‘You can’t take it from me’: Peter Criss tears into Kiss for allowing new members to wear old makeup

Peter Criss, who helped Kiss to its highest-ever charting single, continues to excoriate his former band for continuing with new members performing in the classic makeup that he and fellow founding member Ace Frehley originally wore.

They’ve been replaced in recent years by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, who now appear in their familiar space man and feline-themed get ups. Criss places the blame for this blatant marketing ploy squarely on remaining co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

“I am the Cat Man; there’ll never be another one,” Criss tells Eddie Trunk in the recently posted video below. “They’re wearing our makeup — and they didn’t before they realized how much money could be made wearing the makeup. … I think they realized the power, and that’s when the came up with ‘it’s not a band, it’s a brand.’”

Criss was with Kiss from its hard-scrabble founding in 1973, through 1980 — and then again from 1996-2001. Frehley, guitarist in the band from 1973 to 1982, also returned in the 1990s. That second-act reunion, however, eventually turned sour — and both Frehley and then Criss were eventually replaced. Kiss just issued its second studio effort with Thayer and Singer, called Monster.

“Although Gene and Paul are the major members in the band, Eric and Tommy, to them, it’s a job,” Criss adds. “He’s playing Ace Frehley licks to the T; Eric’s playing my drum licks to a T. They’re still playing the same songs that we made famous. … There’s a whole new generation of kids that are clueless about what Kiss is all about. They go to see them now, and they think: That’s Kiss.”

It was Criss, however, who sang the legendary power ballad “Beth,” which went to No. 7 on the Billboard charts — become one of just two gold-selling singles ever for Kiss, along with “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” “Beth” also joins 1990′s “Forever” as Kiss’ only Top 10 singles.

“I was the guy, and so was Ace, in that bathtub dying our hair blue-black, getting dog collars, playing shit-ass lofts, not making a dime, lugging equipment at 3 in the morning in the freezing cold,” Criss says. “There’s a lot of soul in that, and you can’t take it from me. You never will. These guys can wear it all they want, because they’re making a buck … but I’ve met a lot of people in the world, and they’re not buying it anymore.”

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  • Leeha

    That is so sad that someone would try to copy him…there is only 1 Peter Chris… <3

  • Someone

    And yet Peter decided he could play with Tommy for the Symphony show and the whole 2003 tour. Money talks.

  • Ken

    Peter played with Tommy on the Symphony show, but he was against Tommy wearing Ace`s makeup, he had a contract with Kiss that`s why he continued in the band. Gene And Paul owns Kiss, that`s why Ace left the band a second time to get more freedom. Peter didn`t like the way the band continued, Paul and Gene decided to fire Peter, and they are making money from a band the four original members founded together. I can understand that Peter is pissed, the new members are good paid imposters that are kissing Gene and Pauls asses for a buck!

    • trey

      Peter might of signed on for the tour, but he could of got out of it if he felt that strongly about ace not being part of the tour.
      Before you start saying no once he signed they would not let him back out, do you think they would not of paid another drummer less money? so why would they not agree to let him go.

  • Jim

    Peter just really needs to go away. I’m a longtime fan, and I have to say – I like Eric Singer’s playing a lot more. Gene and Paul are not pulling a fast one. We know it’s Tommy and Eric under the makeup. If Peter has arthritis, and Ace is still struggling to not fall of a stage, give me the new and improved KISS over the old. I’m so tired of the argument, and Eddie Trunk fanning the flames. By the way – Monster is great.

    • RFFB

      Actually there are many people at shows who do NOT know who is on stage. I have been saddened to hear many youngsters in the crowd say ‘Wow, Ace/Peter played really well tonight.’ No lie. Heard it with my own ears many times now. Interesting how you say you prefer ES drumming when he plays the songs the same as Peter! ES has been told how to play the songs and he is just doing what the bosses tell him. He is a better drummer than he is playing told to play, ALIVE III/Revenge show that.

  • Anton Jansen The Netherlands

    Peter’s screaming for attention, trying to get money by talking dirt to his old bandmates. He should take a look in the mirror. What was the real reason he got out of the band? Why did he came back. MONEY as did Ace. No problem with that. He don’t like other people (Eric and Tommy) wearing make-up he and Ace once used to wear . Why did he play with Tommy. Be honest with yourself Pete. By the way, I saw a lot of concerts and in the reunion tour, Peter’s palying was terrible. He coudn’t keep pace at all and his timing was afwul. All the fans screaming how bad Paul and Gene are acting on this, should realize that be in a band, means 100% commitment. Ace and Peter are good actors playing the underdogs. It’s over gents. Get back in the real world and stop complaining and earning money by talking shit on the other hand.

  • Ofu

    I understand why PC is against Singer wearing the makeup, that PC invented. But why did PC sell the rights to his makeup, to Gene and Paul…. It’s all about the money. And then against I understand it hurts…

  • paul stanley

    peter its time to get over yourself .

    • Gene Simmons

      Paul, it’s time for some manscaping. Your chest hair is practically a fifth member of the band.

      • http://www.paulstanley.com/ Paul Stanley’s Assistant

        Mr. Simmons, at least Paul doesn’t have those fake thigh cutouts on his tights. Cellulite is SO not rock ‘n roll.

  • Ace Frehley

    Let’s not get started on what’s “fake” in Kiss these days, mmkay?

  • paul stanley

    Peter you can come back when you learn to show up on time and learn how to hold a beat.

  • Barry Baledge

    I know this all about “The Originals” yada yada yada.( I see the wisdom in Trent Resner being the only member of NIN) I am a Kiss fan to the end, but after Peter left, they hired Eric Carr. No offense to the Catman, but Damn, he was the best. RIP