• KISS FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Hottest Band in the Land

    Author: Dale Sherman

    Released by:
    Backbeat Books
    Released on: September 1, 2012.

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    This isn’t the first book to be written about Kiss. Hell, it’s not even the first book that author Dale Sherman has written about Kiss (he also penned the Black Diamond biography in 1997 as well as Black Diamond 2, a guide to Kiss collectibles) but The Kiss FAQ gets some bonus points for taking a different approach to detailing the history of one of the most popular rock n roll bands of all time.

    The biography thing has been done a few times now, the focus here is on esoteric, the odd bits of Kiss history that don’t always make it into the ‘tell all’ books that have come out detailing the sometimes sordid past of the band members over the years. We focus on gossip occasionally – there is a chapter here on Gene’s supposed conquests with the finer sex that discusses whether or not those numbers add up and there’s also a section on drug and alcohol references – but there’s more focus on… other things.

    Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park is given quite a bit of press here, as Sherman talks about what went right, what went wrong, and how it affected the band as a whole and the individual members. There’s a lot of time spent covering the various Kiss comic books that have come out over the years from Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and other publishers and we learn the reality behind the ‘printed in REAL KISS BLOOD’ tagline used on the Marvel Super Special way back when. We even learn about Howard The Duck and his importance to the band’s four color legacy.

    Sherman dives deep into Simmons’ attempts at acting, discussing not only films like Runaway and Trick Or Treat but also the amazingly bad Never Too Young To Die where he wears Lynda Carter’s clothes and plays a hermaphrodite opposite Vanity (she of Prince fame) and, yes, John Stamos. Paul Stanley’s stint as The Phantom Of The Opera from a run at the Pantages Theater in Toronto is covered, as are pretty much all of the solo albums that have come out from band members past and present. If that weren’t enough, the book covers everything you could ever want to know about the awesome Kiss pinball machine… and then some.

    Sherman writes with refreshing honesty about the band. He’s very obviously a fan of the band, there’s no denying that here at all, but he’s also quite aware of their successes and their failures. This is something that comes up a lot in the book, he’s quite critical of them when what is being covered obviously didn’t work. He’s not afraid to bring up Simmons’ obvious greed nor is he afraid to rip on Paul’s action figure from the Psycho Circus era, you know, the one in which he came with a giant killer poodle? Yeah, that was stupid and he says so (though that one is kind of hard to get around). This gives the book a good sense of humor and that, combined with the fact that it’s 355 pages packed with obscure trivia and oddball facts makes it a lot of fun for anyone with an interest in the band, even if it’s passing and casual rather than obsessive.