4/28: PAUL STANLEY BOOK REVIEW
Had a chance to read Paul Stanley’s book on my many flights lately. I was looking forward to seeing how much Paul would open up in a book like this. In my limited dealings with him over the decades I have found him to be fairly private and very sensitive to anything not in line with the current plan, so his approach to an auto biography would no doubt be interesting. Contrary to what many think, and despite whatever feelings he has about me, Paul was actually always my favorite member of the band. For a long time he was one of my favorite singers and his songs were always what I liked best in Kiss. I agree with his own feelings throughout the book that he has always been the prime driving force in the band. In much of the press he has done leading up to this book he has painted doing this for some greater more legitimate reason than most other rock books. I don’t see any great difference with this than any of the other MANY rock books out there. It is very well written, entertaining, inspiring, and told from his perspective and how he saw it, like ALL of these books are. But I don’t see a great distinction over many other good ones that are out there as Paul has said is the case with his. The one down side is that his is the last of the Kiss members books. The good; that he answers some of the others books, the bad is that many of these stories we have heard already. Especially if you consider we just had the very in depth Nothin’ To Lose as far as Kiss books for history which he was a writer on. But still for any Kiss fan this is a more than worthwhile read. But like ANY book it is his spin and take on the story as he wants to tell it. That is the case with all the books, it’s up to the reader to find the balance from four peoples perspectives when it comes to Kiss. Not surprisingly Paul’s book paints him as the guiding force in the band throughout and rarely does he ever take responsibility for anything that was bad for Kiss. For example he describes the demise of Kiss in the late 70’s to be more about the costumes and stage show than writing a disco song. I can tell you even though it was a hit, I Was Made For Loving You was DEATH to the Kiss fan base at the time and some still haven’t recovered from it. The shots at Ace and even more so Peter are expected, but more surprising are the shots at Gene and how bad their relationship was at some stages. Almost every bad decision was because of someone else it seems at times. Some other interesting things:
*No acknowledgment of what a big song “Shock Me” was for Ace and the Love Gun LP, or the success of Ace’s solo album over the others with “NY Groove”.
*Not much made of the impact “Beth” had crossing the band to an entire new audience. A huge moment in the bands history to get on the radio.
*Glosses over some of the later 80’s albums. Almost no mention of Crazy Nights and recording with noted producer Ron Nevison. Would have loved more back story on the making of the 80’s and 90’s albums.
*Talks about the many bad songs Gene mailed in during the 80’s but outside of the two on Smashes Thrashes (which were bad and he does say so!) never mentions his role in some duds as well. Bang Bang You? Read My Body? Although his material was mostly better he had some clunkers for sure along the way.
*Good to see how he admits not handling the passing of Eric Carr within the band the right way. How the band didn’t stop while Eric attempted to recover is hard to believe. It did bother Eric Carr greatly that while he was fighting cancer his band was already recording with Eric Singer, who he predicted would replace him. Def Leppard stood by their drummer when he lost an arm, Kiss could have waited to see how Carr would do. He does take this on and take responsibility and it was good to see finally.
*Didn’t acknowledge that fans at the MTV unplugged in ’95 actually booed when current band was re introduced and chanted for a reunion at the end of the taping. I was in the audience. It was an avalanche that resulted in the reunion in ’96.
*Psycho Circus very glossed over. Who plays on it? Why were they not able to make a deal with Peter and Ace? Also no mention of performing with the symphony in Australia. Not my favorite thing in KISStory by any stretch but should have had a mention.
All that said I truly enjoyed the book and would suggest it to any Kiss fan. But like ALL Kiss books it is HIS version of how he saw things. I’m not about to go tit for tat with all four books and who’s told the story best and most accurate. They ALL are coming from that persons point of view and get that persons story out as they saw it. And something tells me there will be no shortage of more Kiss related books to come…
I have been a KISS fan ever since seeing them on the Paul Lynde Holloween Special back in 1976 at the age of nine. I saved every cent from my 10 cent per day if I was perfect which I never was for months in order to buy my first KISS album, Alive and still remember where I bought it and putting it on my little record player. I absolutely loved it and the “prizes” that came with it. I loved Peter first because I had just started drum lessons and I wanted to play everything on the album. I continued to save and spend every cent that I had on the other 70’s KISS albums up until I purchased Dynasty and I was so dissapointed after hearing I Was Made For Loving You. I sucked it up and saved up again and purchased Unmasked but did not like it either. I did not bother with Music From The Elder and am glad that I didn’t. When I heard War Machine from Creatures I decided to part with some more of my hard earned money and was happy that I did. When Peter and Ace finally left I finally gave up on my heroes but I heard Lick It Up and All Hells Breakin Loose and decided to give the new lineup a chance. I wasn’t a big fan of anything that came after though but I did go see them at the Spectrum in Philly in 1987 and really enjoyed the show even though it was nothing like the 70’s shows. Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick were amazing. Paul was as well but Gene was kind of comical. I admire Paul for his absolute devotion to KISS as a brand and if it weren’t for him I really doubt if we would still be having this discussion. You have to be a bit of a narcissist to get to level that he has achieved with KISS. I was lucky enough to be able to afford the meet and greet package durring Alive 35 and took my son who was 7 at the time. The guys couldn’t have been nicer to us especially Eric and Paul. I haven’t read his book yet but am looking forward to it after reading Eddies review. Thank you.