Born Peter George Criscoula on December 20, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York, Peter Criss got his start drumming after discovering legendary jazz drummer Gene Krupa. He formed Kiss with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in the early 70's and stayed with the band until 1980. Peter Criss was the one Kiss member who just could never get it together outside of Kiss. His first two solo albums "Let Me Rock You" and "Out of Control" strayed so far from the hard rock of Kiss that most fans just were not interested. A discouraged Peter Criss disappeared for years playing sparce shows in clubs in the East Coast area, doing mostly oldies covers, but never releasing anything commercially until 1994's Criss-Cat #1.
1. "By Myself"
It's no secret that Peter was never a huge fan of heavy metal or hard rock. He had always been a bigger fan of Motown-inspired R&B. Part of the reason he split with Kiss was over the fact that he was tired of the music that Kiss was playing. However, knowing that his first solo album was going to be mostly played by Kiss fans, you would think that he might want to at least attempt to record a song or two in that style. However, that is not the case at all. Honestly I have yet to meet somebody who actually loves these albums beyond the Kiss-collect-ability of them. I mean, I am a huge Kiss fan and I really enjoy the solo work of Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and even guys like Vinnie Vincent, but Peter's albums always brings thoughts of red velvet, bubble machines and Las Vegas. OK, maybe it's not quite that lame. There are some weak attempts at rock n roll, but in reality there is really nothing outstanding like some of the work he did with Kiss. I suppose with a title like "Out of Control" and an album cover with an exploding jukebox I expected something a little more energetic and explosive. Most of this album was co-written by Criss and longtime friend and songwriter Stan Penridge, who also co-wrote such Kiss classics as "Baby Driver".
In 2012 Peter Criss published his autobiography titled "Makeup to Breakup". In it he discussed this album, "It was incredibly liberating making my kind of music again...The songs were heavier than the stuff I had done of my KISS solo album. It was like going back to my roots and pulling out Nautilus and the Sounds of Soul and adding some British (heavy) metal to it. I though the fans would love it." "I could have put an actual photo of Deb (Peter's Playboy centerfold wife) naked on the cover and the album wouldn't have sold...because the record company buried the album."
Peter Criss - Let Me Rock You (Mercury) 1982
It Go" (4:05)
Let me rock you . . . to sleep. What exactly was Peter thinking when he released his two solo albums in the early 80's? I mean thoughts of Jimmy Buffet, Firefly, Air Supply and Ned Flanders for sure. Just goes to show you what a Kiss freak I am to own these two albums. The title tracks is a doo-wap, Russ Ballard penned song. "First Day in the Rain" was written by Steve Stevens and 'Jealous Guy' is a John Lennon song. Gene Simmons also offers some song writing in "Feel like Heaven." To make things worse, Vince Poncia brings his slick Kiss 'Unmasked' sensibilities to the production. As I said in the beginning, Let Me Rock You to Sleep. Anyone for a catnap?
Criss - Cat #1 (TNT) 1994
Cat #1 featured a guest appearance by Ace Frehley, a front cover with Peter Criss wearing his Cat make-up on half his face, and a new version of the Kiss classic "Beth." Criss & his band toured with Frehley's Comet, all of this raising hopes that the original Kiss may get back together. Peter Criss showed up at one of the Kiss Convention's where Gene and Paul invited him on stage to sing a song with them. This was the beginning of the reunion.
As for this album, it features some very Kiss-like hard rock with Peter Criss on vocals. "Cat #1" is much better than either of Peter Criss' 1980's solo albums. Not a disc that frequents my cd player but a nice collector's disc nonetheless, especially for the $2.50 I paid for it.
Peter Criss – One For All (Silvercat Records) 2007