Peter Criss, an American retired musician is famous as the co-founder and drummer of the hard rock band Kiss. The ‘Catman’ persona of the band, Criss played for the band from 1973 to 1980 and 1995 to 2000, released 8 studio albums including the 2-time Platinum Destroyer (1976).

The Brooklyn-born drummer also went for the solo venture and released 5 solo albums; his eponymous debut solo album released in 1978. The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is not active in the music industry since 2017; his band already opted him out permanently in 2004.

How Much Is Peter Criss’ Net Worth & His Career Update?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 74-year-old drummer owns the net worth of $3 million as of January 2020. After his second departure from Kiss in 2004, Gene Simmons, one of the band’s founders & vocalist, opted not to sign in Peter again.

No update on the retired musician’s career is out for now, though, he once stated to focus on big-band jazz music in his post-Kiss career.

The major credit to Criss’ massive sum and fortune goes to albums sales with the band, tours and merchandise sales.

As reported, Kiss’ worldwide sales of merchandise (“Kiss Your Face Makeup” kits, Halloween masks and trading cards) was $100 million between 1977 to 1979.

Considered one of the best-selling bands, the Kiss has sold over 100 million albums worldwide including 25 million copies certified by the RIAA.

‘Kiss’ Band’s Formation: Introduction To Iconic Persona

Already with associations with many bands in the mid-60s, Peter joined the band named Chelsea in the 1970s, which was later named Lips in August 1971.

After ‘Lips’ collapsed, Criss placed an advertisement in Rolling Stone Magazine that got Paul Stanley (rhythm guitarist) and Gene Simmons (lead vocals & bassist) in the line. Later, Ace Frehley (lead guitarist) joined the lineup in December 1972.

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In January 1973, the group formed the band named Kiss, famous for their distinguished features: fire breathing, smoking guitars, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics.

Kiss band's original and founding members; Gene Simmons, Paul Stanely, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley
Kiss band’s original and founding members; Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and Paul Stanely

Source: Planet Trock

Moreover, the band members took the personae of comic book-style characters, appearing in make-up and costumes: Criss (The Catman), Simmons (The Demon), Stanley (The Starchild) and Frehley (The Spaceman).

Release Of Platinum Certified Albums: Rise To Fame & Earnings

The Kiss released their eponymous debut album on February 18, 1974, which became Gold certified. Thereafter, Criss with the band released the other 7 studio albums throughout 1980, which included the Platinum-certified albums: Destroyer ( in 1976), Rock and Roll Over (1976), Love Gun (1977) and Dynasty (1979).

As reported, the band’s gross earnings in 1977 were $10.2 million. Moreover, they earned $17.7 million from record royalties and music publishing between 1976 1978.

Peter Criss as The Catman, playing the drums for Kiss
Peter Criss as The Catman, playing the drums for Kiss

Source: Peter Criss Drums

Along with contribution in drums, Peter Criss gave lead vocals for the band’s 1976 hit single Beth, it charted 7th in the Billboard Hot 100 and sang other singles: Hard Luck Woman and Black Diamond.

The band’s 1979 song I Was Made for Lovin’ You, became gold-certified in the US and chartered 11 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Album Sales & Earnings

Here is the list of Peter Criss’ album earnings & sales:

Studio Albums Certification/ Sales Earnings
Kiss (February 18, 1974) 500,000 copies sold $750,000
Hotter Than Hell (October 22, 1974) 500,000 copies $750,000
Dressed to Kill (March 19, 1975) 500,000 copies $750,000
Destroyer (March 15, 1976) 2-time Platinum $3 million
Rock and Roll Over (November 11, 1976) Platinum in the USA $1.5 million
Love Gun (June 30, 1977) US: Platinum $1.5 million
Dynasty (May 23, 1979) US: Platinum $1.5 million

Moreover, Criss also released live albums with ‘Kiss’ that aided in the band’s revenue:

  • Alive! (September 10, 1975)- $750,000 (500,000 copies sold)
  • Alive II (October 14, 1977)- $3 million (2-time Platinum in the USA)
  • Kiss Unplugged (March 12, 1996) – $750,000 (500,000 copies sold)

The compilation album Double Platinum (released in 1978) earned $1.5 million, received US Platinum certification and charted 22 in the Billboard 200.

Did you know? Despite being in the band, Peter didn’t play for the band’s 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ that collected $750,000. However, he was credited for the drum, while Anton Fig who actually played the drum remained uncredited.

Left ‘Kiss’ After 7 Years: First Departure & Solo Career Venture

On May 18, 1980, Peter left the band ‘Kiss’ and continued his solo career; he had already released the debut solo album, Peter Criss,on September 18, 1978. 

