KISS were the first band I can remember discovering from a friend – they weren’t a commercial success at that time in the UK, no airplay or TV so when someone put on their big brother’s ‘Alive’ LP I hadn’t heard or seen anything like it before. I quickly collected everything they had put out at that point and followed them ever since. However I’ve never really read much about the band or cared much about their life or legend outside the music. This might be partly because of the loudest self publicist in the band Gene Simmons – who is so full of himself I really don’t want to read about it.
Also, as I’ve said before, I’m not really interested in autobiographies – however this is now the third I’ve read in recent months! But there are a couple of reasons I did get hold of this book – when Paul appeared on some shows publicising the book he said he hadn’t done it before for the sort of reasons I wouldn’t like to read such a book, i.e. it’s self serving or gossip, bad-mouthing people to sensationalise episodes and draw in readers. Paul says he hadn’t put out a book before now because he didn’t have a story to tell till now. He also reveled that he was born with microtia – an ear deformity and was deaf in one ear. I have a nephew with similar microtia and I was interested to read about how it affected Paul in his early years but also how did he overcome this to become a very successful musician.
Well this book was far from disappointing. The early years were interesting but what I found fascinating was the self analysis of what he was doing during some of the most successful years of the band. While filling stadiums across America Paul would go home alone and be socially unable to connect and make friends due to mistrust and unwillingness to open up. It is such a pleasure to read through that to find how he does, only much later in his career find happiness and peace. I would not be interested in reading any other book about KISS or any of it’s members. But this is a great book for any KISS fans and for those who may have been bullied or marginalised as a child or anyone with self-conscious body image hang ups…. a good book!