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Eric Carr (Kiss)

imageBest known as the Drummer for the rock band Kiss from 1980 to 1991, the American Musician Eric Carr (born Paul Charles Caravello was Born July 12. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left, when he chose the stage name “Eric Carr” and took up the “Fox” persona. He remained a band member until his death. While still in high school, Caravello began playing with a string of bands mostly performing covers of Top 40 songs. As he described it later, “Top-40 in those days was everything – funk, ballads, rock, country, and everything. It was a great time for radio.” His first band, The Cellarmen, was formed in 1965 by him and several of his friends. They started playing local clubs in Brooklyn and Queens. Only a handful of recordings were released on the Jody Records label, a small Brooklyn recording studio. Caravello then joined a band called “Things That Go Bump In The Night” and later “Smack”, the latter of which consisted mostly of members from The Cellarmen, who disbanded in 1968.

In 1970, Caravello joined the band Salt & Pepper, In 1973 the band changed their name to Creation, now performing disco music. Tragedy struck in 1974 when a fire broke out during a discothèque gig at Gulliver’s restaurant in Port Chester, New York, killing dozens of people including the band’s keyboardist and lead singer. Caravello escaped and was credited with saving one of the band’s female singers. The band continued on, sometimes under the name, “Bionic Boogie”.And Carr played with the band until they broke up in 1979.

Then In December 1979, Caravello successfully auditioned for a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll cover band called Flasher. To Earn money, Carr worked repairing gas ranges during the day and also worked for his father as an oven repair man for Jamaica Stove in Brooklyn. Flasher played the club circuit in New York City and Long Island for several months, before their keyboard player, Paul Turino quit; they then continued as a power trio, with the three sharing vocal duties. They played songs by Joe Jackson, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among others.” Caravello quit in May 1980. And considered quitting music However Shortly afterwards, he had a chance meeting with Turino in a club in Queens; Turino told Caravello about Peter Criss’ departure from Kiss, and urged Caravello to audition to become Kiss’ drummer. So Caravello auditioned for Kiss, and actually asked Stanley, Simmons and Frehley to autograph the list of Kiss songs he was to play with the band, in case he never saw them again. However he was invited to join Kiss after passing the audition, however the band had some trouble coming up with a character persona and a stage name for him before his debut concert.

He chose the name Carr, a shortened version of his birth name Caravello, and Eric from a list of first names. For his Kiss persona, Carr initially tried “The Hawk”; but the idea was soon dropped.Then, Carr came up with the make-up design for the persona of “The Fox”; Simmons liked it and thus the character was born. Carr was introduced to the public on an episode of Kids Are People Too! In 1980. His first public performance was with the band in New York City’s The Palladium. Carr still did a few stove repair jobs on the side. For Christmas in 1980, the KISS organization bought Eric a Porsche—so their new drummer would ride around in appropriate rock star-style, sadly it broke down often His persona remained consistent for three years until the band’s well-publicized removal of their stage makeup in September 1983, live on MTV. The drastic move came after declining album sales and a poorly attended US tour. Carr thought the band was coming to an end, but Kiss slowly turned their career descent into a rebound, and the band thrived. Carr earned a reputation amongst fans for being unusually friendly and approachable. He answered more mail than other band members, and often added messages to his autographs. Despite being a replacement of an original member, his popularity soared among fans based on his personality and percussion skills.

Carr’s first album with Kiss was 1981’s Music from “The Elder”, which marked a departure for the band toward a mystical art-rock direction. One of Carr’s contributions to the album, “Under the Rose”, is one of the few Kiss songs written in 6/8 time and featured a Gregorian chant-style chorus. Later, he would also have cowriter credits on “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, “Under the Gun”, and “No, No, No”, amongst others. Carr said he found writing lyrics harder than writing music. Besides drumming, Carr also played guitar, bass guitar, and piano and sang background vocals. Occasionally he sang lead vocals, such as on “Black Diamond” and “Young and Wasted” live with Kiss. His first lead vocal in the studio was a re-recording of “Beth” (a song originally sung by Peter Criss) for the 1988 compilation album Smashes, Thrashes & Hits. Carr recorded his version of the song in the same room in the Record Plant where the song was originally recorded, using the same backing track as Criss. In 1989, he recorded a demo with Kiss lead guitarist Bruce Kulick. Carr wrote the music, played bass and drums, while Kulick played guitar. As Carr was not a proficient lyricist, he presented the demo to Simmons with the words to Marvin Gaye’s 1965 classic “Ain’t That Peculiar”. Simmons wrote new lyrics, which Carr recorded for the subsequent Hot in the Shade release. The song was released as “Little Caesar”. He performed the song a few times, but it wasn’t performed beyond the first month of the tour. Carr’s last live performance with Kiss was November 9, 1990 in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. Carr’s last recording with Kiss was for the song “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, which featured him on backing vocals. The last time Carr worked with Kiss was in July 1991 when Kiss filmed the video for “God Gave Rock ‘N Roll to You” with Carr playing drums. Carr’s last public appearance with the band was at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1991 and he tragically died of complications from heart cancer on November 24, 1991, at the age of 41.

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