Everyone should read Paul Stanley’s “Face The Music”

Most everyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Kiss fan. In 1976 I was turning 13 and starting to listen to music I liked. I was always cognizant of music around me as a kid. The stuff on the radio that the adults played whilst driving me\us somewhere, ditto the school bus, and TV being the biggest sources. 1974 was Cub Scouts which was pretty much the 1st time I had talked to anyone about music and what I enjoyed. It started with the Beach Boys and then Stevie Wonder. I had an AM transistor radio and listened to 13Q a top 30 AM station that dominated the younger set in Pittsburgh in the early and mid-70s. I mean, what else was there besides KDKA 1020AM?

THEN I finally had an FM I discovered real rock and AOR. Fine except it wasn’t  fast or crunchy enough. Well, sometimes, then I discovered KISS ALIVE II. 40 years later and it is still a pillar in my life. Roll your eyes all you want but Mr. Stanley and Mr. Simmons music has got me through a youth buried in abject poverty and dirt, a hitch as an infantryman, self-destruction with booze and then hard drugs, a divorce from the best life a man could ask for, jail, prison, and then the hard road of getting clean, getting a life again, and staying clean. Yeah, Eisen and Klein. Whatever. I am a fellow Jew but they have been going by those names forever. Besides I have a Scot last name. For a long time I only listened to KISS, The Doors, The Ramones, and DEVO. That was it.

Then I read interviews with Paul and Ace that revealed they liked Led Zep and the Who, amongst others. Good enough for the Space Ace and Starchild? Good enough for me, so my musical horizons opened a little more but KISS was still my bedrock. I am going to have another blog entry on why I was such a WUSS over my 1st breakup but for now I’m just going to say it was why I joined the Army. I walked into the recruiter’s in Mount Oliver PA 15210 and told them “I wanna jump from planes.” They told me I wanted to be an airborne infantryman. I shrugged my shoulders and said sure. This was 1981, Reagan had given us our maroon berets back, re-activated a bunch of units, and there were sizable bonuses for any combat arms.

Now EVERY job in the service is important, I don’t wanna sound like the blow-hard wannabes and this is the only time I’ll mention I was an 11B1P. My younger brother Joe (R.I.P.) was an airborne medic and my youngest brother Tony was a commo guy who was deployed to the 1st Gulf war. Who was Mum and Dad proudest of? ALL of us. Well, Dad died right after I got out but I am sure he was as proud of each of his sons. We all earned Honorables and me & Tony got 2 GCMs and were junior NCOs as well. The point is, if you were a mechanic be PROUD of it. I met a guy in rehab who was a truck driver for the school brigade at Ft. Bragg. An airborne truck driver who knew the special warfare inside and out. He could of BSed a career SF 1SGT if he wanted to. Anytime we’d talk abou8t our service time (at a VA rehab) he always said he was a truck driver. How could you NOT love him? Shout out, Robbie V! Hope all is well. I am getting off-track but KISS carried me through the Army. I was not built to be an 11B1P contract\bonus baby but I made it thanks to KISS tunes and some awesome roommates.

OK, this all does tie in with Mr. Stanley’s awesome biography. He was insecure, came from a fucked up home life, had a crazy sister, a visible defect so the kids fucked with him, and was a loner as only a real loner can be. I always felt I was ugly, dumb, and never fit in. My folks weren’t so much destitute as terrible with money and no housekeeping skills whatsoever. It’s vogue to cry about how bad it was coming up but we went without utilities more times than I could count, even losing our phone. This was Bell Atlantic days. Local was peanuts. As a teenager I had to heat a bucket of water on a hotplate from an extension cord a wonderful neighbour supplied. Too bad she was two doors down and the scumbag Croats next door wouldn’t allow it. Coleman stoves and lanterns after that, baby.  Small wonder 3 out of the 4 kids ended up crazy, genuinely dangerous junkies. Like the Simpson dummy gene, it seemed to be carried on by the male gene with us as well. Our sister turned out awesome. She put herself through school to the doctorate candidate level, owns a successful business, married one of the gentlest giants I know, and has a son anyone would be proud of. So there is a lesson there somewhere. Paul Stanley’s sister was nuts.

So the book is like he is sitting there telling you his life story. It’s very open, rings VERY true, and is fascinating. Not just to a near life-long KISS fanatic and member of The KISS Army since 1977, this really made contact with the long-suffering manchild who never fit in, was never very athletic, and panicked anytime he had to show the real him. From his story about the rotten little prick teasing him about his ear up to him meeting his wife, you will be captivated. It doesn’t have the wannabe hagiography and BS smell of “No One Here Gets Out Alive”, doesn’t pull any punches, does not sugar coat his faults, and really makes him out to seem like A damn nice guy once you get through his shell. Outback Ray, me sadly missed brother Joe (R.I.P.) and me went to the KISS convention. That gets it’s own blog. I just wanted to say at that event Gene came across as an arrogant prick with an ego as big as the great outdoors and … it fit him. No shit, I think I would have been disappointed if he wasn’t. Paul seemed like a VERY nice guy. He even chastised a couple making out to “Go get a room!” which I thought was awesome.

Even if you are not a KISS fan, go get this book! If you were veer a loner or didn’t feel like you fit in or never give yourself enough credit, go read it! Mr. Stanley, you really are an inspiration.

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