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on March 21, 2014
While there was SOME interesting stories in here basically what you get is the life story of an angry gun toting drunk and high drummer who thinks he's way WAY better than he ever was. After hearing his solo material he should be thanking Gene and Paul for making him a career.
While most of the story is repetitive and basically talks about one drunken drug fest after another there are some interesting tales (pardon the pun) in here, although I could have done without the EXTREMELY GRAPHIC details of Peter's sex life...I mean seriously Peter grow up!!! I Like his take on the Dynasty/Unmasked era and the Reunion era.
Overall I found it to be nothing more than a feel sorry for me story of someone who believes he's this great songwriter that was being held down. Well why haven't these great songs surfaced over that last 30 yrs??
Ace's book is FAR better IMHO
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on November 12, 2012
If you read a lot of rock biographies it becomes clear quite quickly which ones are going to hold your interest and which ones are just superficial schlock jobs. Peter Criss' tell-all book isn't just riveting; it rivals Motley Crue's "The Dirt" as one of the most entertaining rock bios ever written.

Gene Simmons' autobiography had its moments but the reader never felt truly invested in his personal experiences. For a guy who claims to have slept with thousands of women, including a number of celebrities, Simmons' book was really just a "tell-some," not close to a "tell-all." Ace Frehley's book was better and far more fun to read. The Spaceman came across as weird and wacky and it seemed OK that you didn't get great scoop about some of the most personal aspects of his life. Based on how loaded he frequently was, he probably couldn't remember!

In the case of Peter Criss, though, memories aren't a problem. Though he freely admits his own shortcomings, it's the devastating details he provides about his former band mates that keep the pages turning at a furious pace. Whether he's describing Simmons' hygiene issues or regaling the reader with his own questions of Paul Stanley's sexual preferences, Criss puts his thoughts out there to the point of uncomfortable hilarity. Nothing is spared -- from his own drug use to his opinion of the sexual abilities of his wives and girlfriends. It's as if he is telling his road stories to his best friend and not worrying one bit about who will be hurt by the information. Which, of course, makes for a great read.

The highs and lows of Criss' life are somewhat predictable nowadays. Many rockers from that era reached unimaginable heights only to sink to the bottom once fame and fortune disappeared. What makes this tome so much better than most is how "real" Peter Criss allows himself to be. And it's why so many people dream of rock stardom and all it entails.
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on March 25, 2014
I have read a lot of rock star autobiographies - a LOT - and enjoyed most of them. However, I can't say that I really enjoyed Peter Criss's story at all. First of all, the timeline is kind of jumbled - he will mention something, then bring up something that happened years ago, then jump back to the present time he is describing. It makes for a very disjointed read,

Secondly, I always thought Gene was the big egomaniac in KISS, but after reading this, I'd say Peter gives him a good run for his money. Peter mentions at every turn how he has the biggest d*** out of everyone in the band. According to him, every song he wrote was pure gold and he can't understand why Gene and Paul didn't agree with him. It really gets to be a bit much.

Third, I was really disgusted by his casual references to waving guns around and shooting things, especially when high, as if it was nothing. Even years after he supposedly got sober, when he was touring with Ace, he mentions going out and shooting things at random because life on the road was "boring". Um, okay.

He is very cavalier in his attitude about how he treats women. I am not appalled by groupie stories because, as I said, I have read a lot of rock star books and that's pretty much the norm. But most rock stars grow out of that. Peter Criss seems to still have that mentality. He is very degrading in the way he talks about women: so-and-so was chubby and not so great-looking but great in bed; so-and-so was average, but he slept with her anyway; so-and-so had a literally smelly crotch, but he still sort of fooled around with her anyway and he referred to her as a "rug-rat". On and on and on ad nauseum.

Lastly, Peter references multiple incidents where he implies that Ace and Paul swing both ways. And yet, Peter makes so many references to men's appearances and private parts that I have to wonder about him as well. And he even says he is receiving oral sex from a famous groupie named Connie and Ace gets under the covers and joins in, then tries to use that as evidence of Ace's questionable sexuality - meanwhile, Peter says he really didn't care what went on under there. Huh? He refers to male band members of his solo band as "handsome", or having a "face like an angel" and almost every time a man is mentioned in this story, he references his appearance in terms of "good-looking", "handsome", etc. Seems a little odd to me for someone who so staunchly declares his heterosexuality every chance he gets. He also spends an inordinate amount of time describing each KISS member's genitals and size. For a straight guy, methinks he doth protest too much.

