Makeup to Breakup
My Life In and Out of Kiss
KISS formed in 1973 and broke new ground with their elaborate makeup, live theatrics, and powerful sound. The band emerged as one of the most iconic hard rock acts in music history. Peter Criss, the Catman, was the heartbeat of the group. From an elevated perch on his pyrotechnic drum riser, he had a unique vantage point on the greatest rock show of all time, with the KISS Army looking back at him night after night.
Peter Criscuola had come a long way from the homemade drum set he pounded on nonstop as a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the fifties. He endured lean years, street violence, and the rollercoaster music scene of the sixties, but he always knew he’d make it. Makeup to Breakup is Peter Criss’s eye-opening journey from the pledge to his ma that he’d one day play Madison Square Garden to doing just that. He conquered the rock world—composing and singing his band’s all-time biggest hit, “Beth” (1976)—but he also faced the perils of stardom and his own mortality, including drug abuse, treatment in 1982, near-suicides, two broken marriages, and a hard-won battle with breast cancer.
Criss opens up with a level of honesty and emotion previously unseen in any musician’s memoir. Makeup to Breakup is the definitive and heartfelt account of one of rock’s most iconic figures, and the importance of faith and family. Rock ’n’ roll has been chronicled many times, but never quite like this.
Read an Excerpt
I entered the world on December 20, 1945, feet first, ass backward, a breech baby. They didn’t have C-sections in those days so they had to take me out with a forceps, like you would use for salad. My mom, Loretta, said the whole process was so painful that she didn’t want any more kids after me. Of course, she had four more.
I was also impatient, exiting my mother’s womb two months prematurely, a tiny little thing with long black hair down my neck. The nurses would dote over me; they had never seen a baby with that much hair. The cool thing is that I was a love child. My mom got... see more