Category Archives: Peter Criss

My thoughts on KISS getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and album reviews coming

If you follow the world of rock/metal online, you’d be hard pressed not to know that KISS is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. You’d also have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the controversy surrounding which members are (and are not) getting inducted. It’s become quite a mess. Gene & Paul are having it out in the press with Ace & Peter, Gene & Paul are having it out with the HOF’s induction process, the fans are having it out with Gene & Paul, etc. It goes on and on.

Here’s what we know: the Hall of Fame is inducting only Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The original four members of KISS and that’s it. They aren’t inducting anyone else and they don’t want anyone else (such as Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer) performing at the induction ceremony. Frankly, that’s silly, but look — KISS has been eligible for induction for a long time and for the Hall of Fame execs to put this restriction on the band is just their way to make the induction as painful as possible for KISS. It’s like they couldn’t put off leaving KISS out of the Hall any longer because the public was becoming too vocal about their exclusion but at the same time the Hall of Fame didn’t want to make it a fun/easy process for the band.

No one is arguing the founders shouldn’t be in but I think all members should be inducted and that they should be allowed to perform with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer (which the Hall does not want). My dream scenario is that everyone who has ever been in KISS gets inducted and then the classic line-up plays and then the modern line-up plays and/or they have all six of those guys (plus Bruce Kulick) jam together.

It’s not a big deal to induct every single member of KISS, so I don’t see why the Hall is resisting it:

  • No question, Eric Carr definitely deserves to be in. Great drummer and he contributed to the band for 11 years on many successful albums.
  • Bruce Kulick — same situation. He was there for 8 years and played on a number of KISS albums that went gold/platinum.
  • Vinnie Vincent. Not sure if anyone could even find this guy and he didn’t have the best relationship with Gene & Paul but even they would admit his guitar work and songwriting skills played a big hand in freshening up the band’s sound and giving them some of the best albums they’ve ever produced.
  • Eric Singer first joined KISS in 1991 after Eric Carr’s death, had a short stint in the early 2000s filling in for Peter Criss and has been their drummer since 2004 when Peter Criss once again left and has sung lead vocals on a handful of KISS tracks.
  • Tommy Thayer is a big force in the modern band. Great guitar player and he’s been playing with them since 2002 and has songwriting credits/vocal duties on the last two KISS albums. I could see someone maybe arguing against Tommy though given the time frame he joined, but I think he’s contributed enough to warrant the induction.
  • Given his very short tenure, Mark St. John is probably the only KISS member you could question for HOF status and say that he didn’t contribute much to the band… provided you consider playing on a platinum-selling album as not contributing much.

It’s nice that the band is getting inducted into something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when you consider the people who run the Hall and the list of people who have already been inducted, it’s anything but a legit rock hall. No one in their right mind would argue that if there is such a hall that KISS deserves to be there, but it’s sad that the RNR Hall of Fame is refusing to acknowledge the entire career of the band and wants to focus only on the 1970s.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some KISS fans but I actually applaud Gene & Paul for refusing to give in and play strictly with Ace & Peter. They want all eras of KISS to be recognized and they think Eric & Tommy deserve to stand on stage. I agree. I know there is the whole Gene & Paul vs. Ace & Peter thing, and that’s sad, but I don’t have a problem with Gene & Paul’s “all or nothing” stance.

Now, I recently noticed there’s a surprising amount of KISS albums I haven’t yet reviewed. I could’ve sworn I reviewed them all! Well, with all the buzz regarding KISS these days thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that this year is the band’s 40th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to finish reviewing the band’s catalog! Be on the look out for those reviews in the coming weeks.

