KISS Thought Vault: Presents...
Bun E. Carlos: Substitute Feline?
A Kiss Thought Vault/ Kiss Asylum Exclusive

Bun E. Carlos: Substitute Feline?
Did he or did he? Will he or won't he? Kiss's fan circles are perpetually embroiled in debate about the exact contributions of drummer Peter Criss in the past, and whether or not he will play on the upcoming album. The flames of heated discourse have been further fanned by dribs and drabs of information from Kiss members (including Peter), close associates of the group (the cigar-chomping C.K. Lendt), and investigative fans turning up audio clues.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick conducted by Cheryl Botchick, Music Editor of CMJ New Music Report.. As you probably know, the Chicago-based power pop group toured with Kiss for over two months, from Summer to early Fall of 1977. The drummer shared his account of that experience, which happens to shed a major light on some behind-the-scenes Cat problems Kiss faced at the time.

Cheryl Botchick: I keep hearing this story that you once had to cover for Peter Criss on the Love Gun tour.

Bun E. Carlos: Almost... but never did.

CB: You didn't?

BC: Nah. When was it? They were doing three nights at the LA Forum, and we'd been in Canada with them for about two or three weeks. It was the first or second night of performing... Gene was like, "You'd better get some make-up on Bun E. We might need you to play tonight." I was like [disbelieving], "Yeah, whatever." Finally they decided that they could have two guys carry him up and place him on his drum chair. And they did. It wasn't the first time, and it probably wasn't the last time they did that. What happened was they were supposed to be taping their live, Kiss Alive II there. That was the last three days of the tour. They ended up renting the Capitol Theater in Passaic and recording their live album there with no audience [laughs], then dubbing in the crowd.

CB: So the show was so bad they just couldn't use it?

BC: Yeah, all three nights.

CB: It's such a bummer that you didn't get to do it.

BC: Yeah, well I wasn't looking forward to spackling all that pancake makeup on. Yeah, it woulda been kinda neat, but... You know, he was really drumming good on that tour, like up in Canada. He had taken some lessons from Jim Chapin and stuff- he was a good swing drummer. So he was playing good up in Canada and then we hit the States he sort of regressed.

CB: I didn't know that Peter Criss was really that good of a drummer ever.

BC: He was on that tour. I know he had taken lessons from Jim Chapin. He was doing a nice- he had a nice swing to him. I remember he was doing that song, uh, "I'm a hooligan..." This song on Love Gun, like a Coasters type of song. And I was thinking, "Man, I bet this guy could play this '50s stuff just great."

CB: They would have had to put your glasses on over the make-up!

BC: Yup.

CB: And put the make-up on over your 'stache!

BC: [laughs] Yup. They'd have to find me some kinda wig! [laughs]

CB: Were you even the same size as Peter Criss? You wouldn't have fit in the suit even!

BC: Yeah, I probably wouldn't have. They weren't even worried about that. They were just like, "You'd better get ready to get some make-up on if we can't get this guy together..."

The preceding is yet something else to keep Kiss fans in debate for another twenty years about Peter Criss, I suppose. As for Mr. Carlos' character, I have met and talked with him many times, in public and in private, and have found him to be honest in his opinions and recollections from his 20-plus year rock-n-roll career.

(c) 1998 Ron Albanese, KISS Asylum All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
Bun E Carlos interview (C) 1998 CMJ New Music Report. Used by permission. Special thanks to Cheryl ("Boonga Bots") Botchick. All commentary, negative, positive, or somewhere between welcomed and apprecitated.