Tag Archives: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Book review: “Face the Music: A Life Exposed” by Paul Stanley

Each night is the only night that counts to the people at that show. They weren’t at the show the night before, and they won’t be at the one tomorrow. I won’t let them down.

Paul Stanley's "Face The Music: A Life Exposed" covers everything from the origins of KISS tro many of the band's misfires in the 1980s to the powerful lineup in place today.

Paul Stanley’s “Face The Music: A Life Exposed” covers everything from the origins of KISS tro many of the band’s misfires in the 1980s to the powerful lineup in place today.

That passage is from the 65th chapter of Paul Stanley’s autobiography, “Face the Music: A Life Exposed,” which was released April 8, 2014, and it’s as fitting a description for the frontman and driving force of hall of fame act KISS as any before or since.

Stanley, who formed the band in the early 1970s with original members Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, never takes a night off on stage. Part inspiration, part perspiration and total determination, Stanley – at age 63 – still completes aerial stunts onstage in massive, platform shoes. In his book, Stanley credits the massive KISS Army for his ability to perform such acrobatics at an advanced age.

If you’ve seen KISS in concert, you know what I’m talking about. Stanley reveres his position in the band and in rock history. Confident, sexified and strut-tastic, Stanley sets the bar high for rock frontmen. He’s as good as it gets, and he basks in it.

Stanley, the last original member of KISS to pen an autobiography, takes the same approach to his book, and with a thoughtful retrospection one might expect from someone who’s had significant ups and a few downs during an epic four decades with KISS. Stanley delves into his upbringing – from his detached, unemotional parents to his difficult older sister to the pain he felt growing up deaf in one ear, which was also deformed.

A prevailing theme in the book is Stanley’s struggles with self-confidence stemming from his deformed ear. He sought fame, fortune and women in an attempt to mask the pain. None of it ended up working, though he achieved all his goals in ample proportions.

Stanley eventually found peace, and fathered four children. He cooks, he cares and he’s optimistic. Unlike books by Frehley and Criss, Stanley holds no grudges and it comes across as painfully truthful. Stanley doesn’t hide his disappointment in Frehley’s and Criss’ poor play as the reasons why KISS’ reunion in the 1990s fell apart. He openly makes fun of some of the music he made in the 1980s. He even holds no punches with Simmons, whom Stanley said takes far too much credit in the band’s success.

But Stanley never comes across as bitter. It’s just not in his nature.

That’s is why I dubbed Stanley, “The Walt Disney of rock and roll” following a particularly excellent KISS show at Star Lake Amphitheater in Burgettstown. (Sorry sponsors, it will always be Star Lake.)

Stanley’s tale is beyond extraordinary, yet it comes across as relatable. It’s well-written, thoughtful and, just like Stanley on stage, it doesn’t let the reader down.

Paul Stanley’s inspirational quote of the week

Part inspiration, part perspiration and part showman, Paul Stanley is one of rock’s ultimate frontmen, a persona so grand, I’ve dubbed him “The Walt Disney of Rock and Roll.”

Stanley’s lyrics are filled with imagery – visceral and inspirational. It’s the latter that’s inspired a new feature for this blog:

Paul Stanley’s inspirational quote of the week.

Every week, we’ll draw inspiration from Stanley’s often over-the-top lyrics. Apply them in life, and happiness is guaranteed.

“I know life sometimes can get tough!
And I know life sometimes can be a drag!
But people, we have been given a gift,
we have been given a road
And that road’s name is… Rock and Roll!”

There, feeling better?

The ‘liberating’ art of speechmaking

One day before the start of the 2010 high school football season, I made the short drive from the offices of the Observer-Reporter to Wash High Stadium, a throwback to the glory days of the sport in Western Pennsylvania.

Walking onto the same field where the likes of Brian Davis, Dan Mozes, Travis Thomas and Shai McKenzie made headlines, I approached the Prexies, who were huddled around head coach Mike Bosnic, a former player at Pitt who was at the High following a successful coaching stint at Carmichaels.

Practice had concluded, and Bosnic was at the beginning of a speech to his players. A day from that speech, Wash High would host Clairton, a perennial Class A power with a national following thanks to its wildly successful winning ways. Bosnic mentioned certain players, then told the team how that player was going to execute his assignments perfectly to help lead the Prexies to a 1-0 start.

It was inspiring, powerful and impactful. After Bosnic was done and his players headed toward the locker room, I approached to talk. I told him I was ready to run through a wall for him.

Thank goodness he didn’t take me up on it as Clairton manhandled Wash High, 41-0, in a game more lopsided than the final score.

Bosnic’s speech isn’t famous, nor will it ever be, but it’s one of many I’ve been lucky enough to hear during my long career as a sports writer. Whether it’s at the professional, college or high school level, the art of speech making is essential in coaching.

Maybe Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is a coach because he delivered my favorite speech at the 2014 Rock and Roll Induction Ceremony. Morello inducted KISS, and wasn’t a popular choice heading into the event. After Morello’s awe-inspiring speech, no one complained.

Why mention it now? Well, my daughter, Anna, and I were listening to “Destroyer” as I drove her to school Monday and something made me think of Morello’s speech. After dropping her off, I went home and watched it. Then, I went to the gym and enjoyed a fantastic workout.

If you haven’t seen the speech, please check it out. It’s chill-inducing and liberating.