KISS and Make-up
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You wanted the truth, you got the truth—the hottest book in the world!
Fueled by an explosive mix of makeup, costumes, and attitude, KISS burst onto the music scene thirty years ago and has become a rock institution. The band has sold more than eighty million records, has broken every concert attendance record set by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, stands behind the Beatles alone in number of gold records from any group in history, and has spawned more than 2,500 licenses.
There would have been no KISS without Gene Simmons, the outrageous star whose superlong tongue, legendary sexual exploits, and demonic makeup have made him a rock icon. KISS and Make-Up is the wild, shocking, unbelievable story, from the man himself, about how an immigrant boy from Israel studied to be a rabbi, was saved by rock and roll, and became one of the most notorious rock stars the world has ever seen.
Before Gene Simmons there was Chaim Witz, a boy from Haifa, Israel, who had no inkling of the life that lay ahead of him. In vivid detail Gene recounts his childhood growing up in Haifa under the watchful eye of his beloved, strong-willed mother, a concentration camp survivor; his adolescent years attending a Jewish theological center for rabbinical studies in Brooklyn; his love of all things American, including comic books, superheroes, and cowboys; and his early fascination with girls and sex, which prompted him to start a rock band in school after he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.
KISS and Make-Up is not just the classic story of achieving the American dream through the eyes of an immigrant boy making good, but a juicy, rollicking rock and roll read that takes you along for the ride of your life with KISS, from the 1970s, when they were the biggest band in the world, through the ’80s, when they took off their world-famous war paint, and into the ’90s, when they came back bigger and badder than ever to become the number one touring band in the world.
In his own irreverent, unapologetic voice, Gene talks about the girls (4,600 of them and counting); his tight bond with KISS cofounder Paul Stanley; the struggles he and Paul had with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss and their departures from the group; the new band members and Eric Carr’s untimely death; the enormous love and affection he has for the people who put him there in the first place—the KISS Army and the ever-loyal KISS fans around the world; his love life, including stories about his relationships with Cher and Diana Ross and with Shannon Tweed, Playmate of the Year, mother of his son and daughter, and his companion of eighteen years; and much more.
Full of dozens of photographs, many never-before-seen pictures from Gene’s private collection, KISS and Make-Up is a surprising, intimate look at the man behind the mask. For the first time Gene reveals all the facets of his complex personality—son, rock star, actor, record producer, businessman, ladies’ man, devoted father, and now author.
with spikes, and my mother was trying to brush off a piece of lint, or clean a spot, or something. It was like trying to walk up in back of a tank and take off a piece of thread. By this time my mother had remarried. Her new husband was a man named Eli, a Polish gentleman who had lost some family in the war. He worked in the clothing business, and he worshiped my mother. If they were walking down the street and she saw a piece of clothing she liked in a window, he would study it intently and
was capable of playing guitar. So on the album I didn’t play bass at all, I only played guitar. Cher and Chastity appeared on one song called “Living in Sin at the Holiday Inn.” Sean Delaney produced my solo record, and he brought in Michael Kamen to arrange and conduct about thirty of the finest string players in Los Angeles. One morning they had arrived and were seated inside the recording studio ready to do their parts on a song I had written called “Man of 1,000 Faces.” Sean had arranged to
like it came out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It could move up and down. The drums levitated higher than they ever had. We even had the front of the stage disconnect and lift the band over the heads of the people in the front rows. To up the stakes even more, I got the bright idea of having a rig built to fly me up to the light system fifty-five feet above the ground. Every night, I would throw up the blood that had been hidden in my mouth during the previous blackout, stand there
make money and chase skirt, and all of a sudden here was a baby who was now depending on me for everything. Was I doing it right? Who knew? What do you do when a baby poops in your hand as you’re holding him? Do you put him down? Do you wipe? Help! That’s all I remember saying for many weeks. And then the months went by, and the first word he said was “Daddy.” I remember my knees buckling. I thought about taking all my credit cards and saying, “Here. It’s all yours. Just keep saying ‘Daddy.’ ” I
hard. But Ace didn’t show up on time. He didn’t talk to the press. By the second or third week of rehearsals, I faxed George Sewitt saying, “We are ready to pull the plug. Ace Frehley is not a team player.” George Sewitt suggested we have a heart-to-heart with Ace. So Paul, Ace, and I met at the Sunset Marquis, about a month into rehearsals. Ace was full of excuses: his dog was sick, he was having trouble with his family, the government was hassling him about taxes. But he agreed to settle down.