HOME‎ > ‎

Peter Criss

Thank you for your support...Bob Drummer

Peter Criss
BIOGRAPHY Peter Criss:

SOURCE: Official drummer site

George Peter John Criscuola (born December 20, 1945), better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss. Criss established the "Catman" character for his Kiss persona.
Of Italian-American descent, Criss is the oldest of the five children of Joseph and Loretta Criscuola; he grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.He was a childhood friend of Jerry Nolan, who would later find success as the drummer for the New York Dolls.He was an avid art student and a jazz aficionado.[citation needed] While playing with bandleader Joey Greco, Criss ended up studying under his idol, Gene Krupa, at the Metropole Club in New York.[citation needed] This blossomed into an active musical career as he went on to play jazz and rock with a number of bands in New York and New Jersey throughout the 1960s.
Criss was involved with a number of bands throughout the mid-to-late 1960s. It was during this time that Criss joined Chelsea, who had a two-album deal with Decca Records; the group released a self-titled album in 1970. They never recorded a second album, and in August 1971 became Lips (a trio consisting of Criss and his Chelsea bandmates Michael Benvenga and Stan Penridge). By the spring of 1973, Lips was just the duo of Criss and Penridge.
After the demise of his band Lips, Criss placed an advertisement in the East Coast edition of Rolling Stone, which read:
Contrary to the story that has been recited by fans and the band for years, there was never an ad placed that said "Drummer willing to do anything to make it."The advertisement was answered by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who were looking for new members for their band. Ace Frehley was added to the lineup in December 1972, and the band was named Kiss later that month.[citation needed] However, as Gene Simmons describes first meeting Criss in his book 'Kiss And Make-Up' "One afternoon I run across an ad in Rolling Stone that said "Drummer available - Will do anything." I called the guy on the telephone, and even though he was in the middle of a party, he took my call. I introduced myself and said we were starting a band and that the band was looking for a drummer, and was he willing to do anything to make it? He says that he was, right away." Simmons later in the chapter describes going to a small Italian Club in Brooklyn to meet the drummer "The drummer started to sing, and this Wilson Pickett-style voice came out of him. Paul and I said "That's it, that's our drummer." His name was Peter Criscuola."

Kiss released their self-titled debut in February 1974. Throughout his Kiss career, Criss was lead vocalist on several notable songs including "Black Diamond", "Hard Luck Woman", and their breakthrough hit "Beth". Many of Criss' contributions to Kiss were written with the help of Stan Penridge, who was a bandmate of Criss' in Chelsea and Lips.

Criss was featured on the album sleeve for the 1979 comedy record Lenny and the Squigtones, collection of novelty songs by Michael McKean and David L. Lander, performing as their Laverne & Shirley personas of Lenny and Squiggy.Criss was billed as drummer "Ming the Merciless," and appeared without his Kiss makeup, although he did not play drums on the album.

Criss is given co-writer credit for the ballad "Beth", a Top 10 #7 hit for Kiss in 1976. The song remains the highest-charting song for Kiss in the USA and it earned them a People's Choice Award for "Young People's Favorite New Song" in 1977, tied with "Disco Duck". The song was written before Criss had joined Kiss, while he was still a member of Chelsea. Criss came up with the melody for the song while on a train to New York City from New Jersey where the band practiced. He and Chelsea guitarist Stan Penridge wrote the song together. "

A bootleg exists of the song from 1971,[citation needed] but the song's title was "Beck", after fellow band member Mike Brand's wife, Becky, who would call often during practices to ask Mike when he was coming home.[citation needed] Years later, while in Kiss, both Bob Ezrin and Gene Simmons are credited for changing the song's title to "Beth".[citation needed] The song was said to be a tribute to Criss' wife Lydia Di Leonardo; according to interviews with Criss, he changed some of the lyrics to reflect Lydia's lamenting that she missed him while on tour, but the song actually originated years earlier.

Along with "Beth", other songs he sang as a member of Kiss were "Black Diamond", "Hard Luck Woman", "Dirty Livin'", "Nothin' to Lose", "Mainline", "Strange Ways", "Getaway", "Baby Driver", "Hooligan", "Kissin' Time" and "I Finally Found My Way", with only the first being a live staple for every tour during his time with Kiss; "Dirty Livin'", "Baby Driver", "Hooligan" and "Beth" are the only ones he co-wrote (Paul Stanley wrote "Black Diamond", "Hard Luck Woman", "Mainline" and "I Finally Found My Way"; Ace Frehley wrote "Strange Ways" and "Getaway", and Gene Simmons wrote "Nothin' to Lose").

