Yesterday afternoon, before a crowd of media types and clean-cut Sunset Strip'd hard rockers at the Viper Room, Kiss debuted their new book, Kiss Monster. It is huge — 3 feet x 2.5 feet, and nearly 50 pounds.

The thing costs $4250.

Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer fielded questions about the tome. They weren't wearing makeup, but they did have salty quips at the ready.

The book is bigger than Gene Simmons' head. But his ego?; Credit: Paul T. Bradley

The book is bigger than Gene Simmons' head. But his ego?; Credit: Paul T. Bradley

“It's not for everyone.” said Simmons about the pricetag.

“Look, it's priced according to the cost of goods,” Paul Stanley added later. “It's not entirely a profitable enterprise.”

So what's so special about this book? Well, apparently there are only 1,000 copies of it, each signed by the current band members.

Also, we weren't allowed to touch it, so we can only speculate why. Does it shoot flames or rockets or groupies or something? Probably not. Mostly it's just kinda unwieldy-looking, even next to the anvil cases that it will be shipped in.

Inside it contains thousands of photos from Kiss's massive archives of concert footage and tour shenanigans. There are lots of pictures from the early days, which now comprise a fraction of their 40 year career.

There are, of course, plenty of photo plates with Ace Frehely and Peter Criss, Kiss's original drummer and guitarist. When asked why Criss and Frehely weren't around Simmons quipped, “You've had girlfriends before right? Well, you're happy when you've got that girlfriend and you're happy when you don't. People who like doing alcohol and drugs more, should be doing that.”

Current drummer Eric Singer assured us, “There's stuff in there that I'm sure no one's seen before.”

The book is bigger than Gene Simmons' head. But his ego?; Credit: Paul T. Bradley

The book is bigger than Gene Simmons' head. But his ego?; Credit: Paul T. Bradley

Kiss Monster will be shipped with one of ten custom covers, each bearing the country flag of the largest Kiss Army memberships — Sweden, Norway, and Japan, among them. When shipped, the work will contain a “custom message” geared towards that country's faction of the Army.

Still not sold? Well, the thing is hand-stitched by the same book binder that makes the Vatican's tomes. So that's gotta be good. Or at least strange, for a group once dubbed “Knights in Satan's Service.”

“We got a really good deal on holy water, ” said Simmons.

The band claims it's the largest rock and roll book ever made. But it is certainly not the largest book in the world. That honor goes to Michael Hawley's Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom .

It's also not the largest book in the L.A. area. The honor goes to John Audubon's The Birds of America at the Huntington Library. Coming in at 39 inches by 28 inches, it's got a greater surface area than Kiss's.

Shame on you Kiss. Are you saying you want to live in a world where the largest rock and roll book is smaller than some book about birds? We certainly don't.

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