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

4.5 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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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.

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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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: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Before I start I will state that I am a lifelong die hard 70's KISS fan that has spent thousands of dollars on them so I have earned the right to complain...
Honestly ; this book is Not a book with a story line...
It's just a bunch of quotes and comments from Kiss members and roadies, techs, record execs, and so on.
What pissed me off the most is that the reader has No idea when the quotes are from, they could be from 1974 or 2013.
There are a few cool photos but overall I was kind of disappointed..
I was expecting a behind the scenes type of story with maybe a few quotes from people who were there..
But what I got was JUST quotes ..Most of which I'd heard before😡
Nothin To Lose? Just more money...lol
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Format: Hardcover
Nothin' To Lose is an appropriate title. You wanted the best and you got lotsa text! Same anecdote, different person though not an EDITOR in the bunch. Once every waitress and lighting guy weighs in it takes all of 350 pages before Kiss even start on their 2nd album. Most revealing is nearly all credit going to manager Bill Aucoin and mentor Sean Delany who manipulated a so-so rock band from Queens into The Monkees with candelabra and dummy Marshall stacks.
Shock me indeed!
Kiss couldn't even figure out their makeup without the genius of Neil Bogart, Aucoin, Delany and whomever else might have wandered into The Nighttime World for a brief stay. Among them producer Eddie Kramer painstakingly re-creating Kiss "Alive!" (in the studio) saving the band, management and Casablanca Records from certain obscurity.
But you won't find those certain obscurities in this book... that's Peter's bio. It's amazing.
However unlike all other Kiss 'n' Tell's, "Kiss: Nothin' To Lose" has genuine warmth and heart. Much sincere praise from other touring bands - a welcome redundancy.
As for a hilarious redundancy: Various promoters all in agreement that although Kiss was outrageously theatrical and cutting edge, the music really sucked.
Regardless, Paul Stanley's entries are GREAT! Candid, witty, laughs a lot. And with Paul and Gene as co-authors it's no wonder Peter's brother is allowed as much dialogue as his Cat-faced sibling while Ace eventually vanishes altogether. Perhaps they should have had Bob Kulick do Ace's interview?
A solid read for the purist and anyone dismissive (Kissmissive?) of this rock band's perseverance. Todd Rundgren hated them of course but...where is Todd now? Ooooh snap!
Nothin' To Lose finds Kiss relentlessly dedicated if not a bit clueless but very lucky and very loud.
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Great fun, for those of us old enough to have been around during these years especially. Was introduced to Kiss by a slightly older buddy around the time of Hotter Than Hell, and for a couple of years they were like a secret treasure. My first concert was Uriah Heep and Kiss in August of 1974. Pretty amazing for a 13 year old.

Almost gave it five starts, but can't quite because of thinking about how much more fun this would have been if not an "authorized" book with Gene and Paul listed as co-authors. As it is, Peter and Ace both pretty much disappear around page 200 and only have brief quotes very here and there after that. And despite the appearance of candor, knowing how Simmons protects the brand, one has to simply imagine what got edited, cut, or left out altogether. Such is life. For Kiss fans from way back (and maybe others looking for a glimpse into the early days), this is still great, good fun: entertaining and a very quick read. And, I admit it, it made me pull out the first three albums again for the first time in years.
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