There were also editing errors rampant throughout. At one point, a bar called the Sandbox is later referred to as the Sandbar, and there are missing words and typos in there too.

Pretty much a mess... I'm only giving it 2 stars because I thought Peter's description about his early life, pre-KISS, was actually worth reading.
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on March 2, 2013
Peter Criss talked about releasing this book for something like two and a half decades. And when it finally came out, it was a long awaited counterweight to the Simmons/Stanley version of the Kiss story.

Unfortunately, this story is so colored by bitterness towards his former bandmates, you really have to take a lot of Criss' statements and stories with more than a grain of salt. What baffles me most is how he seems to absolve himself of nearly all the responsibility for the bad things that happened to him, and to be fair, there's been a lot of bad things in his life. You get a few "that was a stupid move" remarks, but there's always some kind of excuse to go with it. The drugs, getting fired from Kiss, divorces, financial straits, bad decisions.. The whole book seems like a quest for sympathy, and to be honest, it backfires. Criss comes off as an delusional moaner more often than not.

I can understand some of the resentment he has towards Stanley, Simmons and even Frehley, they don't seem easy to work with at all. But the way he expresses that resentment makes him come off like an angry, overly emotional child at times, willing to do anything just to be able to take a stab at them (especially Stanley and Simmons).

Anyways, the read itself is fairly amusing, though he goes into great detail when it's REALLY not necessary on more than one occasion. And if he's managed to worsen my impression of Stanley and Simmons even more (which is very hard), he's also ruined the impression of himself in the process.
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on November 4, 2012
I've read Gene's and Ace's books. Each is primarily the author's life story, but the only reason anyone cares about either one of them is KISS. Hardcore fans of the band were generally disappointed that more dirt wasn't disclosed. Well, Peter Criss' long-awaited memoir doesn't disappoint.

I've read a dozen rock biographies this year, and Peter's is really high on the list when it comes to placing the reader into the scenes of the band's history. One can almost smell the incense and greasy hair of the early 70s. He (and his co-writer) craft vivid scenes about of how KISS formed and the chaos that went on backstage. And no one is spared. Not even women with him he had the briefest flings or road managers he met once. He uses passages from Gene's book against him perfectly, such as refuting Simmons' claim that he thought Bob Ezrin's cocaine pile was Sweet-N-Low. The story of Gene's full-body herpes outbreak is worth the price of the book alone. Of most interest to KISS fans is probably his revelations (and assassinations) of Paul Stanley's character. Gene only had positive things to say about Paul in "KISS and Make-Up." Ace barely mentions Paul at all in "No Regrets." But Peter rips Paul a new one, and the stories will leave KISS fans nodding in epiphany and stating "OH! Iiiiiiii see."

However, as the bio winds down, Peter seems to show barely any attitude of gratitude. Yes, he was taken advantage of. Yes, he was probably ripped off. Yes, he was betrayed. But, the downward spiral into negativity makes one feel less and less sympathy to Peter. It's palpable that anyone could feel less guilty about betraying and stealing from Peter Criss after reading this book. He is honest with himself and the reader, but not nearly harsh enough on himself.
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on January 5, 2013
KISS always liked to rant about how "Rock 'n' Roll All Nite" was the band's signature anthem and encompassed everything anyone needed to know about who they are. It's the typical slice of B.S. served by this marketing dynamo since the early days. A more apt song would be "Psycho Circus" ... as in these are four psychotic men with severe mental and personality disorders reduced to slapping the clown make-up on to feed whatever sick desires that are needed to keep the sociopaths satisfied.

KISS, the band and not the corporation, indeed did exist at one point. The early years were full of tales of a group of young men (extending beyond the four to people like Bill Aucoin and Sean Delaney) attempting to bring rock 'n' roll into a modern era with choreography, explosions, lights and an intense focus on the image. The music was good enough to provide a framework and luckily for the group there was enough luck to go around to advance them into a place where childish fantasies could be indulged in for decades.

