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Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) Hardcover – September 10, 2013

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Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) + Face the Music: A Life Exposed + Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062131729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062131720
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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!” (Don Powell, Slade)

“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.” (Eric Carmen, Raspberries)

“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.” (Kevin Cann, author of David Bowie: Any Day Now)

“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.” (Ted Nugent)

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!” (Joe Perry, Aerosmith)

“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.” (Dale Sherman, author of Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of KISS)

“Told with complete accuracy and attention to detail... Mandatory reading for every new artist. This is a masterpiece!” (Kenny Kerner, Co-producer of KISS and Hotter Than Hell)

“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!” (Julian Gill, author of the Kiss Album Focus series)

“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.” (Peter "Moose" Oreckinto, KISS roadie (1973-1976))

“The ultimate KISS book. . . Nothin’ to Lose gives the insider’s perspective any KISS fan must have (Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain)

“Even casual fans will be enthralled.” (Robert Rodriguez, author of Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'N' Roll)

“Revel in the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd as they share it all, blow-by-blow, first hand.” (Paul Myers, author of A Wizard A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio)

“A fascinating read about one of rock’s most outrageous bands.” (Simon Kirke, Bad Company/Free)

“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.” (Binky Philips, My Life in the Ghost of Planets: The Story of a CBGB Almost-Was)

“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.” (David Browne, author of Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth)

“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.” (Daniel Siwek, House of Blues)

“If you thought you knew everything there was to know about KISS . . . well, you’d be wrong. . . Buy this book or just KISS off!” (Alice Cooper)

“A fascinating chronicle of the construction of a multimedia phenomenon.” (Publishers Weekly)

A rollicking oral history. (Kirkus)

Does the world really need another KISS book? Perhaps not, but the world really needs Sharp’s . . . KISS book. . . 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.” (Library Journal (starred review))

About 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.

More About 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.

Customer Reviews

A recommended read for any KISS or music fan.
Bronx Mike
Great stories from the band and people who were there during the start up of the KISS phenom.
Michael Galindo
Nothin' to Lose by Ken Sharp is by far, the best Kiss book out there.
Dan Richard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bronx Mike on September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ken has been known for years as an authority on KISS and rock n' roll in general but with this book he took things to another level. The depth of the information from all aspects of the bands formative years is incredible. Ken puts it all together in a great timeline. Amazing insight into how the band came to be the stage presence they are today. The old crew, managers, assistants, friends etc. make for a view from the inside that is not solely that of the band. A very unigue view and well put together. The photos, especially those from Eddie Solan's collection are incredible. KISS in studio as starving kids chasing the dream. There are dozens of KISS books but this sits right up at the top. A recommended read for any KISS or music fan. Kudos to Ken!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Menard on January 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I really dislike books about KISS.

I've read Gene's, Peter's, and Ace's, and felt that the things which interested me were glossed over. Meanwhile, band drama was highlighted with these books.

Nothin' To Lose takes a different take on the early formation of the band. Instead of a subjective commentary on band members and their squabbles, the book focuses on factual events which lead to KISS's rise to fame.

-Excerpts from many folks who worked in and around the band are prominently featured in this book. In short, it isn't just the words of Paul & Gene.

-The book focuses on the bands formative years, until just after the release of "Alive!".

-It gives the reader better insight into the band's logistics, and the amount of support employed to get this band off the ground.

-It is a fun read for most readers, and features info that would surprise even the most die hard KISS fan.

-The early photos of the band without makeup were pretty cool.

-The book probably would've been better off without any band member commentary. I've pretty much heard all they've had to say. The only thing revealed by the band that I didn't know, was that they used to do AMC car company commercial recordings.

-I was bummed when it ended.

-I wish they went into more detail on the costumes and instruments. Then again, the general reader may find that boring.

-I wish it was an unauthorized book, because I felt that some observations were overly flattering of KISS.

This is the first KISS book I've read that I really enjoyed. I'd highly suggest it.
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34 of 47 people found the following review helpful By K. Wagoner on September 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was expecting so much more from this book. The book is told in interview style, the same as Ken's other book, Kiss: Behind the Mask. I am scratching my head wondering why Paul and Gene are listed as authors, this is clearly Ken's book. Besides interjecting maybe some new insight on the topics, I don't see that Gene and Paul wrote anything, except some fresh Ace and Peter bashing and some more rewrites to the past. And it is obvious some of the quotes in the book are from old interviews, some of the people quoted are long since deceased, and some have been printed before. The quotes have no context, so you don't know if the statement from Paul was 1979, 1989, 1999 or 2013. Peoples feelings and perceptions change, so a reference point would have been nice.
For a big Kiss fan like myself, having the book in the collection is nice. Being disappointed so early on does not bode well for me finishing it. Again, this is only the first sliver of the book. IF I can bring myself to complete it, a full review will be posted.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ozweepay on September 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I've read tons of music biographies, and this book doesn't disappoint. If you're a KISS fan, you've no doubt heard most of these stories. But a lot of them have a been given a new spin, told by roadies, other bands, former band mates, and industry types. Gene and Paul are given more of a voice for this one, as Ace and Peter have recently released their own version of Kisstory, though they are in this book as well, offering up some welcome points of view. This book talks about the humble beginnings of the band, the whirlwind touring of small venues and recording schedule all crammed into a few short years. The struggle to break them into the scene is well documented, with the voices of Bill Aucoin and Neil Bogart lending a heavy hand to the story.
What may surprise and annoy most KISS fans are the negative views given by rival bands, rock critics and music industry leaders. This book bravely allows their opinions to be heard on what they thought of KISS in it's infancy. Perhaps it's a smack in the face to all of them, given KISS' ultimate success, but it shows what people really thought of the band when it first burst on the scene. I know as a young KISS fan growing up,I was never aware of such ridicule and hostility towards the band. I only knew that anything they put out, I would consume and devour without question. I love this book, so maybe there's still a bit of that blinding love for the band that still possesses me.
Good book, probably one of the better written documents on their early career.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By gpangel on September 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
My rating:4 of 5 starsThe book starts way back when Paul and Gene first meet. The first group they were in- Wicked Lester, then the formation of KISS. The influence of groups like "The Brats" and "The New York Dolls" on them. Slowly we work our way up to the release of KISS ALIVE!, and the hit song "Rock and Roll All Night". For many diehard KISS fans that have read everything they could get their hands on, this book might be just a rehash of the same old, same old. But, although I was a KISS fan from way back, I didn't read any books about the band before this one. So, for me this book was like a trip down memory lane. It had the feel of a group of guys and gals sitting around talking about the good ole days. This book wasn't really written in the dry biography fashion so many performance arts books are written in. The majority of the book was a collage of interviews and stories from the people that lived through that time with the band. The roadies, the managers, the promoters, the opening acts, the bands the group opened for, the road experience, the first recording contract, the issues with the label, the slow process of making it in the music business is all covered. KISS was a very hard working band. Their makeup and costumes worked for them with the fans that were blown away by the live shows, but worked against them when it came to getting air play on the radio. People didn't know what to make of them. There was also the criticism of other musicians that felt that the group's outrageous stage show and the entertainment first attitude was putting music way down the list. KISS was never thought of as a band that broke ground musically. In my opinion though I thought their music was no worse, (or better) than other hard rock type music you heard in the seventies.Read more ›
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