Jeff Pearlman

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Why are people shocked by KISS lip-syncing?

So a big story in rock music of late involves Paul Stanley, KISS lead singer and guitarist, lip-syncing a bunch of the band’s songs on their farewell tour. And the proof—well, it’s pretty thick. Just watch here. And here. And here. Clearly, as he approaches 70, Stanley can’t do what he once did. Which is fair. We all fade with time.

What actually surprises me is, well, the level of surprise of such behavior. Say what you want about KISS—the band has never been particularly honest about its music.

Perfect example: “Psycho Circus,” KISS’ highly anticipated 1998 album, which reunited the four original members (Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss for the first time in 18 years). That was the ENTIRE hook of the release. “Look, they’re back together! The old crew, making music again!”

Only, it was nonsense. Little did we know at the time, the original four recorded one song on the album together. One. Otherwise, Stanley and Simmons handled most of the work, and Kevin Valentine did the drumming while Bruce Kulick (the band’s replaced guitarist) and Tommy Thayer (the band’s current guitarist) pretended to be Ace.

And I remember finding this out and thinking, “Wait. What?” I mean, the only reason folks bought an otherwise mediocre collection of songs was to see if KISS could recapture the magic of yesteryear. So to learn it was all a hoax; all bullshit—that sorta sucked.

Alas, KISS is KISS. Turns out they’ve been pulling this stuff forever.

Simply dishonest.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life