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Articles Home » Books » Kiss - 2016 The Definitive Examination of Music from The Elder Kiss' cult-classic concept album (Book)
 
Kiss - 2016 The Definitive Examination of Music from The Elder Kiss' cult-classic concept album (Book)



ARTIST: Kiss
BOOK: The Definitive Examination of Music from The Elder Kiss' cult-classic concept album
LABEL: KISS FAQ
SERIAL: ISBN 978-0-9822537-8-6
YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

WEBLINKS: Kiss Odyssey Book website : Kiss Odyssey Facebook Page


Background
Throughout the relative short history of Rock Music, there have of course been albums that have polarised opinion amongst the diehard fans of particular bands. ,b>Queen's 'Hot Space' and David Bowie's 'Low' are two albums that spring to mind, but there is one album in rock that has, like no other divided opinion on its various merits. That album is Kiss' 'Music From The Elder'. Released in 1981, it saw Kiss going all prog on us and heaven forbid if that wasn't enough they made it a concept album too! 'The Elder' was, in terms of sales somewhat of a disaster as fans dropped the band in droves, but artistically? Well that's where the debate begins. Made to satisfy the critics, or a band being lead by a producer who'd just come off the incredible success of Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'? Difficult to tell, but this book goes some way to answering these and many other questions.


The Book
This book is a truly exhaustive examination of an album that barely scratched Billboard's top 100 on release (it actually reached No75), so to get 535 pages is testament to the authors dedication to duty in that they have managed to come up with so much detail about the world of Kiss in the early 80's that the mind truly boggles. Twin authors Tim McPhate and Julian Gill (the latter from the KissFAQ website/podcast) have through diligent and thorough research come up with a truly fascinating insight into, not just the album but the lead up to its recording and the inevitable fall out that resulted. Interviews with pretty much everyone involved, (apart from Kiss themselves, more of that in the summary) and filled with the kind of minutiae that would satisfy the geek in all of us.... they even get to talk to the guy who made the door for the infamous album cover, how's that for going the full nine yards! No stone is seemingly left unturned in the authors quest to get to the bottom of what was going on in the Kiss organisation in those confused times.


In Summary
It's now some 35 years since 'The Elder' was released and Kiss fans still debate The Elder's merits and shortcomings. I for one found the book to be an engaging read and really does expose a band pretty close to implosion. What I found particularly refreshing is that that no member of Kiss, either past or present were involved in the making of the book and therefore I believe the reader gets a more honest, open account of the happenings of the time, rather than the usual Kiss line that the members traipse out whenever they talk about the band, which is why the respective autobiographies by the band are by and large insipid and boring (Paul Stanley's being the only one that I thought worth reading). The authors need congratulating on tackling a subject matter that many would question their motives on. This book comes highly recommended and is of course primarily aimed fairly and squarely at Kiss fans, but anyone interested in looking in to the machinations of the working within a band would also do well to seek this out.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on September 19 2016 19:55:55
This is the kind of book I love. I agree that there was no need to interview members of Kiss for the band. Gene, Ace and Paul all have a very negative attitude towards the record because it wasn't a success anyway.. I also agree with the comment about the autobiographies too. Gene's is particularly full of factual errors it's a joke.
I would love to write a book about Angel to the same level of detail. I have interviewed band members, road crew, cover artists and the guys who designed both logos etc etc. One day it might happen.
#2 | darkblue on September 19 2016 20:53:23
Excellent review which has reinforced my thoughts that I NEED this book. Like reyno, I agree that the lack of band involvement (usually a minus) is a huge plus in this case as Kiss have said the same things over and over for years and fans really want to know what actually went down, instead of the sanitised and blinkered revisionary thoughts trotted out.
#3 | Eric on September 20 2016 23:54:46
Nice review man, you sold me!
#4 | Explorer on September 21 2016 16:45:23
Just to clarify, when I said that there was no involvement from members of the band I was of course alluding to the fact that the book is unofficial and does not have the backing from the band.I only say this as there is a tiny (and I mean tiny) contribution from Bruce Kulick.
#5 | jefflynnefan on September 26 2016 01:47:29
Dave, You should write that book about Angel. I'm sure the AOR/Melodic rock community would support you and buy it. I'd definitely buy a copy. Even though I prefer Giuffria and House Of Lords over Angel. It would be interesting to read your thoughts on the band.
#6 | englandashes on September 26 2016 11:48:17
Yes, Dave i agree, cos one day someone else might beat you to it, but i would imagine you have a higher degree of knowledge and stories about the band than anyone else....please start planning, can you crowd fund a book?
#7 | Explorer on October 08 2016 07:21:27
In answer to crowd funding, I believe so. A work colleague of mine has published about 6 books and she found that the major problem was getting companies like Amazon etc to carry them. She encourages all the people that read them to leave a review as that apparently helps with Amazon and such like to stock them, and she also allows Amazon, say for a weekend to download one of her books for free which whilst not helping with bringing money in does help by curious shoppers taking a punt on the book, and therefore capturing people who would otherwise not have taken an interest.I've regularly though about doing a book about New England, but not sure if there's a big enough market out there for it, and it does sound like a major undertaking.
#8 | gdazegod on October 09 2016 00:13:45
If it were me, I'd make available a cut-down version as a freebie, say one or teo chapter excerpts. Not the whole e-book. As for a Ne England expose, no one will ever know if someone doesn't do it. As for some other online authors that I know, I can tell you, they still have 9 to 5 jobs.. lol!
 
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