One of my resolutions for the new year was to read more nonfiction, which is typically more educational than the novels I have always preferred. Being a music fan, I decided to start with music biographies.
Since I recently have revisited my youth by listening to all of my old Kiss records, I started my reading with that band. All four original members have written memoirs, so I put in a request for each one at the nearest branch of the county library.
The first to arrive was Makeup To Breakup, written by drummer Peter Criss. Here are ten pieces of information that I learned about him and the band from reading that book.
1. He took drum lessons from the father of Harry Chapin, who had scored massive hits such as Cat’s In the Cradle and Taxi.
2. Guitarist Ace Frehley, who is also quite a gifted artist, was the one who designed the lightning shape in the band’s last letters.
3. Because his girlfriend bragged about once having had an affair with Warren Beatty, Criss subsequently fired two bullets at the TV screen on which the actor appeared.
4. Criss and his wife once rented a Los Angeles home owned by Vincent Price, the famous horror actor who also appeared on hit songs such Devil’s Food by Alice Cooper and Thriller by Michael Jackson.
5. During a concert Criss once hurled a drum stick at bassist Gene Simmons, striking him in the back of the head.
6. He and Ace Frehley once got into a serious physical altercation, which ironically ended up strengthening their friendship.
7. The Top Ten single Beth was actually written as a joke to a bandmate’s wife named Becky, who used to call constantly to check up on him.
8. One of his favorite friends to party with was actor John Belushi, who was at the peak of his fame from the NBC series Saturday Night Live, the comedy blockbuster film Animal House, and the award winning musical The Blues Brothers.
9. Actors Tom Arnold and Roseanne Barr were such devout Kiss fans that, upon hearing a false rumor that Criss was wandering Los Angeles as a homeless man, the couple frantically drove around the city trying to find him.
10. The lead singer for his band Cat#1, Mike Stone, later became the front man for Queensryche.
Additional information can also be found in Makeup To Breakup which would serve as great trivia items. For example, Criss mentioned in Chapter Twelve that his favorite song is Hotel California by the Eagles.
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