Gary James' Interview With Peter Criss Of
What can you say about a guy who played drums in one of the most successful bands in all of rock's history?
Plenty. It's been more than a decade now since Peter Criss left Kiss.
During that time, he released a solo album "Out of Control" - joined the group Balls Of Fire and married a playboy centerfold. (Debra Svensk) Peter's been working on his autobiography titled "A Face Without A Kiss", which he hopes to have published in the very near future. He's also looking to produce up and coming rock bands.
Peter Criss has not given many interviews in the past year. In fact, this is the first interview he's granted in more than eight months. What can we expect from Peter in the year ahead? What's he going to reveal in that book of his? We'll let him explain.
Q - How are you coming along with your autobiography?
A - I've been doing it now for 5 years. What I'm writing about is me and the times, what it was like to be in the 60s and get through the 60s into the 70s and then be the biggest band in the world all of a sudden. From gangs and streets and living in a poor family to Rolls Royces, and living in Beverly Hills, to all that insanity. It's just a whole story and it's not all Kiss. I'm really telling the God's honest truth of what I've done in my life — the goods and the real bads.
Q - And it will be called "A Face Without A Kiss"?
A - Yeah, my wife came up with that title. I love it. It's tacky, but I was a founding member of the band. The band wouldn't exist today if it weren't for me or Ace Frehley. I truly believe that because I still get thousands of fan letters. I sign autographs for ten year olds today. No mater what you do, you can put some guys in, and they can be better musically, but it's not the same personality. It's not the same heart. It's not the same input. It's just not the same, man.
Q - How do ten year olds recognize you?
A - It's amazing. I don't know. My picture has been in quite a few rock magazines since I've been out of the band, with the way I look now.
Q - We keep hearing rumors about a Kiss reunion tour. Can you imagine the money you would make?
A - I've gone down this road with a million people. I even, one time, for the hell of it, sat down with an accountant and figured what could happen. The money to be made would be astronomical. But, right now I'm working on my own life and my own career and my own thing.
Q - Have you ever seen a band that reminded you of Kiss?
A - Oh, sure. There's a band out here (LA.) called The Creatures. (Laughs.) And they're really great. They wear the six inch heels and the make-up. It's phenomenal. But, let's face it, we opened the door, man, for everybody. I really believe I was an instrument. I know I'll go down in rock history. But, I really I believe that Kiss was the first and always will be the first big theatrical show of
shows. I believe we're the true innovators of heavy metal. Absolutely.
Q - Is it true you had to wear the make-up 24 hours a day?
A - Well, no, that's not true. But it seemed like that. It seemed like we never had it off our face. In the beginning it was great. It was fun. It was kind of like putting war paint on. But as the years started rolling on, I realized all of a sudden, they weren't really selling our music anymore. They were selling our character — the cat. Where's Peter Criss now? I was losing me.
Q - What happened with Balls of Fire?
A - That was like 5 years ago that I went into that band. They just turned out to be jive and promised me the world. It was a real pop band. Easy to play. It just freaked her (the lead singer) out that I was so famous. That's not ego. We did a few gigs and the whole audience was Peter Criss fans with huge posters. The chick couldn't even get a word in edgewise and she flipped out onstage one night with the whole audience. Atlantic Records just shelved us and said this is ridiculous. She really embarrassed me and I quit the band that night. I've been working with all kinds of guys. And I went into the Record Plant with Bill Dooley, who's now my partner, and laid down a bunch of tracks. I've got these attorneys who also work for the Disney Corp. and they're top notch. They're trying to get me a record deal. And the band's Criss.
Q - Is it true that, way back when; seven businessmen controlled all of Kiss' business matters?
A - At the time, yeah.
Q - Is it true that you're not a millionaire today, but at one time were worth $25 million dollars?
A - Yeah, that's true.
Q - Well, if you're not a millionaire, then it must mean the other three guys were also ripped-off?
A - Absolutely.
Q - So, that would explain why Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have carried on with Kiss, they're still trying to make the money that they should have a long time ago.
A - Well, I'm going to let you figure that one out yourself. (laughs) I'm not a millionaire. I should be...twenty times over. I'm very comfortable. I don't live the lifestyle I had where there was always a limo and a bodyguard and I could pick up the phone and buy whatever I felt like buying. I'm sure the three of them (Gene, Paul and Ace) have been ripped off too. I would think, if we were all worth $20 million, then why do they kill themselves after 20 years? The bands today are smarter. They're paying more attention to their monies, and what's going on, and what's going down. You don't need a business manager, that's for sure.
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