on 24 May 2014
I'll put straight up front that I am a Kiss fan and have been for a long time. I've also read all the other three autobiographies and reviewed the one by Peter Criss here. In order of preference, this is the best. Quite simply it is the most connected and reflective. Paul does not descend into the somewhat sexually embarrassing boys tales that I felt marred Peter's book and it is more detailed than Gene's. Ace unfortunately was too far gone too much of the time to really remember what happened at all. Obviously, like any work in this nature, it is the viewpoint of the writer and we have Paul's perspective - but I think it comes as no real surprise to any Kiss fan that Paul (and not Gene) was driving the wagon throughout the 1980's. He does show his frustrations on the other band members, and I probably do see where he is coming from. Interesting are his thoughts on Eric Carr, and I feel these are very honest and don't always show him in a good light, which he admits, but at the same time show a troubled mind in Eric Carr. Perhaps now that the band are settled and happy, albeit in the last stages of their wonderful career, this reflective and honest piece can be read and accepted even by those who do not always come over in a good light. Lastly I did enjoy the early stages of Paul's life which he recounts. It is worth a read, and too often people skip on to the Kiss section they are interested in. Don't! Its definitely worth reading. One of the other reviews said that it was too egocentric - but this is an autobiography! What do you expect if you buy a book called Paul Stanley and it is by Paul Stanley, it is really ridiculous to complain that the content is about him! If you want a book about another band, or person, then don't buy this! And the reason this band made it is largely due to Paul's energy, stage personality and songwriting; with the image and grit of Gene in the mix. It's worth the five stars.
...What a journey! with the other three books,you deep down knew that Ace & Peter 's would be a dialogue of screw ups and with Gene's any interesting parts would be overtaken by his arrogance but Paul Stanley,well what a surprise his travel from sad,shy child thru stardom whilst still being a tortured soul,is mesmerising.
Whilst Ace and Gene had always been the stars as far as i was concerned,i had an admiration for the Paul Stanley i thought i knew,you know the one, supremely confident,articulate,a superstar frontman with one of the biggest bands of all time,who knew the pain he was going thru,he hid it well.
Anyone with a child with any 'disability' can relate to his childhood where he didnt get the support he needed,you can feel his sadness seep from the pages of the book.
Its plain his childhood left him with issues ,a desire to succeed and an almost pathalogical mistrust of most people,expecting to be let down and retreating further into himself everytime it happened.
His band mates take a beating,Ace and Peter,no surprise there,more surprisingly Gene cops a lot of flak and its really depressing his 'relationship' with Eric Carr.
Ultimately its an eye opening journey from Mr Stanley,it shed some light(maybe not enough) on the bands 80's and 90's phase when members came and went and the albums seemed disjointed.Thankfully he's in a happy place now,personally and musically,40 years !!! he finally got there.
All in all a great read,its his story not the KISS story,and thats as it should be,well worth purchasing.
on 28 May 2014
As Paul has always been my favourite member of KISS, I was very much looking forward this – especially about his childhood as Paul has always been very private. Growing up as a KISS fan, I had always thought Paul had low self-esteem and was hyper critical of himself; now we all know why. I’m very pleased he chose to share that with us. The early sections of the book were the most interesting. I have to say as the book went on, I found myself losing interest in the self-help preachy tone of the writing. Why am I not convinced that Paul is as happy and stable as he is trying to present himself? Could be because he spends the whole book telling us again and again how much he hated himself, and then all of a sudden all is rosy in the garden. Is Paul trying to convince us or him, he’s now a together individual who has found complete happiness? Saying that, he’s certainly the most together member of KISS out of the original four, but then again, that wouldn’t be too hard now would it?
As a KISS fan of 23 years, it was interesting to read how carefully Paul discussed the death and replacement of Eric Carr with Eric Singer. Paul didn’t seem to quite understand why Eric would hang out with ordinary folk/woman that weren’t Playboy bunnies. This says a lot about Eric and something about Paul. There were always rumours that skulduggery was a foot and reading between the lines, I fear that could be correct. Paul does have regrets over the handling of this. I think Paul was choosing his words – this happens again when discussing the KISS conventions/unplugged/putting the make-up back on. Us long time KISS fans know the real reason for that: Money verses losing ground to Grunge and finding a way to play stadiums again. Plus Paul got taken to the cleaners in his first divorce.
Ace and Peter come in for plenty of stick – mostly Peter. If Peter and Ace were that horrendous as musicians and people, why would anyone choose to have them in their band? Money. Despite Peter getting a right kicking again and again, he keeps being asked to play with the band. It comes across as hypocritical of Paul to go out to dinner/coffee with Peter, yet he does nothing but run the guy down.
