Criss’ book is wonderfully sleazy and graphic even for a rock-star memoir. At the height of Kiss mania, Criss almost literally had to fight girls off with a stick. His entire universe was saturated with orgies, champagne, and cocaine freak-outs. There are levels to rock-star decadence. The beginning level is pretty tame. It involves drinking too much, the occasional blackout, indulging in groupies, and maybe smoking a little weed. On the second level comes cocaine, threesomes with groupies, and wrecking hotel rooms. Criss and Frehley quickly graduated to the most advanced level of rock-star decadence, one attained by the Mötley Crües, Led Zeppelins, and Iggy Pops of the world. The band went from smoking weed and chasing girls to fucking 19-year-olds in their signature make-up and costumes (the ultimate form of rock-star narcissism), doing mountains of blow, destroying hotels, hurling lunch meat on naked groupies then shoving them in hotel elevators (a stunt in which Marilyn Manson’s crew also engaged), and, in one of Criss’ more regrettable misadventures, dressing up like Nazis and knocking on the door to Simmons’ hotel room and demanding to see his papers. That would be an almost unforgivably offensive transgression under the best of circumstances, but Simmons is the progeny of Holocaust survivors (not to mention a mean, humorless bastard), so he was particularly horrified by his bandmates’ shenanigans.
The solo albums were obviously crap
Then again, I had the same disappointed reaction the first time I bought that freaky-looking record with the grinning skeleton on the cover, by a band that even had "Dead" right there in the name.
In the November 12, 1970, issue of Rolling Stone, [Mike Saunders] commented on an album put out the previous year by the British band Humble Pie: "Safe as Yesterday Is, their first American release, proved that Humble Pie could be boring in lots of different ways. Here they were a noisy, unmelodic, heavy metal-leaden shit-rock band with the loud and noisy parts beyond doubt. There were a couple of nice songs...and one monumental pile of refuse." He described the band's latest, self-titled release as "more of the same 27th-rate heavy metal crap."*
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