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They Just Seem a Little Weird: How KISS, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Starz Remade Rock and Roll
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They Just Seem a Little Weird: How KISS, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Starz Remade Rock and Roll

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  27 reviews
It was the age when heavy-footed, humorless dinosaurs roamed the hard-rock landscape. But that all changed when into these dazed and confused mid-'70s strut-ted four flamboyant bands that reveled in revved-up anthems and flaunted a novel theatricality. In They Just Seem a Little Weird, veteran entertainment journalist Doug Brod offers an eye- and ear-opening look at a cruc ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Hachette Books
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Keath Patterson Compared to the other bands, no but there's a couple chapters devoted to them. The bulk of the book is about Kiss and Cheap Trick. …moreCompared to the other bands, no but there's a couple chapters devoted to them. The bulk of the book is about Kiss and Cheap Trick. (less)
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Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
They Just Seem a Little Weird by Doug Brod is a 2020 Hachette Books publication.

Mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird.
Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away, ay, ay, ay.

The title of this book caught my eye and made me give it a closer look. At first, it confused me- Starz? What does a cable movie channel have to do with seventies arena rock? 😕😕

As familiar as I thought I was with the music of this era, I honestly have no memory of a rock group named Starz- w
Dr. Detroit
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing

I’m not sure about the whole “Remade Rock and Roll” thing. That just may be publishing-house historical revisionism.

First off, a caveat. At the tender age of 63, I’m still a wide-eyed fanboy when it comes to the 70s output of all four of these bands. After that, not so much. Don’t tell me to grow up. I already tried that. I’ve been waiting for a book like this nearly as long as I’ve been waiting for that next Kinks album (27 years and counting). Ray? Dave
Jessica Haider
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 me ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 a ...more
Bradley Vaughn
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Doug Brod spins an entertaining and cleverly anecdotal history lesson as he weaves the careers of three Hall of Fame mega bands and one buried gem together through various interviews and stories with the main characters.

Aerosmith and Kiss, two starkly different bands sonically, broke at the same time and have ridden the roller coaster of rock fame for 5 decades while Cheap Trick hung on in the margins on the momentum of massive talent and creative songwriting. Starz, the black sheep of the quar
"It's been so long since your vital signs went / And you don't look the same in that oxygen tent" —"Pull the Plug" by Starz, an unintentionally hilarious attempt at a serious song about Karen Ann Quinlan that I sincerely believe may have been the inspiration for Spinal Tap

This is a quest by a rock critic to explain the impact of four bands that released albums in the 1970s: KISS, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Starz. "Who are or were Starz?" you might ask. They were never very successful, but the
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
I can't believe this books exists! Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick are probably my favorite bands to have emerged in the 1970s, a time author Doug Brod describes as "for me, perhaps the most exciting era of modern popular music."

Brod's key insight is that Kiss, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and, to a much lesser extent, Starz influenced not one but two cohorts of rock bands: the hair-metal acts and the alternative bands that came after them. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian describes what it was like to see
Brian Balich
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.... truly engrossing book - a page turner. My sole gripe being how little Aerosmith is actually covered in the book. All kinds of info pertaining to Starz that I didn’t know. Well worth the money and the time spent reading it. Highly recommended to fans of especially Starz, Cheap Trick and KISS but also fans of hard rock in general who love behind the scenes type books.
Dec 06, 2020 added it
My old friend Doug has concocted an idiosyncratic and very engaging rock history that can be pleasurably read even by disinterested observers of the bands under examination. He's very funny, gets the reasons the bands are worth taking seriously in the first place, and handles the potentially confusing family trees and alphabet soups with the coherent deftness of the best managing editor you've ever met (which Doug has been). ...more
Nestor Rychtyckyj
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Why did I just read a 320-page book that tries to explain the following: “How Kiss, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and Starz Remade Rock and Roll”. I certainly don’t agree with this, but I do have to confess that I was guilty of owning (and even playing) 8-tracks of all of these bands in the 1970s. The first Cheap Trick album even made it into my vinyl collection and I was at that memorable night at the Royal Oak Music Theater on March 5, 1977 when Tom Petty and Cheap Trick opened up for the Runaways. I ...more
Chris Jaffe
Mar 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: entertainment
This book isn't bad, but it just struck me as off-kilter and random. By random, I mean - why these four bands? Why group them together? You got the cartoonish metal band from New York, the Stones-inspired hard rockers from Boston, the Beatles-esque pop rock band from Rockford, and a fourth band that never made it big and I've never even heard of before. So why lump them together? Eh, the author makes some sporadic notes about connections between the bands betwen the years, but I found those conn ...more
patrick Lorelli
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
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
Allan Carpenter

When I first got wind of Doug Brod’s new book, I pre-ordered it immediately. For me and others of my generation, the late 70s was a truly singular time in rock: Rock, which had grown a bit turgid, druggy, and even dull, suddenly became fun and colorful, while still being dangerous. It was irresistible.

