Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley discussed KISS drummer Eric Carr dying from cancer in a new Howard Stern interview.
Stanley told Stern, “I’m not a big believer in mistakes. I believe that everything you do gets you to where you wind up, and without those mistakes, you wouldn’t succeed on the level you could have. But the one thing that I think personally was a mistake was when our second drummer, Eric Carr, got sick with cancer.”
Carr’s coudn’t drum to his fullest abilities when recording of “God Gave Rock ‘n Roll to You II” commenced in February of 1991 for the soundtrack to “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” and he was replaced by Eric Singer. Carr still sang backing vocals.
Paul Stanley said in his book that Carr wanted to keep playing, “Eric desperately wanted to work on the song, but he was still very frail. If I knew then what I know now — I never thought this might be his last chance to perform — I would have let him play, but at the time I was sure that he would beat the odds.”
“Once we told him we were going to record Revenge, he cut himself off from us. … Though I thought I had made the best choices at the time, I began to realize I’d been wrong. We had cut Eric off in perhaps the worst way, by denying him what mattered most to him — his place in Kiss.”
Stanley told Stern he was in denial about Carr dying, “He had heart cancer, which, there’s [only] six cases a year. At first we didn’t believe it could possibly be true, and over a short time, it became clearer. He had major heart surgery. And I think that the brain just doesn’t let you comprehend — at least it didn’t in that case — mortality.
“I didn’t believe that he could possibly die. I thought this was a new ongoing condition: ‘OK, he’s got this and then it’ll go away.’ And had I known, I think we would have treated it more sensitively. We took care of him, we paid his medical bills, but we also told him, ‘We’re going to continue as a band while he’s sick.’ Well, he wasn’t ‘while he’s sick.’ He was dying.”
Gene Simmons added, “We flew to Eric’s bedside immediately, as soon as we knew he went to the hospital, and [asked], ‘Is there anything we can do?’ All that. And Paul’s right — you just [think], ‘Oh, he’s sick, he’s in the hospital.’ You just don’t think he’s going to pass away.”
Stanley concluded, “In hindsight, you go, Wait a minute. They told us he had this cancer that affects six people a year, and somehow we were just able to … we did what we thought was caring, but we didn’t take into account the depth of what was happening. So yes, I feel bad about that, and he rightfully pulled himself away from us and felt betrayed.”