Welcome to the Peter Criss Drum kits page. This site attempts to list the various drum kits and specs used by Peter Criss throughout his career from his early days to present, including of course his time in KISS.

This site is a work in progress as all the information gathered here is from various heavily researched sources including from interviews (by either Peter himself or others that have worked or been associated with him), forums and from many existing photos that were carefully studied to determine what the details of each drum kit consisted of. The best effort was done with all the information available to try and be as accurate as possible with details such as drum kit brand, drum sizes, finish, hardware, heads, sticks, etc. Any additional photos, errors or factual input on Peter's various set ups are welcomed by sending an email to lacproductions@gmail.com. Any photos used here are also not owned by this site and are strictly for drum spec purposes only. If there are any photos that should be credited to the owner or have copyright issues, please contact this site.

 

Peter's first drum kit was a toy one his parents bought him when he was seven. It was a set that was endorsed by one of his favorite TV programs, The Rootie Kazootie Club. Not long after, his next set was a makeshift kit his father put together consisting of an old (1930-35) army marching snare drum which rested on a wooden box. For cymbals he used two garbage can lids with with some nails attached to them to give a sizzle sound when hit, and then soldered each lid to thin mop sticks. The sticks were then put into buckets of cement to keep them stable. The above photos are of Peter's first snare drum, signed by him and is now on display at The Guitar Centre on Sunset Bvld, Hollywood.

 

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This is Peter's very first 'real' drum kit (the two top photos), a 1935 Slingerland Radio King set in Mother Of Pearl (or White Marine Pearl) finish consisting of a bass drum, snare and a rack tom. No floor tom was included but it had two cymbal stands mounted off the bass drum and a hi-hat stand along with the cymbals. The bass drum is 14"x24", tom is 13"x9" and the snare 5.5"x14" Student model. As this set is from 1935, the Mother Of Pearl finish had turned yellow by the time Peter got them when he was fifteen (1960). The drum heads all appear to be brush coated type. The picture on the bottom left is Peter playing this set, with an added 16"x16" floor tom, at The Kings Lounge in New York in the early-mid sixties with his first band The Barracudas. The bottom right photo is a recent example of what this kit looked like (and this one has turned yellow too!).

 



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Above courtesy of Peter Criss - Makeup To Breakup

Peter's next drum kit is a more complete Slingerland 4-piece set in what appears in the two top photos to be Grey Agate Pearl finish. The drum sizes were possiblly a 14"x20" bass drum, 10"x14" rack tom and 16"x16" floor tom as well as a 5"x14" metal snare. The top left photo is from 1967 when Peter was in a band called Sounds Of Soul. As Peter was a big Gene Krupa fan, his cymbals were possibly Zildjian. The photo on the top right and bottom were taken in the late sixties during Peter's 'Sgt Pepper' phase and appears the be the same drum kit that he used in the top left photo with Sounds Of Soul. The rack tom mounting was changed from the bass drum mount to a snare stand. Drum heads are coated brush type.

 

This photo taken around either the very late 60's or early 70's shows Peter playing a set of Ludwigs in Blue Sparkle wrap finish and in the likely common sizes being a 14"x20" bass drum, 11"x13" tom, 16"x16" floor tom and 5"x14" wooden snare also in Blue Sparkle. Cymbals possibly Zildjian again and heads coated brush finish. It's not known whether this was one of Peter's kits or not at the time.

 

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The drum kit shown above is most likely the set Peter used when he first joined KISS in 1972 and looks like a Slingerland set. At the first rehearsal, Peter used Tony Zarella's kit from Wicked Lester as it was already set up at the rehearsal loft but Peter had trouble getting used to someone else's kit so from the second rehearsal, he used his own and most likely the kit shown in the above photos. The photo on the left is from one of the first KISS shows at The Coventry, New York in 1973, and the photo in the middle and right is from the Epic Records audition at KISS' rehearsal loft on 23rd St, New York 1972. The sizes appear to be a 14"x24" bass drum, 8"x12" tom, 9"x13" tom, 16"x16" & 16"x18" floor toms and a metal 5"x14" snare.The finish is in Black Beauty Pearl wrap, except for the 13" tom which appears to have been replaced with one in Gold Satin Pearl wrap (based on the 1971 Slingerland drum catalogue). The drums shells were decorated with various stickers (eg: American flag, flowers, etc). The bass drum batter head appears to be taped up from the outside (possibly gaffa tape) along with the front head removed. Drum heads are brush coated and the cymbals possibly Zildjian.

