Like the Beatles, KISS had four distinct personalities within the original band. In KISS, drummer Peter Criss was the most down to earth member of o In any interviews I ever saw, drummer Peter Criss (the Catman) always seemed to be the most humble and honest with his feelings. Sadly, his life and music career were deeply affected by drug and alcohol excess. For years I wondered when Mr. Criss would put his life story to paper and reveal what exactly happened to him.
‘Makeup To Breakup: My Life In And Out Of Kiss’ is Peter’s story; a kid who fought to survive on the streets of New York, clawed his way to the top of the music world, lost it, replaced some and then turned his back on everything. This book is honest to a fault and gives you a new perspective on the KISS story that seems to be constantly rewritten with Peter’s contributions diminished each time.
For Peter, the rise of KISS seemed to bring more problems than anything else. With each rung of success he felt outvoted and constantly fighting to show his creativity. This ended with him sabotaging his final years in KISS as well as self-destructive behavior and drug and alcohol abuse.
After reading the book I felt I had a better understanding of Peter, the inner workings of the KISS machine and the 1970’s hedonistic lifestyles. Peter (with contributor Larry Sloman) goes into serious detail about all things KISS, marriage, groupies and bad decisions. The language can be crude and descriptions leaving little to the imagination, but he is honest about his feelings. Where Gene Simmons’ book was boastful, Ace Frehley’s was just sad, Peter’s examines the soul. He tells it like it is when it comes to Gene and Paul Stanley’s domination of the band, Ace’s betrayal and the stupid things he did that ruined two marriages.
The part of the book I was most interested in was his solo music career after he left KISS. Peter tells of the frustration of having his first two solo records bomb and subsequent projects meet with no luck as well. You could see that the success and adulation Criss had from the single ‘Beth’ had more of a negative effect on him than a positive. More than the respect as an artist, the song became the validation of his arguments with Paul and Gene and ultimately started his downward spiral.
Congratulations to the Catman for an amazing book. And more importantly on surviving to tell the tale!
Matman Rating: 4 out of 5 cat lives!