Paul Stanley: Face the Music: A Life Exposed (2014) Book Review
Book Name: Paul Stanley: Face the Music - A Life Exposed
Author: Paul Stanley
Release Date: April 14th, 2014
I am a fan of KISS. I cannot say that I am a super fan though. I find some of their earlier studio stuff mediocre at best. They only started sounding decent on their Alive albums. I rarely have listened to their studio stuff, except for Carnival of Souls and Psycho CIrcus.
I have heard about all of the original band member's stories through the years but the one that seemed the most level headed was Paul. I know that many fans have their favourites. Paul has proven with his solo stuff and some of his later written songs that he is an underrated singer and song writer. Let us see what this book is about.
As you would have guessed, the book is about the life of Paul Stanley, whose real name is Stanley Bert Eisen. The books starts with his childhood and how he did not have it always easy. Although the backdrop is a story that we all heard 1000 times. Guy grew up poor with almost non existent family and then makes it big. However, the way that it is illustrated here, it humanizes the bigger than life persona of the Starchild.
Many people have written reviews about this book and gone through the details, but I wanted to write more about what things that I learned in this book that I did not know and also, what stories confirmed my theories as well.
First off, I would like to say, that it is amazing that KISS has lasted this long. I think under most groups, they would have disbanded in the early 1980's that that would have been that.
Before reading this book, I had listened to the albums and also have gone to see a few shows. Peter was never really a great drummer. Live, he had little emotion, which is even truer today. Ace has lost his edge. I do not care what fans say, but he is not the same guitar player that he was back in the 1970's. Gene Simmons is a good base player, but his personality is what rubs me the wrong way. His in your face promotion and always saying something to provoke, is annoying. Paul was one of the only guys that I never really saw in the newspapers and was not causing trouble. At least not as much as the other 3.
I was taken back was how much, Paul disliked a lot of the earlier albums. Like me, he thought that they were not that great and that they could have been much better. Now some of them, he did say were good but until Revenge, I think the albums were not that great. But hearing someone from the band admitting that they failed at some points, was refreshing. Others could lie about how they were trying something new, However he did not shy away from criticizing his own work.
I also found it shocking that he did not talk about Gene as much as I would have thought that he would. He spoke about Gene in passing saying that he was not perfect but musically they gelled very well. Until this day, there are still things that run Paul the wrong way about Gene but he has learned to live with it instead of trying to change him.
I am still amazed that he has had a successful rock career on only one ear. I know that others have been blind (Stevie Wonder) or fully deaf like Beethoven but to last this long, he deserves credit for that.
I knew that Ace and Peter had issues with Gene and Paul. However, Paul confirmed what I was saying for years, Ace and Peter had their best years behind them. Peter more than Ace, but Ace is still not what he used to be. I personally always liked Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer as their replacements respectfully.
I have to admit that throughout the years, KISS has always done things their way. Yes, there were issues within the group, but they never really let others dictate how they would play.
I always wondered why Paul never liked the album Carnival of Souls. Now I understand a little better. He never understood Grunge. It is not the rocking part that is the issue with him but the content. Grunge is very sombre and Paul, always wondered, after you write one album about screw the world, what do you write on the next album. it was also not KISS's style. KISS was always upbeat with their music.
Paul Stanley: Interview about the book
I have read some of the reviews about this book and many people say, well KISS say whatever they can to make a quick buck. Also, they do not believe anyone in KISS.
I for one, do not agree with the above assessments. This book was very interesting from beginning to end. You go through the journey with Paul as he explains how it was before the idea of KISS ever materialized. Some parts were sad, humorous and some very serious.
Like I said above, a lot of the things that I thought about KISS, Paul confirmed. Which is refreshing as normally you get a lot of BS especially from Gene Simmons.
I felt like I got a glimpse into Paul Stanley and not the Starchild. It felt more personal. He has had some demons and he never really had anyone to tell. Now he is happily married, but the book sounded like the reader was listening to him while he was letting is emotions flow.
All in all, I Would recommend this book to anyone. Even if you are not a fan of the group, you get to understand what made KISS, KISS and what has made them go for the last 45 years.
Rating: 9 Starchilds out of 10
Have you read it? Let us know what you think?