Kiss is one of the legendary bands in the rock and roll hall of fame. They had a fantastic drummer who impacted the band over many years. He is Peter Criss.
Criss is not only known as Kiss’ drummer, but he also took part as the co-founder and vocalist of the band, making him one of the drummers who sing in the industry. If you’re a fan of the rock genre, you’ll be familiar with his stage name, “The Catman.”
The legendary predicate put on his name isn’t there for no reason. Peter Criss brought many contributions to the hard rock world and received many awards with Kiss. With all the things that he has done, he’s one of the best drummers in the hard rock music scene.
Peter Criss Biography
Peter Criss (or George Peter John Criscuola) was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 20, 1945. He was born to Loretta and Joseph Criscuola couple and became the eldest son among their five children.
Since he was a kid, Peter Criss seems like someone who was fated to be close to music. He grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and befriended Jerry Nolan, who would become a drummer of New York Dolls. Later that year, he continued studying music and art and became an avid student who was serious about craving his art.
His acquaintances helped his way to become a musician. He got experience playing with bands, with Joey Greco as the band leader. Fortunately, it also led him to be tutored by his idol drummer, Gene Krupa, at the Metropole Club in New York.
His childhood shows how serious he was in pursuing a music career. It was also the reason why he can become the drummer and co-founder of the legendary band Kiss.
Music Career of Peter Criss
Peter Criss had a pretty turbulent music career for over 50 years, or to be exact, from 1964 to 2017. Before becoming the legendary drummer for Kiss, he joined his first band, Chelsea, in the early 1970s.
However, the band’s line-up kept changing, making the group have to change their name too. In 1972, Chelsea, who had already changed as Lips, became a duo band with Criss and Stan Penridge as the members. They didn’t last long and disbanded in 1971.
The following year, Criss formed a group with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, resulting from his own advertisement placement in Rolling Stone Magazine. In December 1972, Ace Freshley was added to the group, and Kiss became their name later that month. This moment is where Criss established his Kiss persona as “The Catman.”
Although he had a great career with Kiss, he was fired by the group for a while in the 1980s. He was fired for no apparent reason, but some fans thought that the relationship between him, Paul Stanley, and Gene Simmons was the reason for it.
On May 18, 1980, after seven years with the band, Criss officially departed Kiss. As a result of his departure, the European tour was delayed until late August. Criss, the original drummer of Kiss, was replaced by Eric Carr.
Criss had a chance to do a reunion tour with the Kiss original members in 1995. However, he kept in and out of the group since then but officially departed again from Kiss in March 2004.
Peter Criss Solo Career
Peter also pursued a solo career and released his first album in 1978. Unfortunately, the album was a commercial failure and got mixed reviews from critics. He officially became a retired American musician in 2017.
He wrote an autobiography book about his career titled Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss. You can get and read it if you want a better perspective about his career with Kiss from his side.
Discography of Peter Criss
Peter Criss actually had roots in the jazz and swing genres, but then he chose to be in a hard rock band like Kiss. And it was the right decision because he got his peak fame with the band’s discography.
In February 1974, Kiss released their self-titled debut. Throughout his career with Kiss, Criss was one of the lead vocals on several songs, such as Black Diamond, Hard Luck Woman, and the group’s breakout hit Beth.
The band’s biggest hit, Beth, was co-written by Peter Criss. It was on the Top 10 Hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, which peaked at no. 7 in 1976. Not only chart achievements, but the song also gave them many awards and put them in the hall of fame.
In 1979, the band’s situation seemed not good. Peter Criss only played his composition, Dirty Livin, in their 7th studio album, Dynasty. Meanwhile, for the other songs, they used a session drummer, Anton Fig.
As for his solo career, it didn’t have the same success as what he achieved with Kiss. Criss began recording his second solo album, Out of Control, in March 1980. However, it was well-liked by fans but not by the general public.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long did Peter Criss in Kiss?
Peter Criss was a part of Kiss from December 1972 to May 1980, again from 1995 to 1996, and finally from 2002 to 2004. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Kiss in 2014.
Who played drums on Peter Criss’ solo album?
Allan Schwartzberg. He played drums on Peter Criss (1978) on tracks 6-7 and 10.