I often wonder if Eric Carr would still be a member of Kiss if he had lived. Would he have put up with the band turmoil and childish social media backstabbing? Could he tolerate Gene Simmons sanctimonious Neanderthal mentality or even the bands overall greed? I really can’t say, no one can.
However, what is proven is that, in his short time in Kiss and his short time on this planet, Eric Carr was one of the best drummers of his generation. He helped bring back a dying Kiss to life when he joined the band.
Born name Paul Charles Caravello on July 12, 1950 in Brooklyn, the drummer changed his name to Eric Carr when he joined Kiss in 1980-81 and in turn became the character “The Fox.” Carr’s first appearance was on the 1981 Kiss album ‘Music From the Elder,’ which Innocent Words writer Paul Barrel claims is the best Kiss album of all time, if not the best album ever released. We are currently having him tested for mental health issues. Barrel’s not the only one who loved the infamous record, Mother Love Bone front man Andrew Wood (January 8, 1966 – March 19, 1990) was also a big fan of the album. Even though I have much respect for those two, it doesn’t make me want to go out and listen to ‘The Elder.’
For me, I became aware of Eric Carr when the Kiss masterpiece ‘Creatures of the Night’ was released in 1982. Carr, who replaced original Kiss drummer Peter Criss, announced his presence with authority on the thunderous drum roll on the opening title track and kept his heavy hitting drum style going throughout the record. Where Criss was a proficient jazz-style of drummer, Carr was a balls-out pure rock drummer. This lead to the much kick in the ass Kiss needed at the time.
Carr appeared on nine Kiss albums in his 10-year span with the band helping them rocket to the top in a new decade behind such seminal albums as ‘Lick It Up’ (1983); ‘Animalize’ (1984); ‘Asylum’ (1985); and ‘Crazy Nights (1987).’ I was fortunate enough to see Carr play with the band on the ‘Animalize’ and ‘Asylum’ tours and his drumming was just as teeth rattling live as it was on the albums. He was the real deal.
In early 1991 Carr fell ill and was diagnosed with heart cancer, which is ironic since Carr was known to have big heart full of love and kindness with everyone. Soon after his diagnosis the drummer went under the knife to remove tumors in his right atrium and lungs. The multiple surgeries helped restore Carr’s heart function and made him well enough to appear in the Kiss video for the single “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.” After filming the video in California, Carr flew back to New York for aggressive treatment and the cancer went into remission. By September of ’91, Carr showed up with the band at the MTV Video Music Awards, but this would be his last public appearance. Soon after Carr suffered an aneurysm and a brain hemorrhage. He never regained consciousness and passed away on November 24, 1991. He was 41 years old.
Musically, I lost interest in Kiss in 1989 when they released ‘Hot in the Shade’ and that god awful ballad “Forever,” but Eric Carr has always remained one of my favorite drummers. ‘Creatures of the Night’ is still my all-time favorite Kiss album. Despite all the member changes, in-fighting and my utter hatred for Gene and Paul, the Eric Carr-era of Kiss still has a special place in my music memories.
Rest in Peace Eric “The Fox” Carr.