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Book Review: The Eric Carr Story by Greg Prato

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Eric Carr (1950 – 1991) replaced Peter Criss in KISS just in time to record their ill-fated Music From ‘The Elder’ album in 1980. It represented them at the nadir of their career (at least in the U.S.),  but Carr was just happy to be in the band. They bounced back of course, and had a number of hair-metal hits in the eighties, sans makeup. Greg Prato’s new book The Eric Carr Story details the man’s life, and his heartbreaking demise from cancer at the tender age of 41.

Prato is something of a master at the art of the oral biography. To be honest, I have never been much of a fan of this type of writing, but Prato is the exception. I have read previous books by him, including Grunge Is Dead and The Tommy Bolin Story, and came away very satisfied.

One of the inherent drawbacks to this type of writing though is cooperation. Prato very obviously did not get to speak to either Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley. Knowing those guys – they probably wanted a 99% to 1% split on any royalties. Prato works around it though, by speaking with quite a number of people who were involved with Eric Carr and KISS during the time he spent as their drummer.

A few things about the man come across from multiple sources. Number one is just how thrilled he was to have gotten the job. As anyone who considered themselves a rock fan in the seventies can tell you, there was no cooler, better group out there in the middle of the decade than KISS. Alive, Destroyer, and Alive II were/are monster albums. Definitely their peak. Just a couple of years later though, they cut their hair and went disco with “I Was Made For Loving You,” and we all pretty much walked away.

Eric Carr didn’t. One of the more enjoyable aspects of Prato’s book is how he details the difference a “big” drummer like Carr brought to their music. The drums behind KISS were no longer the simple five-piece set so common to the era. He had a huge, double-bass drum setup, with every type of accessory imaginable. Only Neil Peart of Rush was going this balls-out with his equipment at the time. It certainly did bring a new element to their music, and quite possibly saved them from terminal oblivion.

From all sources, the fact that Eric Carr was a genuinely nice guy comes across as well. And then there was the drinking. Multiple interviewees mention how Carr could drink everyone under the table, yet never show any signs of intoxication. Make of that what you will, but the overriding feeling is that he just had a high tolerance, and was never a mean, or even sloppy drunk. He just liked his cocktails, I guess.

One has to wonder if the drinking contributed to his early death though. There are various opinions voiced by those who Prato interviewed. In the end, nobody really has an answer.

In any event, this is a very enjoyable book. Even though Greg Prato does not make his opinions very obvious by just outright stating them – his questions show the framework of what he had in mind. There is no doubt that he is a fan of Eric Carr, but was willing to allow the pins to fall where they may.

The end is as hard as one can imagine, especially as voiced by the people who loved Eric Carr. But bravo to Greg Prato for writing this book. It puts the emphasis on a man who has been sadly written out of the “official” KISS history in many ways. And the book shows that he clearly deserves much more credit as a musician than he has previously received. Eric Carr’s life was much more than the simple “Replaced drummer Peter Criss in KISS” kind of nonsense that is the usual obituary tidbit.

For fans of KISS – from any era of their nearly 40 years together, this book is a must. It sheds a lot of light on what was going on when they came so close to completely ending it in 1980. In many ways, Eric Carr is the unsung hero of their so-called comeback. The Eric Carr Story lays it all out, spoken by many of those who were actually there. The book is available exclusively through Lulu.com

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About Greg Barbrick

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I will always & 4-eva miss Eric! I am a big KISS fan & paul was my fave but i really loved Eric! R.I.P! B.T.W KISS haters suck! So shut up KISS haters!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    When i first heard Eric Carr was dead i thought maybe i would just fall.Since i knew Eric personally,i didnt even get to say goodbye! Words fail me! I luv Paul!Will you please respond!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I seen eric carr in concert about 5 times & just couldnt get what i wanted!I always wanted him to throw his drumsticks out in the crowd!And one of the shows i went to,he threw his drumsticks right to me!I went nuts and he seen me with a big grin on my face and just smiled!That very same night i got Paul Stanleys smashed gutair and i was so thrilled!I was like “Two KISS used items the same night!”This all happened in 1983!No makeup,just thier lovely faces!! I am proud to say that i am part of the KISS Army and always will,and i will always and forever love KISS and especially Paul & Eric!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I have one more story of my KISS experience and that would be the time i was Pauls gropie!!!! At fist i thought,”Well am i gonna to girly for him or was i gonna just be his pride and joy”! When he seen me in the crowd on the “Lick It Up” tour,in my red mini dress and my long curly brown hair{paul loves brunttes}he about jumped out at me!So then we were talking backstage and he just said “wanna go out”? I was shocked!I said yes and it all worked out had our first kiss and i was his gropie from then to now!I was thrilled and also very popular and all of my friends from the 80’s were jeilous and were always asking me for his phone nummber and i was like “no,no,no!!!!!”He gave me this lovely dimond ring and i still wear it to this day!!That was my fave experinse!!I love you Paul!!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I am the biggest KISS fan EVA!!!!!!! :-) And ofcourse PAUL STANLEY & ERIC CARR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-D

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I luv u Eric Carr!!!You will always be in the center of my heart!!!!

