BLURT’s advice: pick up
the new Neil Young memoir and tuck this guilty pleasure inside that one when
reading it out in public. Out next week via Scribner books.
By John B. Moore
Man, Peter Criss must have just been seething behind those drums for
decades. Sitting on his stool watching Gene $immons do that creepy tongue thing
night after night between blood spits and fire breathing; checking out Paul
Stanley stroke his guitar between his legs like it was a six-stringed cock; and
Ace doing… well Ace doing whatever it is he does, but clearly drunk and
stoned while doing it. Judging from his
new book Makeup to
Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss (co-authored with Larry “Ratso” Sloman), Criss was one pissed off
Makeup to Breakup doesn’t really blow the
doors of any preconceived notions we have of Kiss -those were all shattered
years ago by various books by fellow band members include Ace Frehley’s
contribution to the cannon earlier this year. Criss rehashes many of the same observations
we’ve heard before: Gene Simmons is an egotistical man whore who loves women as
much as he hates showering; Paul Stanley can be just as bad as Gene, just
busier with all of the visits to his shrink; and Frehley loved his booze and
drugs. But Criss seems to spend a great deal of his book reveling in his
distaste for his band mates (Frehley gets off a little easier, as Criss
actually considered Ace a friend for a few years after they went AWOL from the
Kiss Army). He tries hard to paint Stanley
as gay, despite never seeing him with a man and even gleefully recounts Frehley
making out with a male friend on tour during the late ‘70s. There is a funny,
if petty, anecdote about Stanley
stuffing his pants (a la Spinal Tap)
on their endless reunion tour.
also remarkable how oblivious Criss has become even when strolling down memory
lane. The sappy ballad “Beth,” Criss’ best known contribution to the band and a
punch line to many hard rock followers of the band, is a masterpiece in his
world and a feat he has tried to top throughout the remainder of his career (dammit,
it won a People’s Choice Award!). He also breathlessly recounts his time with
groupies, telling with no hint of shame, about stripping one poor girl naked,
covering her with ketchup, mustard and lunch meat before throwing her on the hotel
elevator and hitting the button for the lobby. Just chapters
later he goes on and on about how much he loves his daughter (clearly these
groupies are all orphans).
Kiss’s music, Makeup to Breakup is a
guilty pleasure. You know there are little redeeming qualities, but if “hard
Luck Woman” or “Cold Gin” came on in your car, you would make sure the windows
are rolled up tight and then sing right along. This book is a bit like that.
You may roll your eyes and shout “come on!” out loud while reading it, but you
can’t help but read every single page.
My advice: pick up the new Neil Young memoir and tuck this book inside
that one when reading it out in public.
of his former hard rock contemporaries that religious groups once pegged as
devotees of Satan (Alice Cooper, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine), Criss himself
closes the book relaying his recently-found tight relationship with God. If
these bands really did sell their souls to the devil years ago, Satan has
clearly dropped the ball as a band manager.