A Track By Track Look Back At Audiodog

BK Takes A Track By Track Look Back At Audiodog

Bruce KulickAs you all know, the passing of my dog Joe "The Audiodog" has been a difficult thing for me to process. He was an important part of my life since June of 1997. I like to think he got pleasure to hear me play guitar for nearly 15 years, although I know during his senior years he wasn't too excited about any kind of loud music! He watched me create the band UNION, and he was faithfully by my side during all my solo records: Audiodog, Transformer, and BK3.

The first solo disc from me was especially important, as it was my first time to step out on my own and show everyone what I could create and be in control of all the decisions. It was recorded on 16 track analog and mixed the old fashioned way. No computers were involved. Since I was living in a home that had the studio where the CD was recorded, Joe was with me all during the process. Sometime during the recording process I came up with the name of the CD - Audiodog - and realized how connected I was to my best friend, my dog Joe. His passing in April 2012 coincided with the fact my last run of CD's was out of print. So, instead of just making another batch I wanted to do something in Joe's honor.

In addition to the 11 songs originally on the disc, I am releasing a Limited Edition which has an added instrumental track called "495" that originally appeared only on the Audiodog EP, as well as a recording I made in my kitchen on a small digital recorder which captured me playing acoustic guitar and singing to Joe. With the release of this special Limited Edition I also thought it would be nice to give you a track by track commentary of the CD.

It has been awhile since the original release - 11 years actually! - so I went back and gave it a good listen, and I was pleasantly surprised how the songs and performances held up.
 
Pair of Dice | Strange to Me | Change is Coming | Need Me | I Don't Mind | Monster Island | Please Don't Wait | Liar
I Can't Take | Dogs of Morrison | Skydome | 495 | Bruce Sings To Joe

 
Pair of Dice

This instrumental was originally from the KISS years. I had hoped that Gene would take a liking to it and finish the song with me. It was too good to be left behind though, so I turned it into this thematic guitar riffarama. I thought the melody sounded a bit like David Lee Roth's "Living in Paradise," hence the title "Pair of Dice." Ironically, give a listen to "Tattoo" from the new Van Halen CD and tell me you don't hear something similar in the guitar themes!

Playing this song live is a favorite of mine.

 
Strange To Me

This was actually two different songs put together. I had an old demo of a song idea called "Strange to Me" that was used as the chorus, then Curt Cuomo came up with a great verse melody that I was really into. The lyrics are written from the point of view of being on stage and picking up a pretty girl.

Previously fans only knew me vocally from "I Walk Alone" on KISS's Carnival of Souls, so this track really showed another side of my vocal ability. I love the chorus, and the harmony guitar solo really stands out to me. Brent Fitz really drives this song along on drums, and I jammed out long at the end, adding on lots of layered guitars. I always enjoy playing the intro to this one, which is a bit tricky.

 
Change is Coming

This track is built around a riff I came up with in 1994. Not being in KISS anymore, and going through a divorce, certainly represented to me that a real "change is coming," and the lyrics express the need to get your seat belt on and just deal with it. I actually felt very empowered by the lyrics, because you always have to believe in yourself.

It's a song that could have been done with my former band UNION, but I felt I tackled it very well on my own. There are nasty Revenge/Carnival of Souls guitar sounds quite apparent throughout the solos, and I used some big distortion on this one. Highly recommended listening for those who are down and out... but who believe in themselves and their ability to handle whatever life throws their way.

 
Need Me

Written with a cocky and snide point of view about my ups and downs in life, this song was a little bit of self-therapy for handling those problems. The heavy riff was something I first came up with in 1990, and the song definitely has a real KISS swagger to it. Along with a funky Aerosmith bridge section, I also added some stops in the verse very much in the style of "Master and Slave" from Carnival of Souls. All the bases are covered here in my snotty approach to how I felt about whether or not you really "Need Me."

 
I Don't Mind

Bruce KulickThis was a track I first put down on tape back in 1989 but never developed any lyrics or melody for. Given my recent divorce, around the time I was writing lyrics for Audiodog I was finding it hard to make any real commitments with women.

"I Don't Mind" represents my appreciation for affection from the opposite sex, but also reflects that I wasn't available to anyone in a serious way. I think you can really feel the emotion in the dilemma I was experiencing in this power ballad.

The song has some phaser style guitar parts, a crying solo, and the perfect delay on the end solo. I'm very proud of this one.




 
Monster Island

A double track recording of a twelve inch Godzilla toy starts this track, appropriately. A monster riff with an aggressive theme is the meat and potatoes of this song, and the track never gets mellow - you are running for cover from the monsters! Again Brent Fitz kicks some serious ass on the drums, and it was really fun for me playing bass on this song. And, yes, in case you didn't realize it I played bass on the entire CD.

