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.