Oh, I was thrilled to see this one in the mailbox! I love a good memoir and this one certainly has potential – Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. This is the Kiss era that I’m interested in, when the band was starting out and still keeping their faces hidden. (It’s painful, isn’t it, to watch Family Jewels and see rock superstars reduced to reality tv hucksters? Painful.) The book is laid out as an oral history, with interviews and conversations, rather than a narrative, and that should make it a quick, fun read.
Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) chronicles, for the first time, the crucial formative years of the legendary rock band KISS, culminating with the groundbreaking success of their classic 1975 album Alive! and the smash single “Rock and Roll All Nite,” a song that nearly four decades later remains one of rock’s most enduring anthems. Drawing on more than two hundred interviews, the book offers a captivating and intimate fly-on-the-wall account of their launch, charting the struggles and ultimate victories that led them to the threshold of superstardom.
Constructed as an oral history, the book includes original interviews with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss, as well as with producers; engineers; management; record company personnel; roadies; club owners; booking agents; concert promoters; costume, stage, and art designers; rock photographers; publicists; and key music journalists.
Many of KISS’s musical contemporaries from the time, most of whom shared concert bills with the band on their early tours, also lend their perspective via new interviews; these include Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, and Ted Nugent, as well as members of Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Rush, Slade, Blue Öyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Raspberries, The James Gang, The New York Dolls, Iggy & the Stooges, The Ramones, Suzi Quatro, Argent, and Uriah Heep, among others.
The result is an indelible and irresistible portrait of a band on the rise and of the music scene they changed forever.
Don’t forget to check back for Teasers and Reviews. I think this one will be near the top of the TBR pile. (And a special thanks to the nice folks at It Books for sending it along.