Some Jimmy Page like melodies throughout, along with some wild wah wah wailings. The tag at the end features a montage of very free form guitar playing, almost East Indian type scales, and again I was thinking of a Jimmy Page with a Telecaster vibe. Listen for some of the fusion riffs. There's just something about this analog recording that gives me chills.


 
Please Don't Wait

Bruce KulickAnother mid-tempo track that addressed my relationship dilemmas, once again explaining to women "Please Don't Wait" for my heart.

I'm really proud of all the double track guitars in the solo, and I have to tip my hat to George Harrison's influence for that.

A sweet sentiment from yours truly.



 
Liar

A favorite of mine to play/break down live at guitar clinics, this song has a haunting theme in the verses with an aggressive chorus to answer it. I used my Gibson EB 3 bass on this one, and the bass lines have an almost Nirvana like feel. I thought the chorus screamed "You're a liar," hence the title. Many fans wondered why I didn't put words to this track, but I'm a guitarist first and foremost and it just felt right the way it was. A version of this was on the Return of the Comet CD, but I definitely prefer this version.

 
I Can't Take

Bruce KulickA track with some nasty chords I originally wrote with Gene in mind back in 1988, though it didn't have lyrics at that point. So, once again I tackled the job of finishing an idea that had sat on the shelf since the KISS years. The lyrics were inspired by the raunchy events of going to a strip bar and having a crush on some sexy temptress, and I will admit that I cringe a bit listening to the lyrics now.

Still, I felt this tribute to the 80s hair metal era deserved a home on Audiodog. Great guitar sounds on this track, and I think I did a good imitation of how Gene would have played the bass lines if he had played on this track.

 
Dogs of Morrison

Bruce KulickI've always been asked what that title meant, and it's not about the Doors singer Jim Morrison! This was one of the last songs written for Audiodog, and the title is actually a reference to Morrison Street in Sherman Oaks, which is where I was living at the time.

Walking Joe every day obviously brought me into contact with many other dogs and their owners, and it made me think that there was something special about meeting near this street. The lyrics represent all the choices I had to make in my life at the time, which path to choose. Using a lot of poetic license, I once again expressed all the turmoil and triumphs of my post KISS life.

The song features famous drummer Kenny Aronoff (Smashing Pumpkins, John Cougar Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Chickenfoot, etc.), and you can certainly hear his magic. A double track guitar solo leads into an exciting bridge, with the drums and guitars reaching a feverish climax, and there's some tasty feedback on the guitar before the last chorus.

Hearing this always takes me back to Morrison St. with Joe and his friends.

 
Skydome

Named after the tower in Toronto, I was trying to imagine me performing from flying high above the city as if I was on a magic carpet. With its Hendrix like riffs and floating theme it certainly showcased many of my guitar skills, and Kenny Aronoff is once again providing the groove for this riff filled track. I love the fake out stop toward the end of the song, and I even did some slide work. I can still see my fingers on one of my signature ESP BK models doing the theme for this track and I really love the tone of that guitar.

 
495

This track was written in 1980 for The Good Rats, a popular Long Island, NY band I was in. I used to play this to give the singer a rest! Influenced by Jeff Beck's "Freeway Jam," this was always a challenge to perform as the song takes you through different styles of rock 'n' roll. There's even a section that, looking back, sounds very KISS like even though it was written four years before I even joined the band!

"495" originally appeared on the Audiodog Limited Edition EP. It was not on the original pressing of the full CD, so I'm very proud to have it included on this Limited Edition. This version of the song features Brent Fitz on drums, though in the past I also prepared an instrumental version without drums for Eric Singer to use when he was doing a lot of drum clinics in the late 1990s.

 
Bruce Sings To Joe

Bruce KulickRecorded in my kitchen on a digital tape recorder and written just minutes before the recording, this emotional song expresses not only my love for Joe but my silly sense of humor. Some of the chord changes are like Lennon singing to Yoko Ono, but you all know Joe was the object of my affection. This was actually one of half a dozen silly impromptu recordings of me performing for Joe.

Happily, not only did this one turn out the best from a recording point of view, but is the most well constructed of the batch as well. After some careful mastering and EQ by my BK3 producer, Jeremy Rubolino, the song was ready to be the last song included on this Limited Edition release.

Joe "speaking" at the end was edited in later, and naturally any time I hear his distinct voice I remember how much I miss him.


 
Audio: Audiodog
 
Twitter: Audiodog
 
 
Conversation: Thoughts on Audiodog
 
Become a Fan of Bruce on Facebook
 
 
Follow Bruce
Facebook

Twitter
YouTube

My Space