The New Peter Criss
It takes a lot of courage for a musician to leave an established group to pursue a solo career. It takes even more courage when the group is Kiss, who truly reached the top, both in popular success, and in financial security. Not only will the departing member lose the security of the group, but in this case, he will have to emerge from behind the Kabuki like makeup of Kiss and for the first time, face the world as an individual. Despite all of the risks, drummer Peter Criss recently left the group, shed his cat makeup, and released a solo album.
Born in a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn, drums kept Peter off the streets and gave him a direction. Criss began playing professionally while still in his teens, and after working in a variety of situations, he joined Kiss after running an ad in Rolling Stone. During the next several years, Kiss truly did write their own chapter in rock history. As often happens with popular groups, critics complained that the group had too limited a format, despite sold-out concerts in the biggest halls and a catalog of top selling records. In this case though, it turns out that the drummer agreed. Peter Criss left the group because the music he was writing did not fit in with the Kiss image. His new album contains a variety of influences, and for all the things it is, what it is not, is Kiss.
This interview was conducted in the Kiss offices in New York. Peter is still vice-president of the Kiss organization and will continue to share in all of the business dealings. We began by discussing his first experiences with music.
PC: I started when I was 9 years old, playing on pots and pans with two forks. I really did. My mother always had music playing and I remember taking out her pots and pans and beating on them. Of course, it could be very aggravating, listening to someone smacking on pots with a couple of forks, so finally, my father brought home a set of brushes, and I played on the pots with those. That was a little easier for my mother to handle.
RM: When did you finally get a drum?
PC: My first drum was an old army marching snare drum that my father picked up at an antique store. I was playing in a doo-wop band called The Stars. My father built me a wooden box to hold my drum, and he put “Stars” on it in glitter letters. I wish I had a picture of that. I was only about 13. They would be singing all these songs and I’d be behind my drum keeping time with brushes. When I was about 15, I got a job making deliveries for a butcher. He had an old set of Slingerland Radio King drums and he said he would sell them to me for two hundred dollars. They were so old that the mother of pearl finish was yellow, but it was a set of drums, and I worked a long time to get them. I finally got enough money to buy them, but they didn’t have a floor tom, so I had to work another year to get a floor tom. That was my first kit. I used those drums for quite sometime, and I’ve still got them.
RM: Did you play in the school band?
PC: They threw me out. I swear. We were playing a march, but I didn’t like the drum part and thought it could be improved. So I made up my own part, and the next thing I knew, I was thrown out, drum and all.
RM: So how did you learn to play?
PC: When I got my first drums, I would put the radio on full blast, and try to play along. But I was too loud. Finally, my mother bought me a stereo. I remember buying Ventures albums and learning to play songs like “Walk, Don’t Run.” I finally joined a band which had an accordion, sax and guitar, and we would do all the Ventures stuff. My biggest moment of the evening would be “Wipe Out.” That was my big solo.
RM: Do you remember your first gig?
PC: A bar mitzvah. I remember it very clearly. I got paid 25 bucks and I had to wear a yarmulke. I really remember playing Hava Nagila. I was 16 at the time.
RM: How about your first professional gig?
PC: It was in a club called something like the “Dew Drop Inn.” They had bands every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I made about 75 dollars a week, which at that time, was a lot of money, and got free sandwiches and pizza.
RM: Did you have to join 802?
PC: Yeah. One day this guy came in and said, “Are you guys in the union?” And we said, “No.” So he said, “Well, you’ve got to pack up and get out. This is a union club.” Then the owner said, “You can’t take these guys out. It’s not my fault. I thought they were members.” So, we all joined the union. I’m still a member of 802.
RM: I understand that you studied with Gene Krupa. How did that come about?
