- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (October 22, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609810022
- ISBN-13: 978-0609810026
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kiss and Make-Up Paperback – October 22, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The "Phantom of the Park," aka Simmons, needs nary a ghostwriter to pen his bio, for he ably delivers this season's most fascinating backstage pass. Articulately detailing his life from his birth in Israel through the 30-year life span of Kiss, he charts how glam-metal's greatest pioneers provided the most outrageous spectacles of arena rock in the 1970s. Those same pyrotechnics, pneumatic drum risers, jacked-up personas and frightening face paints have sold 80 million records worldwide. Simmons, the "guy who sticks his tongue out and spits fire," boasts other onstage innovations, including "throwing up blood" and creating the ubiquitous headbanger's hand sign for the devil. All in all, the rock 'n' roll extravaganzas of the Kiss empire hardly run short of the obvious wild parties, famous faces, hotel fiascoes, banging up cars and getting busy with groupies. Though no Wilt Chamberlain, Simmons describes at length how he has slept with 4,600 women. But when the smoke clears, the book is as well written as it is interesting: the story of a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, the endearingly sincere struggles Simmons faces over the years, his eventual marriage and fatherhood as well as juicy material like his extended romances with Cher and Diana Ross. While moldering rock stars who have tales to tell may be a dime a dozen, Simmons's enjoyable and intriguing autobiography deserves attention. 50 b&w photos. (Jan.)Forecast: Thanks to Kiss comic books, dolls and other paraphernalia, the band's quasicult fan base runs the gamut of age and cultural orientation. Expect big sales garnered from mass e-mails, author interviews and a 50-city radio tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Best known for their pyrotechnic concerts and outrageous makeup, KISS has inexplicably endured for more than 30 years. Frontman Simmons here speaks to that longevity, as well as to the band's sale of 80 million records. After covering his childhood in Haifa, Israel, he quickly moves into the evolution of KISS, which he cofounded with Paul Stanley in New York City in 1972. Interspersed with commentary on the band are plenty of details on Simmons's social life. He clearly takes pride in his rise from an underprivileged kid to a stinking-rich cult figure, disclosing the number of women he has slept with and including early comic-book sketches drawn as an adolescent. These divulgences will entertain only the most loyal KISS followers, many of whom are probably not that interested in the man behind the grease paint. This is the first authorized biography of the band (and a self-aggrandizing one at that), so there may be some demand. Fans, however, are better off with Dale Sherman's more objective portrait, Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of KISS (Collectors Guide Pub., 1997). Not recommended. Caroline Dadas, Hickory Hills, IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
He devotes much of the book to his legendary conquests of women, from groupies to Cher and Diana Ross. His relationships with bandmates is also discussed at length. His reading voice is a monotone, but the story is so interesting that one hangs on his every word. A shrewd businessman and tireless entertainer, Simmons has truly acquired the power he always wanted. This is a must for Gene's old fans and for new fans, like me.
As regards his take on KISS, I had hoped for a lot more road stories, stuff on the songs themselves, and some kind of honesty about the relative levels of success at various times. He does gripe about Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, as who wouldn't?, but there's not a whole lot of credit for much of the stuff Ace did right. Ace's contribution to the band's sound is brick-on-the-head obvious if you compare the early LPs with anything from the 80s. How sad. But anyhow, Gene's relationship with Paul Stanley, which is now at 40 years and counting, gets very little ink. There is no acknowledgement of just how far financially things had gone south by the late 80s, and nothing about the switching of management and agents. Gene has trouble dealing with people as actual people and not merely tools to be manipulated on his way to his idea of success. So the stuff on KISS was, to me, an incomplete and very shallow treatment, a disappointment.
Gene's writing about his family, on the other hand, was often touching and came off as thoughtful and sincere. Yes, there's the bluster about how no woman will tie him down, yada yada yada, but his love and respect for his mother is noble (but his being raised an only child to a single mother with little money and having to learn a new language in his youth goes a long way to explaining everything since then). Likewise, he treats Cher and Diana Ross and now Shannon Tweed with tact and discretion. Finally, his love for his children, which apparently surprised even him, is uplifting and positive.
There is a bit of self-help advice about work, living soberly andfrugally, taking care of business yourself, and keeping one's eye on the ball at all times. None of this is bad advice. The way Gene dispenses it can be annoying sometimes.
The stuff on the girls over the years is just what one would expect; if anything, Gene takes himself less seriously here than elsewhere, as there are funny stories about the truly ugly or superannuated that often shared his bed or couch or breakfast table or car.
The book was worth reading but frankly could have been much better. Those looking for the definitive story of KISS should look elsewhere.
a rock star, he could have been a motivational speaker. But the book is largely devoid of much of the wit that he often displays when on TV or radio interviews. The overall theme is one of an kid who came from a foreign country and then proceeded to make it big, a.k.a, the American Dream personified and it comes off with an earnestness you just weren't expecting.
If you know the history of Kiss, you know what's in roughly half this book; if you've read any of the seemingly hundreds of interviews Simmons has done in mags like Hit Parader or RIP over the years, you're aware of the other half. Simmons seems aware of this as he mostly glosses over the most recognizable parts of, um, "Kisstory" in brief, digestible style. He concentrates far more on his personal life (his mother, longtime companion Shannon Tweed and their two kids) and on the roller-coaster behind the scenes business that's gone into Kiss over the years.
There is some dirt; he talks about those 70s front-page relationships with Cher and Diana Ross, all the groupies as well as the troubles he and Paul Stanley have had with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss since the band started . ( There is a picture of Ace in here that ...well, let's just say after Frehley sees it, that may be it for anymore Kiss reunions.) A good book, but no bombshells that would interest anyone other than Kiss fans or