Setlist History: Kiss' First Show Without Peter Criss

On July 25, 1980, Kiss performed their first show with a new member.

Drummer Peter Criss was out, Eric Carr was in.

Criss first met bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley in 1972 when they were in the band Wicked Lester. Even though the band were signed to Epic Records and had recorded an album, the label never released it.

Criss had an ad in the back of Rolling Stone saying he was available to play for the right band. When Simmons and Stanley met Criss and heard him sing and play, they broke up Wicked Lester to join forces with him to make a harder edged rock.

Once guitarist Ace Frehley was added, Kiss was born.

The first incarnation of Kiss

In just a matter of a few years and a several buckets of makeup, the band became one of the biggest acts in rock.

Their records sold so well that in 1978 they all released solo albums on the same day. None were particularly good but Frehley's contained "New York Groove," arguably the best song of the four albums.

But success and cliche rock n roll pitfalls got in the way of the drummer and his responsibilities with the band who unanimously voted him out.

Paul Stanley explains what Peter Criss was up to in his last days with the band that made the others want him out.

His last activity with Kiss was shooting the video for "Shandi," in June, 1980, and when it was over, he walked into the dressing room and began to cry.

"I knew I was taking my makeup off for the last time and that I was leaving the band. They couldn't get theirs off quick enough to get out of there because they couldn't even be near me because they were so uncomfortable about it," Criss said in the authorized biography Behind The Mask.

Would this be Peter Criss' last appearance with Kiss? No

"And before I knew it I was sitting in this room all by myself and they were gone and I was taking my makeup off and I just started crying and crying and crying. I just couldn't stop crying," Criss said.

When Carr learned Kiss was auditioning drummers, he sent in his tape, photo and resume in a brightly colored envelope and he received a shot. After he played a few songs and a drum solo, he got the gig.

The band was scheduled to play overseas but they introduced their new drummer in hometown New York City. It would be their only US date in 1980. At that show Kiss live debuted three songs that never got much love after the Unmasked tour.

The bulk of the set consisted on what had become Kiss's greatest hits: "Detroit Rock City," "Strutter," "I Was Made for Lovin' You," and "Love Gun," among others.

After Gene did his bass solo and antics that led into "God of Thunder," all eyes were on Carr who was given the stage for a full-on drum solo.

Four minutes later he had won over the 2,000 attendees in Manhattan's Palladium and the band broke into the anthem "Rock and Roll All Nite."

Carr played with Kiss through 1990 when he became ill. Doctors would later discover he had contracted cancerous tumors. His last recording with Kiss was on the song "God Gave Rock n Roll To You II" for the Bill & Ted sequel.

Carr does appear in the video.His hair had fallen out due to cancer treatment and he was outfitted with a big wig.

Even though he was too sick to play drums on the track Carr contributed with some background vocals including the softly delivered " everyone, he gave a song to be sung."

Replacing him on drums on the track, and later after he died was Eric Singer, who has played with Kiss ever since.

Kiss begins its End of the Road tour which it swears is its final. Tickets available on their website.

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Last updated: 25 Sep 2023, 06:42 Etc/UTC