THE BASICS ON PETER CRISS: REAL NAME: George Peter Criscoula BIRTHDATE: December 20, 1945 BIRTHPLACE: Brooklyn, NY KISS MEMBER STATUS: late 1972 - mid 1980; early 1996 - present KISS PERSONA: The Cat INSTRUMENTS PLAYED: Vocals, Drums INFLUENCES: Jazz, Big Band, R&B, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin MARITAL STATUS: Married to model Gigi Criss (Peter's third marriage) CHILDREN: daughter Jenilee (age 20, from second wife Debra)
SOME FACTS & TIDBITS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT PETER CRISS: * Peter is the oldest of five children in his family. * Peter's parents owned an antique shop in Brooklyn, NY. * Peter's first real taste of a musical career was at the age of 13, when he formed a street corner doo-wop singing group, called The Stars. * Peter began playing drums around the age of 13 when his father gave him an old Army marching band snare drum. * Peter went to art school as a teenager. He took an interest in painting. * Peter took some drum lessons from jazz legend Gene Krupa. Peter has said that he incorporated some of Krupa's drum techniques into his Kiss drum solos. * Of the four original Kiss members, Peter was the only one to have ever released any kind of professional recording prior to Kiss. His band Chelsea signed a two album deal with Decca Records in 1969. * Peter was the first Kiss member to ever be married. His first marriage was in 1972 to Lydia Di Leonardo. * In the early 1970's, Peter flew out to London, England to audition for the drummer's role in Elton John's band, only to have lost to Nigel Olssen. * In the early days of Kiss, Peter supported himself and the band by recording drums on commercial jingles (Paul & Gene soon followed suit by doing vocal jobs for commercials). * Peter recorded a seven minute drum solo on the song "Strange Ways" off the 1974 "Hotter Than Hell" album. The solo was not suitable to rest of the band and it was cut out of the final version of the song. * Contrary to popular belief, the song "Beth" was not written for Peter's first wife Lydia. It was originally titled "Beck" for a girl named Becky, who was dating a band member of a group called Lips that Peter was in around 1971. * Peter's 1978 solo album was the only album of the four to not reach the Billboard Top 40, but yet his was the only solo album to release two singles: "You Matter to Me" and "Don't Let Me Down." * Peter and Lydia divorced in 1979. * Peter's second wife Debra Svensk was a one time Coppertone suntan lotion model and Playboy centerfold. * Peter's 1980 solo album "Out of Control" was originally to feature a photo of his face without his makeup on the cover, but that idea was scrapped after Kiss asking him not to reveal his face so quickly after leaving the band. Peter officially unmasked in a People Magazine feature a few months after the release of the album. * In 1983, Peter formed a new band with former Chelsea bandmate and songwriting partner Stan Penridge called the Criss/Penridge Alliance, which eventually was changed to the Peter Criss Alliance. The band was based in the southern states, particularly in Tennessee. * In 1985, Peter was rumored to replace A.J. Pero in Twisted Sister. * In 1986, Peter and his family moved to California. There, Peter joined a new group called Balls of Fire. The band did some live work, but never got off the ground. Peter left early due to finding the band unprofessional. * Peter contributed vocals to a song called "Best in the West" on the album "Nasty Nasty" by the rock group Black 'n Blue. The album was produced by Gene Simmons. * Throughout the 1980's, Peter worked on a "tell all" book on his life and Kiss called "Face Without a Kiss." He re-wrote it numerous times and had publishing interest, but the book never saw the light of day. * In the late 1980's, Peter was set to film a drum instructional video, which was to include scenes of him in his "cat" makeup. * Peter formed his band CRISS in 1991. The band debuted later that year at a California club. The band's lineup changed numerous times within the four years they were together, with only bass player Mark Montaque as the only other stable member. * CRISS was set to record a second album around the time of the Kiss reunion. Peter's label TNT Records has since filed suit against Peter and Kiss for breach of contract. No word has been made of the case since.