BOOK REVIEW: KISS Still On Fire – Dave Thomas & Anders Holm (1988)

The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 37: bonus book review

 Still On Fire – Dave Thomas & Anders Holm (1988 Melody Line)

In the 1980s, there were generally no Kiss books on the market.  If you found one, you bought it.  The only widely known Kiss book back then was 1978’s paperback Kiss by Robert Duncan.  I was lucky to find Kiss Still On Fire in Stratford Ontario on December 27, 1990 in a great little store called The Book Vault.  Still On Fire is very very unofficial, but it was unequalled in its time:  130 magazine sized pages, mostly in full colour, loaded with pictures, facts and a few errors.

Peppered with old interviews and article snippets, Still On Fire takes a balanced look at the band and isn’t afraid to get critical when it’s warranted.  It also attempts to take a crack at who played what on some of those tracks where it wasn’t quite clear.  For example, Ace Frehley is pictured on the front cover of Killers, but didn’t play on any of the new songs.  Still On Fire quotes a Paul Stanley interview.  Was it Bob Kulick playing lead on these tracks?  “Bob did come out, yes, but he didn’t play.  When I couldn’t handle things — and I don’t consider myself the ultimate lead player — another friend of ours came in and gave us a little help.”  The book states this friend was Robbin Crosby of Ratt, a claim that is not backed up in other sources.  Did Crosby play on Killers?  Who knows, but according to this book, he did.  Other books such as Julian Gill’s Kiss Album Focus claim Bob Kulick did play some on Killers.  In other words, if you read something interesting in this book that contradicts what you’ve read elsewhere, take it with a grain of salt.

There’s a bit of content here about what Gene was doing in the 1980s outside of Kiss:  producing bands such as Black & Blue and EZO.  Gene was responsible for EZO’s fantastic single “Flashback Heart Attack”, co-written by James Christian of Simmons Record act House of Lords.  Gene was also working on movies but was having trouble finding the time.  Apparently Sergio Leone really wanted Gene Simmons for Once Upon a Time in America in the role of Max, ultimately played by James Woods.  Can you imagine?

Besides the ample photos, the most impressive feature of Still On Fire is the discography.  Though incomplete, Still On Fire attempts to document myriad Kiss bootleg recordings, including cover art.  There are also interesting promo and foreign releases, such as the Special Kiss Tour Album and Kiss – The Singles.  Side projects and solo albums are included, from major (Frehley’s Comet) to obscure (Bruce Kulick’s band The Good Rats).  A variety of singles, picture discs and videos are on display, fully illustrated.  All of this was completely new to me then.  Not to mention the titles of unreleased songs!  What the heck were “Don’t Run” and “The Unknown Force”?  (The Elder demos.)  This is also where you’ll find the most typos and spelling errors.  (I really want to hear this song called “Pick It Up”.)

Still On Fire isn’t definitive nor is it definitely 100% accurate, but it should still prove to be a valuable resource for your Kiss library.

3.5/5 stars



  1. I recall seeing this in TBAY but earlier in 1988 i spent a ton of dough on a John Lennon book (unauthorized ) and it was the biggest pile of poop ever….
    I got screwed so from that point on I refused to buy any book that doesn’t come from the horses mouth so to speak!
    Except for …
    Martin Popoff who writes books but doesn’t bullshit on anything and writes about bands that no one tackles like Riot and Accept

    Nice flashback read

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this book at the time. I think being able to write this book on the pre-internet era is a huge achievement. Just think about living in the Stone Age, collecting such information without the help of a ‘click’…. no google, no discussion forums, no help in any form we know today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book is pure nonsense, released with one purpose only, to make money for somewhat shady Swedish retailer Melody Line from Gothenburg. Nice pics of various items though, but the collectors who helped out didn’t even get paid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this info. Not paying people for their contributions is pretty low. I didn’t know that before.

      This was my first Kiss book ever when I was about 17 years old. You have to admit it’s a very attractive book, especially for a time when I’d never seen one before.


      1. Yes, it is full of nice pics and the overall layout is good. Another interesting fact is that author Dave Thomas doesn’t exist, at least there was no Dave Thomas contributing to this book. The real authors – Swedish fans – probably thought that crediting an American sounding name as author would make a book about an American rock band seem more attractive.

        Rumour has it that it was the same group of Swedish fans behind this book and a number of mid 80s vinyl bootlegs, including Fancy Fair and Fancy Mix which have some legit and many fake unreleased Kiss songs on them. The Swedish podcast Alex Room Service skewered this book a few years ago (in Swedish) and the same source mentioned that the bootlegs were made by Swedes.


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