PC: There was a jazz place called the Metropole, and they started having rock groups open the show. One night when I was about 18, I was passing by this club with some friends, and we decided to go in for a drink. The group that was playing there was Joey Greco and the In Crowd. Their drummer wasn’t there and Joey knew me, so he came over and asked me if I would sit in. I said, “I’ve never played in front of this many people before.” But I went ahead and sat in, and I was so scared, that I played great. Afterwards, they said, “Look, would you like the job here?” And I said, “Sure!” I only got paid $100 a week for 6 shows a night, 6 nights a week, but I didn’t care, because we were opening for Krupa. You see, when I was a kid, my father used to always say, “You’ll never be as good as Gene Krupa.” I had to be as good as Krupa, because he was my father’s idol. So when I got the job at the Metropole, I figured, “Now’s my chance!” I would stay late every night to catch Krupa’s show, and I would just sit and look up at him and think, “He’s so great!” Then I started going up to him a lot and saying, “Mr. Krupa, could you show me this and show me that and would you show me this . . .”At first he acted like he wished I’d leave him alone, but I just kept after him and finally he said, “Okay.” He got to where he really liked me, and he would even come in early and show me how to do a lot of things I was interested in. I still use the things he showed me whenever I play. In fact, my solos in Kiss were often based on Krupa’s “Drum Boogie.” He was really a great guy, and getting to know him was like a dream come true for me.
RM: One of the bands you played in before Kiss was called Chelsea. Tell me about that group.
PC: Chelsea was a band I joined when I was around 23. The group consisted of five guys: 4 guitars and drums. I really thought I was going to make it then, because we did an album for Decca records. I probably did some of my most creative drumming on that album. I played everything: congas, bongos, cowbells, maracas, and even a pop-gun on one tune. I thought we had really hit the big time, but the record flopped. I was so disappointed that I just fell apart. But three of us decided to stay together, and we had a trio called Lips. Stan Penridge was one of the guys, and he and I still write together. The other member was Michael Benvenga, who has since passed away. It really bummed me out. I dedicated my first solo album to him, because I promised him that if I ever made my own record, he would be on it. But he died before we recorded it. Getting back to Lips, though, Stan, Mike, and I went from record company to record company, trying to get a contract. One of the people we went to see was Neil Bogart. Neil is president of Casablanca Records now, but then he was president of Buddha Records. So Mike and Stan took acoustic guitars and I took a conga, and we walked right into his office and started auditioning. He threw us out. A couple of years ago, I was having dinner with him one night and I said, “Really think back. Do you remember a crazy group that you once had to throw out of your office?” And he said, “You’re kidding!” And I said, “Not only was I the drummer, but one of the songs we sang was ‘Beth.’ Today you’ve got a gold album hanging on your wall for a song you once threw out of your office.” He couldn’t believe it. It was really funny.
RM: How were you making a living during this period?
PC: Back when Chelsea was doing demos, I met a great guy named Shelly Ackerson. After Chelsea broke up, and Lips wasn’t doing anything, Shelly would call me up and have me come down to the Record Plant and do studio work. I would have to play Chevrolet jingles and things like that. It was terrible. I didn’t like it, but the money was great.
RM: So eventually you ran a famous ad in Rolling Stone.
PC: “Drummer willing to do anything.” I meant it. I was so frustrated that I didn’t care what I had to do to make it. So I met Gene and Paul, and 9 months later we got Ace to join, and that was how it all started. One thing led to another and the first thing I knew, I had gold records hanging on my wall.
RM: Did the members of the band come up with the whole Kiss concept, or did management play a part?
PC: When Bill Aucoin became our manager, we were already into makeup, we already had black and silver as our colors, and Ace had already designed our logo. Bill polished us a little and got us a label. We owe a lot to him, and he’s still my manager.
RM: How did you develop your cat character?
PC: We were designing our own costumes. The other three had already come up with theirs. Gene loves horror movies, so being a monster was right up his alley; Paul was always the “rock star,” so a star fit him perfectly; Ace was always a real “space cadet”; but, I couldn’t find me. One night I was home drawing. I went to art school for 3 years. And I was staring at my cat. So I drew my face with his whiskers, nose and green eyes. I showed it to the other guys and they said, “Perfect. It’s you all the way.”
RM: “Beth” was not a typical Kiss song, yet it was one of the group’s biggest hits. Can you tell me about it?
PC: I wrote it with Stan a long time ago. It was written about anybody who is married to guys like us who are never at home. Kiss wanted Destroyer to be a really different album than anything we’d done before, and we wanted to be very musical. So we brought in Bob Ezrin, who is a really spectacular producer. He did the Walls album by Pink Floyd, and Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. I had first sung “Beth” to Gene in the back of a limousine and he said, “That’s really kind of catchy.” So the guys were going to do it, but they wanted to make it heavier. But Bob told them, “You’re not even playing on it, we’re using an orchestra.” I said, “Yeah,” and we went in and did it.
RM: How did the other guys feel about it?
