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Face the Music: A Life Exposed Hardcover – April 8, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062114042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062114044
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (560 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most people will probably not associate sensitivity with the flamboyant heavy-metal rock band KISS, and yet in his memoir, front man, rhythm guitarist, and cofounder Paul Stanley succeeds in making a connection with the reader, KISS fan or not. Born with microtia, a deformity that left him deaf in his right ear, Stanley felt like “a freak.” His stage makeup (heavy white face paint with a star around his right eye), therefore, functioned as a mask that hid his doubts and insecurities and turned him into a larger-than-life persona, Starchild, which served, he explains, as “a defense mechanism to cover up who I really was.” Stanley discusses his childhood growing up lonely and friendless in Manhattan and Queens, and the pivotal night when he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and realized that music would be the “vehicle” to lead him out of his misery. He also writes about his fellow band members, the ups-and-downs of stardom, and the decadent rock-star lifestyle, coming across through it all as likable and down-to-earth. --June Sawyers

Review

“Paul Stanley proves himself as an artist in music and on canvas and now with a great book.” (Jimmy Page)

“Both honest and inspirational. Amazing tales from one of rock’s great frontmen.” (Sir Elton John)

“Paul is a great man who has achieved great things. From the Popcorn Club all the way to the Hall of Fame, his story is inspiring and motivating for anyone who dreams big.” (Dave Grohl)

“An entertaining yet piercingly honest journey from self–conscious child to the world’s most visually famous rock band, to, finally—with the makeup wiped away—a place of peace as a father and a man. Paul Stanley’s story is both ordinary and extraordinary, which makes it inspiring.” (Mitch Albom, author of The First Phone Call From Heaven and Tuesdays With Morrie)

“For years the members hid their true identities behind cartoon personas and hard rock anthems... After years of carefully maintaining his Starchild superhero identity, Stanley lets down his guard and unleashes a torrent of pent-up feelings that erupt and flow over 400 pages like molten lava.” (Guitar World Magazine)

“KISS’ flamboyant “Starchild” unplugs his high-wattage amps and introduces fans to an even more intriguing character: Stanley Harvey Eisen... [Face the Music is] an indispensable part of KISStory.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Elegantly and thoughtfully, Stanley takes us behind the mask of Starchild, his KISS persona, and shares intimately his own insecurities about his physical appearance and his emotional life.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Most people will probably not associate sensitivity with the flamboyant heavy-metal rock band KISS, and yet in his memoir, front man, rhythm guitarist, and cofounder Paul Stanley succeeds in making a connection with the reader, KISS fan or not.” (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Very revealing, inspirational, and a great read as well!
Tricia Keller
I really feel like his insights have shown me things about myself that I needed to understand better.
Deborah Bonnell
This is a must read for KISS fans and anyone looking for a great book.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By ABQ_Music on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a Kiss fan since seeing them on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special in 1976. Since then, I've read everything I could get my hands on, which is easier to do now than in the early 80's, when they couldn't get arrested, much less get the kind of coverage they enjoyed in their 70's heyday.

This is the biography I've waited for. Chris Lendt's reads like a boring financial report. Gene's, although interesting, just smelled of the self-serving rhetoric we already expected from him. And Ace's and Peter's? Well, we original fans love them, but we've also been lied to by those two who can't even remember their own history. Why would we think their bios would reflect difficult-to-face, introspective honesty?

I know someone who worked with Kiss in their earlier days. Years ago, I asked her what Paul Stanley was like in person. Without hesitating a second, she answered, "Incredibly insecure."

I was shocked. How could Paul Stanley, the living, breathing personification of the perfect rock star be insecure? The sex symbol and desire of countless women? Insecure?

This book goes deep into Paul's fears and insecurities. I have never read an autobiography so unflinchingly honest and self-aware - especially from a rock star. Comparing this book to any of the other Kiss bios is an interesting study of contrasts and group dynamics.

Above all, the book is inspiring. Though my rock star dreams are 20 years behind me, this book serves as inspiration to pursue the realistic dreams in front of me, involving family and friends. His vulnerability and sheer will are excellent testaments and I find him a role model miles ahead of the one I admired through the 70's and 80's.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By JM on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Of all the original Kiss members, Paul Stanley has long been the most private. His interviews are always diplomatic and measured, and whatever we heard about his dissatisfaction with Gene, Ace, or Peter were either hearsay or told only from their sides. Now we finally hear Paul's bit of it.

The best thing about this book is that Paul is hands-down the most mature and fulfilled. He came from a long road, starting with being neglected at home and bullied at school. This is a typical start for many famous people, and Paul's fits in with those. The road to fame with Kiss is a well-worn path, so Paul skimps details about debauchery. He implies or is matter-of-fact with those stories, unlike Peter and Gene, whom reveled in detailing the disgusting things they'd do in hotel rooms.

Much of it you can parse out if you've read the other autobios and know about Kiss. Paul couldn't stand Ace and Peter's addict-minded behaviors. They wasted their talents, and ultimately lost their jobs in the band. Twice. I liked Paul's perspective on these matters though because he comes across as not just honest, but logical about the whole thing. Kiss is his job. It's his business. He's put forty years of work into it. Why would he let two addicts ruin that? After reading his account I now understand why two other musicians wear the same makeup made famous by the originals. The originals were too flawed to cut it. They couldn't handle the fame nor the pressure. It happens all the time in other businesses, but because rock bands become personalized by fans, fans feel they have a say in what that band does when they really don't.
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59 of 72 people found the following review helpful By vince benjamin on April 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Iv just finished reading this book. As you'd expect from Paul Stanley this book is both honest and thoughtful. I was however taken aback with his continual (and justified) attacks on Gene Simmons. I have never considered Gene as a business genius or mogul and this book exposes this. He also makes no bones about the difficulties in dealing with both Ace and Peter. The story of his child hood was also a revelation as was the Bill Aucoin downfall. Through this book you can feel Paul's frustration with those around him but he is also very open and self critical which is some thing you never saw in the other Kiss books. Iv been waiting for this book for a long time and wasn't disappointed. If your a Paul Stanley fan I think its very much what you would expect, if your a fan of the other 3 I suspect you may feel some what aggrieved. I recommend that all KIss fans should buy this.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tore Skogseth on April 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit that my view of Paul is shaped a lot by watching New Kiss’ appearance on Jimmy Fallon as well as a recently recorded concert from Zurich, which really puts Paul’s comments about earning one's place in the band in perspective. He is a shadow of his former self vocally, and while the showman still is there, it is not easy for me to swallow his constant condescension towards Ace and Peter. I am also an early admirer of Ace, although my view of him changed a lot by reading his autobiography – he comes across as a whiny kid and I was left feeling extremely little of the sympathy he was looking for. However, this is about Paul and his book, so let’s get on with it.

Nobody should have to endure the bullying Paul had to go through, and reading Paul’s own journey of self-discovery is actually quite interesting. He is very right that money doesn’t buy happiness, but he was unable to see that it could buy him the breathing space to actually seek happiness and find out what it meant to him until it happened by chance. One thing that I believe that Paul could have spent more time on is his relationship to his dad, which seems like it changed quite a bit throughout the years. There seems to be an acknowledgement of what his dad’s life was, but very little was said about where they are today.

And Paul’s relationships with others are both the most interesting and the weakest aspect of the book. His descriptions of Ace and Peter appear so clouded by later history that there is nothing left to salvage at all – and that also clouds his description of the earlier years together.
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