Bruce Kulick – ‘Audiodog’ (2001) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Bruce Kulick as you know from this series, was the Kiss guitarist from 1984 to 1996…the non-makeup years. He was a perfect fit for the band and one of the most likable guys to ever be in Kiss. Before Kiss he was in a band called Blackjack with some guy named Michael Bolton from 1979-1980 and that would’ve been a good album to review since there is a Kiss connection with Michael has he co-wrote “Forever” off ‘Hot in the Shade’. But the goal for this series was to cover an album after the artist left the band, not before (unless there wasn’t an after as in Tommy’s case). That left the band Union which Bruce was in the John Corabi, even though he has been with Grand Funk Railroad for 20 years now, but they’ve never done an album. So that really got me thinking I should do his solo album since it was all Bruce.

Now technically I did already do a Bruce project when I did the Eric Singer Project, but that one was really Eric’s spotlight since the band was named after Eric which by the way had John Corabi in that band too. So Bruce’s first solo album is where I wound up. It was called ‘Audiodog’ and was released on October 23, 2001. There is a Kiss connection with this album as well, other than Bruce. That connection is Curt Cuomo who co-wrote a bunch of these tracks with Bruce and played keyboards plus some backing vocals. The Kiss connection with Curt is that he co-wrote two songs on ‘Psycho Circus’ with Paul Stanley including the title track.

The album was not a full instrumental album surprisingly. There were only 4 songs on here that were instrumental. The rest had vocals which were actually handled by Bruce. Bruce’s vocals aren’t the strongest and I would put him in the area of maybe Ace’s vocals. Not great, but definitely decent enough to be rather enjoyable as it is a solid rock tone. Bruce played all guitars and bass, but drums were handled mostly by Brent Fitz who played in Bruce’s band Union as well as with Gene Simmons. Two of the songs had legendary John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Arnoff on them which is pretty cool as well.

Lastly before we get to the music, let’s talk quickly about the album title. ‘Audiodog’ stems from Bruce working on this album from his home “audio” equipment while his dog, Joe, sat patiently next to him while he played. That is sort of what happens with me as I write as my dog, Bear, is usually laying next to my chair. I also love the Kiss shout outs on the cover with the skull statue of liberty from the Revenge Tour and the Sphinx from the Hot in the Shade Tour. But tops is the Chikara symbol that Eric had on his drum set. All pretty cool nods to his former mates.

The album opens with an instrumental called “Pair of Dice” it has the flavor of Kiss while at the same time really feels like a Joe Satriani vibe as well. Satriani instrumentals feel like songs with a chorus and the full structure and that is what we get here with Bruce. It is a rocking track with Bruce showing his technical prowess without going overboard. We then get “Strange to Me” which feels strange to me because it has Bruce singing. He only did that on one Kiss song off ‘Carnival of Souls’. But Bruce sounds good and although not as heavy as the opener, is still a solid track and you can see how his writing has really been influenced by his time with Kiss.

The next song up is “Change is Coming” which could be my favorite song on the album. Bruce’s playing on this is plain nasty. It is very heavy, almost metal, and has a Gene growl to the tone. It is a little darker and shows what a great player he is as his solos rival his work with Kiss if not exceeds. Vocally, this really suits him and he really shines on this one. Not to be outdone, “Need Me” proves it can hold its own next to “Change is Coming” as it keeps the heavy going and chugs a long with a dirty little groove. Bruce sort of sing/speaks the verses in the same manner I’ve seen Ace and Gene do. Vocally it isn’t as strong until the chorus, but musically it is catchy and groovy. I do like the shout out to “Master & Slave” from ‘Carnival’ (or just a coincidence).

“I Don’t Mind” is Bruce doing a ballad as things are slowed way down and Bruce sings softer and tries to emote as much feeling as he can garner. The chorus gets a louder and heavier in turning this in to a power ballad, then back to softy. It isn’t a strong song but gets saved towards the end with that guitar solo and the power turned up a notch. Lyrically it is dark and not a love song as Bruce doesn’t care if this person is around at all. Then we get the next instrumental with “Monster Island” and leaves me feeling like he is a mixture of John 5 and Satriani again with the Scooby type opening and those high note runs he plays. It is another one that feels like a song and that is what I love with a good instrumental track. Show boating, but only making it work for the song not to be like “Hey, look what I can do” and he has mastered that pretty well.

The next song is another ballad called “Please Don’t Wait” and I found it lifeless and boring and total misstep that kills the flow of the album for me. Thankfully the album is saved by the next track “Liar” which is another instrumental and this one has the feel of a ballad. I could easily take an album full of instrumentals from Bruce as they are that good. This one never goes over the top and has simple groove with the bass and drums laying down and easy feeling rhythm that Bruce layers on some light and airy notes that seem like of stream of consciousness pouring out of him.

“I Can’t Take It” brings the rock back in what sounds like a Kiss Ace riff with its grit. And the Ace comparison’s don’t end there as I would swear this is straight from an Ace album as even vocally it is Ace. Now don’t think I feel this is a bad thing as I love Ace. It is funny how years of playing Ace’s solos and stuff that it rubbed off. “Dogs of Morrison” is up next and this is one I didn’t like at first and with numerous listens it still never stuck. I like the chorus a little but the song felt disjointed and lost.

