May the 5th will see the UK release of the latest in a line of autobiographies from the founding members of KISS (April 8th in US). This time round it's the one I've been looking forward to most - Paul Stanley "Face The Music A Life Exposed". I was lucky enough to get a review copy over the weekend, here are my thoughts.

Starting with his early childhood, the initial sections of the book deal with Paul's realisation that microtia made him different to other kids, ultimately leading to name calling and insecurity. We get to see into his troubled family life as a child, where he had to deal with both his sister's drug use and psychological problems as well as parents who were not fully supportive of him or his ambitions.

Dealing with microtia & deafness is a theme that runs through the entire book, from growing his hair long to hide the fact that his right ear was deformed, through to his reconstruction operation in the early 80's. Paul also explains how he took on the lead role in Phantom Of The Opera after realising he had strong connections with the lead character - both hid their true identify and deformities behind a mask.

Paul's early introduction into music is well detailed, from skipping school and hiding in a cathedral waiting for music stores to open through to getting, and rejecting, his first guitar. His years with ‘Post War Baby Boom’ are also mentioned, ultimately leading him to be replaced by the band without his knowledge. This leads onto a meeting with a certain Gene Klein, a bass player who seemed to like talking a lot.. about himself. This was of course the meeting that was to about to change the course of both their lives.

The KISS years are, of course, fully documented - warts and all. Starting with the Red & Orange sneaker story we all know & love, getting a manager, defining the look & direction of the band and also the difficult early shows. Yes, there are insights into exactly how difficult it was to deal with both Ace & Peter, which became worst as alcohol & drug abuse took over. But more surprising is how Paul details the relationship with Gene. Throughout the book there is resentment over how Gene's involvement with KISS disappeared over the years, mainly during the 80's where Paul was left to run the band with virtually no support. At one point a Hollywood producer & his kids were brought into a KISS recording session just to help Gene to get an acting job. Paul really was running the show throughout the 80's but resented having to split the rewards of his work equally with Gene.

All members of KISS past & present are covered, as well as managers (lots about Bill Aucoin), tour managers, accountants & more. There is a deep & heart-breaking insight into the time around Eric Carr's death, in particular around Paul questioning whether he had made the right decisions with regards to Eric, ultimately regretting the way things turned out. This is the first time I have read an honest account of what actually happened, I really admire Paul for this.

What is clear throughout the book is Paul's insecurity with himself, often hidden by his alter ego The Starchild. Outside of the band Paul talks about his loneliness, depression, seeing a psychiatrist (who later joined the KISS team) and even having panic attacks. The only outlet from this was the time he enjoyed with women - and lots of them, from friend's mums to Penthouse models. He talks about the time he decided to turn his life around and look for marriage, this leads to his time with Pam and later Erin and ultimately his 4 children, to who his dedication & love is clear - he hasn't replicated the failings of his own parents approach to parenthood.

The reunion years are also mentioned in detail, from Tommy Thayer having to teach both Peter & Ace the basics again, through to the amazing first show at Tiger Stadium, Detroit. However it wasn’t long before history repeated itself - Paul was intent on not letting the band self destruct after some bad Farewell shows fuelled by crazy demands from Ace, Peter and... Gigi.

Personally I loved this book, it's as damn close to a complete warts & all insight into KISS as you're going to get, right from the Starchild himself. He is incredibly honest  throughout, not just about the people around him but also about himself. Yes, I can often be guilty of wearing Rose-Tattoo tinted spectacles, but I admire Paul for giving an honest, heartfelt, motivating & yet (at times) upsetting insight into his life, his family & KISS.

Interested in winning a copy of the UK edition of Paul Stanley - Face The Music? Then look out for a competition coming very soon where we will be giving away several copies. This time round there will be several ways of winning, through this site, through our Facebook page and via Twitter. At least one prize will be allocated to each option and you can enter all 3 if you want.

Note that the UK release date is May 8th, not April as currently stated by Amazon.

In the mean time, please like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter so you can find out how to enter nearer the time!

So we have no UK tour... for now, so why not go see the great Dressed To Kill (@kisstributeuk) instead? DTK are the nearest you are going to get to a full KISS show in the UK for at least the first half of this year, please show your support by catching them on their 2014 tour, dates are as follows:-


The KISS/Def Leppard live press release is complete with a 40 date US tour announced. Currently it runs from June through to the end of August, but sadly no UK dates, not yet anyway.

Update: Gene Simmons has tweeted: "RELAX. WE WILL COME" when asked about a UK tour.

