How Gene Simmons Realized KISS Reunion Is Much More Profitable, Bruce Kulick Explains

Former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick looked back on his tenure with the band during a recent interview with Rolling Stone. According to the rocker, his departure happened after Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were asked to reunite with former band members, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, if they wanted to work with MTV.

For those of you who may not recall, Bruce Kulick‘s tenure with KISS first started when the band had stopped wearing their iconic onstage makeup. The guitarist replaced Mark St. John in September 1984, who left the band after being diagnosed with reactive arthritis. Bruce’s stint with the band lasted until his departure in 1996 when the band’s original members decided to get back together.

Throughout his time with KISS, Kulick appeared on five records, including ‘Asylum,’ ‘Crazy Nights,‘ and ‘Hot in the Shade’ as the lead guitarist. In addition to this, he performed as the lead singer on the track ‘I Walk Alone,’ from the band’s 1997 album, ‘Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions.’

After successfully working with the band for 12 years, the musician looked back on the time he spent with KISS during a recent interview and revealed the real reason behind the band’s decision to reunite with its original line-up. Apparently, it all happened after Gene Simmons came up with an idea to create a convention where the band members would meet their fans and perform.

The only problem was that the bassist wanted to charge $100 a ticket, which sounded a lot for a museum and meeting event. However, MTV liked the idea and thought it would be possible but under one condition. To sell the tickets and increase the band’s popularity even more, they had to reunite with their original band members. 

When Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley surprisingly agreed to reunite with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, it ended Bruce’s career in KISS. Looking back, the guitarist didn’t say anything bad regarding his former bandmates’ decision as he understands that fans felt nostalgia and wanted to see the band’s original members regardless of the new members’ success.

During the interview, Kulick said:

“Gene and Paul come up with these KISS conventions. Gene wants to charge $100 a ticket. Paul and I looked at each other like, ‘That’s a lot of money.’ Think about that now. It’s not a lot of money. They’re going to sign things. We’re going to perform. There’s going to be a museum. For back then, it just seemed like a high ticket.

But the people at MTV heard about this and discovered us. They thought this was great, and they were the ones that pushed the angle of, ‘What about a reunion?’ Ace and Peter were still doing clubs and things like that, so they’d certainly entertain that. That was the catalyst, the MTV Unplugged and making nice and signing contracts and then doing the reunion tour. And that was the end of my era.”

Even though Kulick said the band members were happy working with him, he was not asked to rejoin following the departure of Ace Frehley after the KISS’ Farewell Tour in 2002. According to Simmons and Stanley, Tommy Thayer was a better choice to replace Frehley since he could better copy their original guitarist.