Peter Criss – ‘Out of Control’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series – Bonus Edition)

His name is George Peter John Criscuola, but you know him as Peter Criss thanks to a little band he was in called Kiss. On May 18, 1980, it was official that Peter Criss was fired from the band. According to Peter he quit, but Gene, Ace and Bill Aucoin all say he was fired. He did have one last duty before he left the band and that was film the music video for the song ‘Shandi’ off the ‘Unmasked’ album. When that video shoot was done, so was Peter. A sad day in Kisstory as the first of the original four had left the band. Kiss as we knew it had changed forever (or at least until 1996 when a Reunion Tour was announced)

Peter didn’t waste any time and put together a solo album so he could keep his name out there and try to make it as a solo artist now. So in just a few short months, on September 8, 1980, Peter released his second solo album called “Out of Control”. The Kiss Peter Criss solo album was the first. The album tanked and did not do well at all. I believe there are two reasons for that failure. First, Peter was on the same label as Kiss, Casablanca. Kiss had been with Casablanca since the beginning and you can bet your ass they were not going to let Peter’s album do well so I am sure they pulled some strings with their label to not push this album as hard as they push a Kiss album. I’m not saying this is true, but I’m saying it is a major possibility. Just ask John Sykes about his Blue Murder album which was on Geffen, the same label as his former band Whitesnake.

The second reason this album didn’t do well probably stems from his first solo album under the Kiss brand. That music was not rock, it was not Kiss, it was Lounge Rock as a fellow blogger described it. Think Rod Stewart without the songs or the talent and you have an idea. That scared off a lot of people and when the first single came out, it was pretty much more of the same.

The album cover was done by artist Todd Schorr, who took an idea from Peter and turned into this, let us say interesting, cover. The blonde chick on the lower left is based on Peter’s wife at the time, Debra Jensen. The picture is a jukebox exploding and records flying all over the place. The picture screams 70’s to me and feels dated so not a timeless cover.

Peter does write 9 of the 10 songs, one is a cover and 8 of those songs are co-written with his former Chelsea and Lips bandmate, Stan Penridge who also played guitar on the album. It surprised me that the two didn’t form their own band, but I understand them wanting to capitalize on Peter’s name since he was with Kiss. Alright, that is enough behind the music stuff, let us actually get to the music.

SIDE 1:

The first song, and first single, is “By Myself”. It is a ballad and a strange song to kick off the album. I guess he figured since his big Kiss hits were ballad let’s kick it off with one. The song is about him being solo…by myself…get it. It is cheesy, sappy and probably the worst song to open an album. However, it is Peter and it is the type of music he prefers it is just a bad opening track as it doesn’t suck you in, it puts you to sleep.

The next song, “In Trouble Again” is much better and kicks things up a notch. It is a more rocking tracking with a solid groove and Peter’s vocals fit nicely with this one as that gravely vocal works well. Plus there is a little cowbell, never have enough of that. The highlight is a nice guitar solo by Stan which makes the song rock out pretty good. The keyboards on it are a little much, but don’t detract a whole lot as it is still an enjoyable song.

“Where Will They Run” changes things up again as this one is more R&B and soul with a nice bass groove. Think Hall & Oates, but not quite as good. It is a little slower tempo and with nothing of note to mention, the song is kind of a sleeper track at least until George Young whips out the saxophone and the song then has one nice little moment.

Then with “I Found Love” we jump into the 80’s with a synthesizer keyboard overload. The song is about his finding love with his Playmate wife, Debra Jensen. It is a pure pop song and it is a little catchy and I kind of like it…a little…okay I like this one for some strange reason. I am sucker for 80’s synth pop I guess.

Side 1 ends with “There’s Nothing Better”, which was written for Dynasty but not used obviously. It is another rocking track with some nice piano work. Very upbeat, but with horns and this pop feel to it, it would’ve need to be re-worked to be on a Kiss album. It is too chipper for Dynasty, the horns would have to go. Otherwise, not a bad song, not a great one, but not bad either. I mean it does have a guitar solo. One thing of note, with Peter being the drummer, you think the drums would’ve been more front and center, but they aren’t. He focused on the songs and the singing.

