Original KISS drummer Peter Criss has revealed why he’s retiring from performing live this summer.
Peter will play KISS conventions in Australia next month and New York in June before withdrawing from the limelight and quitting live performances for good.
In an interview with Australia’s The Rockpit, Peter said that as a septuagenarian rocker in good health it’s important to bow out on a high: “You know what, I’m seventy-one, that scares me when I say that but if you’re around me I’m like a fifteen-year-old kid, I really am.
“But I’ve had an amazing career in music; I was around in the 60’s and 70’s which was about the best time to be a musician. I actually saw Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and The Beatles when I was young. I’ve seen the greatest of the greats perform; I grew up at a time when music was so cool.
“There was Bob Dylan, and things were changing – things were becoming amazing for musicians in the world. So I played clubs for 15 years, then I started the band with the guys.”
KISS at Heathrow Airport in 1976 (© PA Images)
He continued: “I see now all these guys from the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and we’re all in our 70’s now, and I hate to say it but were dying out and that’s so real, there’s less Rock and Roll in the world. Less music in the world and it’s kinda sad.
“So I’m 71 I’m in the best health I’ve been in for a while and I thought if I’m gonna do it I gotta do it now. I had male breast cancer and I beat it and that’s really changed my life, and my wife also beat cancer too, so I went out I signed autographs, I wrote a book and the fans man, and you don’t get this up on stage in front of 70,000 people it’s just thank you, goodnight and you’re gone, so you never really hear from the fans at that level, so when I connected again I got to hear their stories and they’d ask me if I’d play again or sing again, there was so much love.
“And when I looked around everyone was slowing down or retiring like Eric Clapton, and I wondered what I has left. I think there are a couple of books, maybe a comedy, and I have an album I’ve been sitting on for nine years now! And I want to finish that properly.”
Reflecting on why the KISS Convention shows in Sydney and New York, which include an intimate performance and three-course meal, are the perfect way to say goodbye, Peter said: “I really wanted to bow out with something a little more intimate, I really wanted that more ‘nightclub’ vibe, closer to the fans, where I could actually walk up to the table and sing to them!
“And I really realised that I wanted to go back to where it all started and it all started for me in nightclubs. That’s exactly how it started and exactly how I wanted to end it, I don’t want to bow out on a big stage; I wanted a lot more intimacy. I didn’t want the 70,000 people ‘Thank you and goodnight’. I didn’t want it that way.”