  • Greg Barbrick

    Check this writer’s blog for more about Eric Carr, Paul Stanley and KISS.

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    THANX!! I hate justin bieber,miley cyrus,selena gomez,jonas bros.,& taylor swift! Do u? I know my friends kids just luv them! & i said 4 them 2 luv Motley Crue &KISS etc.! {i luv motley crue met them 2 my fave is Nikki Sixx!!!!!}

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    I was Nikki Sixx gopie 2!Great kisser!{tonge kisser}!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    OH MY GAWD I JUST SEEN MOTLEY CRUE LIVE IN OMAHA NEBRASKA & IT ROCKED!!I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN NIKKI SIXX!!!I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nikki Sixx

    Hey Paul Stanleys girl!I would like 2 tell u that i remmeber seeing u lastnite & u were the hottest chick there!I felt turned on!!! So i just wanted 2 come by & tell u that u r a cutie & say hi!! Have a nice day now babe!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    OMG I LUV U SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH NIKKI!!!!!I CANT BELIVE U ACTUALLY CAME 2 THIS SITE!!!!! WHY DID U COME 2 THIS SITE? DO U BELIVE THAT KISS HATERS NEED 2 BACK OFF? DO U MISS ERIC CARR? I SURE DO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WISH THAT I COULDVE TOLD ERIC BYE BUT HE WAS IN NEW YORK & I WAS AT SOME FASHION SHOW 4 SOME CUTE STYLE 4 THE HOLE NEW DECADE!!!!!!!!! WELL,I WILL LET U RESPOND I WILL LET U KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME CAUSE I LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV MY FAVE ROCKERS 2 KNOW ME!!!

  • Nikki Sixx

    i am here cos of u hottie!!I would love 2 c u more offen but Neil always has me busy!! BUT YEAH,U R GREAT KISSER!!Sorry my lovely wife!!!!But i luv u Paul Stanleys Girl!!!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    i love u sooooooo much Nikki Sixx!! U r such a sweet man & have a heart of gold!!!!! THANX 4 saying that about me!!!Ur a sweetheart!!!Have a wonderful day!!!!

  • Nikki Sixx

    U r welcome!!!U r the 1 with the heart of gold & has such sweet comments!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    OMG THANK U SOOOOOOOO MUCH NIKKI!!! U MAKE ME FEEL SOOOOO GOOD! GET IT, “DR.FEELGOOD!!!!Thats u all man!!

  • Nikki Sixx

    HAHAHAH!!!!U r funny i luv u!!!!! Bye sweetie!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    Bye honey!!!!!! Luv ya!!!!:):):):):):)

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    good morning Paul Stanleys gir! My pretty girl!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    OMG good morning dr.love!!Idreamed about u & Nikki Sixx lastnite!I always do!!!Have a good day hottie!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    B.T.W U were soooooo hot on the Lick It Up album & so was Vinnie & Eric Carr!!! Luv ya!!!

  • Paul Stanleys

    oh thax!Nikki is rite,u do have a heart of gold!i bet if Eric & Vinnie were still alive,they would want 2 marry 2!oh yeah i want 2 marry u but i cant!but i still luv u & is my fave fan/gropie!!!Have a great day gorgous!!!!

  • Paul Stanleys girl

    So paul would like 2 tell u a story!!!!!My stupid friend she is so stupid i dont even want 2 say her name,BUT SHE DOSENT LIKE KISS!!!! I hate her soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!She could b such a snob & brat & she is an adult!!! Now i dont mean 2 hate,but she is always making fun of me 4 saying that the 80’s r comin’ back!!!!!! {because it is kinda oveous}So she is really disrespectful when it comes 2 peoples opions!!!! But i will always defend u,Eric Carr & Vinnie cause u r the 3 most important men in the HOLE FREAKIN WORLD!!!!!:-D Even when u guys pass,u guys will live on 4-eva in my heart cause u seem 2 always secritly b with me when i am in troble, sick, upset or hurt!!! THAX 4 Being with me this hole time!!! I aprecate ur three guys help!!!!! Luv, Hanna!!!:-)

  • Paul Stanleys

    Oh THAX babe i really apricate u standing up 4 me & vinnie & eric! Nikki is seriouly rite,u have a real golden heart!!! Luv, Stanley Harvey Eisen!!!:-)

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