So I came to this book with hardly any preconceived notions about Gene Simmons or the band. The book turned out to be a really interesting read. I've read rock memoirs where the musician was such a complete & utter fuck up that it is hard to follow the story of the band. A memoir where the musician is so flummoxed by how the music industry works that they can't give any explanation or insight as to what was going on. He got a BA in education before starting a band so he'd have something to fall back on if music didn't work out for him. In terms of the band, I found it fascinating to read about why things were done the way they were. Later in the book he talks about how he would take a photo of a woman after he had sex with her. I think this memoir is worth reading even if you aren't a KISS fan. Anyone interested in the music industry would find his book engrossing.
I really didn't have any desire to read this given that I already knew more about KISS than Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley combined. For a band like KISS and it's author Gene Simmons, I would expect nothing less than 500 pages. Everything that you have ever heard about KISS and its humble beginnings, and you KISS fans know exactly what I'm talking about, you have seen and heard the stories told a million times over from Gene himself either in on-camera interviews or print from magazines and other books over the years. And when the band isn't being talked about in the book, Gene is bragging about his sexual exploits. But getting first hand accounts of what Ace and Peter did to incur the wrath of Gene was somewhat eye opening here.
Simmons is far less self-aggrandizing, and more realistic, in this earlier book than the one I just read (Sex Money Kiss) which is to say, he still comes off as a posturing egomaniac, but at least he knows it.
Gene isn't a great story teller and the book just feels like a bunch of stuff thrown together without any excitement. Hell, this guy had more ass than a toilet seat yet he just randomly throws liasons into various stories but it's all matter of fact. If he had made an effort to add something new or at least made an attempt to be less matter of fact the book would've been better.
Told in a very stream of consciousness manner the book takes you from Gene's childhood as Chaim Whitz from Haifa, Israel to the mega success of one of the most innovative rock bands ever. Again, not great literature but a fun look into a man who doesn't take himself or the world around him too seriously.
He promised his mother that he always would have something to "fall back" on in life, so he went to college and earned several degrees before completely pursuing his rock and roll dream. From there, "Kiss and Make-Up" is filled with salacious accounts of Simmons' outrageous rock and roll life most of which involve his favorite pastime, "chasing skirt." Big girls and little girls, fat girls and thin girls, younger and older if you're a (legal age) female with a pulse, Gene Simmons wants to give you his room number. But as Simmons' puts it, the book contains "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." While that may, or may not be, I'd still be curious to compare notes if and when Paul Stanley publishes his story.
You may hate Gene Simmons. I am listening to the audio version of the book read by Gene Simmons himself. The Italian Mother says, "if you don't do what I tell you, I am going to kill you." The Jewish Mother says, "If you don't do what I tell you, I am going to kill myself." Gene Simmons. So far my takeaways on the Gene Simmons book (yeah, I know this is kind of a big deal because I never read) are the following: 1) Don't disappoint your mother. Further takeaways from the Gene Simmons autobio audiobook: 1) sexual assault is going to make being emotionally intimate difficult or impossible 2) paternal abandonment makes commitment hard or impossible 3) Cake is superior to fancy food. Final takeaway from the Gene Simmons book.
But there are lighter moments as well, like reading first hand what fatherhood has meant to this man who scarcely knew his own father. If you're a fan of rock-n-roll in general, there's a few other books in front of this one that should be read first.
We learn all about Gene and his ladies. sure, he's a perv - but he's more than honest about it, and he seems to get love and respect from his wife (?).
You havent really experienced the absurdity of his autobiography until youve heard The Man himself reading his own thoughts, read with a drop-dead seriousness that would make Yul Brynners ghost jealous.
From genesimmons.com Gene Simmons was born in Haifa, Israel in 1949, and is the only child of his mother, a German Nazi Concentration Camp survivor. He has been happily unmarried for 25 years to Shannon Tweed, the mother of his two beautiful children.* *Simmons and Tweed finally wed on October 1, 2011