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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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on 8 March 2017
My favourite member of KISS. an interesting insight. Would I read it again? Probably not. Probably more suited for KISS collectors.
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on 6 July 2015
Here are my humble impressions:

1. This is the best written book of the KISS member I've read so far (Paul, Ace and Peter). The narrative flows smoothly, grammatically it's ok, it has style.

2. As it seems to be the trend with rock biographies, there is few information about creative process (how the idea for that song came to me, who played what, things like that. There are very few things about creative process. But the few ones are very interesting).

3. There are some juicy anecdotes about Bill Aucoin, about the Casablanca boss, about why taking the make-up off, about the business side. As for the bickering between band members, they continue here. If one was obliged to chose sides (and I think nobody is), I would definitely take Paul and Gene side. Why? Because What Peter and Ace themselves wrote in their official books about themselves is enough to show who had the reason...

4. I had absolutely no idea that Paul was deaf in one ear and that he is involved in helping kids with physical anomalies.

5. There is a lot of self-help kind of thing towards the final part of the book, but I think it is not detrimental to the whole thing, because it seems sincere, not condescending or self-congratulatory.

6. One question, however, bothered me a little: if he says Peter Criss was so bad and limited musically, why was he approved in the auditions back in 1973?
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on 24 April 2014
Really looking forward to this book as Paul is my favourite band member. Unfortunately for me I felt let down by the lack of 80's stuff. I know he's stated the book was about him and not necessary all about the music but I really wanted to read about the songs he wrote on each album(not all) . I became a fan around the Crazy Nights album and would have liked more info on the non-makeup days. I know Gene did one and made his way to Hollywood in this period but for me this was the time when Paul took complete control of most songs and material used for each album. I've heard all about the 70's with Peter and Ace and how they were both addicts etc, and I'm happy for him that he has over come his disfigurement and deafness. I felt the book was lacking a bit of grit and names of famous individuals that were skimmed over or referred to as " a ver popular band at the time". I guess I wanted more dirt in the same vain as Motley's book..
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...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.
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