David Browne
October 24, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Kiss: Behind the Mask

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Leaf, Ken Sharp
publisher
Warner Books
genre
Biography

We gave it a B

For those who yearn to rock & roll all night and wallow in Gene Simmons trivia every day comes this Frankenstein monster of a book: a serviceable, previously unpublished 1979 bio wedded to a new oral history of the band. At this point, only diehards will want an in-depth chronicle of, say, the ”Empire State Building Photo Shoot.” Yet this band-approved tome can be shockingly blunt, redeemed by Kiss’ cutting assessments of each other’s solo albums and contributions (Ace Frehley: ”Gene doesn’t know the difference between a good and a bad song”); record-exec admissions of employing substitute musicians in the studio and using payola to create hits; and the tale of producer Bob Ezrin actually using a blackboard to teach them about time signatures during the making of ”Destroyer.” And who knew ”Strutter” was inspired by ”Just Like a Woman”?

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