Released: 2012, Backbeat Books
“You can’t talk about American Metal without talking about Kiss” Sam Dunn, Producer, Metal Evolution. 2011. (Episode Two-Early Metal US)
“Anyone who says Kiss were never Metal doesn´t know what they´re talking about!” Quorthon (Bathory) in a June 1994 interview with Malcolm Dome.
Some people may question the validity of doing a feature on Kiss in the hallowed pages of Metal-Rules.com. Many critics of Kiss who suggest that they are ‘not metal’, tend to focus their arguments on non-musical traits. For example some people complain about Gene’s reality show and his various extra-curricular (ie. non-Kiss) activities. Some people complain about the line-up changes, some people complain about the nature and style of the tours, and many people complain about the commercial nature of the Kiss identity and brand. However, many of those critics, deep down when push comes to shove will admit, however grudgingly, based purely on the music, that Kiss is Metal. Therefore we are proud to present our Kiss feature at Metal-Rules.com. This month in reflection and in celebration of the October 9th release of MONSTER, the 20th studio album by Kiss, our specialty book section, The Library Of Loudness is reviewing seven books about Kiss and by members of Kiss, past and present. This month we review… (listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name)
Criss, Peter – Makeup To Breakup
Floren, Ingo – The Official Price Guide to Kiss Collectibles.
Harris, Larry – Casablanca: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records
Leaf, David & Sharp, Ken – Kiss: Behind The Mask
Simmons, Gene – Sex, Money, Kiss
Sherman, Dale – Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of Kiss
Sherman, Dale – Kiss FAQ
As a bonus here are other books about Kiss we have previously reviewed. Feel free to enjoy the reviews of these Kiss related titles as well.
Frehley, Ace-No Regrets
Moore, Wendy-Into The Void
Prato, Greg-The Eric Carr Story
Simmons, Gene-Kiss And Make Up
The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) series of books published by Backbeat is really gaining steam. With a dozen titles in the series (including Black Sabbath FAQ and Led Zeppelin FAQ, also reviewed on this site), it was only a matter of time before Kiss got the royal treatment. The author picked for KISS FAQ is none other than Dale Sherman, author of the decent but slightly flawed Kiss biography, BLACK DIAMOND. This time Sherman seems to have learned from his first try, and he has written a book that is superior to his previous effort.
Kiss FAQ follows the same format, a series of chapters, lists, anecdotes and trivia all tying together to provide an unconventional detailing of the Kiss story that is sure to delight fans. Each book in the FAQ series is subtitled ‘All That’s Left to Know About…” and in this case it is the, “Hottest Band In The Land’. The paperback runs about 250 pages and has dozens of black and white photos of various memorabilia from across the ages. There are 31 chapters with intriguing titles like, “I Was There! The Real Location of The Live Albums’, (Chapter 14) ‘Are You High? Drug References In Kiss’ (Chapter 16) and ‘Did The Band Peak with Howard The Duck? A Look At The Comics’ (Chapter 23). The way the book is designed, it follows a roughly chronological order but you could easily just dip into any chapter for a quick read.
One of the great advantages of this series (and this title) is the ease of readability. The layout is good, and KISS FAQ is almost a cross between a list book and a biography. It’s loaded with lists but instead of a mere list, each topic is expanded on very nicely with loads of detail. I find I read the FAQ series bit by bit rather than sit down and read it like a novel. Sherman is passionate, enthusiastic and captures those moments where Kiss fans gather to debate the intimate trivia of the band, not necessarily ending in agreement but agreeing that KIss does indeed rule, even if you a classic 'makeup-era' guy only, or a 'non-makeup-guy' or somewhere in between. Every era and member get equal respect and attention, and Sherman also addresses rumours, myths, and outright lies surrounding the band.
The information is just loaded with neat facts. I especially liked the sections about the merchandise...the KIss pinball machine, the Kiss coffin, the Kiss condoms, and of course the Kiss Platinum credit card! I also liked the section about Kiss appearing at The Olympics, The Grammy's, the SuperBowl and more. Oddly enough I don't have an enormous amount to say about this book, other than it is a fantastic and innovative compilation of KIss trivia and fact that I would recommend in a heartbeat to any Kiss fan. KISS FAQ is a winner. It's simple, it's fun, it's readable and thoroughly enjoyable.