SIDE 2:

This side kicks off with the title track, “Out of Control”. This has Peter’s raspy vocals showing that he really is a decent rock singer, his material is usually the problem but not here. More piano and synths, as they are prevalent on most or all the songs. Peter does a good job on this one, I like his grit and probably one of the better songs on the album.

Then we get to “Words” and well, I should probably just leave it with that. It is a slowed down song that seems pretty lifeless and I don’t think bad is a strong enough term.

“You Better Run” is up next and we get a Pat Benatar cover song…wait…Pat’s is a cover song…ok. Well here we have a Young Rascals cover song. Peter keeps it rocking, for a song that seems to be about revenge, I don’t really hear the anger or urgency in wanting to get that revenge. It is lackluster at best and truly unbelievable. Plus, I can’t get Pat out of my head so I don’t think this is anywhere near as good as her version which to me is the most exceptional version of this song.

“My Life” is up next and plods along going nowhere. It falls flat and has way too much piano which is too loud in the mix and almost drowns out Peter’s vocals.

The album finally comes to an end with “Feel Like Letting Go” which is exactly how I feel after listening to Side 2. The song opens with a piano and I swear I was about to hear Elton John start singing, but sadly that was not the case. This is one of those songs that he is trying to make it sound bigger than it really is and for me misses the mark wildly. Now at the very end of this track is a hidden track called “As Time Goes By (intro)” and Peter sings the first two lines which are “You must remember this… a kiss is still a kiss…” which I am guessing is a little shout out to his former band.

Track Listing:

  1. By Myself – Delete
  2. In Trouble Again – Keeper
  3. Where Will They Run? – Delete
  4. I Found Love – Keeper
  5. There’s Nothing Better – Keeper (1/2 point)
  6. Out of Control – Keeper
  7. Words – Delete
  8. You Better Run – Delete
  9. My Life – Delete
  10. Feel Like Letting Go – Delete

The Track Score is only 3 1/2 out of 10 for a Score of 35%. I would say it got better with every listen, which it did up until a point that it didn’t. I liked Side 1 better than Side 2, but the biggest problems were the songs. They weren’t that good. I think they tried to do too much and tried to make the songs bigger than they were or they could handle. It did have its moments, but I am not a big fan of this style especially in 1980 this would not have been on my radar. I will say I liked his Kiss solo album better. My overall score on this one is a 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars.

Next Up: Kiss – The Elder (1981)

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!

The Kiss Review Series:

  1. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  2. Kiss – Kiss (1974)
  3. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  4. Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
  5. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  6. Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  7. Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
  8. Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
  9. Kiss – The Originals (1976)
  10. Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
  11. Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
  12. Kiss – Alive II (1977)
  13. Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
  14. Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
  15. Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
  16. Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
  17. Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
  18. Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978) Movie
  19. Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
  20. Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
  21. Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
  22. Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)

The Bootleg Series:

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)

Kiss – The Box Set:

Gene Simmons – The Vault:

20 thoughts on “Peter Criss – ‘Out of Control’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series – Bonus Edition)

  1. Think Rod Stewart without the songs or the talent and you have an idea. A good read. Thanks, I remember when this album came out, I liked Kiss at the time but have never, ever heard the album. Not sure I will either, but I like his s/t album, just for nostalgia purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for taking one for the team and reviewing this album John. lol Who knows what was running through Pete’s head at this time. Too bad he couldn’t have made a rock album along the lines of some his tunes in Kiss like Hooligan or even Dirty Livin. You know jive it up a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I listened to some today… I wish he would have had better songs. I always liked his voice probably better than the others. I like gravelly voices but if the songs are weak…they are weak… it takes great singers to overcome them…and sometimes that is not enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good point about it being about the songs themselves – they can try to make the sound as big as they can (or dress it up with whatever bells & whistles they decide), but if you’re not starting with good songs, it’s just not going to be a keeper

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He wished a Kiss was still a Kiss, didn’t he? He soon found out that he really wasn’t still a Kiss, and couldn’t bank on guaranteed success. I like how they playfully had no pictures of his face on the cover.

    I dunno, I seem to really wanna root for Peter, and I have memories of liking this album more than I actually do like it. As I’m reading along I’m like, “He’s right about that, he’s right about that, he’s definitely right about that…”

    Liked by 1 person

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