These paper toys are Peter Criss / Kiss, designed by Toy a Day. George Peter John Criscuola, better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss. Criss established the "Catman" character for his Kiss persona. In 2012 he was inducted into Modern Drummer's Drum Hall Of Fame.
After the demise of his band Lips, Criss placed an advertisement in the East Coast edition of Rolling Stone.
Contrary to the story that has been recited by fans and the band for years, there was never an ad placed that said "Drummer willing to do anything to make it." The advertisement was answered by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who were looking for new members for their band. Ace Frehley was added to the lineup in December 1972, and the band was named Kiss later that month.However, as Gene Simmons describes first meeting Criss in his book 'Kiss And Make-Up' "One afternoon I run across an ad in Rolling Stone that said "Drummer available - Will do anything." I called the guy on the telephone, and even though he was in the middle of a party, he took my call. I introduced myself and said we were starting a band and that the band was looking for a drummer, and was he willing to do anything to make it? He says that he was, right away." Simmons later in the chapter describes going to a small Italian Club in Brooklyn to meet the drummer "The drummer started to sing, and this Wilson Pickett-style voice came out of him. Paul and I said "That's it, that's our drummer." His name was Peter Criscuola."Peter also decided on the "Catman" makeup he would go on to make famous as a member of Kiss, stating on more than one occasion that he felt he had nine lives to survive his rough street upbringing in Brooklyn.
Kiss released their self-titled debut in February 1974. Throughout his Kiss career, Criss was lead vocalist on several notable songs including "Black Diamond", "Hard Luck Woman", and their breakthrough hit "Beth". Many of Criss' contributions to Kiss were written with the help of Stan Penridge, who was a bandmate of Criss' in Chelsea and Lips.
Criss was featured on the album sleeve for the 1979 comedy record Lenny and the Squigtones, collection of novelty songs by Michael McKean and David L. Lander, performing as their Laverne & Shirley personas of Lenny and Squiggy. Criss was billed as drummer "Ming the Merciless," and appeared without his Kiss makeup, although he did not play drums on the album.
Criss is given co-writer credit for the ballad "Beth", a Top 10 #7 hit for Kiss in 1976. The song remains the highest-charting song for Kiss in the USA and it earned them a People's Choice Award for "Young People's Favorite New Song" in 1977, tied with "Disco Duck". The song was written before Criss had joined Kiss, while he was still a member of Chelsea. Criss came up with the melody for the song while on a train to New York City from New Jersey where the band practiced. He and Chelsea guitarist Stan Penridge wrote the song together. "
A bootleg exists of the song from 1971, but the song's title was "Beck", after fellow band member Mike Brand's wife, Becky, who would call often during practices to ask Mike when he was coming home. Years later, while in Kiss, both Bob Ezrin and Gene Simmons are credited for changing the song's title to "Beth".The song was said to be a tribute to Criss' wife Lydia Di Leonardo; according to interviews with Criss, he changed some of the lyrics to reflect Lydia's lamenting that she missed him while on tour, but the song actually originated years earlier.
Along with "Beth", other songs he sang as a member of Kiss were "Black Diamond", "Hard Luck Woman", "Dirty Livin'", "Nothin' to Lose", "Mainline", "Strange Ways", "Getaway", "Baby Driver", "Hooligan", "Kissin' Time" and "I Finally Found My Way", with only the first being a live staple for every tour during his time with Kiss; "Dirty Livin'", "Baby Driver", "Hooligan" and "Beth" are the only ones he co-wrote.
Although he was always credited as drummer, 1977's Love Gun and Alive II were the last Kiss albums on which he played throughout. In 1978, Criss was injured in a serious car crash.
On the 1979 release Dynasty, he only played on his own composition, "Dirty Livin'," and did not play at all on 1980's Unmasked. Anton Fig, who also played on Ace Frehley's solo album, was hired to play on both records.
Gene Simmons has made it clear that Criss was fired; Paul Stanley too has discussed Criss' departure in several interviews, including the commentary on Kissology 2. Ace Frehley in his 2011 book, "No Regrets," also stated that Criss was fired during a band meeting in which Frehley was outvoted by Gene and Paul. Criss, however, has maintained that he quit the band. The video for "Shandi" was shot in one day, and Peter was out of the band at that time; said Stanley, "After we finished shooting, Peter packed up his things, and went home."
Criss officially left Kiss on May 18, 1980. As a result, Kiss postponed the European tour until the end of August, thus giving the band enough time to find a replacement drummer, who they found in Brooklyn-born Eric Carr.
Although Criss officially left Kiss in May 1980, his involvement with the band had ceased by December 1979. In March 1980, he began recording his second solo album, Out of Control. Released later in the year, the album was a commercial failure, despite remaining a favorite with Criss fans. The follow-up album, 1982's Let Me Rock You, which contained one song written by Gene Simmons, was a similar failure. The album cover featured Criss without his Kiss makeup, but was not released in the U.S. at the time.
For the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, Criss was involved with a number of bands, each usually lasting less than a year.One of them was The Keep, which featured ex-Kiss guitarist Mark St. John.Criss also played with Balls of Fire from the spring of 1986 to December 1986, with Jane Booke on lead vocals, Bob Raylove on bass and JP on guitar, who currently plays for Buckner Funken Jazz in Denver, Colorado. Balls of Fire only played 7 shows before Criss left the band to enjoy his daughter Jenilee growing up. While Kiss was promoting their upcoming release Crazy Nights, Criss appeared on the syndicated radio program Metal Shop and discussed his time in Kiss from a more positive perspective than before; he also promoted the book he was writing at the time, an autobiography to-be-titled A Face without a Kiss. He also mentioned his dream of one day opening up his own recording studio and starting his own record label, to be called Catman Records. Criss briefly reunited with former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley on Frehley's 1989 album Trouble Walkin' . In the early '90s, Criss assembled a band named "Criss," which would feature future Queensrÿche guitarist Mike Stone. This band released the Criss EP in December 1993 and the Cat #1 album in August 1994. The group also supported Frehley's band on the 1995 "Bad Boys Tour."
In 1995, Criss appeared at the official Kiss Konvention in Los Angeles that led to the Kiss live performance that was recorded for MTV Unplugged. In April 1996, Kiss held a press conference to announce a reunion tour with all four original members. The 1996–97 Alive/Worldwide Tour was an enormous success, and the reunited Kiss released a studio album, 1998's Psycho Circus. However, controversy arose when it was discovered that Criss only played drums on one track. Many sources claim that Kevin Valentine performed on the rest of the drum tracks for the album. Criss did have one lead vocal, a track called "I Finally Found My Way," written by guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin, and a co-vocal taking turns in the verses with the rest of the band for the song "You Wanted the Best".