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


Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)  
by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Title Summary
An up-close and personal look at the formation of one of the most beloved and iconic rock bands of all time-told by the people who were there

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 the band’s most enduring anthems. Drawing on more than 200 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, Gene, Ace, and Peter, as well as 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 Oyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Raspberries, James Gang, New York Dolls, Iggy & the Stooges, The Ramones, Suzi Quatro, Savoy Brown, Argent, Nazareth, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash among others. The end result is an indelible and irresistible portrait of a band on the rise and the music scene they changed forever.


Ken Sharp is the author of Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy(Gallery/VH1 Books, 2010), KISS: Behind the Mask (Warner Books, 2003), and numerous other books. He lives in Los Angeles.


Reader review . . .

Nothin’ to Lose:  The Making of KISS (1972-1975) is an anecdotal memoir of the early years of this iconic band.  Told primarily by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, it details their  beginnings in the New York City area.  The book is filled with stories from early fans, promoters, record company executives, and musicians who performed alongside them.

This telling of their story is not as interesting as it could have been.  Quite a bit of the book is given to stories about the formation and early years of Casablanca records.  While it is an interesting story in its own right, all of the story does not really pertain to the history of KISS.  It was interesting to read of their struggles and determination, as well as a few escapades.  I think most fans would enjoy more of the personal stories and less of the record company business.  One of the most enjoyable parts was the story of how the band went to Cadillac High School in 1975.  The memories shared by those who were there in that small town that day were fascinating.

For hard-core fans, this will be a must-read.

3 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Edelweiss review program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”