Originally published September 13, 2013 at The Los Angeles Beat
Strangeness often happens when fandom is taken to an obsessive level. Nowhere is that more evident than with the rock band KISS. Masters of marketing and licensing since the early days of the KISS Army, bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley have a hard earned rep for merchandise promotion. From the obvious toys and action figures to Christmas ornaments, ashtrays, beach towels and fleece Snuggies you can bet if there is a way to market it with a KISS logo, Demon Gene will find a way.
So the release of a new book about the band is not necessarily revolutionary in the KISS universe, but it is definitely welcome. Simmons alone has authored half a dozen tomes and Paul Stanley is the only one of the four original members who has yet to publish a long awaited salacious autobiography. Apparently Paul is working on his book now. In order to publicize the release of the most recent KISS book, Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS 1972-1975 co-written by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, a book signing was held this past Thursday evening at Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles. KISS obsessed Angelenos showed up in droves and the count numbered into the hundreds as the line wrapped around the block. Several fans wore costumes, but the majority pledged their allegiance with band t-shirts, caps or even KISS franchised leggings.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley greeted those who patiently waited and signed copies of their newly released book. In order to keep the line moving, photo ops with the band members unfortunately were not an option. The Barnes & Noble staff clamped down hard on anyone who tried. Still, the event was a surreal peek into the world of zealous fandom. As more than a bit of a KISS geek myself, I have to report that the line was worth the wait; but then again I was near the front. Not only did I get to meet Paul and Gene, but my signed copy of Nothin’ to Lose looks pretty cool as well…