|By Angela Monger (Drummers Of KISS)|
Angela: How did you meet Eric Carr?
Carrie: I met Eric in Memphis, TN. I was living there and attending MSU. I was a KISS fan, and went to the Crazy Nights concert the night before. But the night I met him I happened to be hanging out at the bar Eric was at. I overheard him talking with some of his crew about getting a cab to go see a band play at another bar, and I said "I have a car, I'll take you." The rest is history.
Angela: What attracted you to Eric?
Carrie: At first I was attracted to Eric because he was a rock star, and that was my dream come true. But after I really fell in love with him, it became the only thing that I didn't like about him. It added tremendous pressure to our relationship. I loved the simple things we shared, I loved just doing nothing together, and laughing with each other. Somehow, when you're with someone famous publicly, it's not just about the two of you; it's not your own little world. And it was hard, being so young to learn to share him with the world. But, he needed a connection to his fans and the people who loved him. He was a "people person". He was a combination - very dynamic, and very gentle. I grew to be attracted to everything about him. I couldn't sum it up in a word, I just remember being insanely attracted to and crazy in love with him.
Angela: What was your relationship with Eric like?
Carrie: My relationship with Eric was intense. I miss being loved so much. He gave me so much support and guidance. Because of him, I started acting and modeling. He gave me the self-esteem. He told me to follow my dreams. So, I got into acting classes, and started going on appointments with agents and casting directors. He used to always ask what he could do for me to help my career. He would help me learn lines for my auditions over the phone when he was on tour! And eight years before I had the courage to test for Playboy, he told me I could do it. There were 19 years between us, so he taught me quite a bit. The age difference also caused many silly fights, all of which I regret deeply. Sometimes I can't figure out what he saw in me back then. I think he just wanted someone really real (because he was so down to earth), and that I was. I am just lucky I had him. He was my king, my world; I really looked up to him, and learned from him. Because I felt that way, it made it all the more difficult to watch him deteriorate in illness.
Angela: What are the best memories of Eric that you have?
Carrie: There are so many. Everytime I go to the grocery store I still remember all the things he would insist on getting, just so "I would have them". I have a garment bag he insisted on giving me even though I said I didn't want it, but he said I'd use it someday. Now I bring it to every shoot. It's all of the little things that no one knew but us, the things that seem too unimportant to repeat out loud. I loved the way he gave me breakfast in bed every morning, and sent me flowers for no reason. I loved the way he could pick out clothes for me, how he would send me postcards from every city just to let me know he was thinking of me. I loved the way he respected me, and took care of me. When I was upset about anything he would get out a pen and paper and write down all of my problems, then one by one solve them for me!
Angela: What is your fondest memory of Eric?
Carrie: There isn't a fondest memory, but one that stands out in my mind is the time he bought me a refrigerator. I know that doesn't sound like the most romantic gift, but that's when I knew he was serious about me. Another special memory is that he came back to Hardwick, Mass., my hometown, with me. When I was growing up there, I actually had KISS posters on my bedroom wall, and I used to dream of growing up and bringing my man to see where I was from...but I never dreamed it would be the guy on my wall!
Angela: How were you able to keep Eric's spirits up during his illness?
Carrie: Eric and I spent much quality time together during his illness. During his chemo treatments, I stayed at the hospital with him and kept him company. I used to braid his hair for him to salvage what was left, and try to bring him food he would like. We made arts and crafts at the hospital, saw a lot of movies, and read books and said positive affirmations from Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life". In between treatments we went to every museum and concert in New York City, spent time with his family, went horseback riding. I was still madly attracted to him and he couldn't understand why, but I told him that it wasn't what he looked like that made me want him, it was how he made me feel when I was around him.
Angela: Were you and Eric still close when he passed away?
Carrie: For a couple of months before he passed away, he was unable to speak and was in and out of comas in the hospital. I was close to him as long as I could be. After I couldn't be there anymore, I would write him letters that I still have, that I thought he would be able to read someday, and know that I was always thinking of him. It never occurred to me that he would die, it was too painful to fathom.
Angela: How do you feel about the way Eric was treated by KISS during his illness and after his death?
Carrie: I don't feel that it is right for me to judge the way anyone treats another human being when they themselves are in pain. There was a time when I was very angry with Gene and Paul for treating Eric unfairly, but I see things differently now. I would like to think that they cared very much about Eric, but KISS is a business and it is their identity, and they feared that Eric's illness could get in the way of KISS' future. KISS wouldn't be around so long if they weren't so protective of "KISS", and I am thankful to them for giving Eric the chance to live his dreams. Everyone handles pain and stress differently. I try to be forgiving and see the best in people, because frankly, it makes peace in my heart and makes my world a happier place to live. For the record, I remember Peter Criss sending him a card. I thought that was neat...seeing his name on the return address. Bruce Kulick was always concerned, and Gary Corbett was always there.
Angela: Can you remember something that a fan did or gave to Eric that touched him or amazed him?
Carrie: He was very impressed with all of the artwork and portraits; they hung proudly in a room at his parents' home. He read his fan mail, and tried to answer it all personally. He showed me a lot of special letters. Eric always made time for his fans. He truly appreciated all of the attention he got when we were out and he was recognized by his fans. It is so kind of you all to still honor him. I know that he would be amazed...he was so humble and grateful.
Angela: How do you feel about the upcoming video to be released and all the projects that have come out so far like the Rockheads CD and shirts?
Carrie: It makes me so happy to see his dreams realized. One of his only regrets in life was that he didn't do something with the Rockheads. So, it is wonderful that now people are going to be able to enjoy them, and the great music he wrote for them. The video, of course, thrills me because I see there is a demand for more Eric Carr because people remember his magic, just like I do. I have a sense of kinship with all of the people who celebrate him; it makes me feel less alone without him. One of the reasons it is getting done is because he was so kind to Jack Sawyers, the producer, when he was working at Guitar Center, and helped him get a better job. Jack never forgot him for it. The other reason is that his sister Loretta has been relentless in keeping her brother's memory alive. I really admire her strength.
Angela: Are you involved with any of these projects?
Carrie: I will be involved in the video, I am not sure exactly to what extent. He drew a Rockhead based on me called Cariel (after his favorite "The Little Mermaid", Ariel).
Angela: Do you have any future projects, videos, movies, interviews, that we can be made aware of?
Carrie: I just finished a lead role in an independent film, called "Head Games". My web site, carriestevens.net, is under construction and will have current updates for all my projects.
Angela: Any other comments?
Carrie: I would like this opportunity to thank all of Eric's fans who wrote to me after I appeared as Playboy's Miss June '97, and after all of my TV appearances. I can understand you all remembering Eric, but that you also support me because you loved him so much, is overwhelming. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.