December 2003
by Ian C Stewart

David Leaf's previously-unpublished 1980 biography makes up the first third of this massive book. Had it been released at the time it would've gone a long way toward presenting the members of KISS as, for the first time, human beings instead of superheroes. It's insightful and funny and, in its current setting, a perfect snapshot of a superstar band headed for its first huge fall. Ken Sharp, unfortunately, can't create a transition in the middle third of the book. His writing is nowhere near as engaging as Leaf's invisibly authoritative verbiage. The last third is where all the action is: commentary on every song KISS ever recorded. Starting with the aborted Wicked Lester album (which rules, by the way), the band members, the managers, the record company people, session musicians, friends and fans of the band all chime in. Bob Kulick says many interesting and previously unacknowledged (officially anyway) things about his role in and around KISS. Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruck Kulick and Eric Singer all provide perspectives on the albums they were involved in. And, were it not for Ken Sharp's hack job in the middle, this would be the greatest KISS book of all time. As it stands, it is merely fucking excellent.

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