I know…you are probably sick of Kiss related posts at the same time I am doing the Kiss Review Series and I am sorry. I am in a Kiss Zone right now and everything is KISS, KISS, KISS!!! And on my continuous Kiss hunt, I found another book that was all about Kiss that I want to discuss.
This is a book right up my alley and education level. It is a picture book with very few words…YEAH ME!!! It is Kiss: 1977-1980 by Lynn Goldsmith. Lynn is a celebrity portrait photographer and was one of the very first female Rock Photographers. Lynn has been asked numerous times to photograph Kiss and this book encompasses all of those meetings and pictures from all of the sessions she had with the band. Those sessions were only from 1977-1980 which was a very interesting and transforming time for the band. It was coming out of Alive II, the solo albums, in to Dynasty and Unmasked where the music changed and Peter left. It goes up to where Eric Carr joins the band and has his first photo shoot with the band.
Lynn opens the book with some written word…BOO!! That means I have to read. She tells the tale of her time with mostly Gene and Paul and her interactions with band and their developing friendship. She even has Gene and Paul leaving comments on various pages throughout the book about their time in Kiss during this period.
The biggest part for me, and the purpose of the book, is the enjoyment of the pictures. The pictures are so colorful, so rich, so detailed that I spent so much time on each page studying the pictures. To see the little intricacies of the bands costumes, the thickness of the make-up, the blood, the fire, the raw energy the band exudes, it was mesmerizing. She had me from page one and I was sucked in for the hours it took me to get through the book which is around 340 beautiful pages.
What were my favorite parts? Getting to see one of Paul’s unused costumes that was only in the photo shoot. Getting to see the skeleton on Gene’s Dynasty costume that couldn’t be used in a show because the bass strap would break it (I think it was Dynasty). Getting to see how uncomfortable Eric Carr was at his first photo shoot with the band and him not knowing what to really do or how to pose. Getting to see the finer details of the bands costumes from the little red dots on Gene’s costumes, to the clasps on Paul’s and Peter’s that I never noticed before and most of all to Ace’s costume and the piece that reminded me of a diaper (see below picture and you decide). There were also several pages of snapshots and slides of numerous shots. They had the marks on them which were the ones the band approved and you can even see Gene’s signature use of the $ style. It was all fantastic.
What did I not like? There were a few things that bothered me. One and most critical was the unnecessary bashing by Gene and Paul of Ace and Peter. That was really not needed. We are tired of it and they have beat that dead horse way too many times. Enough!!! Second, since Paul and Gene were involved in putting together this book, most of the pictures were of them. I would’ve liked to have seen more Peter and Eric. Ace had more than Peter and Eric, but more of Ace would’ve been nice as well. And third, the book had song lyric quotes throughout on numerous pages which isn’t a bad thing at all. The thing that bothered me were some of the song quotes were not from the years of the book…1977-1980. There were early 70’s song and there was even a quote from “Crazy Nights”…yeah doesn’t fit the time period.
Outside of that, I don’t see anything wrong with the book. Those items I mentioned above were nit-picky little things and don’t really take away from the main reason of the book, the pictures. With all that being sad, I think the book was fantastically put together, high quality pictures, and from a very interesting time of the band. I will get a lot of enjoyment out of this book and for that I will give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars and only deducting a little for my complaints. It was worth every penny and a must have for any Kiss Army member. If you have it, let me know what you think and what was your favorite picture. I haven’t had it long enough to determine that, but I am sure it is a demon picture.
Here are some shots of the original four…
and one last one with live action shot of Paul and Sam the Serpent…yes Paul and not Gene with Sam!
There are so many great pictures and the ones above were randomly selected. Imagine what the rest are like.