Book review: Live to Win – A Casual Guide to The Music of KISS Frontman Paul Stanley by Neil Daniels

Live to Win - A Casual Guide to The Music of KISS Frontman Paul Stanley by Neil Daniels

KISS frontman Paul Stanley only recently released his autobiography and so you may be thinking that the release of this new “Live to Win” book is untimely. Forget that, whilst “Face the Music” was the man’s life story, this is really the story of his musical output outside of KISS.

Whilst Paul Stanley’s story is pretty well known author Neil Daniels has left no stone unturned as he guides us through the early years of KISS and then through nearly 40 years of solo career, and is the first book to do so.

The book opens with a foreword from Meat Puppets’ Shandon Sahm and in part two we are treated to Stanley’s timeline, solo and KISS discographies, a section on other glam legends, memorabilia, photos, trivia and Paul in his own words.

Part one of “Live to Win” is be main part of the book though and having looked at the British Invasion and blues explosion that influenced Paul Stanley and KISS, it gives us a nice potted history of the band.

It is easy to forget, when you look back at it, that the band really struggled with sales for their first three albums- finally breaking things wide open with 1976’s “Alive” album, and the rest is rock n roll history, many a lesser band may have given up during those early years.

Then we get to the solo albums part. 1978’s “Paul Stanley” was released as part of all four KISS members having a solo album out on the same day- it may not have fared as well as Ace’s but was none the less a good album and the closest sounding to the traditional KISS sound that fans were used to. There is also great coverage of his 1989 solo tour and how this was pivotal to both his, and KISS’ immediate future.

Then we come to the more recent “Live to Win” album, released in 2006, and subsequent “One Live Kiss” DVD. There is also mention of Stanley’s imminent “Soul Station” gigs, his not entirely successful late ‘90’s run in musical “Phantom of The Opera”. His many collaborations and even his art exhibitions. As ever Daniels has done a great job to give us a look at the solo career of one of rock music’s giants.

Review by Nikk Gunns

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