Stan "Doc" Penridge, musician, producer and co-writer of several songs for the rock band KISS, including their top-ten single "Beth", died in his sleep May 11 at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 50 years old.|
Penridge began his musical career upon moving to the New York area in the late 1960s. In 1970, he joined the band Chelsea, which featured a drummer who was already going by the stage name Peter Criss. Penridge and Criss continued working together, in Chelsea and other musical groups, until 1972 when Criss joined Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in a band that would evolve into KISS.
Penridge moved on to work with other bands, both rock and country, but was invited into the KISS circle when the band decided to record a song he and Criss had written back in their Chelsea days. As Penridge related later, the ballad had originally been written as a joke about another band member's wife named Becky, who would continuously interrupt band practices with requests for her husband to come home. In 1976, Penridge, Criss and producer Bob Ezrin rewrote the song as the sentimental ballad "Beth", which is still heard today on many radio stations. It appeared on the DESTROYER album and became a Top-Ten hit, helping propel the band beyond cult status with hard-rock fans to the mainstream of public consciousness.
Penridge continued to write for KISS throughout the 1970s, including most of the songs on Peter Criss' 1978 solo album. After Criss left the band in 1980, Penridge worked with Criss on his first post-KISS solo album, OUT OF CONTROL. The next couple of years saw Criss and Penridge working on different projects, but they re-teamed in 1983 to create a touring band called the Criss-Penridge Alliance. The Alliance lasted until late 1984, when Penridge and Criss again decided to go their separate ways.
After the breakup, Penridge moved to Texas and became an independent musician/producer for acts in the Austin, Texas, area, concentrating mainly on Jazz and Country acts. He also continued to work on his own recordings and was finishing work on a solo album at the time of his death.
Penridge leaves behind his wife Nell on the eve of their 30th wedding anniversary and his son, Jesse, along with other family members and friends.