Cover image for Kiss : behind the mask : the official authorized biography
Kiss : behind the mask : the official authorized biography
Leaf, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 431 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Corporate Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML421.K57 L43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML421.K57 L43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



After three decades of wild dedication, this official authorized biography provides Kiss fans their first real look inside one of rock and roll's most extraordinary bands.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Although dedicated rock readers familiar with previous KISS tell-alls--most notably, tongue-man Gene Simmons' Kiss and Make-Up (2001)--may question whether there is much behind the band's kabuki-ish make-up besides being an ace gimmick, this slobbering devotional is worthwhile. For one thing, it packs all the major elements of Kisstory into one breezy package. For another, the PowerPoint-ish organization of the text facilitates easy reading. Sure, Leaf and Sharp find incredible depth and talent where others might miss it (they particularly adore the platform-booted anthem, "Rock and Roll All Nite"), but they state right up front, "nonbelievers--this book isn't for them." There are enough believers--members of the "KISS Army"--to make this surefire bait for the elusive testosterone-infused demographic. --Mike Tribby Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

With its combination of cartoonish monster-movie makeup and oversized costumes, ear-splitting amplification and gleeful songs in praise of sex, heavy metal rock legend Kiss has never been accused of not being excessive, and this book is a great example of why it is still a multimillion-dollar profit-making machine. While this book covers much of the same biographical territory as Gene Simmons's Kiss and Make-Up and Kisstory (the band's self-published 440-page coffee-table-sized tome), the authorized bio presents more than enough new material to make it essential for hardcore fans. Much of the book's first half presents a previously unpublished work based on the only in-depth interviews the band gave in 1980. The result is a remarkably humanizing look behind the heavy metal tomfoolery, with Simmons more honestly discussing his Jewish upbringing than he does in his autobiography, and the rest of the band disarmingly admitting to borrowing from the glam-rocker New York Dolls as well as the Harlem Globetrotters. The book's second half, however, is the true highlight for Kiss fans: a comprehensive look at all of the Kiss albums ever made. Among the surprises is the praise of noted producer Eddie Kramer, a close associate of Jimi Hendrix, for the band's no-nonsense work ethic. Of note are Kiss's hilariously guileless quotes, such as the admission that another producer "made a point of trying to get us to stop writing songs about getting laid, which was valid. But he needed to understand that's all we ever did." (Oct.) Forecast: This volume will greatly appeal to fans, who have made previous Kiss biographies bestsellers. No matter how silly its products (e.g., Kiss condoms), Kiss emphasizes quality as well as quantity and doesn't take its still-huge audience for granted. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Considering recent products like KISS condoms and coffins, it's easy to assume that Behind the Mask is just another forgettable facet of the band's marketing megalomania. That assumption is wrong, however. In fact, music writers Leaf and Sharp may have produced the most notable KISS biography yet (a third of which was written more than 20 years ago but never saw release). Drawing on original interviews from that time, as well as others conducted since, the authors offer rare insight into original band members Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley. With these interviews-and Sharp's comprehensive oral history, which includes surprising quotes from the likes of Paul Westerberg and Toni Tennille-the book manages to live up to its subtitle. It only stumbles a bit because of fanboy prose and the lack of an objective voice, but that won't stop the band's legions of fans from devouring the track-by-track commentary for each album. If only KISS condoms felt this good. Recommended for all libraries.-Robert Morast, "Argus Leader," Sioux Falls, SD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.