KISS frontman Paul Stanley exposes all sides of himself in frank, comprehensive autobiography
By Keith Spera, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
On paper at least, Stanley Bert Eisen, a working class Jewish kid from Queens, was an unlikely candidate for rock 'n' roll stardom -- and not just because of his aggressively un-rock 'n' roll name. He also was born with a stump for a right ear. Beyond rendering him deaf on that side, the deformity caused enormous psychological damage. Coupled with a dysfunctional family, it made for a difficult childhood.
A quest to compensate for the resultant emotional void largely explains Eisen's relentless drive to reinvent himself. With his face covered in makeup and his deformed ear hidden by a mass of curls, he morphed into Paul Stanley, the strutting, supremely confident Starchild of Kiss.
Stanley's lifelong struggle to reconcile his two selves -- the wounded, insecure, lonely man-child and the larger-than-life rock star -- is the underlying theme of "Face the Music: A Life Exposed" (HarperCollins), his recent autobiography. Much more than a collection of tawdry anecdotes, "Face the Music" is an up-by-the-bootstraps narrative and a search for identity, set in the anything-goes world of 1970s and '80s arena rock.
Stanley methodically peels away the Kiss mystique to matter-of-factly reveal the forces at work behind the music. He is the last of the original four members of Kiss to pen an autobiography. His may well be the authoritative account.