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Odyssey: The Definitive Examination of Music From the Elder. KISS‘ Controversial Concept Album
Tim McPhate & Julian Gill
KissFAQ Publishing 506 Pages
It’s hard to tell what Paul Stanley wants to talk about less than KISS’ 13th studio album. Maybe KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park. Maybe. And that attitude has manifested itself as a divide in the KISS Army. Some find it a nice respite from the KISS catalog. To others, it’s a redheaded step-child that wouldn’t be noticed if it ran away. Count me among those who champion the record. For its mystery. For its uniqueness. Even for all of the things it shouldn’t be. I love this record. And for those like me, there is now a giant book about all things Elder. And it’s fucking awesome.
I dedicated a column to Music from the Elder last November. As a self-proclaimed expert on the record, I went into great length and detail regarding Gene and Paul’s albatross, and I can tell you this book is the complete version of my ‘Crib Notes’. Minus the snark and opinion. Odyssey opens with some basic info about the record such as track listing(s), key players and chart positions. Then a chapter charting its genesis to completion. Followed by approx 250 pages of interviews with key players (Dennis Woloch; Bob Ezrin) and fans (Ty Tabor; Chuck Klosterman) to name a few. So many in fact you start to form your own story of the making of the Elder. What it doesn’t give you is a reason to change your opinion. It’s possible someone who didn’t like it might find themselves a little more open to giving it a try but there is no effort to compel the non-believer to convert.
It’s beautifully packaged and extremely dense. This is not a picture book. Just a ton of info. It really is a great tome for any KISS fan. If you hate the record there is still a ton of previously unknown info on the band. And if you love the record your passion will be rewarded with a detailed telling of the Odyssey making this record took. The stories and interviews allow the reader to come to their own conclusion as to what actually happened during its creation. Leaving the record a certain shroud of mystery. It seems fitting that dedicating an entire book to it still leaves one with little conclusion. After reading this book you will only be able to say for sure that it was recorded. And Gene and Paul sort of regret that. Exactly where you were before you read it. Exactly the way it should be.
It comes out Sept. 16th, 2016. Buy it.