Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick explained in a new interview why he is relieved that he was not asked to reunite with the band to replace Ace Frehley in 2001.
Kulick was the lead guitarist for the group during the majority of their unplugged years, from 1984 until 1996 when the band regrouped with original guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Pete Criss.
Kulick was asked by Sleaze Roxx about not being approached to rejoin the band when Frehley left again in 2001. He responded, "When I had to leave in '96 after the success of the KISS 'Unplugged' performance, people were aware of the musicianship that existed in the band between Eric Singer and I, but after 20 years of people hearing about KISS in makeup, it was kind of like 'Star Wars' when it was rebooted people went to see what it was all about.
"I understood that it was the original guys, they put the makeup on and people were excited to either see it again or see it for the first time. That carried on, then it carried on and it carried on. [Laughs] It then reached a point where Gene and Paul couldn't continue with Peter so they called on Eric Singer to step into the role and the makeup.
"Eric is such a tremendous drummer. I was genuinely happy for him. I still am. Then when Ace started dropping the ball, it was seamless for them to go with Tommy Thayer who does such a fantastic job as the 'Spaceman.'
"If I had been asked to step into the 'Spaceman' role, it would have been really awkward for me. I get asked by the fans a lot, 'Well, why aren't you there?' I think Tommy stepping into the role was a lot more natural than Bruce Kulick becoming the 'Spaceman' and shooting rockets off of my guitar. I would have had to play the songs note for note like Ace.I don't think I could do that and remain happy in the band. Tommy does that to perfection. I was never required to learn the classic stuff note for note, but if you're going to be the 'Spaceman,' it would have to stay true to the way Ace plays it.
"That's not to say that I don't play the classic songs with respect. I play the Grand Funk Railroad songs with respect, while injecting my own style into them, like I did in my time in KISS. I would lose my 'liberties' if I stepped into the 'Spaceman' role."