Graham Bonnet spoke to Myglobalmind about the passing of legendary guitarist and record producer Bob Kulick. The former RAINBOW and current ALCATRAZZ singer first worked with Bob in the early 1990s supergroup BLACKTHORNE. More recently, Kulick recorded a guest appearance on the upcoming ALCATRAZZ album "Born Innocent".
Asked if he and Bob had remained close since the BLACKTHORNE days, Graham said: "Not really. I hadn't seen him for 30-plus years, and then we played [Count's] Vamp'd in Las Vegas in 2018. That was the last time I saw him. We recently spoke on the phone, and I could hear that something was not quite right with him. He took the conversation to a weird place, and I'm not sure why he did it. It was complete gibberish in a way. It didn't make any sense, and he was angry yet lonely. During the call, I was thinking, 'This is not the guy that I remember.' … I got the sense he was depressed. If his death was accidental, I wouldn't be surprised and hope it's not what I think it to be, that he took his own life."
Reflecting on his initial collaboration with Kulick, Bonnet said: "My family moved to Australia because we had a bit of a problem over here. We weren't running from the law or anything. It was hard to find work here. There I could make more money. I was in a Top 40 band called THE PARTY BOYS. It was a silly name. My friend Alan Lancaster, from the English band STATUS QUO, asked me to join, so it was an instant in. I was there for four to five months when I got the call from Bob Kulick and Jimmy Waldo asking if I want to put together a band. I went back to L.A. and borrowed some money to start the band with those guys, which we called BLACKTHORNE. Bob was hard-working when we were making that album. He wanted me to sing like the guy from AC/DC on some of the tracks. I told him that I'm not the guy from AC/DC; I'm Graham from RAINBOW, ALCATRAZZ, etc. I don't sing like that, and it's not me. If you want the guy from AC/DC, you should call him up. [Laughs] I did my best to do what he wanted with my voice. Bob was a perfectionist and at the same time a lunatic. That's why I couldn't work with him."
Despite the fact that they occasionally butted heads, Graham recognized that Kulick was extraordinarily gifted.
"He was a great musician," Bonnet said. "Even though we didn't get on sometimes, I appreciated and saw his talents.
"When we played in Vegas, he was great — absolutely amazing."
Bob died on May 28 at the age of 70. A cause of death has not been revealed.
Throughout his 40-plus-year music career, Bob Kulick worked with an astonishing array of artists: from Meat Loaf to MOTÖRHEAD; from KISS to Michael Bolton; W.A.S.P. to Diana Ross; as well as legends such as Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and Paul Stanley's first solo LP and tour.
Bob began his musical profession at 16 — when most high schoolers are still trying to figure out where they're going in life — appearing on the 1966 album "Winchester Cathedral" from the RANDOM BLUES BAND, the "baby band" that Bob played in that played The Café Wha in New York's Greenwich Village alongside Jimmy James and the BLUE FLAMES (later rechristened Jimi Hendrix).
1973 saw Kulick make the connection that he has been associated the most with throughout his career. He auditioned for — and got passed over by — KISS. Instead of being dejected, the six-stringer aligned himself with the band over the years, playing on the studio material on "Kiss Alive II", providing solos on the "Killers" album, co-writing "Naked City" from "Unmasked" and guesting on Paul Stanley's 1979 solo album and tour a decade later. He even suggested his brother to the band.