What surprised me is Peter's admission that KISS stopped functioning as a collaborative creative effort as early as 1976. Gene and Paul were content on the band being a business venture. Friendships and song-writing partnerships disappeared. It was four guys doing their own thing and it would amazingly remain that way for another 35 years.

Peter sadly could never bring himself to break free of the baggage of his initial escape from KISS. He bought into the delusion that he was more popular than he really was and continues to have high hopes for solo recording efforts to this day. Despite Ace's heavy drug and booze addiction, the guy at least hit the clubs and got back to work building his own identity outside of KISS. Criss thinks he's somehow entitled to playing Madison Square Garden for the rest of his life and had extreme trouble adapting to becoming a different kind of professional rock drummer.

Criss's bickering over money on the reunion tour is amusing. If it didn't happen, he would have blown his head off at some point in the '90s. There was no possible income for this man. Gene and Paul did treat him unfairly as far as his pay from the final tours were concerned, but he chose disastrous representation and negotiated terrible deals for himself.

This book is probably a last gasp effort to turn his KISS fame into some sort of money. He certainly does make it work the price of admission (as KISS did with its shows in its hey-day), but we're left with a disturbing portrait of people who should have never received the attention that they did.
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on July 31, 2013
It is not all the trials and tribulations Peter went through that make this a pathetically sad tale, it is the fact that he seldom, if ever, accepts any responsibility for what he has gone through. Constantly pointing a finger and assigning blame. That is the saddest part of all.
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on March 3, 2013
Makeup to Breakup is Peter Criss' attempt to cement his legacy in KISS while slinging some mud at his former band mates. He does a great job with the latter, not so much with the former. In the book, Criss does his own version of Behind the Music, detailing his rise through low level bands to his meeting up with Gene and Paul, slogging through gigs in front of few people and building their way up to arenas, only to see his own fortunes plummet as he sinks into drug abuse and is kicked out of a band he no longer enjoys playing for.

While Peter Criss spares no detail in describing his and his bandmates disgusting exploits on the road, he gives us little if anything about the music, the albums, or the movies. We get a great sense for why being in KISS sucked later in the band's years, but little sense of why it was a blast. Worst of all, he fails to create much sympathy for himself, as spends much of the book blaming others for his own stupidity and excess, which borders on inhumane and disgusting in parts.

Still, some parts are affecting, like his discussion of his experiences in rehab, and his bout with breast cancer.

Makeup to Breakup is the type of memoir that sells, dishing the dirt. Unfortunately, the lack of humanity under the layer of filth has you feeling empty after you read it.
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on November 30, 2012
I found this book really great, much much much better than books of Ace and Gene. It can really catch you, I couldn't help myself, I couldn't stop reading it till the very end. So I believe it can be a VERY interesting reading for any real KISS fan. Buy this book now, you won't regret it.

At the same time it shows Peter as a very weak and poor person you wouldn't want to work with even if your life depends on it. Even for tons of money :) If for example I would work with such a person, I'd kill myself. No woking ethics, no mind stability. Signing a contract and starting moaning and complaining about it on the same day - that's his style for the whole life. Money, drungs, women, alcohol, women, money, drugs and wonem again... oh man, your life was horrable. I'm soooo sorry for you :) Nobody would step in your shoes. Thanks for the book though, it's brilliant and a huge fun to read.
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on October 25, 2012
So finally we have it, original KISS drummer Peter Criss's autobiography that he's been talking about since what seems like decades now. I used to kid around with people that it was Peter's Chinese Democracy, but even that came out four years before his autobiography did. KISS fans are attached to the original members and the personas they portrayed, but when I was a kid I wanted to be Peter Criss. He was the reason I wanted to play drums and when me and my friends put on the KISS makeup for Halloween I was Peter. You cannot deny that Peter was an original member and was a part of what made KISS and what made the band special, his jazzy drumming style, his voice; he was an important part of what initially made KISS. I was glad to see that his book was finally released, Gene's and Ace's books are good reads but you get a sense that just scratch the surface (Gene's first book is largely about himself, his second business and Ace's book he seems to have forgotten things and skims through years towards the second half). Peter Crisscuola I knew would be honest to write it all down, the good, the bad, the madness and he's not shy about his drug addictions, his near suicide in 1994, depression, battles with cancer, even his band members (I think this may be the final nail on the coffin for any fans that still had hopes of seeing the original four reunite once more).

