But in truth, I would be the Wizard of Oz: the awkward little man behind the curtain operating the huge persona.
So, here it is. The autobiography from my favourite member of KISS. I got sucked into Gene Simmons’ Kiss And Make Up (the less said about Sex, Money, Kiss the better), and had never gotten around to reading Peter and Ace’s accounts, mainly because I figured it’d be whiny or filler for periods of time they’d blacked out (apparently I was right).
Paul, to me, was the most private (as a member of KISS could be), and the one who was comparatively most diplomatic in interviews. I thought he often said the right things, not necessarily the wholly true things when I read back. And here, I really liked him speaking out. He called out Ace’s behaviour, Peter’s attitude, and – most surprisingly, to me – Gene’s ego, need to promote himself above the band, and taking credit for pretty much everything.
The latter is something I credited him for in his own book. I thought he had an astute business mind – and yes, he does – but I’m starting to realise that I’d been sucked into his bravado more than I’d realised.
The backstory of KISS hasn’t changed – the ups and downs are as thoroughly documented as ever, and his book is more about how to deal with them and move on, rather than bitch about it. But what I enjoyed about it was putting some real stories to the Starchild.
He felt neglected and came from a dysfunctional home, he was born with one ear, half deaf, and was bullied as a child. He thought fame would bring acceptance, that wealth would bring him security – what he realised is they were just vehicles to solving it all, ending with quite a nice snippet of his family life. From anxiety to his drive to succeed, Paul’s book was really interesting. I also liked the fact photos were printed on pages, and not in the middle of every page or two with giant pulled quotes of what he’d just said (FAO: Gene).
Sure, many of the career points were well-trodden before, he even skipped over much of the debauchery in a matter-of-fact way so it was more of an acknowledgement it happened rather than a part of the tale. It felt like the Starchild was finally opening up, without breaking his private leanings.
I mean, as private as KISS can be.
The one thing – one thing – I disagree with is his notion that anyone in KISS can be replaced. KISS is just bigger than the band, yes, it is a brand, and 50% have been replaced thus far, but I think he underestimates the smack both he and Gene have in the b(r)and.
He talks of knowing his limits and looking forward to when he’s replaced as a final proof that what he created was something bigger than himself. With that in mind, I think it’s time to save up for that elusive meet and greet, because I’m now worried that next time – if there is a next time – may be my last chance.