The last track on the official album is “Skydome” and we go out like we started and that is with an instrumental. Another one in the vein of Satriani with the falsetto type notes and another with an airy feel. Bruce really lays down a slick solo and some really cool rocking riffs. It is fun song that actually feels like you are soaring through the air. On Apple Music, you get another instrumental track called “495” which is a fun track, a cool funk like groove and some more killer riffs. The uptempo song moves along quickly with a foot-stomping, head bobbing feel that makes you feel like you are driving fast down the road. A great way to end the album as it leaves you wanting more.

Track Listing:

  1. Pair of Dice (Instrumental) – Keeper
  2. Strange to Me – Keeper
  3. Change is Coming – Keeper
  4. Need Me – Keeper
  5. I Don’t Mind – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  6. Monster Island (Instrumental) – Keeper
  7. Please Don’t Wait – Delete
  8. Liar (Instrumental) – Keeper
  9. I Can’t Take – Keeper
  10. Dogs of Morrison – Delete
  11. Skydome (Instrumental) – Keeper
  12. 495 (Instrumental) – Keeper

The Track Score is 9.5 out of 12 or 79% which is really solid. Next to Ace’s solo work, Bruce is the only other member whose solo stuff is really worth checking out. This one is solid and I think a testament to his talent. The more time I spent with this one, the more I liked it. Bruce is a technically amazing guitar player and is one of the most talented guitarists Kiss ever had. This solo album put all that talent on full display. Plus, he sang…maybe not great but Ace has proven that it can still work. Bruce’s songs show a range of talent from being dark to heavy and even have a lighter feel. He can do anything and this proves it. I really found this one to be enjoyable and I will give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. This was another reason I love to listen to Bruce Kulick play guitar. Now if only he would take a band out on the road and play all the 80’s Kiss stuff, that would be ideal. Maybe when the pandemic ends, he will do just that, but I am getting way off topic here. Sorry about that. Next week, back to Kiss!!

Next Up: Kiss – Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (2003)

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!

The Kiss Review Series:

  1. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  2. Kiss – Kiss (1974)
  3. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  4. Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
  5. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  6. Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  7. Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
  8. Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
  9. Kiss – The Originals (1976)
  10. Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
  11. Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
  12. Kiss – Alive II (1977)
  13. Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
  14. Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
  15. Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
  16. Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
  17. Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
  18. Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
  19. Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
  20. Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
  21. Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
  22. Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
  23. Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
  24. Kiss – Killers (1982)
  25. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
  26. Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
  27. Kiss – Animalize (1984)
  28. Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
  29. Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
  30. Kiss – Asylum (1985)
  31. Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
  32. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
  33. Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
  34. Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
  35. Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
  36. Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
  37. Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
  38. Kiss – “Crazy Crazy Nights” – 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
  39. Kiss – “Reason To Live” – 12″ Picture Disc (Bonus Edition)
  40. Kiss – Chikara (1988)
  41. Kiss – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988)
  42. Kiss – Hot In The Shade (1989)
  43. Kiss – “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” (1991) – 12″ Picture Disc
  44. Kiss – Revenge (1992)
  45. Kiss – Alive III (1993)
  46. Kiss – Konfidential VHS (1993)
  47. Kiss – Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved (1994)
  48. Kiss – MTV Unplugged (1996)
  49. Kiss – You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!! (1996)
  50. Kiss – Greatest Kiss (1997)
  51. Kiss – Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
  52. Kiss – Psycho Circus (1998)
  53. Kiss – The Second Coming Documentary (1998)
  54. Eric Carr – Rockology (1999)
  55. Mark St. John – Mark St. John Project (1999)
  56. Eric Singer Project – ESP (1999)
  57. Bruce Kulick – Audiodog (2001)

The Bootleg Series:

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)

Kiss – The Box Set:

  1. The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
  2. The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
  3. The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
  4. The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
  5. The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
  6. The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)

Gene Simmons – The Vault:

  1. Part 1 – The Grand Opening
  2. Part 2 – Disk 1
  3. Part 3 – Disk 2
  4. Part 4 – Disk 3
  5. Part 5 – Disk 4
  6. Part 6 – Disk 5
  7. Part 7 – Disk 6
  8. Part 8 – Disk 7
  9. Part 9 – Disk 8
  10. Part 10 – Disk 9
  11. Part 11 – Disk 10
  12. Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
  13. Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
  14. Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
  15. Part 15 – The Final Verdict

39 thoughts on “Bruce Kulick – ‘Audiodog’ (2001) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

  1. I tell you what, I like the tracks here – particularly Change is Coming and 495. Really good vibes in there… nice and heavy with some really sweet guitar. I think there’s a very good chance I’ll be checking this out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This one really grabbed me. Striking artwork, those songs are pretty great and you convinced me that it’s at least worth spending a bit of time with.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They would’ve have died on the vine and fizzled out. Kiss is only Kiss because of the make-up and the live show. They were already running their course which is why they did the reunion on the Unplugged to garner publicity for the band. That worked so well, the rest is history. The last Kiss album with Bruce was atrocious and the band would have been dead in the water after it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok yeah true, the makeup is what makes Kiss and without the makeup, they’re just another band that blends in with everyone else. Bruce still did good work with them though. I’d be perfectly fine with the new makeup era if they just gave Eric and Tommy their own makeup for heaven’s sakes.

        Liked by 1 person

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