It's hard to believe, but Eric Carr died 20 years ago. 11/24/91.
He had an EXTREMELY rare form of cancer (a malignant tumor on his heart), and from the time he was diagnosed until he died was only about 9 months. He seemed to recover after surgery and chemotherapy, but then had a cereberal hemorrage and went into a coma. Further complications resulted in his death just a month or so later.
In his 11 years in KISS he became the face of the band when dealing with the fans. He was respectful and kind to KISS fans, and always generous with his time. He was always aware of his good fortune, and never forgot who he was before he got the gig.
And he was a very good drummer who could sing, too...
Check out his use of Simmons drums on this solo...
Bruce Kulick: "Eric Carr will always be remembered by the fans. I had the pleasure to not only work with him, but to get to know the Eric that wasn't on stage.
He was sincere with his fans, and looked forward to meeting them in the lobby after shows. He would sign in the freezing cold to be sure they got a signature.
He wrote back the fan mail he received which I was really impressed by. He took a real interest in what the fans thought, and even if he had a complaint would share that with the fans. Honest maybe to a fault!
His playing was always consistent and his desire for the large drum kit, so that he could really be unique was a constant work in progress. He loved when he got the electronic pads going so he could actually hit some huge power chords by pounding on the pads high up in his kit. He made it musical and exciting, but being short at times he was just lost behind them! That's why he stood on the chair at the end of the drum solo. He always brought the house down with that drum solo.
Of course he had his issues with KISS, and at times it was hard for me to totally understand how he was dealing handling that. But most important, his dedication and love of the music and fans and the job at hand, being the drummer of KISS was his entire life.
He will never be forgotten and I am fortunate to have experienced his friendship and talent during a too short 7 years together."
Twenty years ago today, our friend Eric Carr passed away after losing his battle with cancer. Over the eleven years Eric spent with KISS, he played over 800 concerts to millions of fans around the world, and he brought joy to and touched the lives of so many people. Here are some thoughts and memories that the band would like to share.
At a time when KISS was in the midst of upheaval and turmoil Eric brought calm, and an optimism that refocused our priorities so we could move forward. I can't overstate his contribution to our rebirth. His dedication to his music was only matched by his dedication to his fans. He was a kind soul who couldn't say an unkind word about anyone and I think of him all the time.
Eric Carr was a special person and a friend. He would always go out of his way to be friendly and say something nice. I remember the band was mixing Hot in the Shade back in 1989 at Cherokee Studios in LA. HITS was a miss-mash of sorts and everyone was throwing in their two cents on the mix, you know, 'Turn up the guitars, turn up the bass.." I was listening and remember saying to the engineer, "Where's the drums?" At the end of the night, Eric quietly pulled me aside and said, "Thanks for mentioning the drums.." He appreciated that.. A good guy.
Erik, what is your take on the way Paul & Gene treated Eric during his illness? Also why was Eric at loggerheads with Paul during the HITS tour?
Prior to Hot In The Shade being released, Gene had said that Eric's, "Little Caesar," would be on the album. Then Paul in a subsequent interview said that it would just be the B-Side to the first single.
I think Eric had to battle Paul to get the song included on the album, and Gene ended up taking his side.
After that Paul decided that there would be no drum solo on the tour, and Eric was upset about that. It was halfway through the tour that the solo was added to the show, and I think that's when the ice between the two started to melt.
As far as how Eric was treated while he was sick, there is no way to know exactly what was or was not done or said by any party at tht time. Eric didn't want to be replaced, and Paul & Gene wanted to get the album done. They also knew that Eric was HIGHLY unlikely to be in touring shape by the following summer, so there may have been a concern that the band couldn't afford to continue his health insurance as is throughout that time. Did they fire him? Did they try to fire him? Did they cut off his insurance? I have no idea. I do know that they were in dire financial straits as a band (as individuals, not as much, but as a business the band was bleeding money).
It was a bad time for them all around, and Eric was fairly insecure about his place in the band, unfortunately. When all is said and done I think Paul and Gene would probably handle the situation a little differently if they could do it over again. But in a case like this there are no do overs, so there's a lot of gaps in the public details of exactly what happened in the months leading up to Eric's tragic passing.