Interview: Graham Bonnet & Bob Kulick, Blackthorne

Kulick and Bonnet, 2nd and 3rd from left.

Masters of Reality

Blackthorne, put together by guitarist Bob Kulick and featuring the renowned vocal talents of Graham Bonnet, as well as Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), Chuck Wright (bass), and Frankie Banali (drums), are an ongoing, touring monster.

So impressed was Bonnet with the material that he returned to LA. Kulick too was impressed by the project.

"It's worked out great. This is the best rhythm section I've ever worked with and also the best singer I worked with," which is a statement not to be taken lightly considering his portfolio (KISS, WASP, etc).

Graham himself had been attempting to return to the rock n' roll fray.

"Trying to get a record deal was taking so long. It was a godsend when Bob rang me up."

"We didn't want to throw 5 guys into the pot and go, 'here, go buy it," remembers Bob. "I wanted to make sure that this was going to work in terms of the magic and the vibe. I wanted to make a long-term commitment. After 8 gigs it became apparent that it was working."

With 15 tracks to choose from Blackthorne, went into the studio and cut the album with Bob Kulick undertaking production duties.

"Even though my name is down as producer, I never acted as dictator. I was the logical choice. Having the biggest mouth and having co-written most of the songs, I had a handle on what it should be."

The bald guitarist then explains, "If every record was as easy as this one I'd probably grow hair!"

Bonnet then adds, "Bob brought stuff out of me I'd hidden away, stuff a bit more aggressive, and stuff with a bit more color."

It must be said that anything sung by Mr. Baonett immediately harks one back to his glory days as vocalist of Rainbow. an observation backed up by the inclusion of Rainbow's All Night Long.

"We decided to play it on the record like a live version," reasons Bonnet. "I feel we've brought it up to the nineties."

Bob notes, "There are people now who weren't aware of Rainbow. They may have heard the song but they've never associated it with a face. Let's face it," he adds, "competition is so fierce that a radio program may feel they can get away with playing All Night Long."

When will Blackthorne play in Europe? Bob is optimistic.

"This band was born to play gigs as opposed to playing games with record labels. This method of doing things has made me very happy because the ball's in our court."

Blackthorne are masters of their own destiny and has Mr. Kulick finalizes, "Nobody told us what to do, and I think that's very important."

Joe Mackett
Riff Raff
July 1993
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