Do not expect a lot of KISSing at Thursday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Members of the quartet have been doing a lot of DISSing of late. In particular, Paul Stanley just published a memoir that does not withhold punches and, in fact, accuses KISS bandmates of being anti-semitic.
Paul Stanley used to quote George Orwell who believed autobiographies are the most outrageous form of fiction. But, he decided he had a story to tell that could be inspirable … and sensational. The result is Face the Music: A Life Exposed, which was released today, the same week the group’s original lineup is being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Do not expect the original foursome to don their black get-ups and makeup. Stanley and Gene Simmons are still in the band; co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are not and were replaced in later lineups. The former two refused to play with the latter two at the ceremony. That was before Stanley’s book made the accusation.
Paul Stanley, 62, has more than 40 years of membership in one of the most successful rock bands, one that sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. He is Jewish (born Stanley Eisen in New York City) as is Gene Simmons. The rocker’s book details years of acrimonious fighting in the band and accuses Frehley and Criss of being racist.
Stanley reportedly claims that Ace and Peter resented the tireless focus, drive and ambition displayed by Simmons and himself. They felt “unfairly manipulated by [us] money-grubbing Jews.” He also reports that Frehley amassed a collection of Nazi memorabilia and that Criss made racist jokes in restaurants.
Questioned by reporters when reporting his book this week, Stanley stands by his accusations. He indicated that they were based on years and years of interactions.
Drummer Criss has denied the Stanley’s claims and notes that a favorite aunt was Jewish. Frehley has not publicly responded yet.
For Stanley, the prime purpose for writing the memoir was not to diss his former KISS Bandmates, but rather he hopes the book does inspire others to never give up. The twice-married Stanley also wanted to provide something to help his four children understand who he is and what his life has been about.
Stanley recounts growing up in a highly dysfunctional and unsupportive upbringing. He was born deaf on his right side and had microtia, an outer ear deformity that led to him being bullied and taunted as a “one-eared monster” during his childhood. He also grew up with a mentally ill and sometimes violent sister. The bullying in his youth was “too painful” to discuss before the memoir. Stanley has since had the ear surgically reconstructed.
Music was Stanley’s salvation. He joined choir, grow his hair long over the ears and through small successes and small wins managed to build a successful life. He told one reporter than it is important to rely on faith and passion on the journey. Stanley mused that passion help one succeed and helps one deal with failure. However, small victories propel us forward and, as he noted, “near-victories keep us motivated.”
Face the Music also has plenty of Kiss tales, including details the turbulent relationships between band members, even his ongoing partner Gene Simmons. Stanley does not kiss up to his former bandmates in his memoir, and also talks about his later triumphs as a painter and on the stage, where he appeared in the Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera.
By Dyanne Weiss