 

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This drum kit shown in the above photos is possibly the same kit as in the previous photos (the Black Beauty Pearl kit) as it appears that sometime in early to mid 1973, Peter had his drums recovered in silver mylar wrap. In the lower left photo there is also, what looks like another snare drum mounted on a snare stand to Peter's right (possibly the original wooden snare for that kit, also recovered in silver mylar). These photos are from some of KISS' first shows in early to mid 1973 at the Diplomat Hotel and The Daisy, except for the lower right photo which is from the recording of the first KISS album (or demos for) at Bell Sound Studios in New York. The front bass drum head was put back on and looks to have stickers of stars and moons on them (as well as the early KISS logo in glitter).

 



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In December 1973 and after the recording of the first album, KISS purchased all new equipment which was used on the first tour (1974). Peter got a set of 1973 Blue/Olive badge Ludwigs (possibly 3-ply maple) in Silver Sparkle wrap finish. The sizes appear to be a 14"x24" bass drum, 12",13", 14", 15" toms in standard depths, 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms and a Slingerland metal 5"x14" snare (Sound King?). The 12" and 13" toms are fitted with Slingerland set-o-matic brackets and set up on a double set-o-matic floor stand whilst the 14" and 15" toms are on separate snare stands.. The bass drum is muffled with a sheet of foam probably about two inches thick and curled up inside the drum (this was removed at some point as shown in the lower left photo). Glitter KISS logo on the front head and no airhole. The drum heads are Ludwig Weatherkings including the batter heads as can be seen in the bottom photo (KISS rehearsing for their first ever tour in 1974). Peter also used his Jazz/Gene Krupa influence and added splash cymbals with one mounted off a stand clamped onto the front of the bass drum along with others added inverted on top of crash cymbals.

 

Sometime during late 1974 or early 1975 Peter began changing to single-headed toms, firstly by cutting large holes in the resonant (bottom) drum heads as shown in the above photo with the Ludwig silver sparkle kit. Each tom also has a sheet of foam (about an inch thick) curled up and taped to the inside shell for muffling. Also the toms started to be miked mostly from the bottom as opposed to the top. Note a cowbell (type unknown) is mounted off the bass drum batter hoop which was also mostly a standard part of Peter's set-ups past and future.

 


In March 2014 this kit went to auction as part of the the Rock Gods And Metal Monsters Auction hosted by Backstage Auctions. The drum kit also includes some of the road cases and cymbals used.

 



In 1975 Kiss appeared on the Midnight Special TV show. The photos above look to be Peter's first association with Pearl Drums and after experimenting with cutting out the bottoms of his toms, his next kit now included single headed concert toms. This is a 1974 Pearl fiber glass kit ("Different Strokes" set-up) with a Jupiter steel snare drum. The finish is in matt or satin black (Black Livery) and the sizes appear to be similar to the Ludwig Silver Sparkle kit. Toms are 12", 13", 14" or 15" (mounted on a snare stand), 14"x22" bass drum, 5"x14" snare and both the 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms appear to be the standard double headed type (possibly with the bottom heads cut out). Peter also possibly changed to to CS black dot clear heads at this time as well. Front bass drum head with the glitter KISS logo appears to be the same as used in the Ludwig Silver Sparkle kit although with not as much dampening. The splash cymbal mounted off the bass drum has been replaced by two on either side of the kit mounted invertently on top of the crash cymbals. At the end of the performance, Peter trashed his kit and that was the last we saw of this drum kit. All Zildjian cymbals.

