Rock Reads: A Seasonal Guide For The Rock & Roll Literate
—by James Campion, December 18, 2013 /
Nothin’ To Lose – Ken Sharp, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons (2013)
If there is only one book you read about rock and roll this holiday season, then it has to be Nothin’ To Lose – The Making Of KISS 1972-1975. It is a monster and you will love it. Not because you are a KISS fanatic or remember when KISS mattered or when progressive/glam/dinosaur rock ruled the world, but because for my money this is the finest researched oral history of this remarkably creative and incredibly outlandish period in the culture of American rock and roll.
Author Ken Sharp’s inexhaustible ride through the mean streets of the New York City rock scene—post-hippy and pre-punk—and across the country through over 200 interviews paints an elaborate picture of risk, sacrifice and mayhem that helped to establish one of rock’s most enduring icons.
“What I endeavored to do is create a documentary on paper,” Sharp explained to me during a recent interview. “It was fascinating to bring in all of these voices, everyone from the band themselves to producers, engineers, touring bands, publicists, record company folks, roadies, competing bands from their New York club days, costume designers, the list goes on and on. Hearing from people who have rarely if ever spoken on the record before helped to bring into focus this rare, behind-the-scenes story of what it was like for a band starting out long before they were stars.”