• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024
KISS Nothin' to Lose

You wanted the best, you got, well, about a thousand books.

KISS is one of rock’s all-time great bands, but the result of this is that they have had more book releases than just about any other band out there. These books tend to be of hit and miss quality; ranging from numerous unauthorized books of questionable nature to autobiographies from each classic band member with widely differing viewpoints. Finding the ideal KISS book is definitely far from easy, though there are certainly some highlights out there.

Nothin’ to Lose is interesting in that, unlike other career spanning biographies, it hones in one very specific era, namely the first few years of KISS coming together as a band, resulting in countless tour dates, and the recordings of their first three albums and first live album. In a relatively short few years, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss became rock superstars and larger than life icons. Nothin’ to Lose looks at this early period and the band’s struggles to catch a break.

When you read any of the other KISS books out there, many elements feel rushed and the success feels practically overnight. Tales of the band members’ respective childhoods tend to drag, and elements you wish were more elaborated on do not always get the proper respect. Nothin’ to Lose is different in this regard, and that is why it is the best book on KISS I have read to date.

The best thing about this book is that it does NOT come from a single, biased point of view. The result here is that we get quotations and stories from people who have been associated with the band over the years, including the band members themselves, fellow musicians, family members, club owners, band managers, producers, fans, and many others. Because of this, you get to experience the band from multiple perspectives, and hearing these assorted individuals giving their views and telling their tales makes this all the more interesting.

Nothin’ to Lose is a fantastic book with varied, assorted perspectives that are often brutally honest. Not everyone here loves the band or is kissing their asses (pardon the pun); there are some critical views from people on all ends of the spectrum as well. Even so, it is also interesting to hear favorable early views of the band, in an era when many critics and non-believers wrote them off as a joke and something that would not be around very long. Here we are, four decades later, with those naysayers likely feeling like fools now. A book from the points of view of multiple people, in many ways, feels fresher and more interesting than one written by a single member of the band with a single, biased perspective. That is a big part of the reason why this is a fantastic book covering one of rock’s biggest and best bands.

Another huge incentive to purchase the book is the rare photographs that are featured within, many of which have never been published elsewhere. This includes photos of the band members without their makeup, in a time when the public eye NEVER saw them without makeup. These pictures alone are reason enough to purchase the book.

If I do have one minor complaint, it is that the book should have stuck to people outside of the band members. We already heard these guys’ versions of the stories in their respective autobiographies, and even here you do tend to get the biased focal points in a few places. However, this is a very minor complaint; it still manages to satisfy more than most other books on the band I have read.

If you are a KISS fan, you absolutely owe it to yourself to read Nothin’ to Lose. From multiple points of view and with varying, honest opinions from all different sorts of people that were touched by the band in one way or another, this book is a triumph.

You wanted the best KISS book, you finally got the best KISS book. Absolute highest recommendations all around.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.