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Sharp, Ken
Nothing to Lose: The Making of Kiss-1972-1975 (Book Review)
December 2013
Released: 2013, It Books
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

The Kiss Army is insatiable for information on our heroes and the band have collaborated with klassic Kiss scribe, Ken Sharp to bring you the complete story of the early years. Subtitled ‘The Making of Kiss 1972-1975, that says it all. This monsterwork covers that magic era.

Running a massive 550 pages, NOTHING TO LOSE is the incredibly detailed account of the early days of kiss. Presented as an oral history there are countless accounts of the genesis of the band. Many of these stories have been told down and passed down in Kiss legend but never in so much awe-inspiring detail. In the back there is a ’Cast Of Characters’ and there are well over 200 people listed and almost all of them were interviewed or cited for this book. Fully backed by Gene and Paul, sharp left no stone unturned almost to the point of being ludicrous. If a guy in NYC in 1973 bumped into Gene Simmons in the elevator he got interviewed by Sharp, author of two other definitive books about Kiss. Well, not quote that crazy but close. He talks to everyone who ever had even the slightest connection to Kiss in those formative years; roadies, fans, family members, engineers, producers, publicists, agents, lawyers, managers, journalists, photographers, promoters. There are also many, many great photos; they look so young! It was interesting to see the evolution of the bands makeup. Paul Stanley had ‘bandit’ make-up for a while that didn’t work so he reverted to the star.

There were a couple of real highlights for me specifically the Kiss tour of my own home city of Calgary, Alberta where they played the lunchroom of the local college (SAIT). It was the first Kiss tour ever and the stories are amazing. I lived only a few blocks away from the gig, but mind you in 1973 I was only three years old. It wasn’t until DESTROYER came out that I started to know that Kiss existed. To be able to see that gig today! That is a running theme from virtually every single person interviewed. They all say the same thing, that Kiss was unique and going to be huge. Even if the person did not even like the band they would grudgingly admit that, Yes, Kiss was going to be something special.

The other big highlight was to read what their peers thought of them. I got a kick out of reading quotes from members of Rush, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, New York Dolls, Ramones and many more, to see what they thought of the early days of the band. Most of them were pretty flattering and even admit to being intimidated by the ferocious band on the way to the top, with the over-the-top stage show. There were so many great interviews. I enjoyed the story of the fans (Bruce Redoute and Lee Neaves) who were holding up the Kiss poster on the back of ALIVE! and how that came to be. Sharp interviewed them too, that’s how much detail you get.

I found it interesting that over the years certain people have different versions of the same event. There are very often contradictory reports of what happened but it is interesting that Gene and Paul were almost always on the same page in terms of recollecting certain stories. I really enjoyed the history of the band and so many new facts came to light, Gene, Paul and Ken really did a magnificent job. You wanted the best, you’ve got the best, NOTHING TO LOSE will not be topped.
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