PETER CRISS – Cat #1 [2018 reissue]
PETER CRISS album “Cat #1” has been finally reissued after a long legal dispute between indie label Tony Nicole Tony Records (who originally released the album) and Gene Simmons / Paul Stanley and ultimately, Criss himself.
The album also features former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley playing guitar on three tracks, ex-Talas singer Phil Naro, and future Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone.
After being fired from Kiss in the early ’80s, Criss released two solo albums and worked into different projects such as Penridge-Criss Alliance (also known as the Criss-Penridge Alliance or just the Alliance) or Balls Of Fire.
Aside from a few subsequent guest appearances on albums from Black ‘N Blue (Tommy Thayer’s old band, another Kiss connection), King Kobra, and Ace Frehley, Criss’ solo career was dormant until 1989.
That year he made what might be his most unexpected musical connection to date when he hooked up with former Kiss lead guitarist Mark St. John. The pair formed a new band called The Keep, along with one-time Black Sabbath vocalist David Donato and St. John’s brother Michael Norton on bass.
In essence, this was really the second version of St. John’s prior band White Tiger, but with Criss replacing drummer Brian James Fox. The Keep recorded a demo tape and shopped it to record labels with no success.
He later assembled the Criss Band, which included Mike Stone (who would later end up in Queensryche) and Canadian singer Phil Naro as co-writer.
Criss made its live debut in November 1991, and began to tour more widely in 1992. In July 1993, they entered the studio to record a self-titled, five-song EP released that December by a tiny, short-lived independent label called Tony Nicole Tony Records.
It was the first officially released Peter Criss solo material since Let Me Rock You more than a decade earlier.
In August 1994, this full-length LP followed, called “Cat #1”. The album is centered on mid-tempo hard rock songs, with a few typical Criss ballads thrown in for good measure.
Opener ‘Bad Attitude’ has a certain Kiss feeling, accentuated by Ace Frehley’s guest guitar solo, the slower ‘The Truth’ bring to mind some Ted Nugent material, while the fun rocker ‘Bad People Burn In Hell’ (co-written by Naro) recalls Criss’ early solo albums.
‘Blue Moon Over Brooklyn’ is perhaps the best song on the album, a heartfelt midtempo ballad including acoustic guitars into the mix written for Peter’s mom who had passed away recently. This is the other co-written song by Naro, a tune with a timeless classic rock feel and featuring another fine Frehley solo.
Mike Stone sings lead vocals on the good hard rocker ‘Show Me’ yet with mixed results, then ‘Good Times’ is nice acoustic based song with that typical Peter Criss raspy vocals.
Criss also re-recorded his biggest hit (and Kiss overall) ‘Beth’. But this time he opted for an unplugged version of it, a wise choice because this environment provides a refreshing take on this classic.
As bonus tracks there’s the two tracks exclusive to the previous limited edition EP, which by the way, was originally only available by mail order and Tony Nicole Tony Records faced a lot trouble to distribute.
01 – Bad Attitude
02 – Walk The Line
03 – The Truth
04 – Bad People Burn In Hell
05 – Show Me
06 – Good Times
07 – Strike
08 – Blue Moon Over Brooklyn
09 – Down With The Sun
10 – We Want You
11 – Beth
12 – The Cat [bonus track]
13 – What You’re Doin’ [bonus track]
Peter Criss – lead vocals, drums, percussion
Mark Montague – bass guitar, backing vocals
Mike Stone – rhythm guitar
Mike McLaughlin – lead guitar
Ace Frehley – lead guitar on 1, 2, 8
Wayne Johnsen – acoustic guitar on 11
Kirk Miller – guitar
Dito Godwin – piano on 8, 12, backing vocals
Stephen Presley – keyboards
Ed Kanon – cymbals
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