Eric Carr (born Paul Charles Caravello; July 12, 1950 – November 24, 1991) was an American musician, best known as the drummer for the rock band Kiss from 1980 to 1991. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left, when he chose the stage name "Eric Carr" and took up the "Fox" persona. He remained a band member until his death of complications from heart cancer on November 24, 1991 at the age of 41 (the same day that Freddie Mercury died).
Carr was born on July 12, 1950, to Albert and Connie Caravello. He was born and grew up in the Brownsville section of the East New York of Brooklyn, in New York City. Because his father worked most of the time, Carr didn't see that much of him, and "never went to a baseball game or that kind of stuff" with his father. He spent a lot of time alone in his room, playing with toy soldiers and toy monsters.
Caravello attended the High School of Art and Design. He planned at first to be a cartoonist, then changed his mind quickly thereafter and decided to study photography. According to him, he ended up wasting "absolutely every day of high school. I got no work done, did nothing to further my career, wasted time, and wound up getting drunk in the darkroom with my friends all the time. We never got caught because we could see through the one-way glass whenever a teacher would come. It wasn't like I was getting drunk every day, you know. Half a cup of vodka in those days was enough to get you drunk." However, he has described himself as overall "a real good kid. I didn't do anything to make trouble."
Caravello was one of only two students in his high school who had long hair, mostly due to his love of the Beatles. He recalled that "I used to Dippity-Do my hair down, to make it stay flat. I used to have a Beatles haircut, but my hair's curly, so I couldn't get it to lay flat like the Beatles'. So I'd get the stuff Dippity-Do, drench my hair with it, and I'd take a piece of my Mom's nylon stocking, tie a knot in one end, and pull it over my head like a burglar. I was sleeping like that for probably two years with that on my head every night."
Caravello graduated high school in 1968. At around that time, riots started to occur in New York City, followed by white flight that started to make his neighborhood more predominantly African-American. Caravello stated that this was not a real concern to him, because "I never had any problems with anybody, I had black friends, and I never grew up thinking in those kinds of terms."
While still in high school, Caravello began playing with a string of bands mostly performing covers of Top 40 songs. As he described it later, "Top-40 in those days was everything – funk, ballads, rock, country, and everything. It was a great time for radio." His first band, The Cellarmen, was formed in 1965 by him and several of his friends. They started playing local clubs in Brooklyn and Queens. Only a handful of recordings were made, released on the "Jody" label, a small Brooklyn recording studio. Caravello then joined a band called "Things That Go Bump In The Night" and later "Smack", the latter of which consisted mostly of members from The Cellarmen, who disbanded in 1968.
In 1970, Caravello joined the band Salt & Pepper, which started as a cover band playing music from multiple genres; the band was named that because half of the members were black and half were white. In 1973 the band changed their name to Creation, now performing disco music.
Tragedy struck in 1974, when a fire broke out during a discothèque gig at Gulliver's restaurant in Port Chester, New York, killing dozens of people including the band's keyboardist and lead singer. Caravello escaped and was credited with saving another person, one of the band's female singers. It was determined that the fire had been started by a thief in an adjacent building hoping to cover his tracks.
The band continued on, sometimes using the name "Bionic Boogie". They held a benefit to replace their ruined equipment. Carr would go on with the band until 1979. They enjoyed some success, performing as an opening act for established names such as Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone. The band broke up in late 1979. He later described the band as "like my family basically for nine years."
In December 1979, Caravello successfully auditioned for a four-piece rock 'n' roll cover band called Flasher. After three weeks of rehearsals, they started playing at clubs.
At this point he had become discouraged about his musical future after so many years trying to make it without a break, and considered settling down with a non-musical career. "...we were making real (lousy) money – something like $10, $7 a night, whatever it was it was. Really, really terrible. Just by contrast, I used to make $15 a night when I was like 16 years old, and here I am almost 30 years old, and I'm making like $7 a night! So I wasn't doing better, obviously – I was going in reverse, you know!
"I was (repairing gas ranges) during the day to keep my car going, because I had a 1973 Dodge Colt, that used to break down, oil used to shoot out (of it). (I worked on) just regular gas stoves that people use in their house. And that was horrendous, that was pretty hair-raising!" Caravello was also working for his father as an oven repair man for Jamaica Stove in Brooklyn.
