Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Book Review: Peter Criss-Makeup to Breakup (My Life In and Out of Kiss)

Having read Ace Frehley's book a few weeks ago, I was eagerly anticipating this one and actually decided to read it sooner than I had planned after seeing Peter Criss interviewed on "That Metal Show".

Where I found myself constantly questioning how much of what Ace wrote was revisionist, I found Peter to be quite believable and in some regards, this book not only gave me Peter's story, but helped me to better frame what I read in Ace's book.

Peter didn't pull any punches here, he told the stories, even when it was him fucking up and that's not an easy thing to do. There are things that he wrote about that made me not like him very much, this guy was one of my idols growing up and I've always been such a fan but aside from his "Rock and Roll lifestyle", which I do not judge or begrudge, some of his attitude as a musician kind of bothered me. For example, he often talked about when his drum parts were recorded for an album, he would just no longer show up for the rest of the sessions. I have a hard time standing behind that especially since one of his biggest struggles was to be respected as a band member. It's hard for me to justify that kind of attitude, in my opinion, a band should be united and there for each other through the entire recording. That said, who knows how it would have played out considering how awful he was treated. It's easy for me to offer opinions and thoughts but those moments in those moments may have been a very different thing, so I do thing he deserves the benefit of the doubt as well.

When I saw Peter talk on his recent "That Metal Show" appearance, I was pretty moved about his thoughts on the whole debacle with Kiss' (long overdue) induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. having had that fresh in my memory while reading this book, along with the very end of the book, I do believe Peter Criss is a different man today than through those very tumultuous years in Kiss, the years when Gene (and Paul) shifted the idea of Kiss being a "brand, over a band."

As a lifelong Kiss fan, it's hard to read about the bad times and the egos and bullshit. The whole idea of that band was to create a mystique, a fantasy that took you out of the ordinary everyday life and just take you into that moment, that fantasy - there was music and theater. I'd rather not have know about the smoke screens but as I am no longer that little kid whose mind is blown by the fire breathing and the theatrics, I realize that behind it all were real people.

As difficult as reading this book was, it was a well written book and as a fan of the band, and of the "Cat Man", I am glad to have read it.
One of the most moving pieces of this story is the revelation that Peter Criss is a breast cancer survivor. That's right! I am sadly in the minority of men that understand that men can get breast cancer! I think it's important to be sure that awareness is increased and that we all do our part to raise awareness. Rock on Cat Man!

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