Replacing Peter Criss, Eric Carr took as the band’s new drummer.

After departure from the band, Criss released 4 additional solo albums:

  1. Out of Control (September 1980)
  2. Let Me Rock You (May 1982)
  3. Cat #1 (released on August 16, 1994)- After 2nd departure
  4. One for All (released on July 24, 2007)- After 3rd departure

Did you know? His self-titled debut album collected $1.5 million & was Platinum certified in the US.

Tours After Reunion: Third Departure & No Return

In 1995, Peter Criss again joined Kiss at the official Kiss Konvention in Los Angeles. With the band’s reunion, they went on the Alive/Worldwide Tour (June 15, 1996- July 5, 1997) and made a gross of $143.7 million through 193 shows.

They released the album Psycho Circus on September 22, 1998; it sold 500,000 copies gathering $750,000.

Kiss band members Criss and Frehley reunited for Alive/Worldwide Tour that grossed $143.7 million, the highest ever by Kiss
Kiss band members Criss and Frehley reunited for Alive/Worldwide Tour that grossed $143.7 million, the highest ever by Kiss

Source: Post Gazette 

However, in 2000, Criss again left the band (second departure) after a contract dispute and was replaced by Eric Singer in 2001.

Again in late 2002, he rejoined the band and co-headlined the Rocksimus Maximus Tour/World Domination Tour (August 2, 2003- December 20, 2003) alongside Aerosmith.

The tour collected a total of $64 million and ranked #7 among the highest-grossing tours in 2003.

In March 2004, Peter left the band again (third departure) after the band opted not to renew his contract, setting him permanently out from Kiss.

What Properties Does Criss own & His Lifestyle?

Despite such huge fame, Peter Criss seems quite prominent to prevent excessive outlet of his lifestyle. Without a doubt, the millionaire American drummer enjoys lavishness.

Online sources like Virtual Globetrotting claim that he lives in Wall Township, New Jersey. As reported, back in 2016, Criss put the property in the market for $1.1 million.

The four-bedroom home features a traditionally styled living room with a double-sided fireplace, cherrywood kitchen, and a 3-car garage.

Peter Criss' house in Greenwich, Connecticut put in the market for $1.88 million
Peter Criss’ house in Greenwich, Connecticut put in the market for $1.88 million

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock

As per Forbes in April 2019, the former Kiss drummer placed his 3,700 square-foot Normandy-style house in Greenwich, Connecticut for sale, asking $1.88 million.

Criss lived in the house from 1975-1977 with first wife Lydia. The property boasting on 4 acres features 4-bedroom, 2-and-a-half bath, a small pond with a waterfall and an arched wooden bridge.

As of January 2020, the drummer is yet to find a buyer for the house.

Is A Gun Enthusiast

Peter Criss is an avid gun enthusiast and owns a collection of firearms. In an interview with ‘Kiss’ on The Tomorrow Show on October 31, 1979, the retired musician claimed he does not hunt with his guns.

Family Background

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 20, 1945, Peter’s real name is George Peter John Criscuola. He is the eldest of 5 children of his parents Loretta and Joseph Criscuola.

An American by nationality, Peter is of mixed ethnicity; his father’s family migrated from Scafati, Salerno, Italy.

Married 3 Times: Father Of A Child

The 5 ft. 9 inches tall musician married three times in his life & divorce with two; he welcomed a child with the second wife.

Currently, Peter lives with his third wife Georgia (Gigi) Meese, they exchanged vows on May  3, 1998, and are together ever since.

Peter Criss and his third wife Georgia Messe are together for over 2 decades
Peter Criss and his third wife Georgia Messe are together for over 2 decades

Source: P-interest

At first, Criss was in a marital relationship with former Playboy Playmate Lydia Di Leonardo from January 31, 1970, to September 13, 1979.

Thereafter, he married Debra Jensen, a Coppertone model, on December 22, 1979, and even more, welcomed daughter Jenilee on April 7, 1981. However, they divorced in 1994.

Interesting Facts About Peter Criss

  1. Peter Criss was injured in a car crash in 1978.
  2. In 2008, Criss was diagnosed with a (rare) breast cancer and was successfully treated with a lumpectomy.
  3. He co-wrote the autobiography ‘Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss’ with author Larry Sloman; it released on October 23, 2012.
  4. Criss, in 1995, sued National Enquirer after the tabloid featured a man named Chris Dickinson, who was an impersonator of Peter Criss and stated that he (imposing Peter Criss) was homeless-drunk & was living on the beach.
  5. The American musician was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.