Criss Leaves Kiss

Founding drummer off Kiss's Japan and Australia tours

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Kiss's last hurrah may not feature the original fearsome foursome, because Peter Criss has left the band. He will not be with the band for their tours of Japan and Australia, which begin March 13th and March 29th, respectively.

Eric Singer, who was a member of Kiss from 1991 to 1996 (before the return of Criss, guitarist Ace Frehley and the band's trademark makeup) and currently a member of Alice Cooper's band, will replace Criss, cat makeup and all.

"We've taken the point of view, always, that the team's more important than any of its members," Gene Simmons said when asked to explain Criss's departure. "Imagine you have kids and there's more than one mom or more than one dad, and unfortunately you get shuttled between the families. Somehow it's all one big family. It's not always a happy family."

Alice Cooper's management was surprised by the news of Singer's return to Kiss, because Cooper's own Australian tour begins in Newcastle on April 13, the same date as Kiss's Australian finale. "We have not heard from Eric, who is on vacation in Bangkok this week," said a representative of Cooper's management. "We have no reason to believe he will not be drumming with Alice on tour in April and May, but he obviously cannot do both."

As for Criss, Simmons suggests that he might be behind the drum kit when the band plays its final U.S. dates on their farewell tour. "We hope that Peter won't let the legal guys, and we won't let our legal guys, stop us from ending the show together, the very last of our shows in America, [when] we will be hanging up our hats -- our platform heels, actually."

Criss's last show (for now anyway) was on Oct. 7 at South Carolina's North Charleston Coliseum. Simmons would not say where Kiss's final shows will be, but insiders speculate that they will take place in their hometown of New York later this year.