When Kiss Scolded ‘Rolling Stone’ for Ignoring Eric Carr’s Death
When Kiss drummer Eric Carr died on Nov. 24, 1991, outlets across the globe reported the news. There was, however, one notable exception: Rolling Stone.
The esteemed rock periodical didn’t acknowledge Carr in its December issue, understandable given printing, production and turnaround time. But it didn’t mention the drummer in the January issue either. The omission was enough to prompt Kiss to pen a strongly worded letter to the magazine.
“We were shocked and saddened at your obvious choice to ignore the death of our drummer, Eric Carr, who fought a valiant and relentless year-long battle with cancer,” the letter began. “During the past 11 years, while your editor has tried to deny our existence, Eric played over 800 concerts to millions of fans around the world and drummed on albums that sold over 8 million copies.”
The letter further declared that Rolling Stone’s decision to collectively ignore Carr’s death represented “a sad statement about your misguided quest for ‘artistic purity.’”
From there, Kiss acknowledged that the magazine clearly had little interest in covering the band. Still, they asserted, “omitting the death of a musician of Eric Carr’s stature, regardless of your personal views and tastes, is inexcusable.”
The letter can be seen in its entirety below.
Decades later, when Kiss were finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the subject raised its head once more. The band was told by the institution that only its founding members - Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss - would earn enshrinement. Carr was among the notable former Kiss members left out.
“I don’t need the Hall of Fame,” Stanley declared in an interview to none other than Rolling Stone. “And if there’s not reciprocity, I’m not interested. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, practically every member was inducted, and virtually all 175 members of the Grateful Dead. Rules need to apply to everybody.”
Rolling Stone and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame were linked by Jann Wenner, who co-founded both the magazine and the institution. The media magnate never commented on Carr or Kiss directly, but that didn’t stop the band from accusing him of favoritism.
“It would have been interesting for Jann Wenner to have met Eric Carr. He would have come face-to-face with someone who still lived and believed in the spirit of rock 'n' roll - the same spirit this magazine was founded on but has long forsaken,” Kiss’ 1991 letter declared before insinuating that Wenner entered the rock world only “as a stepping stone to cocktail parties or society functions.”
The band struck a similar tone following the Hall of Fame omission, even though it didn't mention Wenner by name. “There is no getting around the reality that the Hall of Fame's favoritism and preferential treatment towards artists they like goes as far as asking the Grateful Dead how many members they wanted the hall to induct, and following their directive while also including a songwriter who was never in the actual band,” Stanley stated in the letter. “Let's just accept the truth as it is and move on.”