Brod’s book looks at this era through the perspective of four bands...KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and Starz. Why Starz? Their history shows that good songs, connections, a cool logo, and great co
Brett buckner
Mar 18, 2021 rated it liked it
I was super excited about starting this book because it included two of my all-time favorite groups - Aerosmith and Kiss - along with a band I've long respected - Cheap Trick - and one that I've never heard of - Starz.

Having completed it, my review can be summed up with a ... "meh."

I didn't dislike Brod's book and would say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first half, when all four bands were struggling. The second half was rather dry and ... dare I say, boring. With some of the most memorable char
Jon Chaisson
Mar 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Enjoyable but overlong. This book could have easily stopped its chronology sometime in the late 80s when three of the bands were hitting their second winds, but instead it reached into present day, which felt like an overextended epilogue. It's an interesting book overall but tends to drag and repeat itself in multiple places, and focuses far too much on KISS and Starz in particular, leaving me feeling like the connection between the four bands in this book was thin on the ground and forced thro ...more
Greg Robison
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"They Just Seem a Little Weird" is one of those books that I was genuinely sorry when it ended.

Think you're a huge music fan, and know everything there is to know about late 70's Rock and Roll? I did too, until I read Doug Brod's simply amazing tale of how four bands set out to make Rock music fun again, and in the process, inspire countless wanna-be musicians around the world to pick up a guitar, bass, drum sticks, or microphone and "Dream On", "Surrender" to the music, "Rock and Roll All Nite"
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it
This is easily on the border of 3 and 4 stars for me.

The pros:
- Well-written and well-organized
- Explained a lot about the "money" side of the rock music industry that I didn't know
- Had a really great but all-too-brief chapter (Chapter 20, if I recall) about the foundations of Classic Rock Radio and why basically every "classic rock" station sounds exactly the same

The cons:
- Doesn't do a whole lot to further the argument made about why Starz "failed" - honestly, after reading the book, it seems
Zeb Kantrowitz
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: edleweiss-read
Let me start off by saying that Brod spent a lot of time researching this book and interviewed almost every one of the major players some time in the last three years. That said half of the book is dedicated to KISS and Starz, Cheap Trick gets a decent amount of time but Aerosmith is more of an afterthought.

Keeping all this in mind, this is really only for people who were into these bands back in the day or those who are nostalgic for this type of music. Allot of time is spent tying the differen
Jeffrey Falk
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
This is recommended to fans of one or more of the above bands. It is fascinating and detail-oriented to cognoscenti. Often, its sentences are too long and detailed and should have been broken up. As the book concludes, it is less detailed--e.g., Bun E Carlos's departure from Cheap Trick is given short shrift. More consideration of the bands' legacies to summarize at book's end would also have helped. In other words, the book starts and develops better than it ends, and it has sprawling, confusin ...more
Brian Carr
Mar 22, 2021 rated it liked it
A book about 70s era rock and beyond featuring three of my favorite American rock bands? Count me in! Overall, They Just Seem a Little Weird is a cool read for fans of the bands. For me, there was a major flaw that derailed the entire book. Right in the middle, author Brod devoted 14 pages to a project from Sean Delaney, a guy that had ties to KISS and Starz. I hit that chapter and ended up putting the book down for weeks before grabbing it again to finish it this week. If I decide to re-read at ...more
Charles Heath
This book (which I liked) goes on and on, missing not one detail, no matter how long AFTER these bands mattered. Interesting early history, but the past THREE FUCKING DECADES were a slog.

"Rock-and-roll bands were never conceived to last forty years." - - ACTUAL LINE FROM BOOK LOL
Neil Sarver
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable enough book, but I don't think it quite justified being a book rather than a rather long article. In the end, it amounts to rather cursory accounts of the history of each band, with only suggestions of answering the quite intriguing notion promised by the title. ...more
Sam Branstner
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great history of 1970s hard rock. The outlier here is Starz. They are an enigma. Well written; a page turner. And it’s opened all kinds of new doors for my listening pleasure.
Robert Lawson
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of any of the bands covered or even just 70's rock in general. Excellent stuff. ...more
Apr 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: rock fans
I found this to be extremely well-researched and informative. I'm not super familiar with the rock scene of the 70s, but I was still able to follow along and enjoy the ride! ...more
Mar 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a casual fan of 7o's rock (I'm a scooch too young for it to be my music) but found this book fun and informative. The book covers the more theatrical of the 70's American rock bands with a focus more on music and business than on sex and drugs. The author showed how the groups interconnected and competed resulting in a good overview of the genre.
I listened to some of Starz' music after reading this and enjoyed it. It made me feel bad for the hundreds of bands out there that have the talent
Robert Jackson
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about Rock in the 7o's. I loved the behind the scenes stuff. This is a must read for any fan of KISS, Cheap Trick or Aerosmith! ...more
Greg Lindstrom
rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2021
rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2021
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DOUG BROD is the former editor in chief of SPIN magazine and was a long-time editor at Entertainment Weekly. He has worked for Atlantic Records, taught at New York University, and was a segment producer of the comedy/music television series Oddville, MTV. Brod has also written for the New York Times, Billboard, Classic Rock, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Trouser Press Record Guide. A native New ...more

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