Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)

Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)

4.3 6
by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley

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An indelible and irresistible portrait of the crucial formative years of the legendary rock band KISS and the music scene they changed forever—culminating with the groundbreaking success of their classic 1975 album Alive! and the smash single "Rock and Roll All Nite"

Including original interviews with: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace


An indelible and irresistible portrait of the crucial formative years of the legendary rock band KISS and the music scene they changed forever—culminating with the groundbreaking success of their classic 1975 album Alive! and the smash single "Rock and Roll All Nite"

Including original interviews with: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, and Ted Nugent, as well as members of Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Rush, Slade, Blue Öyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Raspberries, the James Gang, the New York Dolls, Iggy & the Stooges, the Ramones, Suzi Quatro, Argent, and Uriah Heep.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In collaboration with Kiss members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, music writer Sharp has assembled a fascinating chronicle of the construction of a multimedia phenomenon. As rock music in the early-1970s fragmented, a hardworking band from Queens drew on the antics of the likes of Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and Slade to create a gargantuan, and deafening, theatrical spectacle, custom-made for big arenas and teenagers hungry for a guilt-free good time. Driven by faith in their destiny as megastars, and willing to hustle, Kiss created a particularly lurid version of the American Dream that won over the heartland. Sharp emphasizes the role their manager, TV producer Bill Aucoin, and Neil Bogart, the mercurial head of Casablanca Records, played in creatively marketing the band—including kissing contests and an appearance at a smalltown Michigan high school’s homecoming. With the band members’ platform shoes, pyrotechnics, and outlandish costumes, Kiss forged a template for the arena rock that followed, although few Kiss imitators have bass players with seven-inch tongues who spit fire. 150 b&w and 16-page color insert (Sept.)
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
The latest of many titles about KISS, this oral history documents the band's formation and rise to superstardom from 1972 to 1975. Does the world really need another KISS book? Perhaps not, but the world really needs Sharp's (Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy) KISS book. When it comes to KISStory, there are many sides to every story, and what makes this one so special is the tremendous amount of detail to be found in the more than 200 interviews with everyone from the four original band members to a woman who witnessed some of the band's first concerts just because she was a regular at a particular club. KISS is a visual band, and this volume plays that up with a fun KISS-themed font that's used for emphasis. Another fine design decision is the provision of the many black-and-white images that are interspersed with the descriptive text. VERDICT Full of extraordinary primary-source material that will keep KISS fans up at night, Sharp's excellent work should serve as a blueprint for future rock oral histories.—Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY
Kirkus Reviews
Through scores of interviews with band members, fans, roadies, rival musicians and label executives, Sharp (Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy, 2010, etc.) and KISS co-founders Stanley and Simmons have put together a complete history of the band's rise to superstardom. Much maligned by rock critics and radio stations of the day, especially for their emphasis on grotesque makeup and fire-breathing, blood-spitting theatrics over musicianship, KISS (which also included drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley) had to fight their way to the top. The first step was conquering (or at least wowing) New York, which they accomplished by developing an overpoweringly loud and outrageous stage show that they performed atop a levitating drum set while wearing giant platform shoes that made the already tall members tower intimidatingly over the competition. Their outsize personas were meant to make them stand out from drag and glam acts of the day like David Bowie, T. Rex and local rivals The New York Dolls. The band's raw power didn't make them friends with outfits they opened for; they often had the plug pulled before their set was over. But when the tables were turned, the members of KISS were, by many accounts, as gracious and generous to their openers as they were to their fans. The weakest aspects of the book are the sameness of some anecdotes and triteness of language (phrases like "110 percent" and "take it to the next level" are repeated in numerous stories). The strongest is the inclusion of critics and rivals whose grudging admiration for the band comes through, despite their ability to see through the gimmicks. (Iggy Pop is one especially hilarious courtside observer.) A rollicking oral history of the one-time "hottest band in the land."
Robert Rodriguez
“Even casual fans will be enthralled.”
Alice Cooper
“If you thought you knew everything there was to know about KISS . . . well, you’d be wrong. . . Buy this book or just KISS off!”
Don Powell
Nothin’ to Lose brought back great memories of our days touring with KISS in the ‘70s. The book is an incredible ride through KISS’s early days and a must read for any KISS fan!”
Eric Carmen
“Like taking a time machine back to the ‘70s, Nothin’ to Lose is a wild and no holds barred look at the rise of KISS.”
Kevin Cann
“In Nothin’ to Lose you witness first-hand the extraordinary transformation of four struggling musicians from New York City overcoming almost insurmountable odds to become worldwide superstars. This is the definitive account of KISS’s early years.”
Ted Nugent
“The KISS boys will go down in history for their indefatigable work ethic, spirit, and insatiable appetite for all things honest-to-God outrageous rock ‘n’ roll. KISS is the real deal and this book is the real story of the American rock ‘n’ roll dream.”
Joe Perry
Nothin’ to Lose is an electrifying look at a band that changed the course of rock and roll history by sticking to their guns and blazing their own trail of heavy metal thunder. I couldn’t put it down. Two thumbs up!”
Dale Sherman
“Rises above the standard cookie-cutter anecdotes... [for] a unique look at the origins of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Anyone who wants to know what it was like to make it in rock ‘n’ roll in the seventies will need to pick this up.”
Kenny Kerner
“Told with complete accuracy and attention to detail... Mandatory reading for every new artist. This is a masterpiece!”
Julian Gill
“A joyous and mesmerizing exploration of the early history of the ‘Hottest Band in the World’... This book is addictive. You won’t be able to put it down!”
Peter "Moose" Oreckinto
“From KISS’s earliest days playing crummy bars in front of 50 people to headlining arenas, Nothin’ to Lose is a gripping look at the underbelly of rock ‘n’ roll. And as one of the members of KISS’s original road crew, I should know, I was there.”
Charles R. Cross
“The ultimate KISS book. . . Nothin’ to Lose gives the insider’s perspective any KISS fan must have
Paul Myers
“Revel in the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd as they share it all, blow-by-blow, first hand.”
Simon Kirke
“A fascinating read about one of rock’s most outrageous bands.”
Binky Philips
“I found the story of KISS’s fanatical determination, shockingly rare matter-of-fact common sense, raw luck, exquisite timing-not to mention the sheer brinksmanship of the whole lunatic enterprise-exhilarating and inspiring.”
David Browne
“A vivid oral history of the early days of one of rock’s most outrageous and enduring bands, Nothin’ to Lose makes every reader an eyewitness to the dawn of Kiss. Here’s a book that screams out: C’mon and read me.”
Daniel Siwek
“An incredibly vivid and gripping oral history that illustrates how Kiss went through a slow and steady transformation from a loft party band to the hottest concert attraction capable of blowing anybody and everybody off the stage.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.61(d)