CRISS – Cat #1

Criss – Cat #1 (1994, Tony Nicole Tony Records)

1. “Bad Attitude” … 4:35
2. “Walk the Line” … 3:49
3. “Truth” … 4:54
4. “Bad People Burn in Hell” … 3:47
5. “Show Me” … 4:04
6. “Good Times” … 4:36
7. “Strike” … 4:45
8. “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn” … 5:23
9. “Down with the Sun” … 4:37
10. “We Want You” … 3:48
11. “Beth” … 2:48

Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Mike Stone – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Mike McLaughlin – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Montague – Bass, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Ace Frehley – Guitar (“Bad Attitude”, “Walk the Line”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”)
Wayne Johnson – Acoustic Guitar
Doug Shawe, Dito Godwin – Piano
Kirk Miller – Guitar
Stephen Presley – Keyboards

Producer: Dito Godwin & Peter Criss

Peter’s non-KISS material has always been the least enjoyable of the original four members of KISS. His self-titled KISS album is pretty lame and I’ve read that 2007’s One For All was even worse. Of the five solo albums he’s released to date, I think Cat #1 is easily the best. Yeah, I know “Criss” is the name of the band and it’s commendable that he tried to get a real band going but let’s call a spade a spade and just say this is a Peter Criss album (even though guitarist Mike Stone handles vocals on “Show Me” and “We Want You”). This album may have gotten a bit more notice had it been titled as such.

You won’t find any of Peter’s jazz, R&B, big band or crooning influences here. This is a hard rock ‘n’ roll album that sounds like it came out of the late ’70s or early ’80s. In short, it’s the type of album he should’ve made back then during that very time frame!

There’s some great rockers like “Bad Attitude”, “Show Me” and “The Truth” and then some cool ballads as well (“Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”). Peter’s always had a great soulful voice and it’s in fine form throughout the album. For KISS fans, I think this is worth seeking out, especially if you’re a fan of the original line-up and not only because of Peter Criss but because Ace plays guitar on a few of these songs.

Highlights: “Bad Attitude”, “The Truth”, “Bad People Burn in Hell”, “Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”

KISS – Peter Criss

KISS – Peter Criss [Remastered] (1997, Mercury Records/Casablanca Records)
Original Release: 1978, Casablanca Records

1. “I’m Gonna Love You” … 3:19
2. “You Matter to Me” … 3:17
3. “Tossin’ and Turnin'” … 4:01
4. “Don’t You Let Me Down” … 3:43
5. “That’s the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes” … 3:01
6. “Easy Thing” … 3:54
7. “Rock Me Baby” … 2:53
8. “Kiss the Girl Goodbye” … 2:46
9. “Hooked on Rock ‘n’ Roll … 3:37
10. “I Can’t Stop the Rain” … 4:26

Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Art Munson – Guitar
Stan Penridge – Guitar
Elliot Randall – Guitar
John Tropea – Guitar
Brendan Harkin – Guitar
Steve Lukather – Guitar
Bill Bodine – Bass
Neil Jason – Bass
Allen Schwartzberg – Drums
Bill Cuomo – Keyboards
Richard Gerstein – Keyboards
Michael Carnahan – Saxophone, Baritone Sax

Producer: Vini Poncia

With the coolest album cover of the ’78 KISS solo releases, Peter delivers the worst music. But hey, it shipped platinum, so what do I know?

I believe this was the last of the solo albums I bought, I had put it off because I kept reading about how bad it was. I’ve always loved Peter’s voice and I couldn’t believe it was a bad as people were saying it was. Well, after about two or three spins to get a good grasp on the album, I’m pretty sure I never reached for this album again unless I was in a SERIOUS KISS mode.

Really, it’s not horrible and if you like this style of music, it may be quite good, but I don’t have much of a taste for this hybrid of soft rock, big band, jazz and R&B music. A majority of this material was written in Peter’s previous band Lips. Oh well, for my own personal tastes, Peter would have better albums to come (but they also have been buried by critics and fans alike).

Despite being the most panned and least selling album of the four releases, KISS would enlist producer Vini Poncia for the next TWO KISS albums, Dynasty and Unmasked (generally considered the two worst KISS records), in an attempt to keep Peter happy and in the band.

Highlights: “I’m Gonna Love You”, “Tossin’ and Turnin'”, “That’s the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes”, “I Can’t Stop the Rain”

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