The part which really got my back up was Paul stating that thanks to him, KISS fans will have been exposed to musical theatre and the world art thanks to his paintings and his role as the Phantom of the Opera. Does he really think that KISS fans have just wandered down from the mountains and have no appreciation and knowledge of the arts and culture? Yes, there could be an irony in that.. . KISS aren’t exactly high culture. Paul certainly isn’t all that as a painter, but I’m not sure he knows that.
To sum up, Paul is a nice guy albeit probably not in touch with the average person on the street that much. Is he the best guy to lead by example and teach all us lesser mortals how to be great? That’s up to you the reader to decide. I wonder if this book will appeal to American readers more than us Brits. I was a little Paul’d out by the time I finished it.
on 28 June 2014
This was a fantastic read marred only by the fact I think it could have been two volumes rather than rushing some parts of the bands career. It's a cliche, but you really feel like you know him a little after reading this, and I'm glad it wasn't just me that thought most of Gene Simmons songs were utter garbage! Paul is painfully honest at times, and whilst yes, he may blow his own trumpet a bit at times, why not, as after all, if he hadn't kept it all together, Kiss would have disintegrated years ago. Highly recommended to Kiss fans, and music fans in general.
on 27 May 2014
I have been waiting for Paul Stanley's version of events in the history or Kisstory of the band for quite a while. Having already read Gene, Ace and Peter's books, I did wonder if there would be anything new covered that I didn't already know, well the answer is YES plenty. Paul's book is an eye opener for me, I had always thought of Paul Stanley as the gentle, caring, more reserved member of the band. That was proved true in the beginning of the book, but soon one harrowing story follows another of Paul's young life, living with a disfigurement that became the fuel for bullies. This caused a young Stanley to quickly become a more hardened individual, he states that he wouldn't let anyone close to him for a very long time.
I would highly recommend this book to any fan of KISS, but most fans will probably already own a copy by now.
One warning I will give here, There's are revelations about the band that may upset some fans, Paul is very open with his feelings towards former band members, animosity runs high for all original members, yes even business partner of 40 years Gene Simmons isn't spared a dressing down.
Now all that remains to be seen, is who's book is going to sell the most copies? But hey, we all have our favourite member of KISS, even those that won't admit to liking the band...
on 3 October 2015
Firstly, i'd like to state that 3 stars is too harsh. I would choose 3.5 stars, yet that isn't an option when reviewing. 4 stars is a bit too generous, and i'll tell you why: While I was really looking forward to reading the book as Paul is my favourite Kiss member as well as one of my favourite singers/frontmen, I was put off slightly by the length of the book, in that it seemed too short. Given the fact he was over 60 when he wrote the book and Kiss was nearing it's 40th year as recording artists, the book didn't seem long enough to go into depth. The problem with the book lies with the fact it seems to be divided into 4 parts. The first part if Paul prior to 1975 and Alive! That part is great...interesting, witty, enlightening and the stories about him meeting the other members and seeing LA for the first time and enjoying the women were fantastic. Sadly, when you reach Alive and their big success, the 'platinum' years as I call them, from 1976 - 1979, was rather skipped over. He just didn't go into enough details, which is odd given the fact they released a ton of albums, toured like hell and actually made and had money, unlike the tough early years. Then part 3 focuses on the 1980's right up to the reunion in 1996. The details during those years are many, especially the non-makup decade. Sadly, once you hit the reunion tours, he flies through all that and spends talking about post 2000 talking about his personal life. He barely mentions anything musical wise during this period. The family stuff is fine, yet it would have sat nicely alongside his musical life stories as well. Lastly, I will say, while I love Paul, he does seem to mention his microtia a lot. During childhood I can understand, but I do find it just slightly hard to believe he was still self concious by 2000 and still thinking about 'Stanley the one-eared monster'. Also, he definitely seems to have a problem with Peter and Ace. I realise they had, and still have, their differences, yet he's difinitely too harsh. To suggest that Peter and Ace weren't really that good, even during their 70's heyday, is shocking. I think the albums and live performances captured from the era tell a different story. Yes, Ace and Peter could have been better, allowing their lives seemingly to be overtaken by drink and drugs, and yes, Ace might not be the most technical of guitarists, but he's still great at what he does and produced some killer solo's...and as for Peter's drumming, 'Destroyer' settls that argument. I also didn't like the part where he was banging on about Ace and questioning his finances. That was low. If you're a Paul fan, buy it. It's still a good read and there are still some great parts to it. It had the potential to be a solid 4 or 5 star autobiography...it just seemed a little rushed in places.
on 29 March 2015
This is a fascinating, unexpected and ultimately inspiring biography in which Stanley seems to shoot for a measure of raw honesty and mostly succeeds in doing so. It is both a triumph over adversity story and highs and lows of fame tale. There are moments where he seems bitter toward or angry with certain people and where he calculatedly allows his ego to shine through. But mostly you get the impression, he is extremely grateful for everything he has and has achieved, and is striving hard in this book to be balanced, tell his story with humility (and confidence where required) while imparting some hard earned and learned wisdom.
