june 15, 1974. massey hall. toron-to's glitter kids are out in full strength to worship at the trashy altar of the New York Dolls, at the time the coolest combo on the planet. But first let's welcome a brand new band called Kiss.To polite applause and a smattering of guffaws, the face-painted foursome launch into a program of metal lite punctuated by bass player Gene Simmons's waggling tongue. For the finale, the drum kit rises 3 feet off the stage with the assistance of a clearly visible hydraulic lift borrowed from a gas station. They stomp off stage left to catcalls.
Four years later, Kiss are the biggest band in the world.
You won't find that date in Simmons's tell-all autobiography. But you will read all about his collection of 4,600 Polaroids documenting his indiscriminate sexual conquest of anything female that moves. Teenaged nymphets or nympho grandmothers, it's all skirt to the man with the talented tongue.
Fans of celebrity confessions will lick this up. But diehard members of the Kiss army may be disappointed to read Simmons's descriptions of bandmates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss as hopeless substance abusers and Paul Stanley as an alleged womanizer.
Dish on unlikely bedmates Cher and Diana Ross is all surface, with no details of their porno Polaroids. And who knew that Simmons, acting as her then-manager, set up Liza Minnelli's disastrous collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys?
Unlike most other showbiz bios, Kiss And Make-up is no ghost writer's work; given the glaring grammatical errors, confused continuity and over-the-top self-aggrandizing, it's obviously Simmons's baby. His justification for never marrying the mother of his two children, former Playmate Shannon Tweed, is worth the price of admission alone.
Simmons signs copies of his autobiography at Chapters, Richmond West at John, on Tuesday (January 15) from 6:30 pm.Write Books at email@example.com
KISS AND MAKE-UP by Gene Simmons (Crown), 275 pages, $38.95 cloth. Rating: NN