Greg Prato: Author of THE ERIC CARR STORY
Interview by JP
We are very pleased to have a chance to speak with Greg Prato, author of THE ERIC CARR STORY. Greg is the author of a number of books including TOUCHED BY MAGIC: THE TOMMY BOLIN STORY. Look for our book review this month as well. For more information about Greg and his work check out the links at the bottom of this interview. Enjoy!
You are well-known for your books about grunge and sports, why the shift into a book about 80’s Metal?
Although I detest ’80s hair metal, Kiss from the ’70s is one of my favorite hard rock bands of all-time. The Criss-Frehley-Simmons-Stanley line-up is my all-time favorite, but the ‘Creatures of the Night’ album is one of my favorite Kiss albums, even though it did not feature the original line-up. And a big reason why that album turned out as great/heavy as it did was the killer drumming of Eric Carr. Out of all the Kiss books out there, not a whole lot focus on Eric’s time in the band. And although ’80s Kiss can get painfully lame ("Uh! All Night," "Let’s Put the X in Sex," etc.), I was curious to hear the true story of that era. Hence…’The Eric Carr Story’!
Of all the 80’s Metal artists, why Eric Carr? What was so interesting about his story that it needed to be told?
The reasons mentioned above, but also, I’ve read/heard various rumors over the years regarding the last year of Eric’s life (1991), and what was going on within the band. Another interesting aspect is the "rags to riches" tale, as Eric (then known as Paul Caravello) went from working a regular job to being the drummer in one of the world’s most famous rock bands.
Did you get any co-operation, or conversely resistance from the Kiss organization?
Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, and Vinnie Vincent were asked if they’d like to be interviewed through either mutual acquaintances or press contacts, and either I didn’t hear back (Gene, Paul, Peter) or was turned down (Ace, Vinnie). But even without their participation, I was able to get great interviews with such major Kiss figures as Bill Aucoin (sadly, one of his last-ever interviews), Bob Ezrin, Bruce Kulick, Eric’s sister Loretta Caravello, Eric’s girlfriend Carrie Stevens, etc.
Were there other people who refused to be interviewed?
If you count the no response from Gene, Paul, and Peter, and the thumbs down from Ace and Vinnie, I guess them.
Kiss fans are legion. How has reception to the story been among the faithful members of the Kiss Army?
Very favorable from the email feedback I’ve received. Eddie Trunk has been a great supporter of the book. He even was kind enough to make it a "Pick of the Week" on an episode of ‘That Metal Show‘ (when Ace was a guest):
From conception to publication how long did THE ERIC CARR STORY take?
It took about a year of solid work.
Why did you choose to publish independently?
Some of my books have come out through a publisher, some I have done independently. The pro’s of going the indie route is you are the king (or queen) of the project – you have complete control over it. I felt that ‘The Eric Carr Story’ was best suited to be done through a print-on-demand company, Lulu.com, of which I’ve done quite a few books with and have been happy with the end result (‘A Devil on One Shoulder: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon,’ ‘MTV Ruled the World,’ etc.).
Why did you decide to let the interviews take the main focus, rather than writing prose and integrating the interviews?
Even before I was a published writer, when I would read features in magazines, I always enjoyed Q&A’s the most. The reason being because you’re getting the story straight from the horses’ mouth, not an author who wasn’t there giving their side of the story. I’d rather read/learn the true story, from people that personally knew the subject or were on the scene.
What were the greatest surprises that were revealed to you during the interview process?
When producer Michael James Jackson said that Ace did indeed play a bit on the ‘Creatures’ album (something that Gene and Paul have denied over the years), Bob Ezrin finally explaining what the heck the real story line is to ‘(Music From) the Elder,’ Eric’s relationship with the other members of Kiss during the last year of his life, etc.
Have you considered working with the estate of Eric Carr to write a script or develop his life-story into a film?
No I have not, but that’s a great idea! Some of my other books I feel would make great movies, too (especially ‘A Devil on One Shoulder: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon’ and ‘Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story’).
Do you have any other Metal related projects in development?
No metal-related projects, but my first non-music book was published recently, titled ‘Sack Exchange: The Definitive Oral History of the 1980’s New York Jets.’ As the title states, it’s about the Jets football team, for which I interviewed such gentlemen as Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, etc. You can find more info about it here.
Famous last words?
Long live Eric Carr!