Cover Image: They Just Seem a Little Weird

They Just Seem a Little Weird

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Member Reviews

I loved the premise of this book; however, after many attempts to read it, I decided to put it aside.  The writing and material did not click for me.  Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I received this arc from Hatchet books from an honest review.
 I found this book to be very interesting about these bands in their place in rock. Whether they changed the face of rock and roll is debatable.  I grew up in the era when these groups were starting to become popular. Though I was already into Sabbath, Zeppelin, Queen. I really never got into Kiss, but I did like a few of their songs. I Aerosmith music so that part was good. 
  What I liked about this book was from the beginning you got a back story about the different members of the bands and how they got together and then what made them. Kiss came up with the make-up part which added to them and set them apart. I also liked who the author was able to talk to roadies and how the Kiss roadies would fight with the Aerosmith roadies, that really set the beginning book apart from others that I have read. The cheap trick was a group I remembered from the ’80s but the author said they formed in the ’70s. Starz the least famous of the groups talked about was a group from New Jersey and have a few hits. Their lead singer was also the singer of the band Looking Glass, which had a few pop hits one being “Brandy” they would go on to influence Bon Jovi, Motley Crue to name a few. Overall a good book if you’re into music groups, then it is worth the read.
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Former Spin magazine editor, Doug Brod has created a detailed inside look at a very particular pocket of 1970's American hard rock.  He follows the trajectory of 4 bands: KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and the lesser known Starz.   Brod covers how the groups were formed including bands that the band members were in before these groups. We see how they are connected through producers, collaborators and more.  There are friendships and rivalries, and of course competition at various levels.   There is mention of the expected rock star life style and how that impacted their careers...Gene Simmons grandstanding and the toxicity of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.   While all of this 70's rock was a bit before my time (I was but a babe in arms), I remember the Cheap Trick, KISS, and Aerosmith of the 80's, 90's and beyond.   The book discusses how the bands morphed and reinvented themselves after the dawn of MTV and later 80's glam/metal and the grunge rock of the 90s.    

I am not a big fan of KISS but growing up in Boston already knew a bit about Aerosmith due to the local connection.   I've even run into Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer at a frozen yogurt shop (sooooo Rock & Roll!).  Despite not being a mega fan of these groups, I still enjoyed learning more about them and this corner of American music history.  I recommend this to any fans of rock music!  

<i>Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!</i>
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This book is not only one I recommended professionally, I also found myself pressing it into friends hands personally! Delighted to feature it in The Gift of Books lists by theme - specifically, “Cultural Studies” - among Zoomer magazine’s year-end lists. See link for full feature article and text.
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This book made me feel ashamed. How had I never heard of Starz? This book fills in a gap in my rock history knowledge that I didn't know I had. 

Doug Brod does a great job of intertwining the stories of three successful bands (Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and KISS) and one obscure (Starz) that all found varying degrees of success in a strange time for rock & roll and culture in general. 

Personally, I can never get tired of reading about KISS, a band whose music I don't even really like, but is made by some of the most fascinating people in rock history. This is a great addition to any rock readers bookshelf.
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They Just Seem a Little Weird by Doug Brod was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it.  I had never heard of this author though he worked for Spin magazine, a magazine I am old enough to have idolized as a youngster.  The book is about four bands, Kiss, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Starz and how they made music what it is today.  Yes, I had no recollection of Starz either.  Having been born in the mid 60’s and growing up in Americas Heartland, flyover country with the deplorables, three of these bands were listened to almost every day.  This book goes into great details, some known, some not, about the bands early years and upbringing.  Interestingly enough, it goes chronologically, not by band, so one chapter can be Kiss, the next Aerosmith, etc.  If you, or someone you buy gifts for likes any, or most likely most, of these bands, give this book as a gift.

5 stars
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on December first.

First off, let me just say: I’m not a huge fan of any of these bands, just because I only know them passingly well. They were just a teensy bit before my time. Of course, I don’t live under a rock, so I have at least heard their music. So, if I’m not an uber fan, why did I scurry to read this book? Because it sounded fascinating.