PC: Well, they didn’t like the idea, but the truth was, they just could not play that type of music. To them, “Beth” was not Kiss, but Bob and I insisted that it be put on the album. When the single was released, “Beth” was supposed to be the B side, but everybody started playing it, and suddenly it became the A side. “Beth” seemed to hit everybody. Even the housewives were buying it, and it made the easy listening charts. “Beth” earned me a People’s Choice Award and a Writer of the Year Award. The single went double gold and the album went platinum. So the song did really well.
RM: But afterwards, Kiss still did not do very much of your material.
PC: Kiss is a heavy metal band, and my material was different. They would always say, “It’s not in the Kiss image, Peter,” and I would say, “Well, let’s expand our image.” They would answer, “We just can’t. We’re not that type of band.”
RM: The solo album you did while you were in Kiss gave you a chance to do your own material.
PC: I still love that album. It went gold and platinum and two of the songs were nominated for Grammy awards. Actually, that album might have been even better, but I had just come out of a major car accident, so we only had 2 weeks to rehearse. I had a concussion, a broken nose, and a broken hand. We had to use another drummer on 3 tracks because of my hand.
RM: What made you finally decide to leave Kiss?
PC: Part of the reason was that I was losing Peter Criss behind the makeup, and that was getting dangerous for me. Being in Kiss was becoming like a job, which wasn’t fair to me or to them. I had been thinking about it for 3 years. I knew it was coming; I just didn’t know when. Then one night my wife Debra said, “I really love your music. Why don’t they let you do more of it?” And I said, “That’s it. I’m going to leave.” We were in this very room when I told the others I was quitting. I said, “Guys, I’m really frustrated. Ever since “Beth,” which was our biggest hit, you’ve done very little of my material. You do one of my songs per album, or less, and when we perform, I only get 1 or 2 songs, and that’s not enough. There are tons of fan letters pouring in, saying, ‘Why doesn’t Peter sing more’ and ‘Why don’t you do more songs like “Beth?” ‘ It’s not fair.” They felt bad, but they understood. We all shook hands and they said, “We wish you the best of luck.” We are still business partners and we are still the best of friends.
RM: So the new solo album was your first project after leaving Kiss?
PC: Right. I produced it, I designed the cover, I wrote 9 of the 10 songs, I drummed on all of them, sang on all of them, helped arrange most of them, and it’s been great. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
RM: I find it curious that you did all of that, yet you called the album Out of Control. It looks to me as though you were in total control.
PC: It’s like in the Benny Goodman Story. I must have seen that movie 50 times because Krupa was in it. Anyway, people used to always tell Benny, “Don’t be that way,” and so he called one of his songs, “Don’t Be That Way.” In my early days I used to pull some heavy pranks, and I could be a real terror. People would tell me, “Wow, Peter, you’re really out of control.” So when I did the album, I decided to call it, Out of Control.
RM: I also find it interesting that a drummer has released two solo albums without any drum solos.
PC: I have not written anything that called for a drum solo. I might do one on my next album, but it will have to fit. I did solos on two live Kiss albums. The one on Kiss Alive I is my favorite. It was a really good, right-to-the-point solo.
RM: What were some of the specific things you were able to do on this album that you couldn’t do with Kiss?
PC: I wanted to do more than just heavy metal music, and I wanted to use more instruments than 3 guitars. I was able to do love songs and ballads, and I had the horn section from the Blues Brothers, and a string section from the New York Philharmonic. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted.
RM: I liked the Spanish influence on “Words.”
PC: Isn’t that great with the castanets? I got the idea from “Spanish Harlem” and from an old Ronettes song that Phil Spector did. I’ve always wanted to use a string section and castanets, and I finally got to do it. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I think it shows that I can play more than just heavy rock.
RM: I take it then, that you are happy with the way the album turned out.
PC: A lot of frustration came out in this album. I was also in a lot of pain. I tried to play soccer, but I wasn’t very good at it, so as a result, I was literally on crutches when I recorded several of the vocals. But this album really means a lot to me, because it is the first thing I’ve done totally on my own. I spent 10 months on it, because having been in a supergroup, people expect a lot from me. I can’t just put out a hundred per cent, I have to put out a hundred and ten. I’ve always been recognized as a drummer, which is very important to me, but now I also want to be recognized as a singer and writer. Maybe this will encourage other drummers to sing and write more, because a lot of drummers can do more than just play drums.
