As the ‘90s become the naughties, KISS soldiered on with Singer on drums and ex-roadie Tommy Thayer on guitar, alienating some old-school enthusiasts. The “loner rock star” trope is one that recurs throughout the book. Yet in one of the large, well-kept houses that line the roads is an artist filled with the excitement and verve that comes from growing up in New York City. Stanley’s boot-strapping, family first (with more than a dash of unbridled sex) philosophy of life is one that may make ideologues from the American Enterprise Institute happy —  until they realize that Stanley’s empire was built on songs that celebrated a kind of “if it feels good, do it” attitude of the counter-culture and the sexual revolution. Eisen’s sister, Julia, suffered from some kind of manic behavior that manifested itself in violent outbursts. The meat of the memoirs sees the Starchild recounting his early days steering the KISS machine with business-minded bassist Simmons. Eisen-Lester began her journey as an artist at the Art Students League in the fall of 1969. Drugs are rampant. The retooling of KISS from their ’70s roots into a hair band like Motley Crue, Poison, Whitesnake, and the like was Paul’s brainchild — and it worked. Finding a kindred spirit in Israeli-born chum Chaim Witz—aka Gene Simmons—Stanley turned his attention to writing original music instead of merely banging out covers. The guitarist and drummer get up to their old tricks (and a few new ones), however, frustrating Stanley and Simmons even as the money poured in. At a local music equipment retailer he turns down free goods, telling the employee to give the gear to a musician who can’t afford it. But it’s in Stanley’s telling of his own story (with an assist from journalist / translator Tim Mohr) that readers get a true sense of the triumphs and trappings of rock celebrity—or what fellow rockers Rush once described as the “glittering prizes and endless compromises” of stardom. It became unbearable to Stanley and Simmons, but they pushed on with a second tour that was even worse than the first. Although KISS was voted the world’s most popular band in a 1977 Gallop Poll, Stanley and Simmons sensed that the tide had shifted by the end of the ‘70s: Their marketing strategies had worked too well, drawing youngsters to the KISS camp and earning the ire of long-time fans who cried “sellout.” A quartet of simultaneously-issued solo albums sold well, but not nearly as well as expected, resulting in massive returns. Soon enough, both Space Ace and Cat Man were ejected from the band, with Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick filling in on guitar in the ‘80s and Eric Carr handling percussion on albums like Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up, Animalize, and Asylum. To that end, Stanley’s Face the Music: A Life Exposed stands as the KISS bio to beat. He was also deaf in that malformed ear. The resulting double-disc, KISS: Alive, propelled the band into the stratosphere. They were more enamored with Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks than the other styles Wicked Lester explored, so they retooled their sound to mirror the music they admired. Ripped off by a manager or an accountant. Stanley established The Starchild character for his Kiss persona and is known for his distinctive, wide-ranging voice. Eisen’s condition left him “with nothing more than a stump” on the right side of his head where his ear should have been when he was born. Before long, the hard-charging band won the attention of TV promoter Bill Aucoin (Flipside), who inked a deal with Neil Bogart’s fledgling Casablanca record label. When his parents returned home, they were angry with him about setting his sister off (he also got a slap from his folks for good measure). The backroom shenanigans ultimately lead to the band’s split with their once-benevolent manager and his increasingly disco-centric label. KISS becomes more popular with each new album (Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun), but their egos are tempered by producer Bob Ezrin (“Don’t ever stop playing unless I tell you!”) and their accountants, who glumly report that they’re barely breaking even—despite all the cash trading hands. “Is the book tough on some people?” ponders the author. Shortly after, she attended the New School, where she took classes in clay sculpture and anthropology. Aucoin knew there was something novel about KISS, and the combination of solid rock songs, an effects-heavy show, and the allure of four guys in kabuki-like makeup would likely be a big hit with people who loved hard rock. The high-heeled hero insists other people from all walks of life can make their dreams become reality, too—if they’re as willing to work for it. And if telling my tale can offer a glimmer of hope to someone, then it was all worth it.”. Eisen’s sister, Julia, suffered from some kind of manic behavior that manifested itself in violent outbursts. If anything, Stanley’s memoir paints a picture of a man who was extremely focused and determined to succeed as a rock musician. The singer describes the KISS characters as superheroes (like Batman)—any one of whom (himself included) could be replaced by surrogates in the name of show business—and explains his (and Gene’s) reasons for wanting to protect not only KISS the band, but KISS the brand. If it wasn’t for a meeting with Bill Aucoin, who became their manager and “fifth member of the band,” KISS’ chances of superstardom would have been minuscule. Summer Afternoon in Hague, 30” x 24”, Oil on Canvas, 2015.,70690. ACE FREHLEY has reached out to his former KISS bandmate PAUL STANLEY following the death of his mother, offering his condolences and calling her a … The earliest incarnation of KISS (then known as Wicked Lester) recorded an album but couldn’t secure a record deal, so Stanley and Simmons threw themselves into their live performances. Their first band, Wicked Lester, was a hodgepodge of musical styles, and once the band recorded their one and only album, both Simmons and Stanley agreed that they hated what they heard. The result was the start of one of the most bombastic, theatrical, and hard-working bands of the 1970s, KISS. Frehley’s behavior worsened with his drinking and drug use until the guitarist became flat-out unreliable. He dabbled in various bands during this time, finding early success in Rainbow (not to be confused with the Ronnie James Dio band). That artist is Julia Eisen-Lester. Eisen’s childhood was clearly an important turning point for him. Stanley recalls how the event—which featured guest appearances by Frehley and Criss—prompted a full-blown reunion tour and studio album (Psycho Circus), and how fan-fronted conventions sparked a return to the makeup of old. “But also to let fans see themselves in it, and see where my story might take them.”