Peter George Criscoula
Born: 20 December 1945
, New York City
Best known by his stage name "Peter Criss," the original drummer for glam-rock metal pioneers KISS. After several failed attempts at teaming up with recognizable acts such as The New York Dolls and Elton John, Criss posted an ad in the newspaper saying simply "Drummer with 11 Years Experience, Willing To Do Anything."
The advertisement caught the eyes of Gene Klein and Stanley Eisen, who were trying to form a rock band. Shortly after trying out and being accepted, the trio brought aboard lead guitarist Paul Frehley and, in looking for a unique style, the quartet changed their identities and formed an act which would become the best-selling American band of all time, KISS.
Now known as Peter Criss, he donned "cat" makeup and a skin-tight suit with a silver pointed tail. Shortly after the band's explosion in 1973 thanks to their concert album Alive!, he shared an earlier piece which he had written. This song eventually turned into "Beth," the band's best-known and best-chart-performing ballad.
At the end of the seventies, tensions were high in the band and Criss tried to leave. Their then-manager convinced each of the members to work on a solo album before reuniting. Peter Criss' solo work just distanced him from the band even further and he officially left by 1980.
After failing to achieve a succesful solo career, Criss lapsed into rehabilitation from his drug and alcohol habits and spent time away from the public eye. That is until a supermarket tabloid was released claiming that the drummer was destitute and begging for change. On a Donahue episode, the incident was exposed as a fraud when Criss confronted the homeless imposter (who had been paid by the tabloid to claim to be Criss).
Having re-entered the spotlight, Criss set aside his differences with his former bandmates and reunited with KISS for their succesful tours for the second half of the nineties (despite failing to appear on any KISS albums from that decade).
The return to Eden didn't last and during the band's farewell tour in 2000, due to a contract dispute, Criss left and was replaced by Eric Singer (in "cat" attire) who had been one of the drummers during Criss' absence.
Track listing for Criss' self-titled solo album:
- I'm Gonna Love You (3:19)
- You Matter to Me (3:17)
- Tossin' and Turnin' (4:03)
- Don't You Let Me Down (3:43)
- That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes (3:02)
- Easy Thing (3:55)
- Rock Me, Baby (2:55)
- Kiss the Girl Goodbye (2:48)
- Hooked on Rock 'N' Roll (3:39)
- I Can't Stop the Rain (4:26)