 

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Peter's next kit was a Pearl silver wrap finish set, possibly put together using a standard 5-piece Pearl maple double headed set with extra concert toms added as appears to be the case in the above Pearl 1975 promo photos with the first two toms (and also likely the floor tom) with the bottom heads and rims removed. Peter also most likely began his endorsement deal with Pearl Drums around this time. The sizes appear to be 13", 14" & 15" toms, 14"x22" bass drum, 16"x16" floor tom, 16"x18" floor tom and a 5"x14" metal snare. The live photo on the top right however appears to be the same or similar kit, expanded with extra concert toms and cymbals.

 


The Alive 'Mirror Ball' Pearl drum kit. Peter's set up had grown to include more drums and cymbals than ever before. Used during the Alive tour in 1975, it was stored away after the tour for many years and finally put on display at the 1995 KISS Conventions (see bottom photo), first held in Australia and then the USA. The finish is a 'Mirror Ball' wrap. The sizes likely as follows: 6", 8", 10", 12", 13", 14", 15" concert toms, 16"x16" and 16"x18" concert floor toms all with clear CS Black Dot heads. Peter also added what appears to be a 12"x14" tom mounted flat on a snare stand to his left. As noticed in the top photo, the front bass drum head is removed. This was sometimes the case on other kits and tours at different times as well (eg, KISS live in Houston 1977, from the Kissology DVD).

 

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Peter upgraded his set up in 1976 to what was known as the 'Destroyer/Rock And Roll Over' Pearl wood/fiber glass kit covered in White Honeycomb wrap. Apparently this kit was put together for Peter in Madison Tn at Winklers professional drum shop. This 15-piece kit also included a marching style sized 10"x14" fiber glass snare drum although this was possibly added as a couple of the above photos show him still using a 5"x14" metal snare (Slingerland?). What's also interesting about the backshot photo is the four felt strips used to muffle the bass drum. Also a good shot of the CS black dot drum heads used on the entire kit. The bottom two photos is this kit set up on display at a convention. Peter also had a drum stool case made up in the same finish which he would use when performing 'Beth'. Drum sizes: 6", 8", 10", 12", 12", 13", 14", 15", 15" 16" concert toms, 2 x 16"x16" concert floor toms (left and right of the kit), 16"x18" concert floor tom, 14"x22" bass drum and 10"x14" snare. Peter also for the first time added a large chinese gong (possibly 42").

 

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KISS collector Alexander Zihlmann from Basel, Switzerland now has one of the bass drums used from this kit (Japan 1977 tour and some US dates) which he successfully obtained from Bill Baker, a friend and former guitar tech of Ace Frehley, beating the Hard Rock Cafe chain in their bid to secure it for their collection. Check out his site Eulenspiegel's Kiss Collector

 

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The Black Mirror Chrome Fiber Glass/Wood kit from Pearl. This kit was essentially used for the 1977 Love Gun Tour, 1978 Alive II Tour and (possibly) the 1979 Dynasty Tour. This kit was also apparently put together at Winkler's professional drum shop. It was last used in a cut down version for the 'Shandi' video clip (see video stills below) filmed in 1980 for the Unmasked album, which was Peter's last appearance with KISS until the reunion in 1995/1996. BC2000 Pearl Advanced Hardware is used and the drum sizes are very similar to the 76-77 White Honeycomb set up although there were some notable modications throughout those tours as follows: Three Syndrums, which were a new novelty at the time, were added for the 1979 Dynasty tour and mounted just below the smaller concert toms, The gong stand was also replaced from a circular type to a larger and more traditional looking Chinese type. The gong shown in the top four photos is now on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, USA. The snare is a Pearl 10"x14" chrome over wood shell which Peter kept and eventually sold off to Guitar Centre in 1995. It was then aquired by Journey drummer Dean Castronovo and featured in the Sep 2013 issue of DRUM! magazine. Dean then put it up for auction shortly afterwards, The lower three photos above show this snare on stage with Peter in 1979 and on it's own for the auction (batter head signed by Peter). Another interesting feature is one of the Pearl BC2000 cymbal stand's upper arm bent into a curve with a crash cymbal hanging off it (as can be seen in some of the photos above). Also shown above is an ad for Zildjian Cymbals featuring Peter circa 1977 or 1978 with the Black Mirror Chrome kit. The drum kit was purchased at auction by the Hard Rock Cafe chain and the bottom photos show parts of this kit on display at the Hard Rock Cafe San Diego (bottom left) and the Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta (bottom centre & right). Not sure if one of the snares shown in the photos is the same one that Dean Castronovo put up for auction though it's likely there were more than one as most touring drummers always had back-up snare drums & bass drums. It's also quite possible that there were more than one drum kit where the Dynasty tour kit might not be the same kit as the one used in 1977-78.

