Today’s From The Vault is dedicated to Paul Charles Caravello, better known as KISS drummer Eric Carr, who passed away 24 years ago in 1991 from cancer. Eric would have celebrated his 65th birthday yesterday (July 12).
Carr, who was born in East New York and had been involved in several bands, sent in his audition tape after Peter Criss had left the band, in a bright orange folder to make it stand out. At the audition, Eric asked if the other members of KISS would autograph the list of KISS songs he was asked to play in case he didn’t see them again. The rest is history, although the band didn’t exactly tell him he had gotten the gig. Paul Stanley had revealed in a later interview that they told him that they were playing in two weeks. Carr made his debut with KISS in 1980 on a show called Kids Are People Too and the band performed their first show with Carr at the Palladium in July of 1980.
Originally Carr wanted to use the stage persona of The Hawk, however the makeup was not easy to recreate in greasepaint and the stage costume was a bright orange yellow, which Paul Stanley had noted made him look like Big Bird. The hawk idea was shelved and Eric came up with his fox makeup a few weeks before his debut. His stage name came after he had originally considered using Rusty Blade which Simmons didn’t really want him to use. He shortened his last name and used Eric from a list of names his girlfriend had given him. When KISS announced that he was the new drummer, they subtracted three years from his age to maintain his “secret” identity and confuse those who may have been trying to find out more about him.
Carr’s first album with KISS’s was their 1981 album, Music from “The Elder” and he played with KISS up until his death in 1991. Even after KISS took their makeup off in 1983, a move that concerned Carr that the band was coming to an end, his popularity with fans soared and he was noted as always approachable and friendly and would often add personal messages to his autographs.
In February of 1991, Carr had started to feel ill and was diagnosed with heart cancer. He had several surgeries and while he was thought to have been in remission, he was still very sick. He begged Gene and Paul to let him be in the video for God Gave Rock N’ Roll to You II and they agreed. His last public performance was at the MTV Music Awards in September of 1991. Ironically he passed away the same day as Freddie Mercury from Queen.
REST IN PEACE ERIC! You were taken way too soon but your legacy lives on forever!