The Drummer Became An Official KISS Member For One Day To Replace Peter Criss


KISS is one of those bands that experienced a series of lineup changes, which is one of the most common things once working with four members. Though they have had numerous members come and go, two of the most notable changes within the band must be lead guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss.

Apart from the fact that these two musicians had quite the feud with their former bandmates, they were once solid KISS members with millions of fans following them. Nonetheless, there came the point when one of them, Peter Criss, needed a replacement after their departure. Though the band auditioned many musicians, they agreed on a drummer to be the official member of the band, but only for twenty-four hours.

How Did Anton Fig Work With KISS?


Anton Fig was first introduced to the KISS world when he became the drummer on Ace Frehley’s 1978 eponymous solo album and subsequently became a member of the then-former lead guitarist’s solo project entitled ‘Frehley’s Comet’ from 1984 to 1987. When the band needed a drummer in the absence of Peter Criss, their now member Frehley offered them to work with Fig.

As a result, Anton Fig first appeared on a KISS album on their seventh studio album entitled ‘Dynasty,’ released on May 23, 1979. The drummer played on every song on that album except ‘Dirty Livin’,’ but his tenure with the band wasn’t just about that record as he also recorded another album named ‘Unmasked,’ released on May 20, 1980. KISS management didn’t give credit to Fig for his work within the band until years later to cover up any personnel problems within the band.

Did Anton Fig Officially Replace Peter Criss?


After a successful tenure with the band, Anton Fig was offered to officially replace Peter Criss, who had a drug problem and allegedly deteriorated his skills. In a conversation with Loudwire, Ace Frehley looked back on when the band was looking for a drummer after Criss’ departure. After auditioning many drummers to fill the spot, he offered the band to work with Fig as he had a stint with him before that.

Both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons agreed to work with Fig, and Frehley called the drummer to inform him that he’s officially a KISS member. After detailing Fig’s excitement over this news which caused him not to sleep all night, Frehley said that his bandmates informed him after a day that the drummer may not be the best choice after all. Therefore, Frehley had to give him a call to tell him that he wasn’t a KISS member anymore.

Talking about Fig’s stint with KISS, Frehley said:

“Talking about when Peter left the group, we were looking for a new drummer. Here’s a fact, and you can insert it into the next Wikipedia at the time you go in and add it that Anton Fig was a member of KISS for one day, the drummer from the David Letterman Show. This is how it transpired. We were looking to audition drummers, we auditioned a dozen of drummers, and Eric Paul was one of them.

Prior to that happening, I called up Paul and Gene because I’ve been working with Anton Fig on my solo record, and I said, ‘Why don’t we get Anton Fig to play the drums?’ They both agreed. So I called up Anton and said, ‘You’re in the band.’ He was thrilled; he couldn’t sleep all night. The next day, Paul and Gene call me and say, ‘You know what, we don’t think Anton’s a good choice.’ So, I had to do the dirty work, call back Anton and tell him, ‘Sorry Anton, you’re not in the band.’ For 24 hours, Anton was in KISS.

Though this is Frehley’s side of the story, Anton Fig previously explained his tenure with KISS during an interview with Vinyl Writer Music. His recalling of the entire situation was slightly different from his ‘former bandmate.’ According to the drummer, he was excited to work with the band for their recordings together, but he wasn’t all star-struck by them as he wasn’t into rock music at the time. As for their offer to become an official member, Fig claimed that he rejected the offer as he was busy with his band named Spider.

About becoming an official member of KISS, Fig noted:

“I knew very little about KISS then. To me, they were a band that I saw advertised on the side of a bus in New York City. I had been so into jazz at that period of my life that I was not following a lot on the rock side. Through a mutual friend I was connected with Ace Frehley and I did his record.

The record came out great, and I was asked to do ‘Dynasty.’ At the time, Peter Criss had broken his arm, and they needed to get the record out on schedule. I was not star-struck, but I knew it was a big-time rock band, so that was exciting, and I was confident enough in my playing to just play the songs as I heard them.

They never asked me to play like Peter and pretty much let me do whatever I wanted to do. After both albums, Ace did ask me if I wanted to join. I had a band called Spider that had a song in the top 40 and wanted to pursue that. So I agonized for a bit but knew I could not do it. Later, Gene and Paul said they thought that Ace and I might be too much of a team and so not an ideal situation for them.”

You can watch Ace Frehley’s interview below.