. Magazine ads placed for a drummer and lead guitarist resulted in the recruitment of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, who showed up for his audition in mismatched sneakers. Stanley turned to music for escape, reveling in the sounds of Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, and the popular doo-wop groups of the day. Teased throughout his childhood in Manhattan (and Queens), New York for his Jewish heritage and ear-warping microtia, the man born Stanley Harvey Eisen slipped into the persona and willingly basked in the security it afforded. Stanley defends their places in the band, however, arguing that Frehley and Criss squandered their talents and failed to capitalize on the second chance offered by the reunions. Stanley doesn’t sugarcoat Ace and Peter’s abilities before the reunion tour. They were fans of symphonic music, and Eisen was enthralled by Beethoven and, of course, rock music at the time. This all circles back to Stanley Eisen’s loveless upbringing. Stanley and co-writer, Tim Mohr, tell a compelling story that contrasts Stanley Eisen — the son of Jewish immigrants who was born with a birth defect called microtia — with his alter ego, Paul Stanley. However, you don’t fire original bandmates twice, keep new members (i.e., Eric Carr) in a state of insecurity, another one at your beck and call (i.e. By Peter Roche / Cleveland Music Examiner, “I needed to reflect personally,” says the rocker in Face the Music, available now from Harper-Collins. Learns from mistakes. Both his parents are Jewish. As Starchild, he had his pick of women, but his promiscuity only exacerbated an inner loneliness. Having that crumpled stump opened him up to ridicule from classmates and neighborhood kids who called him “Stanley the One-Eared Monster.” Eisen’s parents and older sister were an odd bunch, too. Toying with the makeup favored by glam artists like David Bowie and theatrical stage shows offered by shock-rockers like Alice Cooper, the KISS men put on the face-paint and premiered their now-famous alter-egos (Starchild, Demon, Space Ace, and Cat Man) to fascinated audiences in the Midwest. But as the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and Stanley has certainly gotten a reputation of breaking more than a few eggs. The guitarist dishes on his turbulent boyhood, overbearing mother, and secretive father, and opens up about troubled sister, Julia, whose mental illness lead to substance abuse and teenage pregnancy. Throughout the book, he reminds his readers that he’s a loner and people misunderstand him. Sex is freely available. While many people dream of being a rock star, Stanley and Simmons were very strategic in their quest for fame and fortune. Moreover, Stanley dispels the notion that Simmons is some kind of marketing genius. Stanley admits early on that he always regarded his Starchild alter-ego as much more than one of the band’s clown-faced musical superheroes. “I grew up in Riverdale-Fieldston area,” Eisen-Lester said, walking up the stairwell surrounded by her paintings, which fill the walls. Stanley takes readers backstage and behind-the-scenes on tour buses and hotel rooms, where the debauchery and drug use (by Criss and Frehley, anyway) reached epic proportions. The book may not divulge much of anything diehard KISS fans don’t already know. Despite the strengths of Stanley’s memoir (and there are many), there’s a recurring effort to gloss over “Paul Stanley the Egocentric Monster” that has dogged him since KISS’ incarnation. They chose the latter, and made millions of dollars. Ace Frehley’s laziness and drug and alcohol dependence is chronicled, as is Peter Criss’ volatile moments. Yonkers, in the early afternoon, is the sound of landscapers and slowly driven cars. The only “gift” his parents gave him was music. Eisen-Lester's most recent works are in oil, concentrating on urban life. But whatever success they had as an nostalgia act, they paid for in increased use of drugs and alcohol by Criss and Frehley. Warm February Night, 36” x 72”, Oil on Canvas, 2017. His parents never really encouraged him in his interests, were rarely affectionate, and told him to fight his own battles when teased by kids. Stanley concedes the group’s first few albums (KISS, Hotter Than Hell, and Dressed to Kill) sounded anemic compared with their mind-blowing concerts, so they hired Jimi Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer to helm a live record that captured the energy onstage and did justice to neck-breaking hits like “Strutter,” “Cold Gin,” “Firehouse,” “Deuce,” “Parasite,” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Stanley acknowledges that Kramer and his engineers “doctored” the Detroit recordings, adding the audience noise and ambiance that wasn’t picked up by the mixing board at Cobo Hall. Criss in particular is singled out by Stanley in the book as a semi-talented drummer who, when all was said and done, was an idiot when it came to understanding the world and for wasting his talent on drugs. Aucoin was the one who told the band to appear with their makeup at gigs and other public events. One need just view the KISSology videos to see how hard KISS worked to entertain its fans show after show, tour after tour. Downward spiral into a chemically dependent depression. Julia Eisen-Lester is an established artist whose work has been exhibited widely in group, solo and juried exhibitions, and can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

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