Although he was not an original member of Kiss, drummer Eric Carr was automatically accepted and held in high regard by their legions of fans. Born Paul Caravello in Brooklyn, NY on July 15, 1950, the youngster discovered rock & roll the way many others did in the early '60s, via the Beatles. Automatically taken by the Fab Four, Caravello began drumming on magazines until his parents bought him his first proper drum set shortly thereafter. His first real band, the Cellarmen, played the latest Top 40 hits at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings throughout the N.Y.C.-area. Come the '70s however, Caravello had become a great admirer of such hard rock acts as Led Zeppelin and the New York Dolls, although his bands throughout the decade, Creation and Mother Nature/Father Time, were disco-based.
At the dawn of the '80s, the drummer became frustrated that his previous bands had failed to break through to the big time. Then, one fateful day in June of 1980, a friend from a former band happened to bump into Caravello, and told him that Kiss were holding auditions to replace the just-departed Peter Criss. He managed to get a try-out through Kiss' management, and jammed with the band on June 23. Barely over one week later, on July 1, Caravello was invited to join the band. While Kiss' popularity stateside wasn't what it used to be, it was still one of the top rock groups in just every other area of the world. With a massive tour of Europe and Australia already booked and fast approaching, Caravello and the rest of Kiss crammed to come up with a stage name for the new member, and a persona that tied in with the band's make-up and costumes.
Caravello was re-christened Eric Carr, and after a failed attempt at being a hawk, Carr assumed the identity of a fox. Carr's drumming fit in perfectly with the band -- he was more of a heavy metal drummer than his predecessor was, but strangely, Kiss did not get around to fully using all of Carr's talents until their monumental 1982 release, Creatures of the Night. The drums were recorded to sound like mini-cannons, on par with such heavy hitters as Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and Deep Purple's Ian Paice, while the band rediscovered their heavy metal roots.
Carr remained a member of Kiss for the remainder of the '80s, playing on such hit albums as Lick It Up (Kiss' first sans-make-up) and Animalize, amongst others, and touring arenas the world over. Although original Kiss members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley wrote the majority of the band's songs during Carr's tenure, he was responsible for co-penning such fan faves as "All Hell's Breaking Loose," "Under the Gun," and "Little Caesar," the latter featuring his lead vocal talents. Shortly after Kiss wrapped up their tour in support of their Hot in the Shade album, Carr was diagnosed with cancer. Despite what was initially believed to be a successful operation, Carr eventually died on November 21, 1991, at the age of 41. As a tribute to Eric, Kiss included an unreleased drum-driven track from 1981 on their 1992 comeback album, Revenge, entitled "Carr Jam 1981." Carr remains close to Kiss fan's hearts worldwide, as the success of two releases in 1999 proved -- the biographical home video Tale of the Fox and an EP Rockheads, which included original music from a children's cartoon Carr was creating toward the end of his life. Rockology followed in 2000. ~ Greg Prato
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