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Eric Singer, Hollywood on March 20, 2012
|Birth name||Eric Doyle Mensinger|
May 12, 1958 |
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal, progressive metal, power metal|
Eric Singer (born Eric Doyle Mensinger; May 12, 1958) is an American hard rock and heavy metal drummer, best known as a member of Kiss, portraying The Catman originally played by Peter Criss. He has also performed with artists such as Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Lita Ford, Badlands, and Gary Moore as well as his own band ESP. In his career, Singer has appeared on over 75 albums and 11 EPs.
Singer was born Eric Doyle Mensinger in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in Euclid, Ohio. His father, Johnny Mensinger, was of German descent and was a local big band leader who played around the area as well as on cruise ships from the States to Europe and back. Young Eric began playing drums from an early age, and was inspired by bands such as Humble Pie, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles and Queen and drummers such as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Cozy Powell, Roger Taylor, Bill Ward, and Buddy Rich.
Eric worked at King Musical instruments before going pro.
Singer's first professional drumming job was in the Cleveland band Beau Coup then as Lita Ford's touring drummer in 1984. In 1985 he joined Black Sabbath, replacing original drummer Bill Ward, who had left the band after the Live Aid reunion. Singer would participate in the recording of the albums Seventh Star and The Eternal Idol and was invited by his Black Sabbath colleague Ray Gillen to join the latter's new formed band Badlands. Singer accepted and played on the band's self-titled debut album. Singer left the group in 1989 as he would join Paul Stanley as his touring drummer on his solo tour of the United States and Canada. Singer played with Olivia Newton-John in the music video for "Culture Shock". He later revealed in an interview that he obtained that gig because he was working for Lita Ford at the time.
In December 1991, Singer officially became the drummer for Kiss after the death of Eric Carr. Singer, who had performed with Paul Stanley on his club tour along with Bob Kulick two years earlier, was hired and debuted with the band on the album Revenge, on which he was originally slated to fill in on some tracks while Eric Carr recuperated from heart cancer. Singer played on Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions and toured with Kiss until 1996, when the band reunited with original drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley for the Alive/Worldwide Tour.
After five relatively quiet years, during which Singer toured with Queen guitarist Brian May, Singer was asked to rejoin Kiss in 2001 after Criss' departure shortly before the Australian and Japanese leg of Kiss' Farewell tour. Singer debuted in full "Catman" makeup and costume for the first time on the tour, which caused some controversy as the persona had previously been used only by Criss. Singer was replaced again by Criss in 2003 but returned to the band by the end of the year after Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley opted not to renew Criss' contract. Since then, Singer has been playing drums in Kiss as their permanent drummer. In 2009, Singer, along with lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, played and sang on the KISS album Sonic Boom, the first studio album to feature the new line-up. It included the track "All for the Glory" (written by Stanley and Simmons) with vocals by Singer. In October 2012, KISS released their 20th studio album Monster which includes a track called "All for the Love of Rock & Roll" sung by Singer (written by Stanley).
In a 2008 interview, Peter Criss stated that he thought Singer was a great drummer, despite being upset about Singer using his image.
Eric Singer Project, Alice Cooper and other projects
When not touring with Kiss, Singer performed with Alice Cooper. Singer had been a member of Cooper's band since the release of the album Brutal Planet in 2000. Singer had already performed with Cooper years earlier, during the tour for the album Hey Stoopid. Singer has been featured on three Alice Cooper albums to date, namely, Brutal Planet, The Eyes of Alice Cooper, and Along Came a Spider. Due to his growing commitments with Kiss as well as with the Eric Singer Project (ESP), he has not played in Alice Cooper's band since 2008.
He has also occasionally performed and recorded with his own ESP, featuring, among others, his former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick and former Mötley Crüe lead singer John Corabi. Three releases have resulted from this collaboration: the studio album Lost and Spaced (1998), consisting completely of covers from classic rock songs; the live album Live in Japan (2006); and the DVD Live at the Marquee (2006).
Singer has also played in the band Avantasia, replacing drummer Alex Holzwarth after a guest performance in the song "Into the Unknown" from the album The Metal Opera Part II. Two EPs and one full album have been released with Singer's performance on the drums: Lost in Space Part I, Lost in Space Part II, and The Scarecrow, and on several songs from The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon.
In 2004 Singer was featured on Italian rock singer Chris Catena's debut album, Freak Out. He recorded drums for two tracks, "Sweet Talker" (a Whitesnake cover) and "The Stronger You Are, The Harder You Fall".
In 2015 Singer was elected to the jury of watchmaking's highest awards, the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). He is a well known in collectors circles as a collector of eclectic timepieces from his home town favorite Ball to expensive Glashutte Origina, Zenith, Omega and IWC. His keen eye to mechanics and artistic design encouraged the GPHG to invite him to join the rotating group of 26 jurors in Geneva this November as they select the best watches of 2015.
Throughout his career, Singer has used Pearl drums, hardware and pedals, Terry Bozzio Attack signature drumheads, Zildjian cymbals and Ddrum acoustic drum triggers. Singer has his own signature series snare drum and artist series drumsticks by Pearl, and Zildjian also makes its own "Eric Singer Artist Series" drumsticks.
Solo - Eric Singer Project
- Lost and Spaced (1998)
- ESP (1999)
- ESP Live in Japan (2007)
- ESP Live at the Marquee
- Leaf, David; Ken Sharp (2003). Kiss: Behind The Mask – The Official Authorized Biography. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc. ISBN 0-446-53073-5.
- Sherman, Dale (2009). Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of KISS (10th Anniversary Edition). Burlington ON, Canada: CG Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-894959-92-6.
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