An enjoyable tour of a unique musical subculture, limited only by its narrow scope—readers may wish for more information...

A journalist explores the offbeat world of tribute bands.

Following close on the heels of the Rolling Stones 2005-06 tour, journalist Kurutz traveled with two Stones tribute bands, Sticky Fingers and the Blushing Brides. The bulk of the narrative focuses on the former, especially their energetic frontman, Glen Carroll, who looks the part of Mick Jagger more than he embodies it with his voice. The owner of hundreds of Stones recordings and pieces of memorabilia, Carroll has served for more than two decades as the de facto leader and business manager for Sticky Fingers, booking the gigs and coordinating an endless rotation of musicians on tours across the country and abroad. The band has performed at a wide variety of events, including bars, small clubs, fairs and corporate parties, but their biggest draw is among fraternities at Southern universities. “At a frat party,” writes Kurutz, “where hundreds of coeds are stuffed into a room, chugging cheap beer, the songs of the Stones, loose and sexual, celebrate a lifestyle.” The Blushing Brides—who bill themselves as “The World’s Most Dangerous Tribute to the Music of the Rolling Stones”—play many of the same venues, and a spirited rivalry has developed, provoked mainly by the Brides’s Jagger, Mitch Raymond, who maintains a near-endless well of vitriol for Carroll. The author traces the origins of tribute bands to Beatlemania, the hit 1977 Broadway musical based on the music of the Beatles, and he offers a trenchant evaluation of how and why that production ultimately failed. Readers will appreciate the author’s light touch and warm-hearted portrayal of the musicians who toil in the tribute trenches, and Kurutz provides enough behind-the-scenes anecdotes to keep the pace moving. In a particularly amusing section, the author points to for numerous examples of tribute bands: Lez Zeppelin, AC/Dshe, Red Hot Chili Bastards, Kounterfeit Kinks, Pretend Pretenders, Hendrix Rockprophecy and Zoo Zoo Mud (“Missouri’s tribute to ZZ Top”)—as well as “not one but two KISS tribute bands peopled by dwarves—Mini Kiss and Tiny Kiss.”

An enjoyable tour of a unique musical subculture, limited only by its narrow scope—readers may wish for more information about non-Stones tribute bands.

Pub Date: April 22, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-51890-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008


One of the great pitchers in baseball history (and one of the most outspoken and disagreeable), Gibson recalls his storied career with the capable help of Wheeler (I Had a Hammer, not reviewed) and shows he's not done being ``difficult.'' A ferocious competitor who made his living pitching high and tight, Gibson had a reputation throughout his 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals for being just as uncompromising and angry off the field, especially concerning racial matters. Gibson was raised in an Omaha, Nebr., housing project, where his older brother was hero, mentor, and coach. After college, Gibson, who claims that he was better at basketball than baseball, signed a contract with both the Cardinals and the Harlem Globetrotters, playing one year for the latter. He calls his first professional baseball manager, Johnny Keane, ``the closest thing to a saint that I came across in baseball.'' When Keane replaced Solly Hemus (whom Gibson despised) in 1961, it turned the Cardinals', and Gibson's, fortunes around. Known for his extraordinary performances in the postseason, Gibson had a World Series record of 7-2, with a 1.89 ERA and an incredible 92 strikeouts over 81 innings. He won 20 games in five different seasons and in 1968 posted a 1.12 ERA in 305 innings. Gibson offers some fun and insightful recollections of big games, friends, and teammates such as Tim McCarver, Joe Torre, and Bob Uecker, and legendary matchups with Juan Marichal (``the best pitcher of my generation''), Sandy Koufax, and Don Drysdale. Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Gibson claims he's been ostracized from the game and hasn't held a baseball job since 1984. Though he grouses a lot about being slighted by major league baseball and rehashes all-too-familiar racial difficulties, it is refreshing to get the fiery Gibson's take on the grand old game. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 75,000; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-84794-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1994



Funny, perceptive and surprisingly open-hearted under the cynicism.

A delightful, Plimptonesque exercise in immersive journalism exploring the strange world of “self-help.”

Lisick (Everybody into the Pool: True Tales, 2005, etc.) devoted a year to various gurus in an attempt to self-actualize. She endeavored to become a Highly Effective Person under the auspices of Stephen Covey, to fortify her soul with Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup, to get fit with Richard Simmons on a cruise ship, to straighten out her perilous finances with Suze Orman, to consistently discipline her young son with Thomas Phelan’s 1-2-3 Magic method, to figure out John Gray’s Mars/Venus gender dichotomy, and generally to live a better, happier life. It is to the reader’s great benefit that Lisick is: 1) a mess, 2) cynical and horrified of cheesiness, and C) effortlessly funny. Her visualizations didn’t go right, she didn’t have the right clothes for the ghastly seminars and on Simmons’s cruise she got high and made inappropriate advances to a surly young musician accompanying his mother. Lisick makes keen use of comic detail, as when she charts the deflation of Simmons’s hair over the course of the cruise. She is tough on the well-paid experts, but fair, sincerely laboring to suspend her skepticism and game to put their advice into action. Some of it works: A home-organization expert helps Lisick’s family emerge from their chaotic clutter, and Phelan’s discipline strategy tames her truculent toddler. But of course the book is funniest when things don’t go so well. The author’s revulsion over Gray’s retrograde sexual stereotypes (and disturbingly smooth, buffed appearance) is palpable and highly amusing. Her articulate hatred of the anodyne platitudes in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way provides a tonic for anyone dismayed by fuzzy New Age smugness. None of that from Lisick, who is sharp, irreverent and endearingly screwed-up. Her experiment may not have solved all of her problems, but she got an enjoyable book out of it.

Funny, perceptive and surprisingly open-hearted under the cynicism.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-114396-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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