 

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'Shandi' video stills 1980


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After Peter left KISS in 1980 and released a solo album that same year (Out Of Control), he appeared in a feature in Modern Drummer magazine for the February/March 1981 issue. Here Peter is behind an 11-piece Pearl maple green wrap concert tom kit that was used for a Pearl promotion (notice the background is a wall of unfinished drum shells).

 


The above three photos are of this same kit, including rare shots with a two bass drum set up (at Peter's home?) as it seems at the time, Peter experimented with a double bass set up however the lower photo, which was taken at a small show at Maxwell House March 21, 1981 (Peter's first live appearance post KISS), shows a scaled down version of the kit with one bass drum.

 

After releasing another solo album in 1982 (Let Me Rock You) Peter formed the Penridge/Criss Alliance with Stan Penridge and toured in 1984. During the live shows, John Moss was the primary drummer whilst Peter sang lead and fronted the band. Peter also played percussion, mostly congas etc and there was a portion of the show where Peter would play drums and John Moss would leave the stage. *The above photos were taken just before the Penridge/Criss Alliance was formed and were from two small shows held in March 1984 on consecutive nights at The Cherry Croft Inn in Newton New Jersey. Peter is playing a black finish 4-piece single headed kit (bottom lugs and rims removed), borrowed from Stan Penridge who had these at his house. [*thanks to John Michael, a friend and neigbour of Stan Penridge, who also attended these shows and provided the background information on the photos]

 

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After the Alliance disbanded in 1985, Peter joined a band called Balls Of Fire (previously 'Jane') in 1986. The above rehearsal and live photos show Peter's scaled down drum kit at the time compared to the huge set-ups of the mid to late 70's. Peter is still using Pearl drums but has switched over from Zildjian to Sabian cymbals which included an endorsement deal with Sabian (see below). Gone too are the concert toms that have been replaced with Pearl double headed deeper toms (popular in the 80's & 90's). Peter's kit here, judging from the Pearl Drums 1986 catalogue, is probably a Pearl Fiber Glass set in 'Snow White' wrap as Pearl at the time started producing deeper toms only in Fiber Glass. Sizes appear to be 12", 13" & 14" toms, 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms, 14"x24" bass drum (with the front head removed) and a 8"x14" Deluxe Metal snare (seen in first photo). Peter also had a Sabian gong mounted on a Sabian stand with their logo on top as well as a set of chimes to his left. Interestingly, this period would be the last time Peter used a gong as part of his live set up until the reunion tour in 1996. Not sure what drum heads were used but the bass drum batter looks like a coated type, heavily dampened with a blanket.

 


The above hand drawing from Peter was put up for auction in March 2014 (via Peter's ex wife Debra) and is supposedly from 1979 for a meeting Peter had with Sabian Cymbals, although Peter didn't start using Sabian until 1986 and during his time in Balls Of Fire. The drum specs shown in the drawing seems to match his Pearl set up in 1986 too as seen in the above photos.


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In 1989 Peter formed a new band with ex KISS guitarist, Mark St John called The Keep (top photo). The band only performed once on May 2, 1990 at a drum clinic at Guitar Center music store in Lawndale, California. Peter signed up with DW (Drum Workshop) in 1987 and in a 1988 interview, he mentions using their bass drum pedals including trying out double pedals in his set up. One of his first DW kits seems to be the white gloss finish one shown in the above photos, starting with The Keep in 1989 (kit in top photo background). In 1990, after The Keep dissolved, this led Peter to form his own band called CRISS and started touring the club circuit from 1991 to 1995. Peter had also changed his kit configuration to a set up similar to his set up from the very early days of KISS, which was two toms in front of the snare and over the left side of the bass drum, freeing up the right side for a ride cymbal. Peter has basically kept this configuration ever since. Sizes could possibly be 12" and 13" rack toms along with a 10" to his far left, 16" and 18" floor toms, 24" bass drum and a metal 6.5"x14" snare. Cymbals are all Sabian. A cowbell mounted on the bass drum hoop and chimes are also included. No gong was included in this set up or future set up during CRISS band period.

