There's so much more to Peter "The Catman" Criss than the layer of black and white stage makeup that he wore as the drummer and a founding member of the legendary rock band KISS.
He hates it when people make illegal music downloads, because it?s stealing. He's a voracious reader who loves to read about the theater, history, music and biographies — especially the success stories. He's an aspiring author who is writing his own book. He?s an actor, probably best known for his role on the HBO prison drama "Oz."
And then, of course, there is Peter?s life?s passion: music. He loves to make ?records? (he?s old school, after all).
His latest record, One for All, drops July 26 on Silvercat Records.
Goldmine caught up with Peter to find out more about his experience producing One for All, why he chose to be "The Catman," which KISS collectibles are his favorites and what his musical future holds.
Goldmine: So, tell me about your new album.
Peter Criss: I?m very excited about it, because I haven?t done a solo project since oh, maybe 12 years ago when the band got back to play.
It?s really kind of an autobiographical CD. It?s about me and kind of what?s going on in my life and life in general ? the goods, the bads, the loss and the gains, the loves you lose and the loves you get.
I got to write some songs for the fans, who have given me the most wonderful damn life, as Jimmy Stewart would say. I have everything a guy could want today. The dream I once had has now been a reality for years. If not for the fans, I would not be here.
I got to really write some great songs from the heart for them.
I wrote a couple for my wife. I dedicated one to the guys; I wrote one for Ace, actually. I re-did a couple. I redid "Send in the Clowns," and I did "What a Difference a Day Makes." My mother used to sing it all of the time, so I just kind of did this really cool version, like really laid back, loungy piano, like Paul Shaffer kind of on that.
I did a really cool ballad thing, because I think I wanted to say a lot of things more in ballad terms, because I?m a ballad guy and a hopeless romantic.
I just thought, "I guess I can scream at you; I can scream rock and roll at you and I can scream the blues," but I wanted to do more the tone of really being from the heart.
It's been a thrill ride, and it's not over. It's something for me. It's really bigger than anything I've ever done in my life as a musician first of all, and as an artist. I do know that I?m a musician, and I do know that I put everything I've got into this. I've put so much of myself into this; I really have. This is so much from my heart, the lyrics are so thought out, everything was so played, and Paul just brought in great stuff.
It's been like a roller coaster ride!
GM: Hopefully without the upchucking.
PC: Oh, there?s been some of that (laughs).
GM: Are you going to be heading out on tour?
PC: We're going to see. I?m going to take it step by step. If I mention something and it gets out online, oh my God, it?s all blown out of proportion.
I really miss playing, and I want to play, and it would be great to play, but I just kind of want to see a little bit? I?m just kind of taking my time with it.
If I do it, I want to do it right. I want to go out and enjoy myself. I don?t want to feel like I have to go out and put on a leopard shirt and have my chest opened up and the screaming.
I'm past that stage; I?m much more in a mellower, a more senior place in my life as a musician and artist.
I know who I am and what I am and what I can do.