Tuesday, February 18, 2014

KISS - Peter Criss

When the members of KISS decided to take advantage of their stardom by releasing four records simultaneously, the decision merely accentuated the reality that the band's real talents were noticeably restricted to just a few members - and even then, the talent was either in short supply or frustratingly sporadic.

With Peter Criss, there was at least a sliver of potential since the drummer of "the hottest band in the land" was the only member to actually have a major label deal with a record company prior to his cat makeup, albeit briefly with the one-record offering of his previous band Chelsea.

The band imploded while recording their second album, which is not saying a lot since they were never really that good to begin with. So why on Earth would Criss return to leftover material from Chelsea's second album when it came time to slop together songs for his first solo record after being blessed with KISS' golden ticket success?

Chock it up to drugs, pressure, or that aforementioned talent void, because Peter Criss not only ranks as the worst offering in KISS' misguided solo project venture, it quite possibly be one of the worst records ever presented with a platinum disc for sales exceeding 1,000,000 units.

Dreadfully overproduced and rigidly performed to the point where any passion has been sucked dry from the performance, Peter Criss is a mirror of the excess that began to infiltrate the KISS line-up. It's also a testament to the KISS Army for how much they were willing to endure for the logo and the band members who facilitated mediocrity.

Criss peppers his solo album with weak and misguided attempts at what can only be described as jazz/disco/soft rock blend, propelled by his tepid drumming and his Chelsea cohort Stan Penridge's anonymous guitar work. Female backing vocalists are added to sweeten the mix while horns pop up on several tracks, making some songs sound like outtakes from the jingle factory. A pointless cover of "Tossin' & Turnin'" is added as a nod to Criss' youth, while side two finds him giving up the percussion duties entirely to a session player, giving him more time to focus on his vocal abilities. Admittedly, the vocals probably deserved a session player more than the drums

Clocking in at a mere 35 minutes, Peter Criss could be viewed as a bold attempt to distance the artist from the choreographed bombast of his more notable group offerings, or at least a glimpse at the kind of music Criss really enjoys outside of the make-up and pyrotechnics. But that would require at least a hint of some fundamental ability or at least a desire to create something somewhat memorable.

There is no evidence of either on this record. Instead, Peter Criss marks the first KISS record that confirms every single critic's complaint about this band while gutting their credibility entirely.


Cousin J said...

This one should easily make it onto anyones Top Ten Worst Albums of All Time list. Right up there with the last Bret Michaels.

Todd Totale said...

I remember you played this for me once and I thought, as bad as it was I didn't think it was as awful as you made it out to be. I would like to now acknowledge that you were right. The recent KISS RRHOF drama has rekindled a new enthusiasm for the band, particularly in reference materials like Gene's autobiography and Gene & Paul's recent tirades. But it after hearing this and Out Of Control I understand why they would not want to share the stage with him ever again. At the same time, it's also bad enough that I agree with Gene and Paul's complaints about the RRHOF and move to change their induction nod and give it to The Zombies instead.