Judy Cocuzza a.k.a. Luda Criss (drummer for PRISS) interview

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What exactly were the circumstances that led you to form PRISS, your all female tribute to KISS, my #1 favorite hard rock band of all time?

Sharon and I (Judy) have played in bands together for years. One night, we went out for a drink and we walked into a local bar. Everyone in the bar was dressed up like KISS – bartenders, clients, DJ, everyone!! They had KISS videos playing, KISS tunes going. So we asked the bartender, “hey, why is everyone dressed like KISS?” And she said, rather shortly, “WHY NOT?”. That’s when we looked at each other and thought – we have got to do a KISS tribute!

Does PRISS strictly perform 1970s KISS songs or you dip into the other decades as well?

We all love the earlier tunes but do try to mix it up and play some newer tunes as well. Mostly, we want to play the tunes that people want to hear or ask to hear and the ones we all love and love to play.

What are your personal opinions of the other decades of KISS’s long existence?

KISS is just an awesome band!! We all have a lot of respect for all the members and all the creativity they have shown through the years. Gene, of course, is a brilliant businessman and they have created a very impressive legacy.

What are some of your favorite KISS albums and/or songs and why?

We all have our favorites and there are so many tunes!! Some of our common favorite tunes are “She”, “Love Her All I Can”, “Deuce”, “War Machine”, “Calling Dr. Love”, “Black Diamond”, etc.

As far as albums go, the first Alive album is a big favorite of ours. We play a lot of the live versions from that recording.

Besides KISS, who are some of your influences as musicians and why?

There are so many. Sharon and I come from a more rock/punk background, while Jennifer and Andrea come from a more mainstream rock background.

The bands that influence us range from AC/DC to X. It’s hard to pick just a few bands since we all have long lists!! We are all just open to great tunes. Rock, pop, jazz – we listen to many styles.

Have any of the members of KISS attended any of your shows? If so, who and what did they think?
We have met several of the members of KISS but not at our shows. We were on an episode of “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” – we met Shannon and Nick & Shannon actually put on Gene’s Demon makeup and sang on stage with us, so that was very cool.

We have met Gene, Tommy and Eric Singer at the NAMM show before. Sharon and I were in a band called Betty Blowtorch and Eric was in a band called Glamnation and we played shows together years ago, so it’s awesome that Eric is now in KISS and he has been very supportive of PRISS.

Generally speaking, how has PRISS been received by both KISS fans and everybody else in your audiences as well?

Really well! KISS fans are super supportive and they really come out and support the band. It’s a huge compliment to us and we really appreciate each person who comes out and sings along! We have had some people who aren’t KISS fans come see us and by the end of our shows, most have become KISS fans!

Discuss your experiences (good and/or bad) being a woman in both the rock music scene and in the entertainment industry in general.

Being a female musician has its ups and downs. As more woman are playing and getting out there, things are certainly getting better. One of the things that we hear a lot are women who say, “oh, I wanted to play the drums, guitar or sing but I was told that it wasn’t for girls or not encouraged to do so”. That’s sad to us – we want to encourage females of all ages to go ahead and play!! We are each a unique individual and we all have our own style and can bring new things to the musical table. I try to look at the positives in life rather then dwell on negatives. I try to take things that were challenging or difficult and learn a lesson from them, let those experiences make me stronger and a better musician and person. So again, I would encourage woman to believe in themselves and their talents and get out there!

Are any of you in any other bands? If so, please discuss.

We all play in other bands!! Here is a list:

Sharon – Betty Blowtorch, Hells Belles
Jen – Ladysmith
Andrea – Thundherstruck, Hammer of the Broads
Judy – Betty Blowtorch, Evil Beaver, sub for an all female AC/DC tribute and other independent work

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