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Book Review

KISS Fotografien von Didi Zill

[All photos by Didi Zill / Courtesy of Schwarzkopf & 
Schwarzkopf Verlag]

Book can be purchased here

Back in 1976 Didi Zill, a German photographer & journalist for Bravo magazine noticed that KISS were making one hell of an impression over in the States but as of yet nothing in Europe. Luckily Didi knew something was about to happen and stuck with KISS capturing hundreds of photos which have now been published in this book, originally released in 2003.

First thing to note is that this book is huge - around 350 pages and 30cm - i.e. big enough to give KISStory a run for it's money! The book is divided into sections covering various KISS line-ups from 1976 to 1990. Each section features a background written by music journalist Jens Reimnitz followed by Didi's photos, and that's about it really - this book is heavily focused on the photos - there are literally hundreds. One thing to note is that the book's text is written in both German and English, so don't let the German title put you off.


The books sections are as follows:-

  • 1976 - Live & backstage in Munich

    This first section features some excellent candid backstage shots of all 4 members, including Peter & Ace putting the final touches to their make-up. Following this are some excellent live shots from the show in the Rosengarten, Mannheim.
  • 1980 - Poprock

    This section follows the band (now featuring Eric Carr) around during their appearance on Poprock - a German equivalent of Top Of The Pops.
  • 1981 - Video shoot in New York

    Around this time KISS were shooting a few promo videos for The Elder - Didi was invited to take some shots for Bravo magazine. There's some great photos of Eric Carr in this section, and one of Paul taking a break behind Eric drums.
  • 1982 - TV Studio in Munich

    Promo-photos of the band taken in Germany around the time of Creatures. You will recognise some of the shots in this section - featuring the band standing in front of brightly coloured backdrops.
  • 1983 - Live in Portland, Oregon

    This photoshoot took place backstage and was intended to introduce Vinnie to KISS fans. It was taken in 1983 not long before the make-up was dropped. The 2nd part of this section features photos from the show itself.
  • 1983 - At the WWF club, Cologne

    By now the band have unmasked and are in their brightly coloured Lick It Up clothes. The back-stage shots for this section were taken right in front of the mens bogs! There are also one or two live shots.
  • 1990 - Live in the USA

    This final section has some live & promo shots of the band taken during the HITS tour.

Overall, this book is without doubt one of the best KISS photobooks around and definitely gives all the others a run for their money. Some of the photos you will definitely recognise but their were literally loads that were new to me. One minor criticism is that some of the photos are very similar - ie the same shot taken from a slightly different angle.

This book deserves to be in any KISS collection.

Book can be purchased here