It is an interesting foray into the bizarre world of rock and roll. There were a lot of weird, random happenstances that let me know how small the world of professional music-making truly is. There’s a major “six degrees to Kevin Bacon” vibe that permeates the book. So many things that happened were connected in the oddest ways. About halfway through, I was ready to start singing, “It’s a small world after all…”

Despite this, I found myself getting confused at times because there were so many names to remember. Not only that, each person seemed to have several nicknames bestowed by several different people and the nicknames got a bit perplexing. Also, the way they were all connected to each other was very convoluted at times. Read this book with a pencil ready in case you get name confusion like I did.
That being said, this book is a very engrossing read. The beginning of these music giants was just so much fun to read about, and the little asides were flat-out strange. It made for an incredibly entertaining book. I now know more about these bands than I thought was humanly possible for someone who wasn’t already an obsessive fan.

My biggest gripe is that there was a lot of information but not a lot of emotion. There was a ton of “how” and “when” but not a lot of “why,” if that makes sense. I wanted a little more personality than I got. That’s just a small little complaint, though.

The writing is succinct and well-worded. It flowed well and there weren’t really any parts that dragged or felt superfluous. For those of you who love any of these bands, or are huge music buffs in general, you’ll want to add this to your collection. For me, I liked it but fell just short of loving it.
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Any fan of 70’s hard rock will enjoy this book. The book description states the book describes how the bands Kiss, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Starz “ laid the foundation for two diametrically opposed subgenres: hair metal in the '80s and grunge in the '90s”. The book does great at explaining this but also covers so much more. The book gives a detailed explanation of hard rock in the 70’s, using these four bands as an anchor to tell the story. The author goes into detail on these four bands and also explains how they are interconnected through tours, times they met, personnel they had in common.

The author conducted detailed interviews with living members of all of these bands with the exception of Gene Simmons, but the author uses material from previous interviews he completed with Gene, so Gene is represented.

I wanted to read this book because I have always wanted to read a biography on Cheap Trick and the only one I am aware of is out of print. I was worried at first but the story of Cheap Trick was covered thoroughly. I did not initially think I had any interest in reading about Starz, because I had never heard of them. I admit I was wrong. The story of Starz was one of the books most interesting. It is a story of a band positioned to be the next big band, that didn’t make it as big as their peers and are not nearly as well remembered.

My favorite parts of the book is when the author highlights people associated with the band or hard rock the 1970’s. I had not previously heard of Sean Delaney. Lee Abrams or Mark Radice but loved hearing their stories of success and impact on hard rock music. I had heard Desmond Child on a podcast before, but his story never stops amazing me and he has a big connection with two of the four bands focused on in this book, so his profile fit great.

I feel this book is going to get low rating from fans of Kiss or Aerosmith that don’t feel like there is enough new information in this book. I hope this is not the case, the book gives great information on the careers of these bands. Some information covered in detail here that I have not seen detailed many other places were the start of Kiss Memorabilia Conventions, the creation of the Kiss My Ass tribute album, and Desmond Child’s song writing process with Aerosmith.

The author is a fan and discusses a lot of songs by name. You will find yourself googling and discovering/rediscovering great songs from albums you did not think were very good.

There are countless contributors to the book from Dennis Deyoung from Styx to Art Alexakis from Everclear, Scott Ian from Antrhax.

The story of this book is great, you get a good picture of how hard rock grew from the clubs to the coliseums and how radio went from freeform FM radio to Album Oriented Rock and how that impacted bands. The bands the author chose to focus on are perfect because they are all interconnected from the 70’s through the 90’s and had four different outcomes; a band that had great success and changed with the times (Kiss), a band that had great success then fell apart only to come back with bigger success (Aerosmith), a band that has plugged a long for 40 years and despite a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction still feel like they should have been bigger (Cheap Trick), and a band that had all the makings to be huge that did not have huge success but probably influenced a lot of your favorite bands (Starz).

My only criticism of this book would be that the author seemed to use the last chapter fit the various stories that he felt were good enough for the book but did not fit elsewhere. The book is detailed chronologically until the mid 90's and then there are various stories. It is still great writing but the book is interwoven so well to this point that it stands out some

I give this book my highest recommendation for readers of classic rock biographies. I received an ARC but am still going to buy a hard copy because I can see myself referencing the book frequently.
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Wow! For me as a fan of all 4 of the band's featured in this book, I found it to be informative, entertaining, and just fascinating. I learned a lot about the interaction between these bands as well as discovering new tidbits about my favorites. The Fanboy in me absolutely loved and appreciated this well thought out and completely interesting book.
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