Flasher played the club circuit in New York City and Long Island for several months, before their keyboard player, Paul Turino quit; they then continued as a power trio, with the three sharing vocal duties. They played songs by Joe Jackson, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among others."
Bookings diminished, and Caravello handed in his resignation in May 1980. At that point, he considered quitting music, having reached the age of 30 without any real success.
Shortly afterwards, he had a chance meeting with Turino in a club in Queens; Turino told Caravello about Peter Criss' departure from Kiss, and urged Caravello to audition to become Kiss' drummer.
Caravello applied for Kiss, submitting a cassette tape of Kiss' current single "Shandi" but with his vocals over the music instead of Paul Stanley's.
"It sounded great!" he enthused years later. The application was put into a bright orange folder to make it stand out visually. Jane Grod, a KISS staffer, told him later she had noticed the brightly colored envelope and so picked it to be one reviewed from the pile.
While sitting outside the actual room used for the audition, Caravello watched the three members of Kiss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley, walk by to enter the room. He was one of the few people outside of the band's circle of friends, family, and music business partners, to see Kiss without make-up. "Paul, I knew right away", he told a fanzine in 1990. "The others I wasn't sure about."
Caravello was the last drummer to audition for the band and actually asked Stanley, Simmons and Frehley to autograph the list of Kiss songs he was to play with the band, in case he never saw them again. "But I knew I had it", he told a fanzine in 1990. According to Caravello, his audition was videotaped. He was also immediately comfortable, feeling the songs he had to play "...were a snap." He knew the arrangements better than the band did, from learning the recorded versions off Kiss' albums. "They had been on tour, and changed little things around," he said. He wasn't impressed with Kiss' performance at the audition. "They were awful!" he emphasized, "I had to remind them, "'No, I sing this harmony, you sing that one', stuff like that. It was great! Right away we were working together. I know it impressed them."
A significant advantage for Caravello may have been his relative anonymity, as it was important for the band to maintain the mystique surrounding the members. Said Paul Stanley, "It was really important to us that we got somebody who was unknown... We didn't want somebody who last week was in Rod Stewart's band or in Rainbow(referring to Carmine Appice who joined Stewart in 1977 and also played on Stanley's 1978 solo album and then referring to Bobby Rondinelli who turned down the spot)." The press release announcing the induction of Caravello into Kiss deducted three years from his actual age in order to confuse those seeking information about his true identity.
Eric Carr Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 4.
(pictures coming soon.)
Drumstick Price Guide
Eric Carr died 29 years ago, so you will not find any drumsticks newer than this. All authentic Eric Carr sticks command a premium.
|2014-02-16||Eric Carr||New||1982-1983 Creatures of the Night tour, Rug Caddy 2B silver print, small KISS logo (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||443.00|
|2014-01-16||Eric Carr||Used||1983-01-03 Creatures of the Night tour, Nashville, TN with ticket (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||448.48|
|2014-02-16||Eric Carr||New||1983-1984 Lick it Up tour, Rug Caddy 2B black print on maple drumstick, KISS logo (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||432.00|
|2014-01-16||Eric Carr||Used||1985-03-01 Animalize tour, Edmonton, CAN with ticket, cracked, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||273.60|
|2014-01-23||Eric Carr||Used||1987-1988 Crazy Nights tour, Calato Regal Tip 2B - silver sig/silver outlined KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||High/Market||SOLD||507.90|
|2014-03-16||Eric Carr||New||1987-1988 Crazy Nights tour, Calato Regal Tip 2B - silver sig/silver outlined KISS logo, eggshell white (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||440.00|
|2014-03-01||Eric Carr||Used||1987-1988 Crazy Nights tour, Calato Regal Tip 2B - silver sig/silver outlined KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||410.00|
|2014-02-08||Eric Carr||Used||1987-1988 Crazy Nights tour, Calato Regal Tip 2B - silver sig/silver outlined KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Low/Market||SOLD||380.99|
|2014-02-16||Eric Carr||Used||1990 Hot in the Shade tour, KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Low||SOLD||213.50|
|2014-03-19||Eric Carr||Used||1990 Hot in the Shade tour, black ink, KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||320.00|
|2014-02-08||Eric Carr||New||1990 Hot in the Shade tour, black ink, KISS logo (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||336.00|
|2014-03-21||Eric Carr||Used||1990 Hot in the Shade tour, black ink, KISS logo, wrapped (single)||eBay Auction||Low||SOLD||207.50|