Why Eric Carr Was Treated Like A ‘Second Class KISS Citizen’

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While KISS’ original lineup featured Gene Simmons on bass, Paul Stanley as rhythm guitarist, Ace Frehley on lead guitar, and the drummer Peter Criss, they had to carry on with new members when Criss and Frehley left the band in 1980 and 1982, respectively. Criss became the first KISS member who departed from the original lineup. Following that, the band audited potential names to determine the band’s new drummer.

After numerous auditions for a replacement for Peter Criss, including Bon Jovi’s Tico Torres, the band surprisingly settled on a little-known musician, Paul Charles Caravello, who would later perform under the stage name Eric Carr. Although it seemed like a big chance to promote himself professionally, the drummer wouldn’t find the friendly environment he expected.

Eric Carr Joined KISS In 1980

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Losing a band member was new for KISS, so they were pretty careful about deciding on a new drummer after Peter Criss left. Paul Charles Caravello applied to the audition with a cassette tape of KISS’ ‘Shandi.’ The band was immediately impressed with his comfortable performance, so he became the new KISS drummer. His anonymity had also been an advantage for Caravello since the band wanted to preserve the suspense around their true identities.

Later, the drummer decided on the stage name Eric Carr and the Fox persona. Carr served in the band for 11 years and played in eight studio albums of KISS. Unfortunately, in 1991, the drummer was diagnosed with heart cancer. Despite a series of surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, Carr’s health deteriorated over time. He eventually died on November 24, 1991, after a brain hemorrhage. Although his contribution to the band was substantial, the late drummer wasn’t treated equally during his tenure.

How Was Eric Carr Treated In KISS?

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Considering the hierarchy in KISS, it is evident that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are the two decision-makers within the band and the only consistent members of the original lineup. Thus, the dominance of the two over the other members is not entirely surprising. The famous musician and producer Sean Delaney, who worked with KISS for over a decade, also reflected on this situation in his book, ‘The 5th Kiss.’

Delaney allocated a part of the book to the late drummer Eric Carr and shared the details of his relationship with the rest of the band. The musician revealed that Carr was a pretty easy-going and agreeable man, so he never understood why Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley treated him like a ‘second class citizen.’ According to his claims, Simmons and Stanley always held a privileged position in the band.

They would use KISS’ budget, yet they wouldn’t let other band members benefit from it, creating inequality within the band. Delaney recalled helping Eric Carr get to several shows since he didn’t have enough money to go. Delaney’s statements and memories showed that Stanley and Simmons didn’t believe Eric Carr deserved to be treated like a first-class KISS member. They instead preferred to use all the band’s sources only for themselves.

Here are Sean Delaney’s words on how Eric Carr was treated:

“Back to Eric. Eric Carr was a swell guy. Always happy to do whatever Gene and Paul asked. But, he was always treated as a second-class citizen. How a band could survive together with that type of harmony, i.e. or lack thereof it is beyond me. When Gene and Paul ate in the finest restaurants on the band’s budget, Eric was out getting a sub sandwich with his own pocket cash. When Gene and Paul rode around in Limos they never invited anyone else.

Peter and Ace had to provide much of their own transportation, and as far as Eric was concerned, it was up to him to make the shows. Many times I drove Eric to the gigs in my station wagon because he didn’t have enough cash to hire a taxi. How Gene expected anyone to show up on time for every event under these circumstances is beyond me.”

Sean Delaney claimed that it was not just about Eric Carr. According to his statements, the band’s original members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, were also treated in the same way as Carr. He insisted on his point that KISS was totally under the control of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.