A GREAT rock biography

I haven’t read a ton of band-related books, but lately I haven’t been able to put down KISS: Behind the Mask, the group’s 2003authorized biography. It’s not that the writing is otherwordly or dazzling. It’s just really, really raw—an oral history that doesn’t hide shitty music or pretend KISS was something it wasn’t.

I particularly love the album reviews done by the band members themselves. When the releases were great—Alive, Destroyer, Revenge—Gene and Paul and Ace and Peter give themselves four or five stars. But when the work sucked, they’re ruthlessly self-critical. Of The Elder, KISS’ wretched “concept” album, Gene Simmons says: “As a KISS record I’d give it a zero. As a bad Genesis record I’d give it a two.”

Of Unmasked, Paul Stanley says, “It’s a pretty crappy album.”

The honesty is a rare and welcomed treat. A truly excellent history of an oft-excellent band.

3 thoughts on “A GREAT rock biography”

  1. Jeff – check out the Guns & Roses biography “Watch You Bleed.” It does not disappoint. Thanks for the heads up on KISS. Can’t wait for your book.

  2. Jeff, if you liked that KISS book, check out “Kiss and Sell” which (I think) was written by Scott Aucoin. Aucoin was their accountant and he started with the band in the mid-70s when they were insanely popular and watched them blow all of their money during the 80s.

    It’s unauthorized and fascinating.

    The Onion AV Club recently wrote about it, but here’s a link to the Amazon page:


    I bet that it’s a bit more honest than the one that you’re reading. I never, ever, ever trust what Gene Simmons and (to a lesser extent) Paul Stanley says. If they told me it was sunny out, I’d grab an umbrella.

  3. Check out Aerosmith’s Walk this way from 1997. You will be surprised at where these guys played and practiced, practically in our backyard

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