I have always been rather proud of the fact that KISS were playing at my very first rock concert, with Cheap Trick opening for them back in 1977. It was the Love Gun tour, and I was 14.
Three years later though, I (and many others) had pretty much signed out of the KISS Army. Music From “The Elder” was it for a lot of us. When they took off the make-up and had a couple of hair-metal hits in the 80s, it was kind of cool to see them still at it. But besides the strangely fascinating Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels show, I haven’t really thought about them in years.
So when the new KISS FAQ book came along, I was intrigued. For this lapsed fan, I knew that there must be a ton of information that I was previously unaware of. I have read a few of these FAQ series books, and have discovered quite a few interesting things about the bands in question. Jon Stebbins' Beach Boys FAQ and Glen Boyd’s Neil Young FAQ are just a couple of examples.
As it turned out with the KISS FAQ book though, it wasn’t so much the obscure factoids that I enjoyed as much as the fan-based discussions of things like best/worst album covers, pivotal moments in their career, and (of course) merchandise.
The 356-page KISS FAQ by Dale Sherman is broken down into 31 chapters, which are presented in something of an “author’s whim” chronology. Sherman begins with the basics, the original four band member’s lives leading up to the formation of KISS, the departures of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and the various “re-births” of the band. That material was expected.
What was completely unexpected was a chapter discussing the actual number of sexual conquests of Gene Simmons, or a chapter titled “Did KISS Peak with Howard the Duck? A Look at the Comics.” Granted, the comics are of interest, but Howard the Duck?