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But Peter Criss’s autobiography, Makeup to Breakup , says differently.

Oddly, many sources suggest that the sequence for this name should actually be "George Peter John Criscuola" (which transposes “George” with “Peter”). From the standpoint of how instantly recognizable they are to people who barely care, Kiss are among the most famous rock bands in the history of the idiom. This is a function of appearing in public, for the first nine years of the band’s existence, only as theatrical characters allegedly representing their inner natures, once categorized by critic Chuck Eddy as “a cat, a bat lizard, something with one black star on one eye and something with one silver star on each eye.” Soon after its inception, the band knocked out three albums in 24 months, all on the ill-fated, drug-enriched label Casablanca. None of the records sold particularly well; combined sales were fewer than 300,000 units. Kiss responded to this failure by counterintuitively rerecording many of these unsuccessful songs in concert and releasing a double live album, titled Alive! It charted for 110 weeks. Kiss fans classify Kiss as the best live arena act of all time, almost to the point of utter obviousness; those who hate Kiss will usually concede they were (once) a competitive live act, but only if you were in middle school. Throughout the last half of the ’70s, Kiss operated as the biggest band in the world — although not because of record sales (groups like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles sold way, way more). Kiss simply declared that their enormity was reality, and reality elected to agree. They were popular enough for every member of the band to release a solo album on the same day and to have their actual blood mixed into the ink of Marvel comic books; they were popular enough to star in one of the most structurally irrational movies ever made and to sleep with the likes of Diana Ross. They were popular the way Pepsi is popular. But somewhere around 1979, a lot of odd and foreseeable things started happening in persistent succession: They made a disco album, Peter was fired, they made a concept album, Ace quit, they took off the makeup, they fired the guy hired to replace Ace, the guy who replaced the guy who replaced Ace got a bone disease, they sued a record label, they temporarily rediscovered popularity, the drummer who replaced Peter died from heart cancer, the original quartet reunited for $144 million, they created a 3-D concert experience (even though life is already three-dimensional), Peter quit twice, Ace quit again (and was replaced by a guy who once painted Paul Stanley’s house), Gene blamed the Internet for ruining music, Paul played the lead in Phantom of the Opera , and every original member wrote an autobiography. And now it’s today, and Kiss are still my favorite band, for reasons I incessantly attempt to articulate to varying degrees of imaginary success.