The first chapter already sets into the some of the madness in Criss' life. The book starts in 1994 when an earthquake destroyed everything he owned and he was about to pull the trigger on his life. It's a rather dark chapter to start the book with but it's good in that it makes you want to read the book and find out all you can. I loved the part about recording Destroyer and how demanding producer Bob Ezrin was, out of all the books that have come out on the band Peter goes into the details and things that aren't as talked about. He sheds insight on the money he made, how much money KISS made. Peter is very vocal and I was captivated to read his thoughts from about 1978-80 when he was about to leave the band and it was clear that they were not longer a unit (he wasn't fond of Love Gun either turns out). He was against doing the KISS Meets The Phantom of The Park '78 made for TV movie and the way he recalls it he was really direct about it too and thought it wasn't KISS anymore and hated doing it. Same with the Dynasty album in 1979 with "I Was Made For Loving You" going disco even though he didn't play on that album except for his one contribution. I think he sums it up best when he said "To me KISS was a Rock and Roll band and we had become a kiddies band, a circus and it became about the merchandise and not the music, I was in for the music from the beginning man". I think that echoes some of the KISS Army's feelings too.

There were a lot of things I didn't know or had only read about but without any real insight. His wives, his going to basically an asylum, his near comeback to KISS in 1980, suicide attempt and so on. It's definitely a must read for a fan. I loved reading about Peter's childhood and growing up, playing clubs before KISS, his attempt at a solo career, the reunion with KISS up until now. It's all covered make no mistake. Sometimes it's easy to see how fragile and emotional Peter could be, deep down the cat is sensitive. Yet reading his book and all the stories he tells he really was the original Tommy Lee in a sense, there's a lot of immature fun and stuff that will make you go "what?". There's swear words throughout but then again its rock and roll and sometimes it can be offensive.

The most interesting parts of the book may very well be the dirt on Gene, Paul and Ace. I don't think anyone would be surprised by what Peter had to say on Gene. Ace's is a bit more surprising and I'm sure he wouldn't be happy to know some of the things that were included about his subject in the book even though they're more goofy than anything else. The worst though, is definitely Paul and Peter tells it all, how he used to see shrinks and talk to them on the phone every day, his sexuality, certain physical aspects and things that he did (particularly funny and exaggerated during the KISS/Aerosmith tour). What made me respect Peter's decision to make this book was that he intended to reveal all the behind the scenes about KISS and he had no problem telling this as they were. He gives credit where credit is due as he talks a lot about Bill Aucoin and Sean Delaney, the tour guys and acknowledges whoever did what. To sum it up at one given point he says that Gene and Paul like to take credit for certain things while it was others who came up with the ideas, or mess with "KISStory" as he puts it. He's utterly honest about touring, his wives, the sex, drugs and all the crazy things he did. He tells all about growing up, his family and personal things really. Sometimes you don't even want to know some of these stories in the book because it's plain filthy and immature, but this is Rock and Roll and Criss'book is a wild ride.

I love how he doesn't hide his feelings on KISS, the band members, producers or anyone else. When he talks about why he quit the band you understand it more, why he decided to leave and the events that pushed him to do it. His feelings about KISS now are clear as well and he really doesn't like Tommy Thayer. He's vocal about decisions that were made and what some band members did and tells it all like it was. Ace's book was a good read but Peter's goes deeper and offers insight and his personal feelings and there is a lot of "dirt" so to speak. The book is not just about KISS, there's a lot about Peter himself. His personality and how he is, his solo career and the bands he played with, the near suicide and more recently his breast cancer battle and its all things that would of interest to a KISS fan and it's all in this book.

Peter's book was well put together and comes across as honest and very readable. I know Peter was known for exaggerating sometimes and crying wolf but even he acknowledges that, and he doesn't try to make himself or anyone come off as angels or any better than anyone else. Makeup to Breakup is a great read for anyone who is or was a KISS fan, Criss'book does the best job of telling it like it really was and goes into things that other KISS books do not which would make it required reading for the die-hard. I have a lot of admiration for Criss putting this book out slamming himself, his bandmates, the decisions they made. An entertaining book and a solid read, it delivers and informs certainly answered some questions I had and others I didn't have. 4/5.
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