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Peter Criss Explains His Decision to Retire

Mike Pont, Getty Images
Mike Pont, Getty Images

After performances at Kiss conventions in Australia in May and New York in June, founding drummer Peter Criss is planning to retire. In a new interview, he expanded on his decision to hang up his drumsticks after so many years.

“You know what, I’m 71,” he told Australia’s The Rockpit. “That scares me when I say that [laughs], but if you’re around me I’m like a 15-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.”

For Criss, it’s the idea that his contemporaries are in the twilight of their years, and he wants to do more with his life while he still can. Seeing one musical legend at this year’s Grammys helped convince him that the time was now, especially with his bout with cancer in his rear view mirror.

“I’m a big Bee Gees fan,” he continued. “I was watching the salute to Barry [Gibb], I’ve been a big fan since they started and I love that he got up there and performed and I see now all these guys from the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and we’re all in our 70s now, and I hate to say it but we’re 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.”

Future projects that Criss wants to try include “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.” He then expanded a bit on that, which would be his follow-up to 2007’s One for All. “Before my cancer though I really put down some really heavy rock and roll,” he continued. “I put down some ballads too, but it was heavier than the stuff I normally do. And then I got sick and I put it aside and I’ve sat on it these last eight years. And when I moved to California I took it with me. There aren’t any vocals on there yet, but I played it to a good friend and he told me that it was the best stuff he’d heard in years and I had to finish it, so when I’m over in June to play my last show in New York City I’ll finish it.”

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