RM: You and Stan Penridge have been writing together for a long time. Do you find him easy to work with?
PC: We have a great chemistry. I don’t know how it works, but it does. He’ll come up with a melody, or I’ll come up with a melody, or he will come up with a chorus and I’ll come up with a verse, and we both write lyrics.
RM: Now that the album is out, do you plan to do a tour?
PC: I want to tour as soon as possible, but I won’t go out until I have the best musicians. Finding the best does not come easy.
RM: Are you holding auditions?
PC: Yes, and it has been difficult. But I’m getting a lot of help from my producer, David Wolfert. He knows a ton of great studio musicians, so I may be going out with a whole studio band. There will be 7 of us on stage: drums, 2 guitars, bass, sax, piano and synthesizer.
RM: Will you use any theatrics?
PC: No. It’s going to be a real straightforward rock and roll show. Just lights and good music. I had enough bombs, fire, and smoke, when I was in Kiss.
RM: Do you think you will be playing in smaller halls?
PC: I’ll probably have to. After headlining for a lot of years, it will be different for me to be opening someone else’s show. But that’s okay. It will be the old, “Let’s blow the headliner off the stage” routine, and that’s exciting. I think bands are getting back to playing smaller halls and clubs again. The big stadium syndrome is over. They’re calling us musicians again and people are listening to lyrics again. They sing along with the songs, the way I used to sing along with Beatles’ songs. I could sing every word to you from any Beatles’ song.
RM: Who do you think your audience will be?
PC: I think I had my own cult following with Kiss, and while I will probably lose some of them, I think a lot of them will go my way. I think I’ll gain a lot. too, because I have a feeling that heavy metal is just relating to 10-year olds, but my music should relate to a wider age group. In fact, I can see me playing Carnegie Hall quicker than Madison Square Garden.
RM: Do you think your group might ever perform with Kiss?
PC: We play two different styles of music. I doubt if we would ever be on the same bill. My manager asked me if I would consider appearing with Kiss to sing “Beth.” Maybe I will someday. It might be fun to come on one of their shows and do a song. As far as records go, I might use them for a couple of songs on one of my albums, or I might play something on one of their albums sometime.
RM: You have been using Pearl drums for a long time. How did you become associated with them?
PC: There is a great drum store in New York called Professional Percussion Center. A guy named Frank Ippolito used to own it. What a great guy! We would talk about Krupa for hours, because Frank knew him well. When Pearl drums first started, Frank introduced them to me. I told him I would really like to use them. Kiss was just getting started, and we had already written to all of the big drum companies to see if they would sponsor me. They wrote back things like, “We don’t really know the band.” But Pearl was willing to help me out. Later, when Kiss really got big, I started getting letters from all the big companies, which said, “Whatever Peter wants, Peter can have.” But it was too late; I was with Pearl. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m loyal to someone who was nice to me.
RM: What was your set made from?
PC: My first custom set was made of fiberglass because that’s what Pearl was into. But I like wood. I told them, “Look, I really appreciate your giving me these drums, but I’d really like to have a wooden set and I’d like to design them.” And they said, “Go right ahead, Peter. It’s fine with us.” I designed a 16-piece set. The tom toms were longer in length than in diameter. I had 24-inch floor toms and a marching size snare drum. I had the wood covered with different-sized strips of chrome, so the set would look interesting, too. It was sort of like having a sports car built. You don’t know if its going to run as well as you think it will. Walt Johnson, the president of Pearl, said, “It’s really weird Peter. I don’t know if you’re going to be happy with these drums.” But they turned out great. They sounded like cannons, man! It was amazing. Pearl was thrilled. They couldn’t believe how well they came out. I’m having a new set made now, and they will be emerald green, like in the Wizard of Oz. I won’t be using 16 drums anymore. I’ll basically be using 3 in the front, 2 on the floor, 4 concert toms, and a thinner snare drum. I’m using less drums because I don’t need to be as busy with my music as I was with Kiss. Actually, you can be just as busy with 3 drums as you can with 16. A lot of times in the studio, I just use a basic four-piece set. On stage, I like to have more. I don’t always use all of them, but if I want them, I’ve got them.
RM: What kind of heads do you use?
