The Toronto Star's Richard Ouzounian recently caughth up with with KISS frontman Paul Stanley to discuss the biography, Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of KISS. An excerpt from the story is available below:
KISS was struggling to define itself in the early years.
“I believe people come to hear the music, but they come back if the whole experience knocked them out,” Stanley says.“I wanted to be in the band I never saw. I was an evangelical rock performer, like Steve Marriott or HUMBLE PIE. You went onto the stage to testify and you wanted to bring back believers.”
Part of that was the band’s look.
“What did we want? Black leather and studs. Where did you find those things? Well, there was a gay S&M clothing store called The Eagle’s Nest and they made a lot for us,” Stanley says.
And then there was the face-painting. “We liked the concept of being able to immerse yourself into your own fantasies and come out a completely different person. Make-up helped us do that.”
After spreading their wings at a tawdry club in Queens called Coventry, KISS went on the road. First stop, the Northern Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton.
“They needed a last minute replacement for Mike Quatro, Suzi Quatro’s brother. Three shows, three cities. The first night in Edmonton was OK, but then we were booked into high school cafeterias. Our road crew took the lunchroom tables and gaffer-taped them together. That was our stage.”
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Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) chronicles, for the first time, the crucial formative years of the legendary rock band KISS, culminating with the groundbreaking success of their classic 1975 album Alive! and the smash single 'Rock And Roll All Nite', a song that nearly four decades later remains one of rock's most enduring anthems. Drawing on more than two hundred interviews, the book offers a captivating and intimate fly-on-the-wall account of their launch, charting the struggles and ultimate victories that led them to the threshold of superstardom.
Constructed as an oral history, the book includes original interviews with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss, as well as with producers; engineers; management; record company personnel; roadies; club owners; booking agents; concert promoters; costume, stage, and art designers; rock photographers; publicists; and key music journalists.
Many of KISS' musical contemporaries from the time, most of whom shared concert bills with the band on their early tours, also lend their perspective via new interviews; these include: 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, THE NEW YORK DOLLS, IGGY & THE STOOGES, THE RAMONES, and URIAH HEEP, among others.
The result is an indelible and irresistible portrait of a band on the rise and of the music scene they changed forever.