Meet the Author

Ken Sharp is the author of Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy, Elvis: Vegas '69, KISS: Behind the Mask, and numerous other books. He lives in Los Angeles.

Known as rock's ultimate showmen, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons founded the hard rock supergroup KISS in the early 1970s. Since then, KISS has sold more than eighty million albums and performed more than two thousand shows around the world, and is still touring today.

Paul Stanley is the frontman and rhythm guitarist for KISS, which he cofounded in New York City in 1973. He is the designer of numerous KISS album covers, costumes, and concert stages, in addition to writing many of KISS's most successful songs. With sales of more than one hundred million records worldwide, KISS sits atop the list of American bands, with the most gold-certified albums earned in history. Along with his bandmates, Stanley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. A painter, with art sales reaching two million dollars; a solo musician; a musical stage performer; founding partner in Rock & Brews restaurants; and co-owner of the Arena Football League's L.A. KISS, Stanley is a committed and active supporter of various Wounded Warrior Project organizations. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Erin, and four children.

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Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
PaulH More than 1 year ago
Nothing to Lose: The Making of Kiss is a great book. The authors open up the world to the early days of Kiss, their groundbreaking debut album Alive! and the birth of the iconic anthem Rock and Roll All Nite. The book is filled with interesting information. You don’t have to be a Kiss fan to love this book.
blue0476 More than 1 year ago
Great book! i like Ken's last Kiss book, too. And like the previous book, lots of dirt and no Simmons-approved BS.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a long time Kiss fan, I found this book a terrific read and hard to put down. Lots of info I'd never read before and great storytelling. But the pictures were all very small and did not enlarge well. Having seen the real book at the store with lots of terrific color pictures, I can tell you that the ebook is extremely disappointing on this score. I simply don't understand how the publisher could get it so badly wrong. I sort of feel we are owed an explanation: I sure don't get how /why the ebook version should be so deficient in the picture department.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to get the book and read it. I'm a huge fan of KISS.