His brother Bruce revealed the sad news on Facebook. “I am heartbroken to have to share the news of the passing of my brother Bob Kulick. His love of music, and his talent as a musician and producer should always be celebrated. I know he is at peace now, with my parents, playing his guitar as loud as possible. Please respect the Kulick Family’s privacy during this very sad time.”
In 1972, Kulick auditioned for a then-unknown Kiss, but was beaten out for the job by the man who played right after him, Ace Frehley. He became a studio musician, performing lead guitar on Lou Reed’s 1976 album Coney Island Baby. He also toured and recorded with artists such as Meat Loaf, Michael Bolton, W.A.S.P. and Diana Ross.
In 1977, with Frehley unable or unwilling to participate, Kulick was secretly recruited to perform on the new studio tracks included on Kiss’ Alive II. He went on to earn recording and songwriting credits on four more Kiss albums: Unmasked, Killers, Creatures of the Night and Paul Stanley‘s 1978 solo album. Kulick’s younger brother Bruce joined Kiss in 1984, and remained their lead guitarist until Frehley returned for an original lineup reunion tour in 1996.
In a 2018 UCR interview, Kulick said he had no problem keeping his work with Kiss a secret for so many years. “In this circumstance, being friends with Gene [Simmons] and Paul, it was important to me that when they said ‘this has to be between us and us only,’ that I’m going to keep my word. It’s all about integrity, and that’s how I’m able to keep going,” he explained. “I make great music; I don’t settle. I never went for the easy way: ‘Oh, just take the money.’ I never did that; it’s just not me. I never recorded an artist and took their money if I thought they were below the bar line, like ‘this is going to be embarrassing.” It wouldn’t help them, it wouldn’t help me.”
In 2017 the Kulick brothers performed a full set of Kiss music live together for the first time on the band’s annual Kiss Kruise. “It meant a lot to both my brother and I, the fact that we pulled it off so well and that it was so well received,” Bruce told UCR afterwards. “It’s a good feeling. The love from the Kiss fans, it’s been a huge shot in the arm for my brother both professionally and emotionally.”
The duo were set to perform together again on the following year’s Kruise, but a contractual dispute resulted in Bob’s departure from the bill. Last November he publicly accused his brother of “back stabbing” in a dispute over merchandise sales, and expressed frustration at Bruce’s reported unwillingness to tour and record together.