George Peter John Criss (as Peter Criss), better recognized as Peter Criss, is a musician and actor, known mainly for his role as the founding member, original singer, and sometime lead singer of hard rock band Kiss. He went on to form his own band, Kiss FM, along with bass player Scott Weiland. Kiss released several albums throughout the seventies and eighties, including a self-titled album in 1970. George then went into acting, appearing in such films as Weeds, Rocky, Grease, and others.
When he left Kiss to form his own band, his replacement as lead singer was none other than drummer Scott Weiland. So when Peter Criss went back to rock again, initially as a replacement for Weiland, he brought along his friend Scott Weiland along with him. Together they recorded two albums, one of which, Black Dog went to number one on the charts. After the success of Black Dog, he began working with the band Animals and went on to play lead singer for them. Eventually, he decided to leave the group, and formed Kiss, replacing Tommy Lee, who had left the group due to illness.
There are many similarities between George Peter John Criss’ and Tommy Lee’s early rock band kiss. Both musicians were acoustic musicians with a knack for melodic guitar work, writing songs that were hugely popular among teenage listeners. As such, both men took their musical influences from other genres of music. It is also evident in their lyrics and in their performances, each man’s style and vision of rock and roll changed drastically as they became famous and experienced different successes. It was at this point in their careers that their roles expanded, making them more of performers than musicians.
George Criss and Tommy Lee finally found fame when the Yardbirds were popular. During the late sixties, the band went on to record twelve albums, including a double album that came out in the United States. The band had great success, but their lineup changed for the worse. Lead vocalist/guitarist John Lennon and bassist Yusef Islam quit the band, and guitarist Richard Nixon stepped into the role. Over the next few years, Richard Nixon would leave the group in favor of lead vocalist/songwriter John Lennon. The same thing happened to Tommy Lee, who left the group to concentrate on his own vocal abilities.
When he finally left the band, it was to focus his efforts on his drum playing. Tommy Lee had become known for his drum playing as a member of The Yardbirds, and it was not long before he replaced John Lennon on bass. He played with a variety of other well-known bands, including Emerson, Lake And Palmer and Steppenwolf. Eventually, he landed a job as a bass player for Chic.
Criss then decided to get back into music, this time as a member of the Yardbirds. He worked on their song, “I’m A Believer,” which became an international hit. Though he was only a member of the band for a brief period, Criss made a huge impact as a lead singer/songwriter/performer. He wrote songs for many other groups, including the Rolling Stones. His experience helped him develop a style that would later be used by many other guitarists. As a lead singer, Peter Criss displayed his unique ability to make powerful dramatic sounds, which helped him create some of rock’s most recognizable songs.
The most memorable contribution of Peter Criss to the rock world was his amazing lead vocal performance of “Dirty Livable Loves” from the 1965 track called My Sweet Lord. The song was written by Berry Oakford, who wrote the words to the title and sang the lead vocal parts. This performance earned Criss the contract of lead vocalist with the Yardbirds. He would remain with the band for the next twelve years, working with various members, but always remaining a key member of the group.
In 1970, Peter Criss formed the bandthroid, a band featuring himself, mandolin player John Butler, bassist Richard Reed and drummer John Fogarty. The band had a self-titled album and it is considered to be one of the best sounding early rock albums. The band went on to record twelve more LPs including their classic self-titled effort. This group also featured future guitarists such as Les Claypool, Paul McCartney and ex-Pixen Peter Burke. After leaving the Yardbirds in 1974, Peter Criss went on to form the band Deep Purple, which became one of the most successful and long-running bands in the world.