Departure from Kiss

Criss struggled with drug abuse through many of the years he was in the band. Although he was always credited as drummer, 1977's Love Gun and Alive II were the last Kiss albums on which he played throughout.[citation needed]

In 1978, Criss was injured in a serious car crash.

On the 1979 release Dynasty, he only played on his own composition, "Dirty Livin',"and did not play at all on 1980's Unmasked. Anton Fig, who also played on Ace Frehley's solo album (and is now David Letterman's house drummer), was hired to play on both records.

Gene Simmons has made it clear that Criss was fired; Paul Stanley too has discussed Criss' departure in several interviews, including the commentary on Kissology 2. Ace Frehley in his 2011 book, "No Regrets," also stated that Criss was fired during a band meeting in which Frehley was outvoted by Gene and Paul. Criss, however, has maintained that he quit the band. The video for "Shandi" was shot in one day, and Peter was out of the band at that time; said Stanley, "After we finished shooting, Peter packed up his things, and went home."[citation needed]

Criss officially left Kiss on May 18, 1980. As a result, Kiss postponed the European tour until the end of August, thus giving the band enough time to find a replacement drummer, who they found in Brooklyn-born Eric Carr.

Solo career

Although Criss officially left Kiss in May 1980, his involvement with the band had ceased by December 1979. In March 1980, he began recording his second solo album, Out of Control.[citation needed] Released later in the year, the album was a commercial failure, despite remaining a favorite with Criss fans.[citation needed] The follow-up album, 1982's Let Me Rock You, which contained one song written by Gene Simmons, was a similar failure. The album cover featured Criss without his Kiss makeup, but was not released in the U.S. at the time.

For the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, Criss was involved with a number of bands, each usually lasting less than a year.[citation needed] One of them was The Keep, which featured ex-Kiss guitarist Mark St. John.[citation needed] Criss also played with Balls of Fire from the spring of 1986 to December 1986, with Jane Booke on lead vocals, Bob Raylove on bass and JP (John Pakalenka) on guitar, who currently plays for Buckner Funken Jazz in Denver, Colorado. Balls of Fire only played 7 shows before Criss left the band to enjoy his daughter Jenilee growing up.[7] While Kiss was promoting their upcoming release Crazy Nights, Criss appeared on the syndicated radio program Metal Shop and discussed his time in Kiss from a more positive perspective than before; he also promoted the book he was writing at the time, an autobiography to-be-titled A Face without a Kiss.[citation needed] He also mentioned his dream of one day opening up his own recording studio and starting his own record label, to be called Catman Records. Criss briefly reunited with former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley on Frehley's 1989 album Trouble Walkin' (singing and playing percussion on one track). In the early '90s, Criss assembled a band named "Criss," which would feature future Queensrÿche guitarist Mike Stone. This band released the Criss EP in December 1993 and the Cat #1 album in August 1994.[citation needed] The group also supported Frehley's band on the 1995 "Bad Boys Tour."


    Chelsea (1970)


    Kiss (1974)
    Hotter Than Hell (1974)
    Dressed to Kill (1975)
    Alive! (1975)
    Destroyer (1976)
    Rock and Roll Over (1976)
    Love Gun (1977)
    Alive II (1977)
    Double Platinum (1978)
    Dynasty (1979)[15]
    Unmasked (1980) |*|
    Kiss Unplugged (1996)
    Psycho Circus (1998)[16]
    Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (2003)


    Peter Criss (September 18, 1978)
    Out of Control (September 1980)
    Let Me Rock You (May 1982)
    Criss (December 1993)
    Cat #1 (August 16, 1994)
    One for All (July 24, 2007)


DRUM SET Peter Criss:

Drum Workshop drums

  • 18" X 22"
  • 5" X 8"
  • 6" X 8"
  • 7" X 8"
  • 8" X 8"
  • 13 X 15"
  • 8" X 10"
  • 9" X 12"
  • 10" X 13
  • 11" X 14"
  • 15" X 16"
  • 16" X 18"
  • 6" X 14" edge snare
  • 4" X 12" edge snare

Zildjian cymbals

  • 20" medium ride
  • 19" medium crash
  • 12" fast splash
  • 18" medium crash
  • 15" new beat hi-hats
  • 16" medium crash
  • 18" medium thin crash
  • 19" medium thin crash
  • 17" medium crash
  • 16" medium thin crash

Pro-Mark sticks

Remo drum heads