hollywood the band coverThere’s a relic of an ironic joke that if you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t really there. The drugs were psychedelic and mind-expanding, the clothes worn as a defiant costume of flowers, paisleys and neon colors, and the arrogance of youth permeated the atmosphere like a clashing haze of ideas and ideals that rose upward and outward from a center core of music that can still be heard on any classic oldies station. The same could be said for the early 70s. Bands that etched their genius onto the landscape like The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys, Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfinkle, The Buffalo Springfield, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Santana, and Rare Earth were just some of the names that regularly vied for #1 on music play lists.

On none of those lists would you have found the band, Hollywood, a ragtag group of wanna-be rock ‘n roll stars who fought through their drug-induced sex haze long enough to let their creative musicality and stumbling managers guide them to their dream. You wouldn’t have found Hollywood listed because author Steven Jordan Brooks hadn’t yet imagined them on paper. But the band lives as surely as any fictional character representing a time, a place, and an era. “Hollywood The Band, A Tale of Sex, Drugs, And Rock And Roll” is a story of that band’s journey to secure a record deal. To get there, they had to survive the issues of the day: politics, music maneuverings, unlimited designer drugs, unbridled sex, homosexual awareness, the Viet Nam war, and racial tensions.

Brooks is a classically trained musician who transitioned from rock ‘n roll performer to management and production. Those years before he eventually morphed into an English and drama teacher became the research of his saga. He uses Hollywood, The Band, as the catalyst for telling a story of the 70’s, name dropping real bands and real-life situations into the fictional mix. While the story rings true and is likely a composite of characters Brooks lived and partied with, the dialogue sometimes seems stuck in the land of “far outs” and slow-tongued thoughts. Brooks could easily tighten the pace with fewer explanations of why the characters are acting, and fill it with terser dialogue that propels the story.

Other than the uneven pacing and a few errant typos, I enjoyed the 433-page book. I loved the music then and still tune in to those songs of the 60s and 70s on satellite radio when I’m cooking or lazing back. They remind me of a time when the world seemed poised to become a kinder, groovier place of heavy metal, sweet soul, soft sounds of folk, or even disco. The world was changing, and like the band, Hollywood, perched on the shoulders of greatness.

Hollywood The Band is available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com

ISBN: 978-1=4772-7690-4

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI, for which she is on the Membership Advisory Council and the Industry Advisory Council. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; http://www.ThePsychicLady.com

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