He was sitting in the remains of his Hollywood apartment after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which killed 57, injured nearly 9000 and caused over $20bn of damage.
And although he had a bag containing $100,000 in cash, Criss was haunted by the fact that he’d once been worth over $12m.
In an excerpt from his book, published by Rolling Stone, the drummer tells how he thought: “I’m going to fucking die in some shithole apartment – Jesus, I don’t believe you’re going to take me this way.”
The quake, which forced land to move by as much as 16 metres per second, brought about the destruction of Criss’ gold discs, expensive crystal glass collection and sent him running out of his home at 3am, clutching the bag of cash he was hiding from tax officials.
Hours later, when he was allowed to re-enter his property, he found the electricity was off and his bathroom was destroyed so he couldn’t wash off the dirt of the day’s events.
Criss says: “I thought to myself, ‘Why should I keep going? What do you have to live for? Your two marriages have gone to shit. You hardly see your daughter. You got a hundred grand but you were worth twelve million at one point.’ Life had just been a fucking nightmare.”
He took his .357 Magnum out and placed it into his mouth That was the moment he thought about his mother, who’d died three years previously. “I always realised how hard she’d worked for me to be something,” he says. “If I offed myself, how could I meet her again in Heaven? Suddenly there was an immense feeling of faith in that room.”
Criss put the gun away and decided to get on with his life – but he reflects: “This was far from a bluff, because there was nobody there that I was bluffing.”
Meanwhile, the cover of new Kiss album Monster has been branded “so lazy” by a long-time fan and blogger Jake Weston.
Writing on movie, music and games review site We Got This Covered, Weston says: “Part of Kiss‘ appeal stems from their album covers. Virtually all of their make-up era album covers are iconic in their own right, from their eponymous debut, to albums like Destroyer and Creatures of the Night.
“There are a multitude of things wrong with the cover of Monster, but the biggest issue is that there isn’t anything remotely special or eye grabbing about it. It’s just a stock picture of the band, the kind you would expect to find on the band’s website circa 2002.
“Kiss may be known for being marketing whores, but at least it usually seems like they put a little effort into it. I’ve put up with a lot of their shenanigans over the years – this really shakes my confidence. To see my heroes appear so lazy is just a little bit heartbreaking.”
-Classic Rock Magazine