Original KISS drummer Peter Criss joined his former bandmate Gene Simmons earlier today (Saturday, March 24) at the KISS bassist/vocalist’s “Vault Experience” event in New York City.
After being introduced by Gene as “the powerful and the attractive, the original, one and only, Peter Criss,” the drummer took the microphone and told the crowd (see video below, courtesy of Mike Brunn): “Hi. It’s good to be here. It’s good to see you. It’s good to be here. I’m feeling great. I had to come and say hi to my bass player from my old band KISS. [Laughs] No. Really, Gene sent me a wonderful invitation; I couldn’t resist. And we haven’t seen each other since the [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame. Out of all the bandmembers, we always had a Twinkie thing going, and way back in the day…” At this point, Simmons chimed in, “He means cake,” before Criss continued: “So I had to come in and say hi to him. I do have a big place in my heart for Gene — I always will, out of all the members. So it’s good that you came down for him. He loves to be loved, so give him all the love you want, and he’ll take it all in. And God bless you all, and thank you so much.”
In addition to playing drums in the band, Peter also provided lead vocals for a number KISS‘s most popular and memorable songs, including “Beth”, “Black Diamond” and “Hard Luck Woman”.
Criss first left KISS in 1980. Since then he’s worked with other bands and released solo albums. He teamed up with KISS again for a reunion tour in the 1990s and most recently in 2004. He was replaced by Eric Singer.
The four original members of KISS were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April 2014 by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello.
KISS did not perform — the Hall Of Fame wanted the original quartet only to play, while Simmons and Paul Stanley insisted on the current lineup — which also includes guitarist Tommy Thayer — performing as well. In the end nobody won that battle.
Criss, who was known as “Catman,” released his last solo CD, titled “One for All”, in 2007. Peter produced the album himself for the first time, and was joined by guest musicians that included keyboardist Paul Shaffer and bassist Will Lee of “Late Night with David Letterman”. The album featured a range of styles, from rock and jazz to blues and Broadway, and included covers of “What a Difference a Day Makes” and “Send in the Clowns”.
Gene began personally delivering copies of his new box set, “Gene Simmons – The Vault Experience: 1966-2016”, in January.
“Gene Simmons – The Vault Experience: 1966-2016” is a comprehensive box set of Gene‘s solo material that comes packaged in a safe. The set includes 150 previously unreleased songs spread over 10 discs, a leather-bound photo book, a Gene Simmons action figure, an “In Gene We Trust” gold medallion and a “surprise item.”
Original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has made appearances at a couple of the “Vault Experience” events so far, while ex-KISS axeman Vinnie Vincent is expected to join Simmons on April 14 in Nashville, Tennessee.