Today, November 24, 2011, happens to be the day that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, so I will start by saying, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are enjoying dinner, and football. However, today is a bit of a somber day for rock fans, specifically fans of the groups KISS, and Queen. I am a fan of both bands. KISS is my all time favorite band, and Queen would be my second all time favorite band, so I am affected by this anniversary as well.
On this day, November 24, 1991, twenty years ago, the music world lost KISS drummer Eric Carr, and Queen lead singer and frontman Freddie Mercury. Both men died of terrible illnesses. Carr died of cancer, and Mercury died of AIDS. The deaths really hit rock fans hard, especially Mercury’s as his death was caused by AIDS. Most fans know that rock stars sleep around, and such, so the AIDS death of Mercury really brought things to light, coupled with the discovery of NBA great Magic Johnson’s announcement that he had contracted the virus as well.
Of course, due to Mercury’s being the bigger name, and the way he died, his death got A LOT more coverage than Eric Carr’s. This fact really upset a lot of KISS fans. I understand why, but the fact is that in the eyes of the media, Mercury was the lead singer of Queen, and more people were likely going to know who he was. AIDS was a huge cause back then as well. Eric Carr was, as harsh as it sounds, a drummer, and he was pretty much just a hired hand at that. I understand people being upset, but it is what it is.
This blog will be broken into two parts. I will be remembering both musical greats in this blog. Both men deserve at least their own blog, as both guys were awesome performers. So without further ado, I will start with the late , great drummer for KISS, Eric Carr.
In the 1970’s, the band KISS was one of the top grossing bands as far as concert attendance, record sales, and especially merchandise sales. The original members were singer/guitarist Paul Stanley, lead guitarist/singer Ace Frehley, bassist Gene Simmons, and drummer Peter Criss. Together, they performer hard rock , party anthems such as “Shout It Out Loud,” “Detroit, Rock City,” and their signature song, “Rock and Roll All Night,” amongst others. In 1978, the band seemed unstoppable.
However, around 1978, both Peter and Ace weren’t happy with their roles in the band, and wanted out. To prevent this, the band did the solo records, and then did the “Dynasty” album where Peter Criss didn’t play on any of the album save for two songs. On the follow up, “Unmasked,” Anton Fig played drums on the entire album. Peter left the band in 1979/80 or so, and the band needed to look for a new drummer.
Enter Paul Caravello, who was born in Brooklyn, NY on July 12, 1950. He had played drums in various bands before auditioning for KISS. According to Gene, he just blew away the other drummers. He was interviewed, and agreed to shave off his mustache. He changed his name to Eric Carr, and there was a Paul in the band. His character was the Fox. The band’s first show with Eric was at the Palladium in NYC on 7/25/80 where Eric just shined.
Eric continued as an employee of the band. In other words, from the time he joined, he was paid as an employee, and was not considered a “member.” After Ace left in 1982, Eric remained through various lineups (Carr/Vincent, Carr/St. John, Carr Kulick) until his untimely death on November 24, 1991 of cancer of the heart. Right after the “Hot in the Shade” Tour ended, he started feeling sick, and thought it was flu. Well, a few weeks later, he had tests done, and the doctors found a tumor in his heart that turned to be cancerous, and they did an operation, but he then wound up in a coma and passed away at age 41.
It is my understanding that at times, he wasn’t happy with his role in the band, and he wanted to be involved in the writing of songs more. He was a terrific drummer. He gave the band’s music, even the old stuff, a lot of power. He was said to be a prankster, and fans who I have spoken to who have met Eric said he was one of the nicest people ever. I have met his sister Loretta, and his parents, and they are great people as well. I really wish I had gotten to meet him. I have met everyone who has ever been in the KISS lineup, with the exception of Eric and Vinnie Vincent. I really wish I had gotten a chance to meet Eric. May God rest his soul.
Here is Eric singing “Black Diamond” (KISS) from the “Animalize” (1984) Tour in Detroit, MI
Here is Eric Carr on Drums in Makeup with KISS in Sydney Australia (1980) playing “Is That You?” from “Unmasked”
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead
Check out the iTunes Store Music for all of these and other great metal tunes.