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Author Topic: KISS: Behind the Mask - David Leaf & Ken Sharp  (Read 1556 times)

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Chiprocks1

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KISS: Behind the Mask - David Leaf & Ken Sharp
« on: March 20, 2012, 01:26:50 pm »
KISS: Behind the Mask - The Official Authorized Biography





I can't believe it took me over a month to read this book. I'm an avid reader and I can blow through pretty much any book in record time. But this one took 3 days over a month. Yikes. The book at first sight is a little misleading. It's actually 3 books in one. That wasn't the problem. It was the text itself which smaller than usual and each page seemed to be jammed a little bit tighter than normal with regards to kerning and tracking for the written word. Okay, enough with the boring stuff. Since this is a 3 in 1 book, the review is about 3 times the size. Sorry if it's more than you would normally like to read in a book review to those that stumble across this. Now without further ado, on with the review.....

I read books like this for one reason and one reason only and that is to get behind the scene dirt, a different perspective if you will about some iconic things that went down. For me, I gotta say that the best was when KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park was being screened by insiders, around 30 people in attendance, the movie was so bad that EVERYONE sat silently in the theater, not sure of what to say or do. And in the back row, you can hear Ace cackling and laughing at the stupidity of what he was watching on screen. Whenerver he would laugh, the rest of the attendee's would laugh along with him, which was a great way to break that tension in the room. I can totally picturing how this was playing out in the room and would have loved to be there in person.

Another great story was after having just seen Deliverence, Sean Delaney was driving the band to their next gig, gets "lost" and fakes running out of gas and has the band hide in the back of the car under a blanket with their platform boots showing because they were convinced that they would become playthings for nearby Hillbillies. While all this was going down, Sean is at the front of the car drinking all of their booze.

Another great story was when Ace faked like he was  s h i t -faced drunk and wouldn't be able to perform that night. He did the joke to get back at Gene and Paul who of course freaked out about losing money if the show couldn't go on and called Bill Aucoin to fix the problem. When he got there, Ace lets him in on the joke and ends up having beers with him in the room while he is suppose to be fixing the problem, making Gene and Paul sweat it out. Ha. No wonder they hate Ace so much.

Peter knocking Ace out cold for being a "lazy mother  f u c k e r " was an eye opener as was the time the band got dressed up in drag and to pull a prank on Bill. The kicker was having Grace Slick there as their ring leader and them as her doo-wop background singers. Also cool is hearing other famous rock stars and their KISS stories being told in the book as a sidebar, ranging from Julian Lennon, Ted Nugent, Little Steven, Rick Nielsen. I like hearing what other rock stars have to say about each other and we get plenty here.

I never comment about picture inserts in any book, ever. So, this is a first for me and I need to make a comment about it because it's so damn cool and tripping me out. Inside they have an outtake for what is the centerfold interior of Alive II and it was taken at the Sports Arena in San Diego. I had no idea that iconic shot was taken here. Wow. Also, they have a shot of Paul taken here during the Farewell Tour, a show that I was at. (Chip's Note: In hindsight, now that I think about it, I remember either hearing about the Alive II image being from the Sports Arena or reading it in the linear notes inside the album. Can't remember which.)

This book does a great job of dissecting pretty much everything about KISS that there is to know about. How deep does it get? They actually interview the two 15 year olds, Bruce Redoute and Lee Neaves on the back of Alive! and what it was like discovering that they were on the back cover when they went to buy it for themselves. That's pretty  f u c k i n g  awesome if you ask me.

Some other things that caught my attention was when Paul basically dismisses Double Platinum because "once a song is recorded, there is no need to re-do them...ever". And yet, many years later he along with Gene would re-record the biggest KISS songs with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer on KISS Klassics. It's not lost on me that this particular album is utter garbage and an embarassment. Hmmm...maybe Paul was right and he shouldn't have gone to the well a second time. Oh well.....

For me, out of the 3 sections of the book, I found the last one, which is devoted to commentary by the band, engineers, producers, managers, secretaries, song writers and whoever else happened to have a story to tell in which they go into great detail, breaking down every single KISS album and probably about 95% of every single song they ever recorded.

The gloves are off when rating the albums and songs. The most brutally honest of them all had to be the Kulick Brothers. Both Bob and Bruce did not pull punches about what songs they absolutely hated and each one had some pretty eye opening stories to talk about with their working relationship with both Paul and Gene. I was actually surprise to see this stuff get into the book and I was even more surprise to hear Gene rip on Paul for writing "whimpy" love songs. This is great stuff.

I definitely recommend this to any and all KISS fans as a Buy. Non-fans should definitely give this one a Rent and get some good behind the scenes stories. This isn't a perfect book. Because Part 1 and Part 2 are written by two different people, there is a good chunk of stuff that is repeated in Part 2. After awhile it becomes extremely annoying reading the same thing again. This is where an editor failed his job of tightening things up and getting rid of stuff that was just rehashing the same information. That's my only gripe about the book, otherwise an awesome read.
Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

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