- Category : Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Type : GP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 4
American musician, singer and drummer, who became famous as a member of the theatrical heavy metal rock group "Kiss." The outlandishly costumed Kiss was hugely popular as a concert attraction, employing gross stage effects such as fire breathing, explosions, fireworks, dry-ice fog and mock blood vomiting, and the members never appeared in public without their makeup.
Criss was born Peter George Criscoula, the oldest of five children. His parents owned an antique shop in Brooklyn, New York. A Golden Glove Boxer during high school, Peter formed a street corner doo-wop singing group called "The Stars" when he was 13, and began playing the drums. Interested in painting, he attended art school as a teenager.
His big break came after he placed an ad in a music paper, stating "Drummer with 11 Years Experience, Willing to Do Anything." Eisen and Klein, soon to be known as Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, answered his ad, and Kiss was on its way to the top. He changed his name to Peter Criss soon after he joined the band, and when prompted to choose a character to portray, he picked a cat. Kiss signed with Casablanca Records in 1973, and with the release of "Alive!" they became one of the most popular and immediately identifiable hard rock acts ever. Although attacked by critics as being barely competent and over-loud with their guitar-based front line, the momentum continued to build.
Fame took its toll, and Criss developed a drug problem. His behavior grew more and more unpredictable, and in 1978, he was involved in a serious car accident. That same year, there was a simultaneous release of solo albums from all the members of Kiss, accompanied by the largest ad campaign in music history. Each of the albums went platinum. Criss released another solo album, "By Myself," in September 1980. With rumors of a full-scale breakup pending, he left Kiss that year, and launched a solo career.
Through the ’80s, he tried to make it as a solo act as well as with various bands, and worked on a "tell-all" book about his life; it was never published. It wasn’t until 1994, however, that he resurfaced with the release of "Criss Cat #1." Criss reunited with Stanley and Simmons to tape MTV’s "Unplugged," which led to a full-scale reunion and the 1996-97’s highly successful "Alive Worldwide Tour."
In the beginning of 2001, Criss left the group to be replaced by former Kiss drummer Eric Singer, who played with the others from 1991 to 1996.
In 1972, he married Lydia Di Leonardo; they divorced in 1979. His second wife, Debra Svensky, was a model and Playboy centerfold; they had one daughter, Jenilee. He married a third time, to model Gigi Cross.