PC: I’m using regular Remo heads. I used to use black-dot, but now I’ve gone back to the regular Ambassadors. When they are properly tuned, they sound very snappy. I use single-headed tom toms. I like the sound.
RM: Do you use any tape or mufflers on the heads?
PC: In the studios, yeah. The drums look terrible with all of this tape, foam rubber, pillow cases, and other junk hanging all over them. But I’ll do whatever is necessary to get a certain sound. I’ve really experimented. I once recorded in a bathroom. The rest of the band was down in a theater, and we had video cameras set up so we could see each other. They thought I was mad, but when we played it back, the drums sounded great.
RM: Seriously, an acoustical engineer once told me that a bathroom was an excellent acoustic chamber. He said that a lot of stages could benefit from some tile and porcelain.
PC: Maybe I wasn’t as mad as I thought I was.
RM: What is your cymbal set-up?
PC: With Kiss I used 18 cymbals, from 24″ down to 12″. Now I’m only going to use about 6 cymbals. I use a Rock 21 ride cymbal, and I have a cymbal with rivets for crashes. All of my cymbals are Zildjian. I think they are the best. I remember when I was a kid, it took me about 8 months to save up enough money to buy my first 20″ Zildjian. They are expensive, but I think they are worth it.
RM: Do you have a person who takes care of your drums?
PC: I have a roadie whose name is Chuck Elias. He has been with me 5 years. When I quit Kiss, he left with me, and now he will be my stage manager. It will be good having him there because I know my drums will always be perfect. I even bought him a set of drums, because he was so interested in learning how to tune them, in case I was ever late for a concert. When that happened, he would always have the drums tuned for me when I got there. I consider him one of the best drum roadies in the business.
RM: Do you ever use any electronic percussion?
PC: I tried to use Syndrums once, but I just couldn’t get into them. However, I do have my own mixing board behind the drums, so I can mix my drums exactly the way I want them. I have a fiberglass wall around my drums so that the amps do not bleed into my mikes. I got that idea from the drummer in Chicago. It would be great if every drummer could have his own board, but it really costs a lot.
RM: As far as your rock drumming style, I would say that you come from the Charlie Watts school.
PC: You’ve hit it right on the head. Definitely Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr. I never tried to play like Ginger Baker or Keith Moon. I don’t believe that a drummer should constantly play through everything. A drum is not a lead instrument. You’ve got your moments, like when you do a solo or when you have a specific part to play. But the drummer’s real job is to keep the beat.
That’s what people move their feet to. Also, when a singer is doing his lyrics, it’s just rude to be banging away behind him. You should be accompanying him.
RM: Do you follow any particular guidelines when you play?
PC: I’m really careful. I don’t do what I call “robot drumming,” which means everything is from the book. I try to play from my heart and do things spontaneously. For instance, the “normal” way to do a fill might be to start with the snare, move to the tom tom, and then finish on the floor tom. I might start on the snare, then move to the hi-hat, then to the bell of the cymbal, and finish with a flam. So my style is to do things by feeling.
RM: Have you always practiced a lot?
PC: When I was a kid, drums played the biggest part in my life. It kept me out of gang wars, but I also had to miss a lot of baseball games. Guys would say, “C’mon and play ball” and I’d say, “I have to practice,” and they’d say, “That’s stupid. Who practices drums on Saturday afternoon?” And I’d say, “I do.” So I always worked hard to be a good drummer. But during the last couple of years with Kiss, my playing started getting sloppy. I was developing an “I don’t care” attitude because I was so frustrated. Then the other guys starting getting on me, saying, “You’ve really got to practice more. You’re getting sloppy.” And I’d say, “I know that. I’m more aware of it than you are.” So that was another thing that helped me realize that it was time to leave. Now I’m really working on my drumming again. I’ve started taking lessons from a wonderful guy named Jim Chapin. It’s just like any professional. Even a tennis player takes lessons from another pro. So that’s what I’m doing. I get together with Jim twice a week. When I first started with him, he put me back on the pad, and we went back to the basics, like paradiddles and flams. Now we’re working on set. The interesting thing is, he’s essentially teaching me jazz, but I’m showing him some rock things. It’s great when you can have an exchange like that with your teacher. Jim is an amazing drummer. He could tell that I had studied with Krupa from the way I move. He tells me that I work too hard. I really sweat my brains out when I play. He wants me to concentrate on my wrists more.
RM: Do you use matched grip or traditional?
