Reviewed: November 2005
Released: 2004, Pitbull Publishing
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
About eight years ago, right around the time of KISS’ big “reunion” tour, a little book called KISS & TELL came out and sent shockwaves through the Internet and the KISS Army. Gordon G.G. Gebert’s first-hand account of his treatment by his so-called friend, KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley, left mouths agape and KISS fanboys around the Internet declaring a bounty on Gebert’s head. The book (and its follow-up, KISS & TELL MORE), was, indeed, a juicy slab of salacious tell-all scandal, but it also confirmed what KISS’ own Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley had been saying for years””Ace Frehley was impossible to work with. His drug use, irresponsibility and reckless behavior were a hindrance to the band and that was why he was fired.
As if Gebert’s claims weren’t enough, Wendy Moore’s INTO THE VOID…WITH ACE FREHLEY will surely be the final nail in Frehley’s coffin (or rather KISS Kasket). Moore, who began working for Frehley as his personal assistant in February 1998 and would later become his lover, delivers a warts-and-all, behind-the-scenes documentation of what life is like within Frehley’s personal circle. When Moore first met Frehley, she was a Valley Girl in her mid-20s who had never touched drugs, barely drank alcohol and led a normal life as a struggling musician with her band, Venus Envy. Within a year, she was an emaciated cocaine (or “Betty,” as Frehley dubbed it) addict and eventual intravenous drug user, spiraling out of control under the guidance of the habitually-wrecked Frehley. The guitarist’s irresponsibility and wanton disregard for time schedules, other people’s feelings, or social graces is examined in great detail””often to the point of wincing””but Moore deals with it in as respectful a manner as possible without even coming across as an embittered ex (and she surely would have every right to). Frehley is painted as a painfully self-conscious and paranoid person whose sexual inadequacies and kinks are laid out for all to read. His slob-like behavior is overshadowed by the fact that he seems unable to even get out of bed and dress himself without Moore’s help, let alone function as a human being, is sad and embarrassing to read, especially the chapters dealing with Frehley’s daughter, Monique, and a reported illegitimate daughter fathered by him. Frehley’s belief that his bandmates and friends are unaware of his drug use is naivete at its best and he seems almost child-like in his fear of being “caught” by Stanley and Simmons. Moore is very candid about the drug-induced stupor that she and Frehley eventually fell into, with her low-point being the moment she was smoking heroin outside a KISS concert in late 1998 and performing in fetish videos to get drug money. Frehley’s tricks at hiding drugs are those of an old pro and the man’s ability to even remain standing after the cocktail of prescription and illegal drugs is astounding.
While INTO THE VOID…WITH ACE FREHLEY focuses on the relationship between Moore and Frehley, there are many scenes that involve backstage moments (photo shots, PSYCHO CIRCUS and “live” album recording sessions) and other tales and insights (Simmons’ and Stanley’s hair, or lack thereof) that will be of interest to the rabid KISS fan. Simmons’ lecherous behavior is no secret but he is portrayed here as having some morals by not hitting on Moore, though his demeaning and condescending ways are far from flattering. Peter Criss escapes without too many bruises but the aloof and stand-offish Paul Stanley is really run through the ringer. Moore alludes to Stanley’s oft-questioned sexuality, but never comes right out and says it. Former KISS members, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, also make appearances in the book, though fans of Singer may want to look elsewhere for a positive opinion of the drummer.
INTO THE VOID…WITH ACE FREHLEY will not win Wendy Moore any friends within the KISS family but she must be commended for speaking the truth (or her version of it) and not backing away from what is often deemed an impenetrable circle with an unspoken code of silence. After the firestorm that was unleashed on Gebert, Moore seems to have escaped relatively unscathed however the ugly truth still resides in this book and there is plenty for the KISS Army to take issue with. If you’re looking for sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll, it’s all here. This is not a happy book by any means (though Moore’s eventual kicking of her drug habit is a ray of sunshine in the Epilogue) but it is a no-holds-barred expose of a much-loved and much-respected musician and who doesn’t enjoy a good, old-fashioned mud-slinging????