspire me to write. One would be Bob, one would be Gregg and one would be [Earl] Slick. That’s the three. They could give me just about anything and provoke me.
Bob Kulick: [Bursts into laughter]
David Glen Eisley: I’m serious! I’m serious! It’s like “Here Dave, here’s a spoonful of ‘Bob meal.’ Put it in your mouth! Now spit something out and it better be good [laughs]!” The Dirty White Boy band is a band that you talk about hitting the wrong timing. We only toured Europe and we had a blast and tore that place apart. I LOVED that band. It was my favorite band that I ever played live with. It was so raw. The record doesn’t do the band any justice whatsoever. Live, it was like a freight train from hell! We had [drummer] Keni Richards, God rest his soul, in the band and he was a monster.
The live performance didn’t translate to the album because we got stuck with a producer, who I will not name, he wined and dined the record company to the point that they just went along with it. Neil Giraldo [Pat Benatar] was going to be the co-producer on that record and he was going to play some guitar on it as well. I met Neil in Malibu and it was fantastic! It was going to be so cool, then the record label vetoed it and went with this other guy, because he had a track record with Ratt and Winger. It was perfectly fine for bands like that, but it’s nothing remotely to what Dirty White Boy is all about. This guy didn’t know what to do with a blues / rock band like us. I say that with a bit of animosity because I literally had to put a noose around Slicky’s neck and drag him back into the studio! I had to beg Slicky to come back and finish his tracks and he’d say “I can’t stand it! This is complete bullshit!” It was a nightmare I’d never worked like that in my life! I work with Andy Johns and Lee DiCarlo. I was blessed with this crazy motherfuckers, because they really knew their shit [bursts into laughter]!
Sleaze Roxx: And don’t forget you’ve worked with Bob….
David Glen Eisley: [Laughs] Oh, he’s the craziest motherfucker of them all [laughs]! It’s a good crazy. It’s an “I take no bullshit” crazy! It’s a “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anyone kind of crazy [laughs]!”
Bob Kulick: [Laughs]
Sleaze Roxx: Bob, I’d better get you involved here before we run out of time. I don’t want you to be mad as hell at me if we run out and don’t get a little bit about Blackthorne and Skull at the tail end of this. ‘Afterlife’ is a very underappreciated record and it was a supergroup.
Bob Kulick: Yeah, as I mentioned, Jimmy Waldo is a friend and this fills the gap of me meeting Dave. Jimmy, as you know, had worked with Graham [Bonnet] in Alcatrazz. He was living in Australia at the time. We asked him if he was interested in forming a band with Jimmy and I. We added Frankie Banali and Chuck Wright even though they seemed to be playing with everybody at the time. We were a band of session musicians. I had played on a ton of records as a sessions guy. I tried to do a band. I tried Skull that failed. [I] tried Blackthorne and I found a guy that could sing!
The only other guy that can sing as good as Graham, is the other guy you’re talking to right now — David Glen Eisley. I’m so blessed to be working with the two greatest singers that I have ever heard. I just recorded two songs with Graham Bonnet for a new Alcatrazz record. We also have the multi-tracks for the record ‘Afterlife.’ We’re going to remix them and re-edit them and who knows? That might wind up in 30 movies! I turned on the TV last night and the first thing I heard come out of it was “You’re destined for the afterlife!” I was like, “Where’s the song?” [Laughs] I have the song right now! So when Blackthorne failed miserably, that’s when I found Dave. Graham does the tune down a step. The guy is 70 years old and he still sings it without tuning down a step! Who does that?
David Glen Eisley: I do [laughs]!
Bob Kulick: And Dave [laughs]! I brought that up about Graham because I had egg on my face. I was thinking that he tunes down.
Sleaze Roxx: A couple more things then and I’ll let you go. If you two go on to record an album as a duo, what would you call yourselves?
Bob Kulick: What do you mean if? When you guys…
Sleaze Roxx: Okay, when you guys record an album, what would you call yourselves?
David Glen Eisley: It’s an interesting question, because until you hear how the music begins to play out, you just don’t know. I swore that I would NEVER do another ‘band’ thing again. At my age, I already have a wife. I don’t need five others! I’ve got a beautiful wife and another one that lives in Las Vegas!
Bob Kulick: [Laughs] He’s got me know!
David Glen Eisley: I don’t know how much I relish the idea of going to the altar four times in one shot, just to be yelled at and told that this is wrong and that’s wrong.
Bob Kulick: I don’t think that would happen if we had a band, because we would be in charge. We could do like a Hall and Oates and call it Eisley / Kulick because I think if we did a band name, we’d lose our identity.
David Glen Eisley: That’s a great point, we could even put ‘E/K’ on the album cover and come up with a great album title.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question and probably a tough one, who’s your favorite SpongBob SquarePants character?
David Glen Eisley: There’s the crab. I liked the crab.
Sleaze Roxx: Mr. Krabs?
David Glen Eisley: That guy!
Bob Kulick: I would have to go with Squirward. I love him.
David Glen Eisley: Wait, I think I’ll have to go with ‘The Sponge.’ I have to be loyal to SpongeBob. He’s been good to me.