Rock and roll excess is obviously a huge part of the story of Kiss and Mr Stanley's tome delivers on this handsomely. And while he never bogs himself down in grotty detail the way Peter Criss did in his 'Makeup to Breakup: My Life in and Out of Kiss', he doesn't dodge the bullet of his own addictive (sexual) fallibilities. The difference is that he has examined and come to terms with the aspects of his life that he seems to view as rock and roll behavioral shortcomings. At the same time, he doesn't diminish his enjoyment of them at the time or give the impression he is trying to distance himself from a past as a changed man. He charts his life and experiences as things that have made him the person he is today and he paints equally complex pictures of quite a number of the players in his life, including Gene Simmons.
The highs and lows of life in Kiss, the good and bad advice they received, and the situations they found themselves in are evocatively told, often with hilarious self deprecation. But it is the well drawn character studies, the fascinating unlikely and previously untold reflections on the home and early life of a one eared boy so driven to be a rock star, the unexpected and honest charting of the loneliness and isolation of being a mega-famous but masked and therefore anonymous rock star, and the late career discovery of additional meaning that makes this book so riveting. It is amazing to learn about his levels of doubt as he charts the creation of each Kiss album and his quest for artistic credibility within the confines of a cartoon image rock band.
This is one of the most uplifting rock biographies I have read. I could not put it down. And when I finished, I mourned that it was over. That is surely the sign of a great and very satisfying read. Highly recommended.
on 23 July 2016
Not a bad book by any standards, but i got quite fed up at how PS claims to suffer from low self esteem in this book, yet, while at the same time he brags about driving porches, and having affairs with playboy playmates of the year and page 3 legend sammantha fox. The continuous burial of Ace Frehley (he's a drunk, wasted his talent), and complete dismissal of Peter Criss is overbearing and very little credit is given.Of course, he is all only too complementary about the current hired gun members who were employed to imitate Frehley and Criss. The decision not to come up with new facepaint and costume designs for the new members is incredibly tactless and Simmons and Stanley will never have the same respect again for doing this. On the plus side it was enjoyable reading about how the band got started and the music scene as it was in NYC back then. It was poignant to read about Eric Carr's time in the band and how he predicted that one day Eric Singer would replace him. Eric Carr may not have been the original KISS drummer but he is my favourite.
on 28 January 2016
Good read from the beginnings of Kiss right up to date, though its Pauls story and the early obstacles which he overcame that makes the best reading. Savoured this book and because i enjoyed the music the soundtrack is steller though there is an honesty about what worked and did not especially music from the Elder.Inspiring stuff about never giving up on your dream and living it but even if you are not a fan of the music its a good autobiographical read of a character.The other members of Kiss and the various business associates feature too adding colour to an interesting story and a worthwhile read .Funny in parts hilariously so in places but as a music fan i loved the story and most of all the joy that despite all the wealth family comes first and the whole journey of gaining everything and overcoming your personnel demons to enjoy your success.
on 15 November 2014
On to my 3rd bio (after Ace and Gene), and as I suspected, this is the most "horse's mouth" so far. Wonderful to finally get the truth on so many legendary tales, and the inside word on a whole lot more incidents. It makes for a really "satisfying" read, for me at least. Surely there can be no disputing certain facts now, e.g. when Paul, Gene and Bob Ezrin have all - independently - gone into great detail on episodes involving Peter's relative ineptness as a musician, you KNOW it must have been true, however rose-tinted your glasses were. I felt for him, having to listen to Peter's airhead partners claim that Peter was the true talent of Kiss, etc. (It's pointless arguing with such illogical cretins.) However, Paul doesn't escape a total hero in my yes. For starters, the "ear" business. Now I hadn't the slightest inkling of it, as big a fan as I've been for decades, so he did well to keep the matter hidden (and deserves praise for not letting it put him off making music). But even after it's treated, he still goes on and on and on about it. Why? Yes, he was bullied as a child. But by early 20s he was a millionaire with the world at his feet. Any other bullied kid in that position would say "I've won!", and that would be an end to it. Likewise, kids with a physical disability grow up worrying about it affecting their intimate relationships, and wonder if they'll even ever have one. But by early 20s he'd already slept with dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of girls, so again, he was one up on his detractors. Why the continual moaning about needing a psychiatrist? It didn't make sense. Also, he reaches a time when he realises his wealth and material possessions aren't making him happy. He seems to indicate we should respect him for pulling the plug on it, but even though he stops buying himself things, he continues to spend millions on ungrateful, gold-digging partners. It's like he hasn't learned a thing after all. Anyway, he still gets my vote for (at times single-handedly) keeping Kiss alive, and I wish him many healthy years yet.