Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) - Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons, And Paul Stanley 5/5 stars
As a fan of Kiss I thought I knew everything there was to know about the band. I read all of the bios that the original four members released so when I heard about Nothin' To Lose I wasn't all that excited because I was sure that there would be nothing new to add. We've already got all of the stories from four different sources. Why do we need another book? What's left to tell that Paul and Gene haven't already told us?
That's the draw for Nothin' to Lose. It takes you to be beginnings of the band and their struggle to succeed. When Kiss started they were innovative, yet no one actually saw it that way. Critics hated them, the press ignored them, and everyone thought that Kiss was a too gimmicky. No one expected them to be successful unless you saw them live then you knew that these four masked musicians were changing the way that concerts were done. No one was doing what Kiss doing. No band wanted to even tour with them. The problem was that it wasn't exactly catching on as quickly as they had hoped. The first three albums tanked and then they released the album that changed everything.
The book is interesting due to the input not just from the band but from other artists and people that shared a stage with Kiss. The stories are all the same. Kiss was a beast, but they could barely play their instruments and they wore makeup. No one took them seriously. The book only covers the first three years of the band. I was surprised that there was a lot I didn't know about the band. I had no idea that their record label was on the verge of collapse and the band didn't make a dime until Alive took everyone by surprise and launched Kiss into the stratosphere. It's a story of survival and determination. If Kiss were a band just starting today there's no way they would have survived. The label wouldn't have supported them after three failed albums.
While the individual bios written by the band on their own,are good Nothin' To Lose is the Bible of early Kisstory. You get to see a band slowly evolve and become successful because they and their record label and management believed in them. That's the message that shines through. This is the great American success story and not only did Kiss become the hottest band in the world, they also were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The band that could barely play their instruments knew that they were onto something. Reading this gives you an up close view of a bands struggle to make it despite everyone telling them it wouldn't happen. A great glimpse at the making of a successful band and how it almost didn't happen.