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Book Wars: Ace Frehley Falls Flat, Duff McKagan Crushes Expectations 

I decided to take advantage of some quiet time Easter afternoon and get back to reading Ace Frehley's No Regrets autobiography, and quite honestly, I felt compelled to write this post based on complete and total disappointment with his book. According to my Kindle, I'm 67% through the book, and it has yet to even get...good. His revisionist history is absurd and delusional. Throughout the book, Ace is basically praising Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, when for years he has been bashing them publicly. Then, there are the segments upon segments about how he plays music for the sake of making music and it isn't about the money with him (yet he charges fans for pictures and autographs at least two times per year at conventions) and that the show was too grand for his tastes (but yet he did it for years and years and helped create what the show was). Worst of all is how he describes the recording the Alive album, and how his live parts were too sloppy to be used on the record so they had to be redone in the studio. He justifies this by saying that he is a performer who is playing based on the feel he is getting from the audience, and he isn't a "studio performer." The simple fact of the matter is maybe Ace is just not as talented as he likes to envision himself. I once heard a friend say to someone else, "You can lie to me, but don't lie to yourself." I think Ace should maybe take that lesson to heart. Finally, the reason we all buy these books are for the behind the scenes "dirt" that we are not privy to.

I just finished reading about the infamous Tom Snyder interview where Ace stole the show, much to the dismay of Gene (mostly) and Paul. Ace recounts this fondly, as he should, but then the story just stops. I wanted to know what happened in the limo after the interview. Was there an argument? What was said? Who was angry? As I said in my review of Steven Adler's (awful) autobiography, if you want to sell your story, then you need to give the reader SOMETHING TO READ! You need to dig deep and share the struggles and emotions during the good and the bad times, otherwise your book is nothing more than a 300 page magazine article. Ace's book is just about how great his life and friends were; how it is the producers' fault that he couldn't deliver the goods on Destroyer (so studio musicians were used), and how much of an "artist" he is... and quite frankly, I'm not buying what he is selling.

Mind you, I am a HUGE KISS fan. I love the band, the songs, the live shows and the history. But this is simply too much and clearly not true. I want Ace to be great, and I appreciate his role and contributions to the band, but do not sell the fans a fluff piece and call it your story...otherwise what is the point?

Now, on the other end of the spectrum is Duff McKagan's book, It's So Easy: and Other Lies, which is, in my humble opinion, the single best autobiography written by a current/former rock star (and yes... I have read The Dirt by Motley Crue). Duff has the ability to tell stories, make them interesting to the reader, go in-depth so that you fully understand where he was at any given point in time. And above everything else, you clearly get the sense that he is being honest with both himself and the reader. When reading his book, I actually had trouble putting it down, as it is just that good. So to Duff, I say, as a fan, THANK YOU. Thank you for giving your fans something that is actually worth them spending their money on and worth taking the time to read. Thank you for sharing your story, the good parts and the bad, so that those of us that have only wondered what is like to be a part of a super group understand what it is actually like, including the mental and physical impact.

And to the readers of BBG!, if you want my recommendation, the next time you are browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble looking for your next autobiography, you should pass on the Ace Frehley book (sadly), and pick up Duff McKagan's book. You will thank me for it when you are done reading.


Reader Comments (15)

Was Duff's book better than Slash's book? I really loved Slash's book as well as The Dirt.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sexy Armpit
Duff way better than Ace. I m a card carrying member of the kiss army but way better. Duff is better then slash IMHO. Not that slash was not good just enjoyed duff more. I disagree in one sense...The Dirt is still the best.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSmknotsmf
I think Brian is pretty much dead on, about Frehley's "autobiography". Of course it's revisionist history, Ace was so completely out of it during so much of his career, somebody else had to tell him what happened, so the book could be written. The most honest part of it, was the story of his mom driving him to the audition for KISS. Beyond this there's a ton of fabrication & embellishment. There was one common theme... As soon as there was any cushion of comfort/momentum, Ace Frehley got lazy & let others do the work for him. KISS suffered for it, & Ace's guitar playing suffered for it. And that sucks. And that's why he sucks now. And that's why I totally understand replacing him with Tommy Thayer.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I agree, Duff's book is great, but The Dirt is better. The Heroin Diaries is the best! Sammy Hagar's was also very good, and Steven Tylers was a little all over the place, but for the most part a good read...and fairly long and detailed. Haven't read Slash's yet.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlamfly
I read a couple of pages of Ace's book at Target and it seemed kind of interesting. It was the part about the recording of Destroyer, which seemed honest in admitting he had little to do with it. Was thinking of getting it at some point, but now i'll probably skip it. I liked Hagar's and Mustaine's book a lot.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterForge
I got to go with The Dirt as my all time favorite, followed closely by the Heroin Diaries. Aerosmith's Walk This Way was really good, as was Slash's. I definitely want to grab Sammy's Red,and after reading Brian's review, i will grab Duff's right along with it.As for Ace, he was the reason i picked up a guitar oh so many years ago. But I am inclined to agree with our Ace here,as in, that book is revisionist history, because Ace himself will tell you he doesn't remember a whole lot from about 1974 on...
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Dead on..Ace's book was boring..we all knew most of the stories..Duff's is awesome,,I LOVED reading his book.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJimbo
I think Rocker about Phil Lynott is the best. Not an auto but still. I enjoyed Aerosmith's, like The Dirt they had every person's viewpoint. Loved The Dirt but after reading it, made me not want to be a Crue fan anymore. All of them were a-holes. Haven't gotten to Rudy Szarso's (sp?).
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
I read that Duff book in 4 nights after work no less,...That probably would make it more interesting than the rest, I found that it didnt weigh itself down with stuff I didnt care about...I've read Slash, Adler, Keith, Scar tIssue,....on and on it goes but yup, if you are in the mood to read than that Duff book is as good as it gets...
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertoddwiggy
most of the stuff in the books were in metal edge and hit parader mags in the 80s
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertommydahl
I haven't read either of those, but I'm definitely going to pick up Duff based on Brian's review. For my money, The Dirt is easily the best rock book that I've ever read, and Slash was pretty good as well.

What I would love is an honest book from Axl, but I'm guessing that we'll never see one, and if we did, no one would believe what he wrote anyway. :-)
April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Scott, I saw you mentioned Rudy Sarzo's book "Off The Rails", it's well worth reading. And, if you liked "The Dirt", you'd love "Tommyland", written by Tommy Lee & co-written by his most famous body part. Hysterical reading... and absolutely the naked truth.
April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I'd have to agree, Duff's is probably the best of this genre I've read. It's been awhile since I read The Dirt, so I really couldn't give it a side-by-side comparison. But I did think it was better than Slash's, although that was good, too. Tommyland I thought fell kind of flat, although the "co-author" parts were pretty amusing.
April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEddieLongHair
Another note to readers, DO NOT BUY VINCE NEIL'S book either! I'm trying to get through it and am embarrassed an editor or publisher would put their names on this book. The writing is nothing short of just plain embarrasing.
April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKari
Holy sh1t! Indeed Kari, that one was SO BAD I had forgotten about it!
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEddieLongHair

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