Peter Criss

Real Name: Peter George Crisscuola
Birthdate: December 20th, 1945
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York 
KISS Personality: The Catman
KISS Years: Original Member; November 1972-March 1980; February 1996-March 2001
KISS Albums: KISS, Hotter Than Hell, Dressed To Kill, Alive!, Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun, Alive II, Double Platinum, Peter Criss, Dynasty, Smashes, Thrashes & Hits, MTV Unplugged, You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best, Greatest KISS, Psycho Circus
Reason For Leaving: Drug problems plagued Peter for much of his later KISS years.  A 1978 car accident hindered his dexterity and he also was dissatisfied with the amount of his material being used on KISS albums.
Pre-KISS Jobs: Chelsea, Lips
Post-KISS Jobs: Peter Criss, The Criss/Penridge Alliance, Balls of Fire, The Keep, Criss
Associated Websites: The Peter Criss Cat Club, The Bad Boys of KISS, Cat's Eyes, The Drummers of KISS

    Peter's early influences on drums were Gene Krupa and other jazz and swing greats.  Peter also holds a fondness for Frank Sinatra.  Though he will never be called a great vocalist, Peter lends a distinctive voice to the group.  His vocals on Black Diamond, Nothin' To Lose, Baby Driver, and more famously, Beth, prove that Peter has the strong, rough touch that these songs deserve.
    Peter was never comfortable with wearing the makeup, believing that it became a farce.  From the band's early days when they were wearing leather and performed hard-edged rock songs, by the late 1970's KISS had become soft, performing disco songs with huge costumes and garish stage shows.  Along with the direction of the band, Peter became increasingly unhappy with the amount of his material the band was putting on record.  Peter was lucky to get one of his songs on an album and by 1979, he simply lost his musical ambition.  His desire to go solo was too strong and in March 1980, he quit KISS.
    His post-KISS years were rather lean with the release of 2 albums in the two years after leaving KISS but only one thereafter.  Out of Control and Let Me Rock You, released in 1980 and 1982, respectively, sold minimally and the latter was not even released in North America until 1998.  During the 1980's, Peter's name would occasionally be heard but nothing ever materialized.  Then, in 1991, a tabloid ran a story saying that Peter was broke and living under a bridge in California.  Proving the story wrong, Peter appeared on the Donahue show and it was the first time many people had seen him in years.  Through the 1990's, Peter would try to get several bands off the ground (including one which had another ex-KISS member, Animalize guitarist Mark St. John, in it) but it was not until 1995 with the release of Cat #1 that Peter would again have recorded material available to the public.  At the time of the reunion tour, Peter and Ace Frehley were touring together as "The Bad Boys of KISS", each performing with their respective bands.
    UPDATE: As of March 2001, Peter Criss has left KISS and been replaced by Eric Singer during the Australian and Japanese legs of the band's Farewell Tour.  There has been no official word on whether or not Eric will continue drumming for the band should the tour continue past Australia and Japan.
 
 

**Read my Peter Criss album reviews here.

**Thanks to Terible Ted's KISS World, The Peter Criss Cat Club
and KISS Alive for the images.
 

Return To Bio Index