Interview – KISS Legend Peter Criss

Interview – KISS Legend Peter Criss

Affectionately known as The Catman by devout KISS fans, Peter Criss is a legend in the world of Rock-n-Roll history. The original drummer of the band, the Criss era of KISS is unmistakable as he wowed audiences behind the kit, plus provided lead vocals on some of their most memorable songs including “Black Diamond,” “Hard Luck Woman,” and the big hit “Beth.” A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2014 as a founding member of KISS, outside the band, Criss has put out a list of solo albums through 2007, and now spends time making special appearances, and most importantly, helping notable causes for those in need.

Known to raise awareness about Breast Cancer, Criss has also teamed up with various other foundations through the years, and is now donating his time to the Raven Drum Foundation. A special cause founded by Def Leppard’s Rick Allen and Lauren Monroe, it exists to serve, educate, and empower Veterans, first responders, and trauma survivors. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, the foundation also launched the “12 Drummers Drumming” Veterans Day Auction… which now returns in 2022! A special event which includes contributions from everyone from Rick Allen to Peter Criss, the auction wraps up on December 12, 2022 and offers a chance to give back to those in need with bids on some really cool autographed items, artwork, and more. Privileged to help out with the event, Criss recently took some time to sit down and chat about it and more. 

Cryptic Rock – You have an extremely rich history in Rock-n-Roll dating back nearly six decades. An intricate part of KISS during the band’s peak years, you are truly a legend in many ways. Briefly tell us, how would you describe your incredible journey in music?
Peter Criss – I feel blessed that my journey in music was in the sixties and seventies. It was a magical time in music. There was so much great music coming out and all around me growing up.  It was a great time to be creative and inspired. We definitely were creative when forming KISS.
Cryptic Rock – That is an understatement and extremely true! As mentioned, you were a vital part of KISS. One of the most popular bands in Rock-n-Roll history, even after all these years, fans still revere the era you were behind the kit. How humbling is it to you that fans still remember and recognize your significance to KISS?
Peter Criss – It overwhelms me how much the fans show me so much love. It’s very humbling and very much appreciated.

Destroyer Album Cover / Casablanca

Peter Criss Album Cover / Casablanca

Cryptic Rock – And you always give back to the fans too; you appear at various events for meet and greets, etc. Beyond music you have also been a part of various charities through the years including those raising Breast Cancer Awareness. These thoughts in mind, you are a part of “12 Drummers Drumming” Veterans Day Auction put together by the Raven Drum Foundation. How did this come about for you?
Peter Criss – Billy Amendola from Drum Channel called me and asked me if I’d like to help out, and I said, of course, I would love to.
Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. Besides the musical collaboration of “12 Drummers Drumming,” there is also an auction going on now through December 12th with proceeds going to help veterans/first responders in need. There are some really cool autographed items available. What can you tell us about these items being auctioned off?
Peter Criss – What I can tell you is I’m proud to be among some of these great musicians. I love Kenny Aronoff and Steve Smith. Tico’s a cool guy. Liberty is awesome. And, of course, we have the great Rick Allen, who is such a kind, sweet man. It’s so good that we’ve all come together to help the veterans.  

For items up for auction (Ending December 12, 2022):

For more on Raven Drum Foundation: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

For more on 12 Drummers Drumming: 

For more on Peter Criss:

Feature photo credit by That Metal Show: Colin Gray

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