 

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The photos above were Peter's next kit used during the 'Bad Boys Of KISS' tour with Ace Frehley in 1994/1995. This set of DW's has smaller toms compared to the previous white kit and the finish is yellow. In an interview at the time Peter explains that his choice to use a yellow kit stems way back to his past close friendship with ex New York Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan, who at one point used a yellow kit as a rebellious bold statement (yellow is not a popular color amongst many drummers). As with the white DW kit, Peter also went back to using spashes including inverted ones on top of crash cymbals and one out front over the bass drum as he did in 1974 with the Ludwig kit. The yellow DW kit was also used in the recording of the CRISS cd's in the early 90's.

 

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In August 9, 1995, Peter reunited with the original members of KISS for an MTV Unplugged performance. Here he used a basic DW set up in black finish. Sizes likely are 12", 13" toms, 15" or 16" floor tom, 22" bass drum and 5"x14" snare (either wood or metal shell). Sabian cymbals.

 

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KISS reunited in full makeup in 1996 and for the 1996/97 Reunion Tour, Peter went back to Pearl drums as he has stated that the band wanted everyone to use the same type of equipment they did back in the day. The cymbals however were all Sabian at first, possibly due to Peter's existing agreement with Sabian at the time but later on he switched back to Zildjian (A's). With this kit, finished in Black Gloss, Peter used extra deep rack toms and for the first time live, drum triggers (ddrum) which were mixed together with the natural sound from drum mikes. The lower two photos show Peter using what appears to be a different Pearl kit during the reunion tour, also in black gloss but with shallower toms and the Pearl badges displayed. Both kits were likely maple shells in a pained finish. Remo pinstrips were used for the batter heads and clear remos (possibly Ambassador or Emperors) for the bottoms. Remo Brush coat CS was used for the batter snare.

 

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In 1998 KISS released a new album (Psycho Circus) and toured in 1998/1999. The DW kit Peter used is what he refers to as "my Tiger set or Lions and Tigers" due to the distinctive finish. This kit was also used for the KISS Symphony concert in 2003 and can be seen and heard on the DVD and CD respectively. They were picked out for Peter specially by DW Vice President Mr. John Good, who also picked out Peter's other DW kits that he used in KISS. The bass drum features a DW Bass Drum Woofer for extra depth. Above is the specs for this kit as listed below:

Drums: DW
1. 22" x 18" Bass Drum (with a Woofer Bass Drum)
2. 14" x 6" Edge Snare
3. 8" x 5" Tom
4. 8" x 6" Tom
5. 8" x 7" Tom
6. 8" x 8" Tom
7. 15" x 13" Tom
8. 10" x 8" Tom
9. 12" x 9" Tom
10. 16" x 14" Floor Tom
11. 13" x 10" Tom
12. 18" x 16" Floor Tom
13. 14" x 11" Tom

Cymbals: A. Zildjian
A. 10" Splash (inverted)
B. 22" China Boy High
C. 18" Crash
D. 6" Zil Bell
E. 19" Crash
F. 14" Quickbeat Hi-Hats
G. 12" Splash
H. 22" Ride
I. 9-1/2" Zil Bell
J. 8" Splash (inverted)
K. 12" Splash (inverted)
L. 22" China Boy Low

Heads: Remo
Clear Pinstrip (batter)
Clear Ambassador or Emperor (bottom)
Brush Finish CS Black Dot (snare)

Percussion: LP Percussion Cowbell

Sticks: Ahead
'Peter Criss' model

Gloves: Ahead

Electrics: ddrum triggers

 


This drum kit is on display at the Pittsburgh Hard Rock Cafe and looks like another version of the 'Tiger' kit, except without the dark shadowing on the lower section of the drums. Not known if Peter actually used this kit live and may be a prototype of what he eventually used in the upper photos.

