Hey there, and a very Happy KISSmas in July! Just in case you’ve wandered in here by mistake, KISS is a huge band, commanding a huge and devoted following. Most fans have favourite eras and line-ups and enjoy them regardless but for some arguing about who & what is best seems to take up most of their time. Personally, I just like the music, and the performance, in and of itself, no matter what era or line-up.
It’s all Rawk N Roll to me.
So, channelling the great Matt Porter from The Kiss Room, I’m keeping it positive and showing my unashamed appreciation of the members who made KISS what it was, and is, and will always be.
Being a Big Band jazz fan, Peter Criss brought that sensibility to KISS in spades, and by choosing parts that no straight up Rock drummer would normally choose he also gave KISS a unique sound and approach. Like Ringo Starr with The Beatles before him, a lot of the subtlety in the playing is missed in the rush to propagate how basic their drumming is. Most drummers, on the other hand, know how difficult the stuff they’re playing is.
Criss‘ vocals weren’t too shabby either.
My favourite Peter Criss moment is “Detroit Rock City”, the opening track on the Destroyer album from 1976. Criss is at the top of his game, and the band is being beasted by Bob Ezrin in the studio to do better than their best, so what you have is a drum track bristling with drive and energy right from that first seven-stroke roll. A big part of the power in the song is that Criss chooses to use a double bass hit with open high-hats at the start of each line in the verse instead of just smashing cymbals. It shows his sensitivity not only to the song, but also to Gene Simmons’ superb bassline, which has even more power because of that double punch…and all without sacrificing the driving rhythm. Touches like this are all over the KISS albums Peter Criss played on and, in my opinion, make the music far more interesting and dynamic than the normal rock ‘n’ roll fodder.
Swing it, Catman!