In the late 1970's, KISS found itself at a crossroads. The band was falling apart internally, and despite the release of four solo projects meant to appease all parties concerned, the group was losing its way. Peter Criss left the group in 1980, leaving a void on the skins and a rift between fans of the remaining members and fans of Criss himself.
After auditions were held, Eric Carr (Paul Caravello) was picked to be the group's new drummer. He took on the persona of "the Fox" and quickly established himself with the group's fanbase by making a conscience effort to embrace the fans. According to a number of sources, Carr would take more time with the fans than the rest of the group. He was also extemely nice and easy to talk to according to many of his fans. Due to this and the fact that he was an excellent drummer, Carr gained a massive group of loyal fans who still idolize him to this day.
Peter Criss' style was heavily influenced by R&B and jazz, so when Carr sat behind the drumkit, KISS' sound became notably heavier and faster-paced. He brought with him a style that was more geared toward the hard rock and heavy metal sounds that would come to dominate the 80's.
At the time of Carr's joining the band, the group was struggling with its identity. Albums like Dynasty and Unmasked alienated many of the band's core audience, and with Criss' departure the band was experiencing a drop in popularity.
When the first album featuring Carr was released in 1981, Music From The Elder, the band's fanbase became even more disinterested in the group. Still, Carr was making a name for himself and solidifying his place in the band, excelling on the drums.
Carr was featured on the four new tracks from 1982's Killers, which was essentially a greatest hits package released overseas (but now available everywhere) as a result of Music From The Elder's poor performance.
In October of that same year, KISS released Creatures Of the Night. Not only is it regarded as the heaviest album the band has ever produced, it's also the best representation of Carr's mastery of the drums in my opinion. No other album by the band allowed Carr to take control as did Creatures. From the massive pounding of songs like I Love It Loud to the rapid fire punch of Danger, this album solidified Carr as THE drummer for KISS.
With Creatures, KISS won back many of their fans. More importantly, however, they gained attention in the glam rock and hair metal world. Five successful studio albums, Lick It Up, Animalize, Asylum, Crazy Nights, and Hot In The Shade, would follow throughout the 80's, reviving the band and strengthening their place in rock history.
With the band riding a newfound wave of success, it appeared that nothing could stop Carr and the rest of KISS from once again dominating the rock world. Unfortunately, not long after the Hot In The Shade tour wrapped, Carr was diagnosed with heart cancer. A number of surgeries and treatments would follow, and Carr's deteriorating health would prevent him from ever playing the drums on another KISS album. He recorded backing vocals for God Gave Rock n' Roll To You II for the soundtrack to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, but was unable to record after that.
On November 24, 1991, Paul Charles Caravello, better known as Eric Carr, died at the age of 41 due to a brain hemorrhage. KISS had lost the man who many, including myself, consider to be the best drummer the group ever had.
In 1999, former bandmate Bruce Kulick (who replaced Mark St. John in 1984) and Carr's family released a collection of solo work from Carr entitled Rockology. Also available is 2000's Inside The Tale Of The Fox, which takes a retrospective look at Carr's career.
Rest in peace, Fox.
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