Better late than never …I just finished reading Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of KISS (1972 – 1975) and want to congratulate Ken Sharp as well as Gene & Paul for transporting us back in time for one helluva rock & roll party!! …the early days of KISS. Not only is it a telling chronicle of the core dynamic of the original KISS line-up but one of the best books ever compiled on the concert & radio promotion business in the 70’s. With so many grass-roots stories and quotes from other rockers on the circuit with KISS at the time, I reckon it’s a book any rock fan would dig and hereby KISStorically proclaim it an essential rock classic!
As a KISS fan, it has completely re-invigorated my passion for the band as well as my respect for what it took for them to make it. It was an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ proposition; sink or swim. KISS stood tall, undaunted by bad press, poor radio reception, luke-warm record sales. continuous logistical touring nightmares ‘n snafus and ultimately Warner Brothers’ lack of love in supporting the band. As Paul might concur: “Don’t mean shit, I don’t care!” because that was KISS’s attitude. They had fans, with them the rest didn’t matter. A volunteer army was amassing in the jean-clad smokey high school hallways of the Midwest. The word was getting out …”YOU GOTTA SEE KISS!”
Behind the scenes though it’s clear the first KISS Army was the bands initial road crew. Those guys deserve to be knighted by The Elder, and this book does that, finally. It’s riveting stuff and you get it all from every perspective: nuggets from the band, the crew, the promoters, the management, the radio guys, the label suits, the producers, the engineers, and even just plain old friends of the band.
This rich tapestry of reflection is also refreshingly candid by KISS standards. This book is not a PR statement, it’s a historical document. As one surveys KISStory from 2016, bloated as it may feel at times, there is no denying that in the early days they were “The Hottest Band In All The Land!” As you peel through the pages you find yourself going into the void and ‘reelin in the years in a van with the band, deciding you were ‘it’ because you had nothin’ to lose. This book proves why we are talking about them today: KISS was irresistible.