Peter Criss


Peter Criss (1945-present): a Musician from Brooklyn, New York, USA.


eorge Peter John Criscuola (born December 20, 1945; drums) is better known by his stage name Peter Criss as co-founder, original drummer, and vocalist of the hard rock band Kiss under the persona "Catman". Criss possesses a powerful, raspy voice. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his membership in Kiss.

Criss was involved with a number of bands throughout the mid-to-late 1960s. During that time, Criss joined Chelsea, who had a two-album deal with 'Decca Records' and released their self-titled album in 1970. They never recorded a second album and in August 1971 changed their name to Lips, a trio consisting of Criss along with his former Chelsea bandmates Michael Benvenga and Stan Penridge. By the spring of 1972, the act consisted of just Criss and Penridge.

In 1973, Pete Shepley and Mike Brand recorded an unreleased album under the name Captain Sanity including post-Chelsea Michael Benvenga, and pre-Kiss Peter Criss and Gene Simmons as session musicians.

After the demise of Lips, Criss placed an advertisement in the East Coast edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, which read, "EXPD. ROCK & roll drummer looking for orig. grp. doing soft & hard music. Peter, Brooklyn."

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The advertisement was answered by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who were looking for new members for their band. Ace Frehley was added in December 1972, and the band was named Kiss later that month. Criss would go on to record 8 studio albums with KissAlthough he recorded with Kiss until his retirement in 2017, it was not without controversy. On the 1979 release Dynasty, he only played on his own composition, Dirty Livin', while on the follow-up, Unmasked (1980) he did not perform at all. Both Simmons and Stanley claimed Criss was fired. Criss, however, has maintained that he had quit the band. Later that year Criss recorded his second solo album, Out of Control. (the previous being a self-titled in 1978. For the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, Criss was involved with a number of bands, each usually lasting less than a year. One of them was The Keep, featuring ex-Kiss guitarist Mark St. John.

In the early 1990s, Criss assembled a self-named band, which would feature future Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone to release the Criss EP in December 1993 and Cat #1 (1994).

In 1991, Christopher Dickinson became an impostor of the real Peter Criss. Dickinson went on to do an interview with the tabloid Star magazine, impersonating Criss, stating that he was now a "homeless alcoholic panhandling for change". Talk show host Phil Donahue had both men on his show where the real Criss confronted the impostor and ended the charade.

In April 1996, Criss was back in Kiss according to a press release for a reunion tour with all four original members. That 1996-97 Alive/Worldwide Tour was an enormous success, and the reunited Kiss released a studio album, Psycho Circus (1998).

Criss Kiss again, this time over a contract dispute to be replaced by Eric Singer in 2001. He rejoined the band in late 2002 and appeared on the Kiss Symphony: Alive IV DVD and CD before departing again in March 2004. The band had opted not to renew his contract following the Rocksimus Maximus Tour. He was once again replaced by Singer, who assumed the "Catman" persona.

Criss would go solo one more time to release One for All (2007). In 2008, Criss was diagnosed with male breast cancer. While working out, he noticed a lump on his chest that prompted him to visit a doctor. He was successfully treated with a lumpectomy.

Criss would then release his autobiography, Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss, co-written with author Larry Sloman, in late 2012. He announced his retirement in 2017.

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Nation USA
City Brooklyn, New York
Genre Musician
Formations 1
Active Years 1945-
Last Modified 2022-11-25
Diskery ID 654

Artists Linked to Peter Criss

Kiss Queensryche

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