Basic Background Info
Born Peter George Criscoula in Brooklyn, New York, Peter Criss listened to his idol Gene Krupa and played along on an imaginary drum set made from household items. By the age of thirteen, Peter started singing in a vocal group called The Stars. Soon thereafter, Peter Criss' father bought him his first real drum.
As time passed, Peter Criss grew frustrated while playing with local bands in the 1960s and early 1970s; it seemed that none of them really found the notoriety he wanted. Seeing his friends around him succeed, such as the addition of Jerry Nolan to punk/trash/glam pioneers the New York Dolls, only fueled his fire. Peter Criss' luck was about to change with a classified ad.
Peter Criss placed an ad in a local newspaper that simply read, "Drummer with eleven years experience, willing to do anything." Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, two musicians in the midst of putting together a new group that they aspired to be a definite change from all of the folk, mellow music that w as so popular at the time, answered his ad and hired him. At this time he decided to shorten his name from Peter Criscoula to simply Peter Criss. With the addition of Ace Frehley, the band Kiss was born. Playing what some call "thunder rock," loud rock with a strong melodic undertone, the band members decided to each select a character and wear makeup and costumes during their performances. Peter Criss chose a cat.
In 1973 Kiss signed with Casablanca Records. Shortly after, the band shot to stardom with their legendary double live album, Alive! When Kiss recorded their follow up to Alive!, 1976's Destroyer, Peter Criss introduced the band to an old song he'd written with one of his previous bands, a heartfelt ballad called "Beck." After changing the title to "Beth" the band and producer Bob Ezrin added an orchestral accompaniment to the song and "Beth" became a surprise Top Ten hit for the band. Later that year the band scored another Top 20 hit with "Hard Luck Woman," led by Peter's Rod Stewart-flavored vocals.
Although Kiss were at the top of their game, Peter Criss' developed a drug problem in the process, leading to a serious car crash in 1978 and unpredictable behavior in the studio and live performances.The same year all four Kiss members released solo albums; Criss' disco-tinged release suggested that he was moving away from Kiss's familiar hard rock sound. Peter Criss finally parted ways with Kiss in 1980. Peter Criss has always stated that he left the band, while Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley insist he was fired.
After Kiss, Peter Criss continued his solo career with the 1980 release Out of Control and Let Me Rock You in 1982. However, fans were reluctant to embrace Criss's new, mature soft rock sound. Peter Criss attempted to resurface with other bands throughout the rest of the 1980s, but he didn't put out another album until the 1994 independent release Criss Cat #1.
In 1995, Peter Criss's appearance at the official Kiss Konvention in Burbank, California, ultimately led to a reunion with Stanley, Simmons, and Frehley for a taping of MTV's Unplugged in New York City. The successful concert led to a permanent reunion of the original four band members. In April 1996 Kiss held a press conference on the USS Intrepid to announce a reunion tour with all four original members. The 1996/97 Alive/Worldwide Tour was a huge success, and the reunited Kiss released the studio album Psycho Circus in 1998. But once again, turmoil was on the horizon. After the U.S. leg of Kiss's Farewell Tour in late 2000, Criss allegedly had a falling out with Simmons and Stanley over his salary, resulting in his second ousting from the band.
Post Kiss, Peter Criss began an acting career and in 2002 landed a part on the HBO prison series Oz. Most recently, Peter released the biographical solo album One for All in 2007.
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