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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eric Carr: 20 Years Since The Death Of a Great Drummer

Eric Carr of KISS died twenty years ago today, November 24th after a brave battle with heart cancer. Carr replaced original drummer Peter Criss just prior to the sessions for the band’s 1981 album «(Music From) The Elder», and remained with the group until he passed away ten years later.

Carr’s hard-hitting and technically impressive drum style, as well as his enthusiastic spirit, has been credited with partially helping to re-invigorate KISS, who were in a severe commercial slump when he joined the band. He went on to record seven studio albums, most certified platinum, with the group before the first signs of his health trouble emerged early in 1991.
Although he fought off a series of escalating medical challenges throughout the year, he was unable to participate in sessions for what would become their 1992 album «Revenge», and eventually succumbed to the disease after suffering both an an aneurysm and a brain hemorrhage.
Despite the fact that Carr was in KISS for an extremely lengthy and successful period in the band’s career, his death was largely ignored by some in the mainstream rock media, partially as a result of the fact that Queen singer Freddie Mercury passed away on the exact same day.

Offended by the lack of coverage, his bandmates wrote an letter to Rolling Stone stating that they were “shocked and disappointed” at Carr’s death being ignored, citing him as “someone who still lived and believed in the spirit of rock and roll” and declaring that “we loved him, the fans loved him and he will never be forgotten.” (You can read the whole letter here.)

Carr’s spirit has indeed lived on in the hearts of Kiss fans. His family has successfully worked hard to keep his memory alive, most recently with the release of this year’s «Unfinished Business», a collection of unreleased solo tracks from throughout his musical career.

Bruce Kulick says this about his band mate:

"Eric Carr will always be remembered by the fans. I had the pleasure to not only work with him, but to get to know the Eric that wasn't on stage.

He was sincere with his fans, and looked forward to meeting them in the lobby after shows. He would sign in the freezing cold to be sure they got a signature.

He wrote back the fan mail he received which I was really impressed by. He took a real interest in what the fans thought, and even if he had a complaint would share that with the fans. Honest maybe to a fault!

His playing was always consistent and his desire for the large drum kit, so that he could really be unique was a constant work in progress. He loved when he got the electronic pads going so he could actually hit some huge power chords by pounding on the pads high up in his kit. He made it musical and exciting, but being short at times he was just lost behind them! That's why he stood on the chair at the end of the drum solo. He always brought the house down with that drum solo.

Of course he had his issues with KISS, and at times it was hard for me to totally understand how he was dealing handling that. But most important, his dedication and love of the music and fans and the job at hand, being the drummer of KISS was his entire life.

He will never be forgotten and I am fortunate to have experienced his friendship and talent during a too short 7 years together."

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