Book review

Kiss: Alive Forever
- The Complete Touring History

Curt Gooch & Jeff Suhs
Billboard Books

Kiss: Alive Forever - The Complete Touring HistoryOkay. So I admit it. Anything with Kiss on the cover of it is already going to get at least a three star rating from me just for turning up! But that's not really the point is it? There was a time when all Kiss related products would get an automatic five star rating because they really were that damn good. I'd be a fool to try and sell you the story this far down the line, but come along - you might learn something.

Kiss: Alive Forever succeeds because it comes from outside of the inner sanctum. Just a couple of guys with a lust for doing something that's never been done before . . . hang on . . . isn't that where it all started?
    When a book takes over seven years to research, it had better be good. Kiss: Alive Forever is, and will take some beating. Exclusive pictures, interviews with present and past members, support bands (Cheap Trick!), road crew, promoters and wives have all been sifted for information. It's a blow by blow account of every single show from gig number one to the very last (at least at the time of writing).
    Each entry is then supplemented by a story from somebody who was there - a detail may be added; such as the day Ace first fired the rocket firing guitar, or a secret exposed; Paul had a psychotherapist! This, my very good friends, is Kiss Heaven, because nothing - no matter how mad or surreal things get in the Kiss camp - will ever be sour enough to take away the memory of the good times.
    Kicking off with the tale of Wicked Lester and how the members got together over time, Kiss: Alive Forever eases into the most fantastic tale ever told. I've been a Kiss fan since 1978 - I was nine - and I've seen fifteen shows, all catalogued here. I've read every book, bought every album at least twice, scoured every site, begged, borrowed and stolen for the band, and still the authors managed to come up with information I didn't know. Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs have achieved the impossible; given a Kiss fan another reason to sit down with the band just when he thought all his minutes had run out. Frankly, this is the best (unsanctioned) book about the band that there has ever been.

Bringing up the back end of the book, there's amazing additional information like a list of every song, how many times it has been played from the first time to the last time - real hardcore, sad bastard material.
    No other band could get away with this sort of thing and get a good review from me. Why do I stay so damned loyal? Because once, this was all there was and it meant the whole world. Yup. Even more than her . . .

:: Sion Smith

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