George Peter John Criscuola, known by his stage name, Peter Criss, was born on December 20, 1945. He is a former American musician and actor best known for being the co-founder, original drummer, and vocalist of the hard rock band Kiss. As a member of Kiss, he created the persona “The Catman” and was eventually admitted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Celebrate this rock legend with us today.
George Peter John Criscuola
Peter Criss, The Catman
December 20, 1945
George Peter John Criscuola was born on December 20, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York. The oldest of five children, he was raised by his parents, Joseph and Loretta Criscuola, who practiced Roman Catholicism. He loved swing music and was an enthusiastic art student. He ended up learning music under his hero, Gene Krupa, at the Metropole Club in New York while performing with bandleader Joey Greco. This developed into a fruitful musical career, and throughout the 1960s in New York and New Jersey, he played jazz and rock with various bands. Criss joined the band Chelsea in the late 1960s; the trio issued a self-titled album in 1970 but never made a follow-up album and changed their name to Lips in August 1971. They later disbanded and he went on to start the band Kiss with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Ace Frehley. Over the years, they put out many albums before Criss decided to go solo.
He released his self-titled debut studio album in March 1978 and in 1980, started work on his second solo album, “Out of Control.” Despite being a fan favorite when it was released, the album was a commercial flop. The following album, “Let Me Rock You,” was released in 1982 and included one song written by Gene Simmons, but was also a commercial disaster. Criss was a part of several bands throughout the remainder of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, most of which disbanded after less than a year. He put together the band, Criss, in the early 1990s that included future Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone. The “Criss” E.P. and “Cat #1” album were released in December 1993 and August 1994, respectively. He appeared at the official Los Angeles Kiss Konvention in 1995, where he performed live and was captured for “MTV Unplugged.” Kiss held a press conference in April 1996 to announce a reunion tour with the band’s original four members. The reunited band released a studio album, 1998’s “Psycho Circus,” on which Criss performed the drums. The 1996 — 1997 Alive/Worldwide Tour was a huge success. He left the band due to a contract dispute, and Eric Singer took his place in 2001. He returned to the group in late 2002 and made an appearance on the live album “Kiss Symphony: Alive IV” before leaving the band once more in 2003.
Criss has been married three times; his third and current wife is Gigi Criss (since May 1998). Jenilee, his daughter, was born in 1981. In late 2012, he co-wrote the memoir “Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss” with novelist Larry Sloman. At the age of 71, Criss decided to stop touring in 2017.
Criss joins the band Chelsea and they issue a self-titled album in 1970.
Along with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Ace Frehley, he forms the rock band, Kiss.
Deciding to go solo, he releases his self-titled debut studio album.
He puts together a band called Criss and they release their E.P. in 1993.
Criscs appears at the official Los Angeles Kiss Konvention, which results in a live Kiss performance that is captured for "MTV Unplugged."
He appears as himself in the American teen comedy film "Detroit Rock City."
He co-writes the memoir "Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss" with novelist Larry Sloman.
As a member of Kiss, he is admitted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Why We Love Peter Criss
He’s an icon
Criss is the original drummer and founding member of the rock & roll supergroup, Kiss. He not only played drums in the band but also sang lead vocals for several of the band’s most well-known and iconic songs, such as ‘Beth,’ ‘Black Diamond,’ and ‘Hard Luck Woman.’ In popular culture, his Catman persona is an instantly identifiable icon.
Crisscuola was admitted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014, as a founding member of Kiss. The induction into the Hall of Fame honors Criss and Kiss for their decades-long contribution to music and popular culture as well as their original vision for Kiss.
He is charitable
Criss is not only a music star, he helps his community when necessary. He has contributed autographed and collectible memorabilia to help Variety the Children's Charity generate funds and awareness.
5 Surprising Facts
He met his bandmates through an ad
He met his bandmates after getting a call from a job-seeking drummer after he’d posted an ad in "Rolling Stone."
He had an impostor
In 1991, a man by the name of Christopher Dickinson started posing as the real Peter Criss.
He had breast cancer
He was given the all-clear after receiving a lumpectomy after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.
He was involved in a scandal
He was the focus of a public embarrassment in 1991 when a national tabloid alleged that he was homeless and residing under a Santa Monica pier.
He was a fan of Gene Krupa
He was quite keen on Krupa's unique drumming style.
Peter Criss FAQs
What race is Peter Criss?
He is of Italian descent.
Where does Peter Criss reside?
Criss lives in Wall Township, New Jersey.
How many times did Peter Criss exit Kiss?
He left the band three times.
Peter Criss’s birthday dates