The April issue of @MOJOmagazine features an interview with Paul Stanley discussing his forthcoming book. "Starchild discusses childhood trauma, Wicked Lester and the survival instinct of the four-headed rock monster that is Kiss". On the shelves right now (Prince cover)...

From BBC News:

Rock band Kiss have pulled out of their performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in a disagreement over their line-up. The veteran act failed to decide which members would be on stage for the concert on 10 April.

They said on their website the "memory of those times" would not be served by a reunion of the original line-up.
Other inductees who will be honoured in New York include Nirvana, Peter Gabriel and Linda Ronstadt.
Musical acts are eligible to be elevated to the Hall of Fame 25 years after their first release.
Kiss, famous for their elaborate stage make-up and costumes, first formed in 1973, including current band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
Originals Ace Frehley and Peter Criss subsequently quit the group, which continued with different musicians.
Their statement continued: "To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up, and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

"This is understandably an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone."
Speaking to US rock DJ Eddie Trunk, Frehley claimed Simmons and Stanley had rejected a reunion with their original bandmates.
"It's very frustrating. It's what the fans wanted, it's what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted, and it's not gonna happen," he said.
The band's statement denied that they had ever scotched a reunion with Frehley and Cross,
This would have marked the original quartet's first performance together in more than 13 years, at the end of a reunion which lasted from 1996-2000.
Frehley and Cross have not confirmed if they will attend the ceremony.

NB The "Cross" typo is theirs, not mine!

So we now know that the HOF reunion isn't happening, but even worse there will be no KISS performance at all. But really, so what, isn't this all a big fuss over nothing? Ace's interview on Eddie Trunk over the weekend was followed by many people giving Paul & Gene grief on Twitter & Facebook, not surprisingly before they actually had chance to hear both sides.
For those with short memories, Paul gave a massive hint in a Classic Rock interview less than weeks ago when he said "Honestly, I have no plans at the moment to do anything, and that includes playing with Ace and Peter or anyone else", that's right, no plans so why the massive shock that nothing is happening?
If you take time to think it through Paul & Gene could never have been able to work this out and still keep everyone happy. The HOF wanted the original band in make-up as it's only them being inducted, Paul quite rightly wanted everyone else inducted too, including Eric Carr. So do they have Peter & Ace in make-up and ignore the fact that Eric Singer & Tommy Thayer have worked their arses off keeping KISS alive for the past 13 years? Of course not, Paul & Gene have put their own band before the arrogance of the HOF and deserve respect for that. Could Peter & Ace have joined the current line-up on stage in make-up? No. Understandably Ace had already said he wouldn't get on stage with Tommy in make-up so that's a none starter, and let's face it would have been uncomfortable for everyone. So what's left, a non-make up show. Yep, that could have worked, but not without Bruce Kulick (and who knows maybe even Vinnie), but then the KISS image is 4 guys in make-up, should this really be toned down for the HOF?
So there was never a solution to suit everyone other than not playing - the main issue here isn't Paul, Gene, Ace or Peter or anyone else - it's the HOF. Over the years they have shown themselves to be arrogant and ignorant towards the KISS legacy, ignoring the band and their fans for the past 15 years is unacceptable. It's only a year since we were all mad after seeing the arrogance shown by Jann Wenner to a KISS fan in a YouTube video (below). Why now is everyone pissed that Paul & Gene decide to turn their backs on them and refuse to play?
If you could have one last reunion show, perhaps with all surviving members of the band, would you really want it to be in front of a group of "suits" who have ignored us all for 15 years? No, me neither, now bring on the 40th Anniversary Tour of the UK, we have some real celebrating to do this year.

40 years ago today an album was released that was to change the lives of many people around the world. That album was the self-titled 'KISS', an album that to this day boasts 7 songs that are regularly played at a KISS concert (arguably with an 8th that should also be there). Happy Birthday KISS, I may have only been 1 month old at the time, but have a Cold Gin on us.

1. Strutter
2. Nothin' to Lose
3. Firehouse
4. Cold Gin
5. Let Me Know
6. Kissin' Time
7. Deuce
8. Love Theme from Kiss
9. 100,000 Years
10. Black Diamond

3 Sides Of The Coin logoFor those of you who watch the excellent '3 Sides Of The Coin' (@threesidescoin) talk show on YouTube - this Tuesday they will be speaking to the mysterious "Drago". If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, Tuesday is also the 40th anniversary of the release of the first album 'KISS', check out the back of the cover for a clue to Drago!

3 Sides features Mike Brandvold, Mitch Lafon & Tommy Sommers and can be found here: