Alice Cooper

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JULY 17, 1976

It is a pleasure to present this review of an album in the Alice Cooper catalogue that I enjoy a lot. This is definitely not the Alice Cooper of today, but the Alice Cooper that were more experimental in his musical output and was all the better for it.
As the young, but very wise, Ms. Phillips says; this is an album full of intelligent and humourous lyrics. In my personal opinion, one of the very best created in the 70s. Everyone should have this in their collection.

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ALICE COOPER: Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (Warners)

By Kate Phillips

I like Alice Cooper. (You have been warned.)
I like all the grand old men of rock (Alex is another) who haven`t much of a vocal identity (and many of whom can`t sing either), who can`t really be discussed in “rock” terms at all (thank heavens) because what they are is showmen who just happen to be using it for their perpetual shows (because it just happened to be around at the time) – who don`t, in short, have to pretend to be young (yawn) and outrageous (yawn) and meaningful (double yawn); because once you`ve admitted you`re frankly corny, and sentimental, and out for a good time (a few laughs, a few shrieks, a big chorus and the audience singing along) – then you`re safe, you can`t be accused of failing to rise to any challenge (except your own) and then, if you want to imply anything a teency bit sinister, a touch naughty or subversive… well, no-one can ever be quite sure (can they?) whether you mean it or not.
Alice`s last effort, you recall, was about a Nightmare; therefore, with the calm logic of “outrage” (you have to get a bit more outrageous every time) he now moves on to an account of his descent into Hell.
Exhibit A: the back cover – slender, youthful, unprotected, black-clad figure trips down to the long white marble staircase to the infernal regions (naturally, Alice`s Hell would be reached by a white marble staircase).
The visual image (note also front cover: Alice as Devil with green face) is one of the ways he makes up for sounding like somebody different on almost every track – Lennon on the sad ones (“I`ll Never Cry”) Jagger when he bawls (“Didn`t We Meet”), Lou (backed up by Wagner and Hunter again, of course) on “I`m The Coolest”.

This last is a description of Himself by Alice`s Maker – “Everybody knows who`s really cool – Me” (“I`m The  Coolest”) – the Big Guy who`s dragged the kid down to this awful place with no TV and no Budweiser to account for his wicked life – “You`re something that never should have happened / You even make your Grandma sick” (“Go To Hell”).
Trouble is, you feel Alice can`t make himself truly Repentant enough to get out of this hole – “I`m a dirt-talkin`, beer-drinkin`, woman-chasin` minister`s son… Golly gee, it`s wrong to be so guilty” (“Guilty”) – though he argues hard enough in “Give The Kid A Break” – “Come on, you know I got what it takes / Can`t you give me a break / Sure thing kid, when hell freezes over”.
I like the first side of the album better than the second – “Go To Hell” is done with great relish, the words of “I`m The Coolest” and “Give The Kid A Break” are very funny, and “Guilty” reminds me of “I`m Eighteen” – but then, that`s judging it as an album, and I don`t think that`s the best way to look at it.
I don`t know how much of this (all or nothing) is part of Alice`s new show (the one he`s not performing in the States at the moment because he`s in bed with anaemia, poor sinner) but (as with Alex`s albums), it`s hard to listen to without imagining Alice on stage – and if you imagine that, why, even black-Pan`s-People-on-the-Osmond-show routines like “You Gotta Dance”, or the undeniably soppy “Wake Me Gently” (“I don`t wanna stay / I wanna leave / I wanna go / I wanna go home”) could be just fine. (I told you I was partisan.)
“I`m Always Chasing Rainbows” loses its sickness potential and becomes what they used to call “great theatre” and “Going Home” is an emotional finale in the best stage musical traditions.
Or in other words OKLAHOMA! (where the wind comes whistling down the plain).
Remember?

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Stuart Sutcliffe, The Flamin` Groovies, Ian Hunter, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Jefferson Starship, Weather Report, Roxy Music, The Crusaders, The Ramones.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper from New Musical Express, September 20, 1975

Can anyone who were at Wembley please confirm that no furry, cute animals were hurt during this concert?
Another Cooper article for you – and yes, I think this is number 10, so now there`s a lot of stuff on this blog for you Alice Cooper fans. Personally, I can`t hide my admiration for the guy, and anyone who thinks that he is all show and no substance should take a listen to any of his albums made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. One of the greatest artists of our time – and that is the end of a very short discussion – so there!

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Night of the Coopertroopers

Alice does it one more time for Great Britain`s own Dept. of Youth, and Alice does it good

Report: Kate Phillips
Pics: Kate Simon
Alice Cooper
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WEMBLEY

You missed it? You missed Alice`s new show?
Better let me tell you all about it, kid, else ain`t no-one in school gonna talk to you.
Well for starters nearly missed it myself, waiting for my girlfriend to turn up, and when I arrive there`s this really keen bunch of little guys called The Kids up there, and I`m real sorry I didn`t catch more of their act, cos it looks like everyone was having a real good time.
The littlest guy of all was wearing this huge grey plastic mac and getting his head kicked in by the other guys, but it didn`t bother him any: he just got up and rushed to and fro across the stage begging us to get up on our feet and cheer the band, even if it was only for two minutes, cos he and the other guys would like it so much.
So naturally we all get up and cheer.
Then this deejay-type cat comes on and says we`re all being filmed tonight, and this is an idea I can really dig, being on a movie with the big A.
And he says all the stage cats are gonna work real hard, and in about twenty minutes it`ll be time for ALICE!!!
So we all get up and cheer some more.

And then I got time to look around, and I see these truly monster little Coopertroopers in front of me, with eye-black and the hats and the badges and all, and I start conversing with these cats who are truly cool and dig Alice so much that they paid three times the proper price to get in. (And I`d just like to say hi right now to Chris and Phil and Stud and Shane and Nick from groovy Buxton College, Chesterfield, – love and spiders, boys).
So me and these cats have just finished working out how we`re gonna rush the stage when Alice does “Department of Youth”, which is like our song, you dig, and we wanna let him know how we appreciate it, when out go the lights and up comes the curtain and there`s this weirdo contraption in the middle of the stage, looking something like a tree and something like a little birdie`s cage, only we know it is a bed, cos we have read about the show before.
The show is about a little boy called Stephen, who wakes up in bed with all sorts of weirdo things going on in his room, only Stephen is ALICE!!! as well, you dig.
And then a cat in a red stretch onepiece-type jumpsuit article gets up off the bed, and yes, it is one truly obscene little boy, it is ALICE!!!
And when we have all cheered till we can cheer no more, Alice starts prowling round the room among all these bats and devil dancers and beating them off with his cloak, and these cats dance round him and they really keep together, they are one million times better than boring old Pan`s People on the TV, and Alice pretends to be real scared.

And then they sort of disappear and Alice starts doing some of his real monster songs, “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “I`m Eighteen”, and we all sing with him, it is a gas and it reminds us what being a Coopertrooper is all about.
And I would just like to say right here that all those weirdo oldies at the NME who are trying to tell the kids that Alice is finished and only good for going to Las Vegas to jive with other fat and loaded oldsters can just go pack themselves away, cos they are truly full of shit.
I don`t like to hurt their feelings, but it is true like anyone who digs Alice!! will let you know.
Where was I, oh yes.
So Alice finishes his songs, and this has all been very fast as well as being such a gas, it has all been much quicker than I can relate it to you, cos all through this show the action keeps zooming in at you real unexpected, like the next thing which happens, which is that Alice looks inside his toybox and out come these really keen skeletons, they are painted with luminous paint and they do a dance in the dark with Alice, who has put on a white tux and looks real smooth.
But the next part is one of the best parts of all, cos it is where Alice has a real run-in with this rag doll, he beats her and kicks her and climbs over her lying on the floor and tangos with her and finally throws her on the bed, singing this song about “Cold Ethyl” which is the doll`s name, and you can tell this is a nightmare cos it seems he really digs this doll, and yet he is doing all these really heavy things to her.

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And he is sitting on the bed with Cold Ethyl worrying about this when the lights go down, and then they come up again (and I could see some cats moving about on the stage and I guess I know what they were doing) and Alice starts singing this song which my girlfriend really dug, cos she is liberated and all that stuff, about “Only Women Bleed”.
But I am gonna tell you, I did not say it to her, but I do not think Alice is really into all that liberation stuff, Alice just likes to have a good time.
So he`s singing away and it is a really good number, all slow and agonised, and suddenly the rag doll lifts her leg right up in the air. And all the cats in the audience go “Ooooooh” cos they do not know if the doll has come to life or if Alice was really beating up a real chick. As if he would.
And the second half of the show is even better, only I cannot take too long telling you about it cos it is nearly time for my math class, but I have got to let you know about the spiders, they are huge and black and furry, real Black Widow spiders from the little boy`s bug collection, only now they are bigger than Alice and they try to eat him, and he is real scared again, just like any kid would be, and he looks real small and helpless.
Alice is real good at looking small and helpless. He looks it even more when this nine-foot woolly monster comes round the back of the amp, and we all have a good time shouting “Behind you, behind you” like we were little kids at a pantomime, but the monster which is like the little boy`s idea of a teddybear in a nightmare stonks across the stage and grabs Alice anyway, and the only way he can get free is to hack off its head with a toy sword, which is a really heavy thing for a little kid to do to his teddybear, you dig.

And there are two more things that I must not forget, there is Alice`s band who are thundering away at the back of the stage the whole time, they are really hot and the guitarists have a wonderful fight in the middle of the show, playing all the time and trying to beat each other up; these guys are truly peachy-keen, they are good enough to play for ALICE which is saying a lot, but it is not surprising cos they used to play with Lou Reed, who my cool big brother says is really cool.
And the other thing is this screen which comes up, made of strips of white stuff, and a movie comes up on the screen of Alice in a graveyard being nailed into a coffin by four ghouls, and this is when the most truly instant thing of all happens, cos just at the very moment when the screen Alice is bursting out of the coffin, the real Alice comes bursting through the screen like he was jumping out of the movie. And this is just too far-out, I do not know how Alice thinks these things up.
So now we do not admit it to ourselves but we know that it is nearly the end, and we will have to go out into the cold night and back to Buxton and all the other uncool places, and maybe not see Alice again for years, until we are old: so we just decide to make the most of what is left, and what is left is pretty good because ALICE is brought on in the toybox and steps out with all these balloons and sings “School`s Out”, which up till now we have missed.

And it is a funny thing, but we have forgotten to rush the stage like we planned; some little cat tries it now but the security guys throw him off real quick, I suppose they have to be careful to protect Alice. So maybe it was not a good idea.
What happens is even better, I throw my shirt, the one with “Alice Cooper!!” across it in silver sequins that my big sister made me, towards the stage, and Alice catches it!!!!
And he puts it on!! Oh, it is truly peachy, Alice!! is wearing my shirt. I suppose the draggy O.A.P.s will kill me for going home without it, but I will not care.
Cos maybe Alice will see my name on the cuff, and write me from Los Angeles, which is where he lives.
I would really dig to get a letter from Alice.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Robert Calvert, Carlos Santana, Alex Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice White, Cecil Taylor, Alan Longmuir (Bay City Rollers), Pink Floyd.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 19, 1975

This is certainly a strange article. First, it tells us almost as much about Detroit and Suzi Quatro as the main subject, Alice Cooper. Maybe that was a point from Mr. Murray as he most certainly didn`t like the directon that Alice was moving into. Like most fans, and as much as fans today, he clearly feels a little betrayed when a favourite artist of his suddenly moves away from what they originally represented. In Mr. Cooper`s case, it is important to understand that he now was a solo artist, despite keeping the same name as when the original Alice Cooper band played together. In effect, this was the first tour of the first album in his solo career. I like both periods of Mr. Cooper`s career – even if his solo albums are a little bit more polished than they were with the original band. And I highly recommend the album “Welcome To My Nightmare” – it is considered a classic today for good reason.
Have fun!

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Welcome to Alice Cooper`s new show. It`s good, honest music,delivered with minimal hype.*
Alice just knows you`re gonna love it.

*In a Pig`s Eye, mate.

Feature: Charles Shaar Murray
Pics: Bob Gruen

I do not believe this hotel room.
It looks as if all of Led Zeppelin had been partying it for a week. The heating`s on full blast, there`s stained sheets all over the floor, someone`s vomited in the bathroom, half-empty booze glasses, over-flowing ashtrays, torn-up magazines all over the place and an all-pervading sweaty odour of Essence of Musk.
Hmmmmm – snf snf – make that Led Zeppelin and two camels.
At that moment Room 2137 in the Sheraton-Cadillac right there in the colon of beautiful downtown Detroit (Michigan) ranks about 2,137th on the Cosmic List Of Places To Be, so there`s nothing to do but hit the bar and wait for someone to start cleaning the place up. Downstairs, the place is swarming with well-dressed spades, all of whom look like Second Div Motown acts. They all have little plastic badges pinned to their lapels (or equivalents thereof).
“Hey, Berry Gordy just checked in,” someone mutters. They do a lot of shouting in the corridors. The next day it turns out that they`re all social workers.
After all, tonight is Hometown Night. Alice Cooper, who classifies as a Favourite Son even though he spent more of his youth in Arizona than anywhere else, and Suzi Quatro, Detroit`s fave emigree, are in town tonight, and Detroit looks after its own. Alice hasn`t been on the road since `73 and Suzi`s only played one Detroit date since her reincarnation as High Priestess Of Idiot Pop and God`s Gift To The Dry-Cleaning Industry, so tonight`s concert instantly attains Event Status. Besides, no-one big`s played Detroit since Led Zep blew through a couple of months back.

Detroit is Heavytown, U.S.A. The usual litany of social evils: unemployment, mass scag use, pollution, violence, all of which are usually blamed on the spades. “I got nuthin` against them – don`t get me wrong,” rasps the limo driver. “They`re great people, ya know? But you go round to their houses and they gotta goddam Cadillac outside and it cost more than everything in the house.”
There ain`t a single black kid in the hall, though. Detroit has two music myths – Berry Gordy`s revolutionary cross-breeding of soul, MOR and wimp right alongside the pharmaceutical lunacy of the MC5-Iggy-Cooper-Grand Funk-Mitch Ryder white industrial rock thing – and never the twain shall meet.
The Detroit Olympia is kind of like a squashed-down Madison Square Gardens which means that it`s a massive toilet with a multi-tiered people gallery and a stage at one end. Into the valley of dope-smoke ride the 16,000 – and friends, these happy peaceful kids are a credit to their parents, their generation and Alice Cooper. Only a smattering of top hats and sloppily applied eye makeup, less glitter than you`d find at the average Budgie gig, and v. clean hair. The only real peculiarity is that nearly half of them wearing glasses.
Scooting backstage looking for hot teenage gossip, free booze and a chance to get in there with the pop stars, I bump into Susie Q. fully be-leathered and scampering bogwards. The band are seated morosely around the dressing room, which is not exactly overflowing with well-wishers, friends and fans. We go through the oh-what-look-who`s-`ere-orright-then-`ow-yer-doin`-`ow`s-it-goin`-man routine which is obligatory under such circumstances: Nobody says anything about pig brains. Len Tuckey`s slimmed down to touring weight and his hair is almost overwhelmingly clean.

Quatro jogs back in like a bantamweight lady wrestler warming up for the Big Fight. Folks who`ve visited her backstage immediately prior to British gigs have suggested that she hits the vodka pretty hard before meeting the public. However, this is Detroit and Susie is sober as the proverbial judge. “I just had a pee,” she announces. “`Ow was it?” grunts Tuckey, staring into his beer like he left his teeth in it. Her face lights up. “It was wun-der-fullll.”
Up front, the kids are clambering around the hall in best Notting Hill Gate adventure playground style. In England, audiences locate their seats and either stay there or gravitate to the bar. In the States, they swarm all over the place, climbing over barriers, standing on seats and generally making themselves at home. The other main difference over here is that blowing a joint during a gig (especially during intervals when the houselights are turned on) is a pretty furtive enterprise, whereas over there the children of the revolution glug their wine and toke their grass with perfect equanimity -and no-one messes with them. The police who roam the hall walk right through the clouds of smoke without even turning round.
Every so often someone fires a cap-gun, though there`s the odd diehard traditionalist who`s still into such recherche pursuits as firecrackers and sparklers. Which begs the question: if the security are allowing people in with guns – even cap guns – it means that no-one`s worried about the Coop getting shot on stage any more, which is not illogical since (a) no self-respecting nut would be seen dead at an Alice Cooper gig, and (b) he`s no more likely to get shot than Bob Hope.

Anyway, the man with the rheostat turns down the houselights and a gorgiously tacky backdrop emerges from between the twin turrets of a collapsible plastic gothic arch on the stage. The P.A., which has hitherto maintained a decorous silence, clears its throat and trolls out Elton`s “The Bitch Is Back”, while figures scuttle over the stage switching on amps and distributing guitars.
Quatro bounces on to the stage like a Mexican jumping bean and launches into “All Shook Up”, while the band chug earnestly in the background. The sound is a trifle on the thin side (particularly the guitar and bass) which could well be attributable to the well-known tradition of only allowing the support group to use two-thirds of the P.A.
In Detroit, our Suze puts on a fairly respectable rockanroll show; a no-nonsense rock set for a rock audience. She does “Your Mama Don`t Like Me”, which sounds okay live if you turn a blind ear to those unbelievably crass lyrics, and “48 Crash”, which doesn`t happen on any level at all, but the rest of the way it`s all rock standards like “Shakin` All Over (complete with Long Solos By Everybody – Quatro`s is finger-popping` good, but Tuckey`s catcheth not fire) and home-grown stuff by Tuckey and Ms Q. One of them, entitled “Michael” and cast in a vaguely similar mould to “Cat Size” (the standout cut from the “Quatro” album) is undoubtedly the best thing she`s ever done, and I start muttering “Heyyyyy -Instant Credibility!” I later find out that she wrote the song nearly a year ago, and that Chinn, Chapman and Most have been sitting on it ever since. Good taste is timeless…

…and the Youth Of Detroit are doing their adventure playground number again. Yours Truly is getting righteously climbed over – me, the idol of millions!
“Hold this joint!” snaps a feminine voice due north of my left ear. The owner thereof is a small and devastatingly agile blonde who`s having a quick clamber over a balcony. “Take a hit,” she orders authoritatively (glurk!). She casts a critical eye over the reporter`s tokemanship, sneers, “Ah, keep it!” and vanishes into the darkness.
Which sets the scene quite nicely for Alice Cooper.
The stage is loaded down with props. There`s a giant bed right in the middle of the stage and – lemme just strain my eyes a little for you right here – a massive toybox and – uh – the aforementioned plastic battlements and looming dimly in the distance, the band. When I say distance, I kid you not. If they were any further away they`d be in the parking lot.
Then it`s heads down for the dry ice. Detroit applauds. (Rock audiences always applaud dry ice). The only act that can follow dry ice is a mirror ball, or maybe even two. (Always works). The Floyd have pioneered the use of dry ice and mirror balls to the extent that the audience probably wouldn`t notice if they didn`t show up on their next tour. Still, the Coop`s above all that stuff. He`s here, folks, he`s actually here. Right there in the middle of all that dry ice, crooning the opening lines of “Welcome To My Nightmare”.

The band are now visible to the more long-sighted members of the audience. Togged out in absolutely faaabulous undertaker`s capes and top hats, will you please meet and greet Josef Chirowski (many different keyboards), Dick Wagner (lead guitar and prognathous jaws), Penti Glan (drums and alleged Finnish accent), Prakash John (bass) and Steve Hunter (more guitars).
Cooper is doing his patented prowl in more or less standard apparel. He is encased in tattered white leotards and his standard make-up. His hair looks positively insanitary, and he is earnestly attempting to resemble whatever he thinks a psychopath ought to look like.
Hello! Hooray! Let the show begin!
The first thing that becomes apparent is a weird kind of distanced effect. Normally at a rock show, whether you`re digging it or not, you become involved; you notice a sense of nearness and immediacy. You are drawn into it and unless the show is genuinely dreadful, it holds your attention for the duration. After all, you`re looking at a stage, people are doing things on it and an event of some sort is taking place before your very eyes.
Somehow, the Cooper show doesn`t really work like that. It`s more like watching a movie than a stage show – and more like watching TV than either. In performance, the stage is changed by the events taking place upon it, whereas a movie screen remains essentially the same even when someone`s pointing a projector at it and a few hundred people are watching. As Cooper gets into his show, it seems like a a recording of something that happened two months ago in rehearsal, like those 3D laser holograms that he was supposed to be getting involved in a year or so back. There is no real excitement, no sense of occasion. It`s just something to sit and watch, and you can`t even switch channels.

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Apart from “I`m Eighteen,” a medley of “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Elected”, “No More Mister Nice-Guy” and the inevitable encore of “School`s Out”, the show is basically a canter through the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album, all staged with razor-edge precision, 400 megaton special effects and a cast of thousands. Dancers flit around the set, pop up from the toy box and have periodic tussles with Alice, who portrays Steven, junior bull goose loony and trainee parenticide. When he sings “The Black Widow”, dancers in spider costumes loom from a gigantic cobweb that rises from the floor. When he sings “Only Women Bleed”, a life-size rag doll that he`s tossing around metamorphoses into a real live danseuse. At one point someone in an incredibly cheap-looking cyclops costume waddles out and shambles all over the stage.
The killer effect, though, is when a “magic screen” is used to combine film and live action, and it really looks great. You see, on the screen, Cooper running towards the camera and just as he reaches it, the real Coop slips through the screen and runs out to the front of the stage. Then the dancers do the same stunt and climax the whole deal by carrying him back through/onto the screen. Boy, does Alice give his audiences value for money!
Yet, curiously enough, the “Nightmare” show has but an iota of the power and craziness of vintage Coop. He`s got an infinitely better band, far more expensive props, far more complex effects and all manner of lavish stuff, but all that clowning around with cyclopses and spiders and so on seems far less nightmarish than the death-and-impotence theatre of “Killer” days, when he actually confronted genuine everyday demons, horrors that actually had some relevance. Now, he`s action-replaying the gimmicks of the less inspired type of horror movie, devices that have become so hackneyed through the afternoon and late late show TV with which Cooper bombards his beer-fertilized brain cells that nobody could actually get a fear buzz off them. Instead of relating the macabre to the genuine terrors of the 70s, he`s simply putting on a kiddie version of “The Rocky Horror Show”.

And nowhere – nowhere – is there a moment as apocalyptic as the set-piece in the last show when he confronted the audience with their own mindlessness by inducing them to stomp each other to get their hands on cheap posters and fake money – and then letting them see how much of themselves they`d betrayed. Now he contempts himself with the whole tawdry, meaningless “Who got thuh powuh?”/”We got thuh powuh” claptrap.
Remember when we used to speculate what the Stones` show would be like when they started playing Vegas? Or even when Alice played Vegas? Speculate no longer. The show that Alice is doing now is pure Vegas-rock. It`s unbelievably slick, empty as an upside-down milk-churn and contains instant repeats of well yawn-worn Cooper preoccupations. Just the kind of thing to watch while you`re choking on your scampi and chips. Forget Vegas, Coop – when are you playing Batley`s?
It`s really cute irony, too. Big bad Alice, the most perverse, vicious, conscienceless and demonic rock star of all is now among the most respectable. He ain`t a rock star, he will say in the morning at his Press reception, he`s an entertainer. He claims that the chickenshit-and-sawdust show he`s putting on now is giving rock validity.
But nobody storms the stage. Nobody flips out. Nobody screams out song titles. Nobody throws things. They just sit in front of the show, watch it, do their ritual encore howl and then they leave. Quietly. They have been Entertained in the best All-American tradition of the Big Big Show and they`ve gawked at the sets and grooved on the songs and then filed out like a nice little audience should.

The last time I`d seen Cooper had been at the Madison Square Gardens in New York, and an uglier, meaner and more dangerous crowd it`s never been my privilege and pleasure to sit amongst. The old-style Cooper audience, as was appropriate to the old-style Cooper show, was ornery and crazy and potentially uncontrollable. Every amphetamine fantasy of rock as subversion and bloodbath trigger come to life.
Now it`s 1975 and it`s all just family entertainment. Bring the kids! Bring the old folks! A great night out! Entertainment! “Just entertainment,” to quote the Coop himself. And maybe that`s why it was ultimately so cold and lifeless and irrelevant. words of one syllable, it was slick and tepid and it was about as exciting and dramatic as a ninety-minute monologue by Bob Harris.
The Press conference is set for 10 a.m. the following morning, which is a smart move. Most of the invited press were pretty much wiped out the previous night and are calculated therefore not to be at their sharpest by ten o`clock. Cooper, however, can function at more or less any hour of the day or night and therefore has nothing much to worry about.
Another aspect of Press conference which is calculated to work in his favour is the strange fact that there`s usually safety in numbers – for the act. When a dozen reporters are all gathered together interviewing the same act, they tend to get in each other`s way, plus they hang back on the really heavy, hostile questions in case the act is smart enough to outwit them and they get put down or outargued in front of their peers.
Not that very many rock stars are that bright, but it`s 10 a.m., room service has been too slow to get everybody their breakfasts and no-one thinks too fast with a hangover.

By ten, Cooper is curled up on a sofa in a direct line with the TV clutching a Budweiser (from which he doesn`t drink). He`s wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the legend “Goochie” (and I don`t know what it means, so don`t ask) and a really disgusting pair of crocheted trousers. The stubble is already starting to show.
Yes, he really likes the new show.
No, he`s not sure if he`ll be working with the old band.
Yes, he`s still contracted to Warner Brothers.
Yes, he did sing on Michael Bruce`s solo album.
No, he`s not concerned with politics, he`s just into entertainment.
Yes, he knows that “Department Of Youth” is “School`s Out” part two, but it just came out that way when he was writing it.
No, he hasn`t started on a new album yet.
Yes, he has started thinking about his next stage act. (Work that one out if you can. I couldn`t).
Yes, he thinks it`s great that a rock artist has cultural validity (he means himself, gang).
Yes, he`d love to work Vegas.
No, he doesn`t read.
No, he doesn`t go to the movies.
Yes, he just watches TV
And so on and so on and so on.

Alice Cooper doesn`t matter any more. He still fills halls, he still sells records, but what he is and what he does no longer has any relevance to what rock and roll has got to do if it`s going to survive as anything more than – to use the Coop`s own phrase – “just entertainment.”
What Alice – by the way, you don`t call him “Coop” any more, you call him “Boss Vinnie” (urp) – is doing is just entertainment. It`s entirely devoid of any central thesis or any governing aesthetic beyond the idea that if you put enough on a stage and keep it fast and loud and extravagant, then nobody`ll bother to ask what the point of it all is, what any of those dummies and dancers and sets are actually doing.
Hurry up and get to Vegas, Alice. You sure got no reason to stick around here with us any more.

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Phil Manzanera, Curved Air, Tammy Wynette, “How to compile an album”, “An investigation into Japanese Rock”, Grand Funk, David Crosby, Hedgehog Pie, Ralph McTell.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 12 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 15, 1975

This is an really interesting article in a lot of ways. If you are a Cooper fan and haven`t read it before – then I will highly recommend you to read through this one. This was written in the period between Alice`s “old” band and his new solo career. I think Dick Wagner`s prophesy is quite spot-on about the chances of the old band getting together again. All in all, one of the most interesting reads published on these pages about Alice, his band and associated characters.

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Hey man, you with a gwoop?

Speech impediments are the thing in Los Angeles this year. There are quite a lot of naked men jumping out of bushes – whereas more sedate professional types prefer to plunge from the Continental Hyatt House Hotel roof. NICK KENT is also in evidence, pursuing the unfortunate ALICE COOPER, so read on and thrill to the extraordinary adventures of…

A Limey in LA

It`s still pretty cool to be a Limey in Los Angeles. Barely pubescent girls still ooh and aah around one, waitresses smile sweetly as nationality is established (they even goose around after hours if you have one of those arch-P. G. Wodehouse effete nodal jobs and tell them you`re a personal friend of Jimmy Page).
Usually, though, the common-or-garden L.A. Limey obsessionist will approach you thus: after ascertaining said nationality she will exclaim, “Wow, you English people are so-o far-out!” prefacing said comment with a giggly “Fantastic!” It also appears to be to the predator`s advantage to suffer from a speech defect of some sort when stating the latter; stuttering and sinal complaints are very popular out here. Hair-lips are truly “outre”.
Connie had the good fortune to be suffering from a severe lisp problem when she addressed yours truly with the aforestated magical expletives. Connie is a waitress at the Continental Hyatt House Coffee Shop (“where all the English `gwoops` go – y`know?”), about 35 and genned up to the gills with the current happenings on Sunset Boulevard.
“It`s a crazy area here, ya know that? Perverts and stuff. Like my girlfriend…only the other day…this guy jumped out of the bushes around La Cienega. He was stark naked and screaming out `Screw me! Screw me!` She screamed back `Screw you!`”…

Today, though, is special.
“This guy…a really nice man he was…respectable, a lawyer, I think. He was staying here, see – and one minute he`s in here having breakfast…very quiet…he disappears and the next thing, my friend Janis is running in to tell me he`s just jumped off the roof. He was pretty mushed up when he hit the ground”…A pause and then, matter-of-factly, “The policeman said he`s cut his wrists, too, so he must`ve wanted to die really bad, I guess.”
Another pause – too short though to nurture an actual reaction to complement the latter statement.
“Hey! You with the rock band?”
And before I could answer “yea” or “nay”, her finger pointed to a table in the corner around which were placed a couple of roadie-look-alikes, two bored-looking groupies and one moose-jawed vision of bovine denim overall that turned out to be Alvin Lee.
I shook my head vigorously.
“A writer, huh? Who you writing about then?”
Oh, Alice Cooper, I reply, nonchalantly, expecting at least another “Oh wow! Far-out!” routine to grace the answer.
Instead she turned almost sullen.
“Alice Cooper!! Whaddya writing about him for? He`s gotten fat and boring. All that horrific stuff is gonna be nowhere this year.”
Yeah, I say, but he`s got a new album out, a new band. Things are happening.

Still, I secretly had to admit she was right. I mean, here I was in a town where a guy nicknamed the “Slasher” is currently roaming around hacking up hoboes and derelicts, and now he`s just graduated to “decent folk” (according to the latest news bulletin) in apartments – a town where the L.A. Free Press openly advertises the services of pre-pubescent girls for acts of sexual deviancy in your own home” (right next to the ad. which has some rouged-up garter-belt “trick” with her legs entwined around a globe with the caption “I will hug my thighs around the universe to make you come. Phone Dee Dee…”); where there is purportedly a brothel consisting of deformed women “for your pleasure” just down the road – and I`ve been assigned to zero in on the activities of one Alice Cooper, professional teen bogie man-commodity who rips up his stage costumes with his golf clubs, stupifies himself with lethal O.D.s of T.V. and canned Budweiser, almost turned rock`n`roll at one point into a brainlessly obvious mangled boogabooga vaudeville hepped up with a bastardised brand of Dee-troit hard-rock, as wretchedly watered down from its parent form as the beer he drinks…

O.K., O.K., maybe I`m exaggerating here but, see, I was pissed off. That very morning, at probably around the same time that the guy jumped off the roof of the Hyatt House, I was straggling around the roads of “natural, organic” Laurel Canyon to find one “Horseshoe Canyon” where Cooper was supposed to currently be in residence (“in the house right next to where Mickey Dolenz lives” as everybody placed great pride in telling me). It was one of those smoulderingly warm L.A. mornings and once located in the Canyon itself I had to stagger up one of the most gruellingly steep slopes to the presumed Cooper abode.
Having made the climb, I was faced with an all-wood building which looked at first like some bloatedly de luxe sauna hut.
Stumbling finally into what turned out to be the living room, I was faced by two females in pyjamas – one being Cindy Laing, Cooper`s girlfriend, the other a co-inhabitant – a male who looked at first like a telegraph pole repairman and a bald Polak look-alike.
The latter was Cooper`s bodyguard and all of them found my sudden appearance a touch incongruous. After a couple of phone calls it was all worked out – “We`re awfully sorry, Mr. Kent, about all this. We misdirected you. Alice unfortunately is booked up with his dancing lessons all day today.” So I sat around like a dummy for maybe 20 minutes, sizing up the place – very neat and precise, gold records on the wall, copies of Vogue, Oui, Playboy “displayed” on the table in the style of a dentist`s waiting-room.

All the while Ms. Laing and her friend were sipping coffee and gabbing on ever-so-effetely as though their whole conversation was destined to appear in Andy Warhol`s Interview. Pleasantries and platitudes were tossed my way when there was a pause in said conversation which was promptly resumed again with the line – “Well shall we go riding on Sunday or not?”
Finally, a taxi came just as Ms. Laing was receiving a call from Barbie Benton, Hugh Hefner`s human kewpie doll. As I motioned to leave, I noticed that one of the house dogs – one of those heinously-small animals that tend to resemble Truman Capote in canine drag – had mounted my ankle and was masturbating against my foot.
So any way I was back at the Coffee Shop and Connie was pointing out some other guy who, she said, was one of the Cooper band. “They`re all staying here, you know. Rehearsals or something.” The guy actually looked totally unlike a rock musician. He had one of those hang-dog bruiser faces that found great difficulty in breaking into anything like a smile and I immediately took him for a roadie.
This band though – there were stories a-plenty; not so much about this new congregate but the old bunch, the five-piece who had started off in godforsaken Phoenix, Arizona in a high school band Beatles rip off called the Earwigs, changed to the Nazz and ultimately came to share (five-ways) the name “Alice Cooper” – which also just happened to be the lead singer, one Vince Furnier`s adopted stage persona.

A book has recently appeared, entitled “Billion Dollar Baby” and, written by one Bob Greene, a Chicago-based columnist/reporter, it documents the last real dates played by the original Cooper band – the Christmas 1973 American tour which both terminated the “Billion Dollar Babies” presentation as well as showcasing the material to be found on the then -just-released “Muscle Of Love” album.
The book itself is adequately written, often fairly boring but occasionally flashing insights onto rock road-life in general – and the Cooper co-operate in particular – that make it worth wading through. In heavily precised terms it spotlights: Cooper the only true professional, utterly fed up with his songs and dumb ghoulish image; Michael Bruce, adequately talented but reportedly jealous of Cooper`s spotlight; Neal Smith, callow and affected; Dennis Dunaway, an amiable but minor talent and lastly Glenn Buxton wasted to a fine degree by the time of the band`s demise.
The real stars turn out to be road manager Dave Libert and above all, Shep Gordon, Cooper`s manager – whose talents as a strategist are shown to be nothing short of phenomenal.
The book`s vivid conclusions in fact, only echo positively what folk like Bob Ezrin, Cooper producer and the third vital figure in the set-up, had stated in interviews. “Alice is the only true professional. The rest are only interested in their own egoes.” (Aside, perhaps from Bruce who had at least produced a couple of decent riffs in his time, the rest of the band had outlived their usefulness).

There was a long, fairly ominous silence after the tour. A “Greatest Hits” album released by Warners was one pointer to the situation prevelant and now the book and Cooper`s sudden solo deal and tour spelt it all out. Still, there is a determination amongst the Cooper entourage to play down the old band`s incompatibilities even though it`s been reported in rock periodicals that Alice has firmly stated he “will never play in a band with those guys again.”
Shep Gordon and Alice/Black Widow Inc. P.R. Bob Brown claim that the band will get back together, if only to see through their Warners contract. Cooper`s solo Atlantic in the States/Anchor in Europe shot is a straight-ahead once only album deal, see – purportedly the most costly deal ever for one solo album, so costly in fact that Atlantic are more than a little cagey about naming figures.
The album itself, “Welcome to my Nightmare”, has everyone in said entourage raving and drooling in its wake. Even Cindy Laing (who usually hates her boyfriend`s music) thinks it`s well, “the best thing he`s done”. What it really boils down to, though, is a plusher, more-textured, more hyper-professional Alice Cooper album. Bob Ezrin, fully recovered after a nervous breakdown caused through overwork during the making of Lou Reed`s “Berlin” album, has turned in a production job which, oddly enough, parallels his dubious triumph on “Berlin” in Alice Cooper terms.

From a single hearing though, I found the album oddly boring, it`s plush textured feel constricting most of the avenues through which Cooper and the band could have grabbed the listener with their hard rock potential.
Most of the riffs sound tardy and uninspired, bereft now as they are of the metallic garage-band veneer that the old band`s guitar sound (viz “Killer”) used to possess. The songs zip stealthily from style to style – the title track is almost cool jazz, the musicians going through their paces like primed musclemen rippling their biceps. “Devil`s Food” is plush heavy metal, “Only Women Bleed” is an extraordinary hybrid of pure Helen Reddy darkish quasi-women`s lib angst and a string-laden “Lay Lady Lay”, “Dept. Of Youth” is cute, commercial and utterly calculating in the whole “School`s Out” tradition, and “Steven” is pure Tubular Bells watery impressionism with Ezrin`s Berlin-honed appendages.
Only the final track, “Escape”, rings out with the old Cooper sound – that stalking brash mutation of a Stones type riff – and that song was actually written by Kim Fowley and the now defunct Hollywood Stars (they`re credited).
But talk about calculating! Gordon and Cooper are now in the final stages of an all-out coup that will probably take the great rock consumer masses straight to the cleaners and back. Every area is being catered to and only the best is being considered. The best dancers, the best props.
And of course the best musicians.

The best here can only mean the likes of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars, Whitey Glan on drums, Prakash John on bass and one Jozef Chirowski on keyboards, all of whom are establishing credentials that after this tour will probably parallel the likes of Willy Weeks and Andy Newmark in white hard rock terms.
This was the band that, minus Chirowski, some genius brought in to save Lou Reed`s ass when the latter was in a state of virtual creative/physical paralysis – but, ludicrously enough, was becoming mighty popular audience-wise.
And they weren`t even billed as the Lou Reed Band! The guys, specifically Wagner and Hunter – who in particular honed out most of the arrangements that graced “Rock`n`Roll Animal” Parts 1 and 2 (“Part 2” is being released by RCA in March), who actually compounded Lou Reed-as-saleable-commodity through sheer sturdy musicianship were put on a “modest” wage and moreover treated ill by the man himself most of the time.
“He wouldn`t talk to me at all,” says Hunter. “Dick got along with him a little better but it was…well, hard, y`know.” Steve Hunter is now a highly successful session rock guitarist, a position which affords him well tailored velvet suits, neat cowboy shirts – a touch of elegance even though his buck-toothed hayloft visage gives away his origins. At the age of 19, he left a minute hill-jack community in the heart of the Midwest`s kick suburbs to go and sleep on floors in Detroit and play guitar professionally. After doing gigs with the likes of the then-ailing Chambers Brothers, he joined up with Mitch Ryder`s Detroit, a potentially remarkable band that never got anywhere – mainly due to the loser mojo tied to Detroit acts in general and the unfortunate Mitch Ryder in particular.

Bob Ezrin, then a young classically-oriented producer in Toronto, who had produced Ryder`s ill-fated band, picked up on Hunter and called him up for Alice Cooper sessions when Glen Buxton too sick to be allowed in a studio. Since then, he has worked on numerous sessions, got spot-lighted with Reed`s band, and was star-guitarist for Jack Bruce`s “Out Of The Storm” sessions (Bruce asked him to join a band that, had he taken the gig, would have prevented Mick Taylor from teaming up with Bruce. Hunter politely turned the offer down.
It was during a Cooper session that Hunter and Dick Wagner actually met. Wagner was in fact the guy I described earlier as possessing the hang-dog bruiser face. Now minus beard and with greased-back long hair, he looks more like a calloused garage owner than a rock star. He looks downright old, in fact, which could just as easily be a sign of his fatiguing mucho-dues-paying activities in rock since he led a Detroit band called The Bossmen (featuring one Mark Farner on rhythm guitar) way back when, graduating to a typical Motor City unit called The Frost whom he led and produced to fruitless avail.
Wagner is indeed calloused and bitter – bitter about the lack of attention meted to Frost while the likes of the Stooges and the MC5 were getting big write-ups in Rolling Stone and “those underground papers that wouldn`t touch us `cos we weren`t political,” slightly bitter about Grand Funk`s success.

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Strangely enough, for such an obvious purist, he always dug Alice Cooper though – “First time I saw him, I knew he`d be monstrous. The band sucked as musicians but he had it”. “That`s weird,” Hunter retorts, “`cos when I saw `em, I thought `these guys`ll never make it.` I hated `em, I thought they stunk so bad. Of course now…”
Of course, now, both Wagner and Hunter are elated. This whole Cooper thing means big money, for Wagner in particular who almost smiles when he reflects upon the royalty cheques that will arrive in the wake of “Nightmare`s” release. The composing credits, see, go mostly three ways, reading “Cooper Ezrin Wagner.” Wagner likes that fine, as does Hunter. The real guitar pros. here – Hunter at least had a fighting chance of becoming a potential guitar hero but he`s not so keen on that idea. “Too limiting” he says earnestly. “I mean, look at Eric Clapton! One of the best, for sure, but he got in that position and had to turn to drugs.”
Wagner nods sagely. Both Wagner and Hunter have pat anti-drug raps which is understandable, seeing as they`re two of the 1% of musicians who`ve left drug-crazed Detroit fully intact and not rolling in the greenbacks.
So what`s life like with Cooper? “You`ve got to be realistic, see,” mutters Wagner. “I mean, you ask us why we`re doing this tour. Well, first Alice is a pleasure to work with. He`s a real pro., see. He understands what audiences want and you`ve got to respect that. You`ve got pander to `em if you want to make it big. It`s one thing being artistic and `the leader` and all, but when you take it to the people, you`ve got to be…”
Realistic?
“Yeah, exactly.”

Hunter nods away. Oh and by the way, that old band of Alice`s.
Wagner gets candid: “They`ll never work together again, man. Believe me.”
“It`d be like the Beatles reforming,” Hunter adds.
They`ve got their own projects. I think Michael (Bruce) might do something good. The others? Well,…”
So here is Hunter, still young and highly naive in an almost attractive way. “I just want to be a better guitarist, man. That`s all that matters” – and Wagner, bruised and ready for those cheques. They`re just thankful they`re working with a pro. Not like that Lou Reed. It was Wagner who gave Lou that arrangement…”that macabre…ah, majestic sound” for “Heroin.”
No credit, of course. “He wanted to do it the old way, originally.” And the only reason Hunter had taken the job was because he`d admired Reed so much in the Velvet Underground.
“Yeah,” adds Wagner, “but, see, Lou is another one with a problem. He`d start shooting up and just get…uh, illogical, I guess.”
So why`d you guys actually bother to work with him?
Hunter just shrugs. Wagner though looks straight at me: “It`s a living,” he says.

So eventually of course I get to see Alice. Bob Brown, his P.R., a small weasel of a guy, keeps screwing up until I get to talk to Shep Gordon who apologises profusely and some twenty minutes later comes round to drive me down to a filming rehearsal. Conversation is thoroughly genial, nothing too heavy here. The European album deal is touched upon. “Isn`t that great?” remarks Gordon. “I like Ian” (Ralfini, head of Anchor Records). “He makes such nice, tidy…clean deals.” I nod and smile cordially. Everybody is being so damn nice here. When we arrive at the rehearsal hall, the whole crew – faggot floor assistants, dumb make-up artists et al, are glowing like mothers who have just successfully given birth.
Alice Cooper is, of course, the object of said pride and concern. Cooper, despite one year of health, sport, exercise, L.A. sun and “generally getting human again…I love getting human again. It`s my greatest hobby,” looks uglier than ever, despite the tan. His chin is fairly non-existent, a beer-gut is strongly in evidence and his hair is rattier than ever.
Nothing has changed. Not even the image. The stage is set up like a graveyard with an open coffin as the centre-piece and Cooper is staggering around in red leotard and red thigh boots. Outside the main area of activity there is a mock-up black bed with fake skulls embellishing the posts.
“That`s for the opening scene,” states Gordon proudly.

The filming here today is to be used for the very opening sequence which involves a magic screen, a recent innovation-(used “only in Vegas” according to Cooper), from whence performers can materialise from the celluloid. Or something like that. Anyway this is some bloated spectacular. There`s giant black widow spiders, four dancers dressed in camp space age garb which looks at first like it was part of Mainman job-lot sale. The dancers go through a run-through and Cooper does an earnest routine, leaping from the opened coffin in such a ludicrous way, he looks like some horrific drag-queen doing a Pan`s People vamp. Anyway the make-up room is vacated and Cooper and I sit down to talk. Cooper is not overtly inspired by the idea of an interview and acts in such a way. Questions are fielded curtly. The “Billion Dollar Baby” book was “kinda accurate in a way but a lot of it was out of context really. The guy…uh, Bob, was only on the road for 15 days and those 15 days were very trying, coming as they did at the end of a whole year of touring. Nerves were frayed.”
So what`s your policy over the book?
“I don`t have any policy whatsoever.” Shep Gordon nods in agreement. Bob Brown is also in the room and it`s starting to look like open season.
So to the old group.
“That`s all been blown up – due, I`m sure, to the book. I still keep in contact with those guys. We`re still friends.”

Michael Bruce is apparently finishing off his solo album which features Jackie Lomax, Cooper session musicians Bob Dolin and Mick Mashbir, Joe Walsh and his rhythm section and Alice Cooper – on one track. “Mike phoned me up and asked me down. The track sounded good so I sang on it. That`s all. Neal Smith`s doing his album too, and if he wants any help, I`ll come through.” (Even though Cooper is quoted in “B.D.B.” at one point saying “Neal tried to write a song. He thinks it`s going to be on the album. I don`t know how we`re going to break it to him. God! It`s awful!…We`re going to keep letting him write songs for us, and not use them, and let him put out a solo album called `The Weak Link In The Super Race`.” Oh well!).
But hey, what about Glenn Buxton? How`s his health?
Cooper doesn`t find this too funny.
“I don`t know what he`s doing. I spoke to him on the phone a couple of times. I think…uh…I think he`s redecorating his house.” He shrugs.
I mention an incident that occured almost three years ago at London`s Speakeasy when a drunk Mike Bruce starting complaining about the fact that he wrote most of the riffs and melodies even when other members of the band were given credit.
“Yeah, that was true. It`s like…we started off as a high school band and we went on to keep that share-and-share-alike attitude which was ultimately…well let`s say it`s good that we`re doing our solo projects.”

Cooper meant this to be the termination of the questions about the old band and I drowsily bucked up at the mention of the new band.
“I`ve known Dick from back since the old Frost days and Whitey (Glan, the drummer) – man, I knew him when he was in The Mandala and we were backing them up as The Nazz. I`ll tell ya, I could go out onstage and do a whole set in blue jeans with the band and it`d be great because that band can stand up to any other band anywhere.”
Why don`t you then?
“Why should I? I`ve got nothing to prove. I don`t feel the need to do it, that`s why.”
Yeah but hey this theatrical stuff is getting a touch passe, no? Bowie`s dropped it and gone “superfly”.
“I admire David as a performer and I`m always intrigued by the changes he goes through. He`s into a nice Damon Runyon thing right now, I think. He looks like Damon Runyon and everything…”
Yeah, yeah but this theatre thing…
“I`m an entertainer and that`s how I entertain. Rock`n`roll is entertainment, after all. Don`t you agree?”
Well yes – but then again – and here is where I take issue on the whole Cooper “That`s Entertainment” schtick – it`s something more. Like Jagger or Jim Morrison, who were charismatic figures, not just straw hat-and-cane acts. Morrison did more than just an act…

“Yeah but Jim Morrison was unique. He was this whole Lord Byron figure or something.”
And so were you at one time. Unique, I mean. I remember seeing the back photo of “Pretties For You” and being really shocked and sort of excited. You were an original and I think in a very distinct way, you blew it. You copped out on this whole “entertainment” number.
“Hey but listen: rock`n`roll is basically entertainment. You can`t deny it. I mean, even Lenny Bruce…Lenny Bruce was just a great entertainer who said `shit` on stage first”.
That`s understating it too much. I mean, in your position, you could have changed…consciousness (by now I was listening to my own cliches and cringing even though I forged onwards). Bruce did. He didn`t just cop out and play it safe and spectacular for the bucks. I mean, all these senile old showbiz guys you hang around with the only difference between them and a bunch of old geezers hanging around a spittoon all day is that your old fellas do talk shows and probably have shares in massage parlours.
“Hey! Those guys are really sharp! And they actually respect me!! Like Jack Benny, for example, actually said to me – “Alice (he does quite an agreeable Jack Benny impersonation at this point) – I don`t know what you`ve got but everytime I open Variety I see your name everywhere”…
Hey, but did you go to his funeral, though?
“No I wouldn`t go to anybody`s funeral. Not even my mother`s”.

So why are you always creeping around mock-up graveyards howling piss `n` vinegar, you old ham?
Unfortunately I forgot to say that. Instead I started on some rap about Bob Hope being a fascist.
“Listen, Bob Hope is a really nice guy. I was doing the comedy awards with Don Ricles – know him? – and I met Bob and he was so courteous. I don`t care about his politics. I think entertainment and politics are totally different things and are dangerous when mixed up.
“Like I could be on TV and say I`d vote for so-and-so and maybe a lot of people would say – “Yeah, he`s cool, let`s vote for his choice”.
That sounds facile, Alice. Also this whole entertainment rap is too “pat”. I mean, one minute you`re drooling over Jack Benny (bless his departed soul), the next you`re talking about killer Dee-troit rock`n`roll.
“Yeah because that`s what I do. That`s the music I sound best doing. I`d do Burt Baccharach stuff but I`d never carry it off”.
So what music do you listen to, nowadays?
“I don`t listen to any music”.
Don`t you like music?
“Right. I don`t like music”.
Everybody in the room laughs at this and then stops short realising what Cooper has just said. Shep Gordon even stops playing with the hair growing out from the nape of his neck to ponder the statement. Cooper, however, stands his ground.

“Really. I don`t like music. I never come home and put on a record.
“I just watch T.V.”
In fact, throughout the whole interview, Cooper only gets animated when he talks about this 4` x 4` T.V. set he`s just bought. “Irresistible” he says, opening another can of beer.
Later that evening I found myself at the Rainbow Bar and Grill and happened to run into Cindy Laing, this time dressed in predatory black and looking like spiderwoman.
“Hey I saw your husband today” I mumble, in a failed attempt to be off-the-wall suave. She gives me a look like daggers.
“Have you ever heard the phrase “a ring in his nose and ring on my hand?”
Yeah, I reply, averting my eyes. Didn`t Savoy Brown do a song called that?
“Alice is her boyfriend” a friend corrects me.
At this embarrassing juncture I thought it might as well be worth making a complete fool of myself and maybe getting a scoop on the deal. O.K., so what`s the deal with your boyfriend and his old band then?
“Listen that is a secret. If I was blind drunk I`d probably tell you in full detail but I`m not and anyway, revealing such information would be tantamount to me being sent to a labour camp in Detroit. (Pause).

“Just write they`re the best of friends or something. That they attend each other`s Thanksgiving.”
Fired by the rebuttal, I even phoned up Bob Ezrin up there in Toronto for information. Ezrin was cynical and generally ballsy enough to come though, but he was tied up in a seven-way recording session or thereabout. “He`s recording the Johnson Family” his secretary said.
The radio back at the Hyatt House coffee shop was saying something about a blond Caucasian being released after police had suspected him of being the “Slasher” when I wandered in a couple of days after I`d concluded all my Cooper and entourage interviews. Connie the waitress came over and I just shrugged “I was right, see. I told you there`s better things to write about here.”
“Sure” I said “but it`s a living”.
It took me about five minutes before I remembered where that line came from.

A great double page spread  by Zeppelin in this paper.

A great double page spread by Zeppelin in this paper.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lol Creme, Pilot, Ramases, David Bowie, Pub Rock Special, Charlie Parker, Genesis.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 22, 1975

I can`t decide if this is a favourable review or not of this now legendary album. You help me decide…
Have fun!

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And now for something utterly predictable…

ALICE COOPER: “Welcome To My Nightmare” (Anchor)

Review by Charles Shaar Murray

“ETHYL`S FRIGID as an eskimo pie, she`s cool in bed / she oughta be, `cuz Ethyl`s dead…”
Why hello, Alice.
We were wondering what had become of you. Just talking about you the other day, we were, and now here`s your new album – your solo album, in fact.
Your first effort without those other guys skulking around in the back. And here you are up to all your old tricks again. Lessee now…corpse-balling, youth revolution, madness, murder.
Yep, the gang`s all here.
“Welcome To My Nightmare” is the soundtrack album from Mr. Cooper`s TV spectacular of the same name.
The album`s packaging makes no reference to the special either in terms of visual or descriptive material, and the only concession that the content of the record makes to the TV show is a short cameo appearance by Vincent Price which serves as a prelude to a song called “The Black Widow”, and what the hell that`s all about I know not.

The end result of all this is that, as the album is more than a little oblique in places, the experience is not complete.
The show is yet to be seen in the States, so no-one outside of the Cooper machine is any the wiser on the subject.
So let`s get down to cases. “Welcome To My Nightmare” features most of the incredible band who turned in such an epic performance on Lou Reed`s “Rock `n` Roll Animal” album, namely Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner (guitars), the fabulously named Prakash John (bass) and Whitey Glen (drums), assisted by Jozef Chirowski (keyboards) and Tony Levin (bass) and Johnny (Bee) Badanjek (drums).
The whole deal is produced by Bob Ezrin, who also weighs in on keyboards here and there and co-wrote seven of the eleven tracks.
“Welcome To My Nightmare” is, in fact, some kind of major vindication of Ezrin, whose overweening pretentiousness played a considerable part in the capsizing of Cooper`s “School`s Out” and “Billion Dollar Babies” album – and let`s leave “Berlin” right out of this. Keep it clean, huh?

In fact, many of the best moments (oh alright, most of the good moments) on “Nightmare” are production touches.
The two outrageous quotes from other people`s work – the piano lick from the Stones` “Monkey Man” on “Only Women Bleed” and the intro to “Tubular Bells” – believe it or not – on “Steven”, the electronically treated mixed-down back-up vocals again on “Steven”, the eerie synthesiser on “Years Ago” (the album`s only wholly successful track) – it definitely comes on like a producer`s album.
The band are excellent, Hunter and Wagner performing heroically throughout. Wagner especially has earned his bread, co- writing six tracks and paying his back-up vocal dues. Cooper`s singing is pretty good, too.
The main problem with “Welcome To My Nightmare” is that Cooper`s semi-retirement over the last two years (one album and no gigs) hasn`t enabled him to restock his ideas cupboard. The album is constructed almost entirely out of retreads of standard Cooper licks, none of which manage to upstage the originals.
“Department Of Youth” is simply “School`s Out” all over again, complete with demented kiddie choir and watered-down “Clockwork Orange” braggadoccio.

Ezrin is well aware of how great Hunter and Wagner sounded playing “Sweet Jane”, and the chorus of this song throws in that hallowed riff just to provide some kind of instant reference point.
There`s even a good joke at the fade-out; listen: Alice: “Who`s got the power?”; Kids: “We have!”; Alice: “Who gave it to you?”; Kids: “Donny Osmond!” Many a true word…
“Cold Ethyl”, the lyrics of which were quoted right up front at the beginning of this review, is simply “We Love The Dead” all over again, “The Awakening” refers back to “Killer”, “Escape” is the old persona-juggling stunt (“I`m crying in my beer / Just get me out of here / Where am I running to? / There`s no place to go / Just put on my make-up and get me to the show” – Kim Fowley helped to write it, which figures).
On “Only Women Bleed”, Cooper gets his teeth into women`s lib, with a song so utterly flatulent, superficial and condescending that the people he`s supposedly attempting to champion will be more offended by it than anyone else. (Or maybe that was his intention – me, I just don`t care at all).

The main inspiration behind “Welcome To My Nightmare” appears to be late-show horror movies, and it`s a trifle dispiriting to discover that Cooper`s understanding of even this cultural phenomenon is totally off-beam.
All Cooper knows how to do is cop the licks. The horrors that Cooper manufactures and then confronts on our behalf are all so obviously papier-mache that the liberating effect of the enactment of the confrontation is approximately zero, and it is the basic moral and social cowardice of Cooper`s work that condemns him, finally, to the minor leagues when compared to, say Lou Reed, who`s wrestled a real demon or two in his day.
Basically, Cooper epitomises all that is worst in American culture and society without ever seeking to transcend it, to get next to any real issues.
Still, it`s all well-produced, the band are fine and there are even two potential hit singles (“Department Of Youth” and “Escape”), so what am I bitching about?
This album will be in your shops soon, if it isn`t already there. You`ll probably like it.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Status Quo, Bryan Ferry, Robin Trower, Alan Freeman, David Bowie, Elton John, Larry Coryell, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Kursaal Flyers, Todd Rundgren.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.