Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley

I don't remember a time when there was no KISS; in my life they've always existed. And for that reason, this book was very interesting to me - it chronicles their rise to fame, and the immense struggles it took for the band to build an audience and one-by-one win over the critics.

I really wanted to LOVE this book. And I do actually love it, a little - but I also thought they needed a much stronger editor (the book is an unwieldy 560 pages long). If four people said that Paul and that one guy didn't get along, all four quotes are in the book: Wouldn't we have been better served by one of those quotes, and then perhaps Paul's perspective? The book could have been about one-third shorter.

What did I love? The stories! The day the band took over Cadillac, Michigan and the reasons why. The friendship between KISS and Rush (and the animosity between KISS and Aerosmith), plus Ted Nugent's opinion on a KISS stage show. The only time Gene ever got high and the one time Paul got drunk. During the timespan this book covers, the band was a strong fierce foursome, a band of brothers - before things got ugly and the split happened. Ace and Peter are quoted extensively in the book, and while there's a bit of foreshadowing there's no ugliness or animosity in this book.

And a minor annoyance: I wished there had been a few more pictures. Most of the photos in the book are previously unreleased, which is very cool. But when they talk about the photo shoots for the album covers, I wish they'd also given us the cover (I spent a lot of time looking things up on the internet while reading this book).

Highly recommended for the KISS Army, and still recommended for more casual fans. You'll come away with a new appreciation for how hard they've worked to get where they are.

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