Book & Magazine Reviews

Peter Criss - 'Makeup To Breakup' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 20, 2014    
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Certainly one of the best rock star autobiographies to come out in the 2010s.

Published by: Scribner

There has been an enormous boom in recent years in the publishing industry of rock star autobiographies with the release of life-stories by Ann and Nancy Wilson, Sammy Hagar, Rick Springfield, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and almost every member of Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue, amongst many others. Now we have a hardback tome from original Kiss drummer Peter Criss. Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley have already released their memoirs but it has to be said Criss' is the best of the bunch. Criss has teamed up with top writer Larry Sloman who was responsible for co-writing Anthony Kiedis' huge (both in weight and self-indulgence) autobiography, 'No Scars' and has done an excellent job evoking the life of the original Kiss drummer.

Criss recounts his early life on the tough streets of Brooklyn and the influences that led him to play drums and join Kiss. Obviously it's his years in the band from 1973 to 1980 as well as the 1990s reunion that appeals the most. As with most rock star autobiographies Criss isn't great on the making of the music though he does admit that he only played drums on one song ('Dirty Livin'') on 'Dynasty' and nothing on 'Unmasked' as Simmons hired Anton Fig. Criss is, however, excellent on the tensions between himself and Paul Stanley and Simmons as well as his friendship with Frehley. He writes openly about his ultimately doomed marriage to childhood sweetheart Lydia and his affair (and then marriage) to Playboy model Debra Jensen. Criss admits that when he told Lydia about his affair she informed him that she'd been having an affair with Angel bassist Mickie Jones who like Kiss were also signed to Casablanca Records at that point.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There are lots of fantastic anecdotes about his rock 'n' roll hedonism as well as the importance of the people Kiss were surrounded by at that point, notably, manager Bill Aucoin, Casablanca head Neil Bogart, musician and friend Sean Delany (the fifth member of Kiss) and money-man Chris Lendt who himself wrote a great book called 'Kiss And Sell'. Criss also writes candidly about the car crash he was involved in in 1978, his fascination with guns (and when he used them, notably to blow up TVs, including Gene Simmons'), his lean years post Kiss (both financially and personally), his third marriage and his battle with breast cancer in 2008.

'Makeup To Breakup' is a well-written and thoroughly entertaining and often revealing book about rock 'n' roll excess as well as life inside Kiss, which doesn't seem as though it was a lot of fun much of the time. This isn't a book about Kiss' music (for that check out 'Behind The Mask') but rather life inside of Kiss and band relations and struggles. Ace Frehley's book 'No Regrets' was lacklustre and very light on certain areas especially the band's reunion so much so that Frehley has announced he is writing a second memoir, but Criss' book is much better. There have been dozens of books on Kiss and though I haven't read them all. 'Makeup To Breakup' would undoubtedly be one of the better ones and certainly one of the best rock star autobiographies to come out in the 2010s.

Neil Daniels

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