PC: I started with traditional. Ringo was the first drummer I saw play the other way. I thought, “That’s not normal. You’re not supposed to hold sticks that way.” But I tried it, and I found that it worked better for certain rock things. So now I play both ways. Traditional is better for jazz things, and with my music I use it a lot, but with Kiss, I always played the other way. We were so loud, that was the only way I could be heard.
RM: Now that you are studying jazz with Chapin, do you think you might do some jazz tunes?
PC: I might mix some jazz in my music, sure. I’ve always loved jazz, but I could not do any with Kiss. Now I can. On the album, a tune called “Where Will They Run” has a sax solo which is more of a jazz break than a rock break.
RM: Do you ever use brushes anymore?
PC: In my early days, I played a lot of clubs, and I worked the Catskills a lot. I used brushes then, and I used them on the Chelsea album. But I never used them with Kiss, and it’s been so long, that I would probably sound like a real klutz if I tried to play with them now. But I think I will start using them again. They have such a good sound.
RM: Will you be doing any clinics for Pearl?
PC: I will if they ask me. Drum clinics are really great. I’m glad they started doing them. I respect Pearl highly, and I owe them a lot. So I would go out and play for them anytime. I recently told them that my wife is going to have a baby, which I’m thrilled about, and so Pearl is going to build a miniature set of drums for me to give to my kid. They are really a great company.
RM: What about private teaching?
PC: I don’t have the time or the patience. I envy teachers, because they’ve got a hard job. I don’t know how Jim puts up with me. I wouldn’t have his patience. If my son wants to be a drummer, I’ll get him a teacher. I don’t think I’ll teach him, but I’ll be an observer. I’ll be the hardest critic he has.
RM: You’ll probably tell him what your father told you: “You’ll never be asgood as Krupa.”
PC: I probably will, but it pays to be that firm. It makes you determined.
RM: Your music seems to have a varie ty of influences. What do you listen to?
PC: I listen to big band music, believe it or not. I’ve got old albums by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, even Bix Biederbeck and Chick Webb. Of course, I’ve got all of Gene’s albums, and a lot of Benny Goodman. I grew up on that music. My dad was a ballroom dancer and that’s the music we had
around the house. I also listen to people like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and the Stones. I really like Frank Sinatra. That guy has been singing a long time, and he can still make 16 year old girls cry. I really respect him and I would like to meet him. I’ve seen him perform
RM: Now that you’ve been away from Kiss for awhile, what are your feelings about the group?
PC: The most positive thing is that I was in the greatest rock group in the world. We probably put on the greatest show on earth. No band has ever sold as much merchandise as Kiss. And I love all of that stuff. When I go to rehearsal, I take my lunch in my own Kiss lunch box. And I love being in Marvel Comics. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and now someday my kids can read about me in Marvel. I can hear them now, “Wow, Daddy, can you really shoot laser beams out of your eyes?” From being in Kiss, I have at least 50 gold records and 35 platinums. I still sit around this table with the other guys and we still share everything. So, for the good part of Kiss, I thank God I was in it.
RM: Have you met the new Kiss drummer, Eric Carr?
PC: Yeah. He’s a great kid. I like him. I told him, “If you ever want to call me for anything, I’ll be glad to help you out.” I imagine the other three are ribbing him a lot because he’s new. If he ever needs to know how to get back at those guys, I can give him all the great tricks in the world.
RM: So now “The Cat” is starting his second life?
PC: No, I’m probably on my ninth. I feel like I’ve already been through eight. This might be my last one. So that’s why I want to be Peter Criss.
RM: Do you think you will be able to have as much success on your own as you had with Kiss?
PC: I think if I hang in there as hard as I hung in with Kiss, and if I believe in myself as much as I believed in Kiss, I’m going to make it. You have to believe in yourself. An audience knows when you are faking. You can’t go out there and be insecure, because they will pick up on that and destroy you. But if you gain confidence in yourself, then everybody else will have confidence in you. I remember talking to Diana Ross about it. I said, “When you quit the Supremes and went out on your own, did you have any doubts?” And she said, “Everybody has doubts, but you have to follow your heart. If you think you can do it, then do it, because you don’t want to sit around someday and ask yourself if you could have made it.” So that’s why I’m going on my own. I don’t ever want to ask myself that question. I want to do it now, while I’ve still got the chance.