 

On January 31, 1999 KISS performed at the Superbowl and Peter used a DW kit with black lugs and rims and in what looks like Marine White finish. This performance was lip-synced and likely that DW provided this kit as promotion for this event via Peter's endorsement with them.

 

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In October 29, 1999 KISS performed (actually Lip-synced) at a function (for IBASH) in Las Vegas. Peter used a different kit with what appears to be the same specs as the Psycho Circus 'Tiger' kit but in 'Broken Glass' finish. This kit was only used that one time at the Las Vegas show. Peter then donated the kit to Zildjian Cymbals as part of their Drum Walk Of Fame.

 

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In 2000, KISS went out on a 'farewell tour' and Peter used a new DW kit finished in Mother Of Pearl, which was his honour to Gene Krupa. He also added black crosses on the finish for spiritual reasons. The sizes appear to be the same as the Psycho Circus 'Tiger' kit along with the cymbals. At the last show Peter played on this tour, he was unhappy with some issues within the band and trashed his drum kit at the end of the show (in similar fashion to the Midnight Special TV show in 1974), something he later admitted that he regretted.

 

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After the last show Peter performed on the Farewell Tour, he left KISS (Eric Singer replaced him for the remainder of the tour) but returned in 2003 for a concert which included the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne, Australia on February 28. For this concert Peter had a second 5-piece 'Jazz' kit set up in front of the Psycho Circus 'Tiger' kit and was used for the 'Unplugged' segment of the concert. John Good, VP of DW had this kit in his office, which were one of a kind, and gave them to Peter. The finish is Champagne Sparkle and the shells including the snare are all maple. Sizes appear to be a 26" bass drum (x14"?), 10"x14" tom, 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms. Zildjian A cymbals.

 

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This DW 'Gunmetal Grey' finish kit was used in Tokyo and during KISS/Aerosmith tour 2003. Peter left KISS at the end of this tour (Eric Singer rejoined the band again, this time permanently) and in 2007 he released his next solo album 'One For All'. Peter played all the drums on this album and used one of his DW kits but it is unclear which kit actually he used.

 




Ahead 'Peter Criss' model drum sticks


Promark Millennium II'Peter Criss' signature sticks



Peter's first snare drum, signed and on display along with a signed Pearl White wrap snare drum at The Guitar Centre on Sunset Bvld, Hollywood.

 

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Peter at Cadillac High in October 1975


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Peter with Neil Peart (Rush), backstage in 1975

 

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Peter at the Pearl drum factory in Japan during the 1977 KISS Japanese tour

 


1979 Pearl Drums ad

 

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Peter with Eric Carr in the mid 80's



Peter with Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) in 1986

 


Peter in the late 80's

 


Peter with Anton Fig (David Letterman) in the late 90's

 


Peter in Modern Drummer Magazine Februrary 1999 issue

 


Peter, with what appears to be the DW 'Broken Glass' kit in 1999


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Peter in 2008 for a DW Drums promo photo shoot.

 


Peter at home (?) with the Gunmetal Grey kit

 


Peter Criss - 100,000 Years with drum solo - Winterland, San Francisco Jan 31, 1975 (The Ludwig Silver Sparkle Kit)  

 


Peter Criss Drum Solo (100,000 Years) - Cobo Hall, Detroit 1975 (The Pearl Alive 'Mirrorball' kit)

 


Peter Criss Drum Solo - Cobo Hall, Detroit Jan 29, 1977 (The Pearl 'White Honeycomb' kit)

 


Peter Criss Drum Solo - Budokan, Japan 1977 (The Pearl 'White Honeycomb' kit)

 


Peter Criss Drumo Solo 1998 (The DW 'Tiger' kit)

 


Peter Criss Modern Drummer Interview by Sandy Gennaro - August 2013 - Part 1/3

 


Peter Criss Modern Drummer Interview by Sandy Gennaro - August 2013 - Part 2/3

 


Peter Criss Modern Drummer Interview by Sandy Gennaro - August 2013 - Part 3/3

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