Ken Sharp is one of my favorite authors, having written numerous great rock books including “Behind The Mask”, considered by many to be one of the most definitive books written about KISS. Sharp recently returned to the subject, with the cooperation of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, to release “Nothin To Lose, The Making of KISS” which delves even deeper into the real beginnings of the soon-to-be Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame icons. I recently caught up with Ken to talk about the creation of the book and more; read on….
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hi Ken, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Your earlier KISS book, “Behind The Mask” was very well received by the fanbase and I think considered even more of a KISS “Bible” than KISSTORY. I really doubted you could equal or top it with your latest book here but they are both truly great books. Did the reaction to “Behind The Mask” influence you or drive you while working on “Nothin To Lose”?
Ken Sharp: Thank you John, first of all. To answer your question, not particularly. I’m even happier with “Nothin To Lose” to tell the truth. I’m really proud of “Behind The Mask” but this is a whole different entity because “Behind The Mask” covered more of a wide gamut of time where “Nothin To Lose” basically covers a three year period from 1972 to 1975. To be honest, I might be a little more proud of this one than I am “Behind The Mask”. I think because of its focus and its wide swath of various voices that tell the story, it’s something I’m really proud of . I do think it succeeds at bringing you into that world to the point where you really feel like a fly on the wall as you see the band deal with the trials and tribulations they face while reaching the top of the mountain.
LRI: Obviously you did a ton of work on this book but Gene and Paul’s names are on the book as well. How much and in what ways did they contribute to the making of “Nothin To Lose”?
Ken: They were certainly involved and were looking at the progress of what I was doing, in addition to making themselves available for interviews and things of that nature but I certainly led the way because they obviously have a lot of other things going on in their lives (laughs). As you can understand. But they were very, very supportive. The other thing is, when the book was done and they read it from start to finish again, they really had nothing that they asked to be changed. I know there are some fans who thought this would somehow be an Ace and Peter “bash-fest” but I’m really glad that, since the book has been out, they’ve seen that it isn’t that. There was certainly an all for one spirit at that point in the band’s history and a sense of community in the band and I think that’s reflected in the book but I also think that’s a big part of the reason I was attracted to that period of the band’s history to begin with because later periods in their career are really mired by a lot of acrimony between the band members, certainly in the divisions between Paul and Gene and Ace and Peter. I felt that those early years were a much more interesting arc, story wise because you are right there with them when they go through all these battles together as a unit. Getting back to Paul and Gene’s involvement, I was very pleasantly surprised and quite happy that they allowed things in the book that certainly weren’t all pro-KISS or even pro them! I think that was very honorable of them and I was really proud that I was able to work with them in such a fashion. Like I said, they have so many other projects surrounding KISS so I was really the driver of the whole thing but it was great to have them be so supportive during the process
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