What do KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Starz have in common?
Doug Brod interviewed over 130 people for this book titled “They Just Seem A Little Weird” is the story of how all four of the bands careers have all at one time or another have crossed paths with each other.
Let me try and explain it you all…
Brod goes about the backstory about each band and as I’m a KISS, Cheap Trick and Aerosmith fan already I knew most of the early history but Starz was a band I was not familiar with so that was an intriguing factor also.
All four bands are connected one way or another. KISS and Aerosmith began a love/hate relationship that goes back to playing shows together in the early 70s (more on that later) as Cheap Trick has connection with both KISS and Aerosmith.
The connection between the four acts are Aerosmith recorded a few albums with producer Jack Douglas as Cheap Trick also used Jack Douglas as a producer on the self titled Trick debut as did Starz as well on there debut.
Brod writes about the time that when KISS released the “Destroyer” album in 76 they were freaked out that it wasn’t selling as well as it should have and they at one point considered bringing in Douglas to remix it.
“Beth” was then released as a KISS single and the remixing idea went away as “Destroyer” began selling.
Cheap Trick opened for KISS on the 1977 Can-Am Tour.
Starz was a signing to Casablanca Records as they had KISS manager Bill Aucoin handling their business affairs. (more on that later).
Starz as you know never got off the ground. Radio turned a blind eye and guitarist Richie Ranno in the book talks about one huge radio programming guy back in the late 70s who wouldn’t let Starz get radio play so they never sold that many records.
Bun E Carlo’s (ex Cheap Trick) gives some great inside about touring with Aerosmith as when opening for the Boston boys a bunch of shows were cancelled as Aero singer Steve Tyler blew out a blood vessel yelling at his road crew backstage which resulted in Cheap Trick losing out on a lot of money.
When the tour was about to resume Cheap Trick took out an insurance policy out on Aerosmith that if anything happened to the tour Cheap Trick would get paid.
Aerosmith cancelled the whole tour. Cheap Trick got paid.
KISS and Aerosmith toured together back in 2003. Steve Tyler did not want to do the tour for a couple of reasons.
One being that Tyler since the 70s does not like KISS and would only do the tour if KISS had 3/4’s of the original band together.
In 2003, KISS was using Tommy Thayer to play the role of departed guitarist Ace Frehley while Eric Singer was the drummer.
KISS asked Ace. Spaceman said no. So KISS asked Peter Criss back. Gene and Paul paid Criss $10,000 a show to play but when Criss seen how much money the shows were generating he was pissed.
Aerosmith also would only do the tour if they closed the show saying that they were not going to open for a band that didn’t feature all original members. In other words Aerosmith didn’t want to open for a tribute act.
Cheap Trick as well had their issues back in 1980 when bassist Tom Petersson left at the peak of their career as Tom married a model who was his manager and basically ran Tom’s career into the ground.
Starz are the tough luck act. Never really got anywhere successfully as the other three acts as Aucoin and radio never really gave them the chance but Bill did manage to leave all the members of Starz with huge tax bills in the 80s which came out of nowhere if you were to ask Ranno about it.
Starz got the raw deal. Short end of the stick.
Brod does a fantastic job at weaving the story of four bands that came out at the same time and and telling the tale of all the behind the scenes stuff that make books like “They Just Seem A Little Weird” a great read.