‘He was doing what he loved to do’: Kiss’ Gene Simmons remembers final work with Eric Carr

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Gene Simmons speaks emotionally about the passing of Eric Carr, and Kiss’ last-ditch effort to include him in a video — an appearance that would ultimately be the cancer-stricken drummer’s last.

Carr followed founding member Peter Criss behind the kit, performing with Kiss from 1980 through his death in 1991 after a battle with heart cancer. Carr was just 41.

His final months coincided with Kiss being asked to contribute a song for the film “Bill and Red’s Bogus Journey,” a reworking of a 1973 song by Argent that the group dubbed “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You II.”

“We decided to do it, recorded it with Bob Ezrin, and Eric kept pleading to come in and record,” Simmons says at Fandomfest in Louisville, Kentucky. “The doctors said: ‘Absolutely not. I don’t care what you do, he has to stay in the hospital — whether he’s got a chance to live or not. You have to stay here under observation. The cancer could come back fast.’ So, he’s getting chemo, and staying in the hospital.”

With Carr incapacitated, Eric Singer (Kiss’ drummer to this day) sat in on the soundtrack single, which was to be issued by Interscope. Carr, meanwhile, made a final plea — this time to participate in the music video to accompany the track.

By then, Carr’s condition had worsened considerably.

“We talked to his doctors and they said: ‘He only had two or three months left. He may as well do what he wants to do, and make himself happy,'” Simmons remembers. “So, we made special arrangements for Eric to fly out to Los Angeles. If you watch ‘God Gave Rock and Roll To You,’ that’s Eric’s last performance. While he was doing that, he was in enormous pain. He was medicated — but he was doing what he loved to do.”

Carr would never work with Kiss again after that July 1991 shoot. His final concert performance had been the previous November, at Madison Square Garden.

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