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Founding Kiss Drummer Peter Criss Heading to Rock Hall

An adopted son of the Jersey shore is heading into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Peter Criss
Peter Criss (Bryan Bedder, Getty Images)

Peter Criss, the original drummer of the rock group Kiss, lives in Wall Township. The band was among the Class of 2014 inductees announced Tuesday.

“This is absolutely the best Christmas and birthday present I could get,” Criss, who turns 68 on Friday, told The Associated Press. “This is amazing, that something like this could happen to a kid from Brooklyn.”

Criss said the band always tried to give fans more for their money by adding makeup, costumes, explosives and stage props to the live concert experience. His drum kit, for example, rose 50 feet into the air during his drum solos, which were often filtered through a phase shifter to produce a surreal sound effect.

The pyrotechnics, makeup and costumes that Kiss pioneered have been widely embraced by other rock and pop acts, he said.

“When you set someone a strong example and you see it happening with other bands, you know you’ve opened some sort of door,” he said. “We always wanted more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger.”

In a band where all four members had iconic characters, Criss was the Catman. He is best known for singing the orchestral ballad “Beth” in 1976, one of the band’s biggest hit singles. Criss last toured with Kiss in 2003, and has since released a solo album and an autobiography, “Makeup To Breakup: My Life In and Out Of Kiss.”

He hopes to be asked to perform at the induction ceremony with co-founders Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley at New York’s Barclays Center in April.

“I want to congratulate my other three guys — Ace, Gene and Paul. We were the four guys who dumped the blood into the ink for the stupid comic books and came up with all those other crazy schemes so the fans would love us,” Criss said, referring to a 1970s stunt to promote sales of the first Kiss comic book. “We deserve this, all four of us.”


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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