Suzi Quatro

ARTICLE ABOUT Suzi Quatro FROM Record Mirror, May 13, 1972

A short, but early article on Suzi from the time when she released her debut single. The single was “Rolling Stone” and didn`t chart anywhere – except going to number one(!) in Portugal.

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If you knew Suzi like the tattooist knows Suzi!

SUZI QUATRO is surely the ideal girl to take out.
She reckons one drink — top whack two — is enough to give her a friendly buzz. Doesn’t bother about eating. And needs only three hours sleep per night.
She’s also a hot tip from Mickie Most to become a positive superstar as from the release of her single “Brain Confusion”, which is out on the Rak label soon.
When Mickie speaks thus, most of us listen. Actually he discovered Suzi in Detroit when he was there to record Jeff Beck at the Tamla studios. He was pretty amazed to see the girls clamouring round Suzi when she was on stage.
He persuaded her to come to England seven months ago and has since recorded her, encouraged her to write songs. No public appearances as yet. But she’ll form a band.
In Detroit, she had her own all-girl band, Cradle. She’d been with them since she was fourteen. She went on to play bass, sing . . . and dance on a telly show as Suzi Soul.
Peter Frampton digs her vastly, after working on her single . . . “We wrote a song in the first twenty minutes we met,” said the talkative Suzi, who was performing in Vietnam when she was seventeen.
She currently has two tattoos on her person . . . a star on a wrist, a rose on a shoulder. “Where’s the nearest tattooist?” she asked me. I didn’t know.
“I wanna get something tattooed on my ass,” she said. “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
Which is a funny message to have tattooed on your ass. Oh, I don’t know though!

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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 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 Singles reviewed by John Peel FROM SOUNDS, February 1, 1975

There were some very interesting singles reviewed in this edition of Sounds. So I collect those I found most interesting here, the one after the other for your enjoyment. John Peel was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004. And while I don`t agree with all of his assessments of these artists reviewed here he should have credit for being one of the first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock and progressive rock records on British radio.
Read on!

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Singles reviewed by John Peel

Star Time

***** An essential buy
**** Well worth having if you`ve got the money
*** Good, try to hear it
** Ho-hum
* Very ho-hum
No stars Pass by on the other side

Kiss: `Nothin` To Lose` (Casablanca). **

I played this on one of my inaudible radio programmes recently – and, hearing it again, I`m not entirely sure why. You must remember the furore last year – or was it the year before – when David Bowie`s arrival in New York stimulated a vast number of extreme groups with names like Wandering Hand & The Pontius Pilates, who wore lots of make-up and off-the-shoulder evening gowns and were liable, at the swish of a flimsy undergarment, to perform athletic sexual feats, with Latin names, on stage. Kiss may or may not come from New York – I neither know nor care – but they are one of the very few of the perv rock bands who managed to cunnilinger long enough to actually record. `Nothin` To Lose` is crypto-high-energy music, the musical equivalent of sleeping with one of those extravagantly proportioned inflatable women – with comprehensively detailed polythene genitalia – which seem to be called either Greta or Ingrid. `Cunnilinger long enough` is rather good, I think.

 
ZZ Top: `La Grange` (London). ***

The Texas-based blues-rockers (I`m trying for a job with Rolling Stone – hope you like that intro.) are big faves with the rank-and-file in the ZOUNDS office. If London had scrapped the moderately embarrassing John Lee Hokum spoken stuff that starts this it`d have scored another star. Good and tight and unadorned blues-based music otherwise. Buchanan-influenced guitar, tough rhythm. A good row, mainly instrumental.

 
Santana: `Mirage` (CBS). ***

From `BORBELETTA` and unaccountably pronounced “moo-rardge” throughout. Despite nondescript vocals worth hearing for no-nonsense playing – no religiously inspired needling about here – and touches of the S. Wonder`s. Perfectly acceptable.

 
Suzi Quatro: `Your Mamma Won`t Like Me` (RAK). ***

Just as I had convinced myself that Suzi couldn`t sing and that I was going to loathe all of her records, those Chinnichaps write her a proper song and she does it all rather well. By the funkiness of the band and the major shift in emphasis of the production I imagine that `Mamma` may have been recorded with America in mind. The band plays beautifully while S.Q. does a teenage Mae West with such lines as “I like your stimulation but that ain`t enough.” This is a far, far better thing.

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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 Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Average White Band, Chick Corea, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Guess Who, Led Zeppelin, Trapeze, John Martyn, John McLaughlin, Billy Connolly, J. Geils Band, John Holt, Hall & Oates, Donovan, Country Joe McDonald, Golden Earring, Gary Moore.

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 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 Suzi Quatro FROM SOUNDS, August 10, 1974

When you think of rock in the early 70s, it is impossible not to think of little Suzi. She, along with some hit songs delivered by the mighty songwriting duo Chinn and Chapman, made real impact into the charts of that time and a lot of those songs are great to listen to even today.

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Going along with the crowd

Interview by Steve Peacock

Self-assured? She seems it. Arrogant? Sometimes. Complacent? She seems it. Together? Apparently so. Successful? What do you think?
Suzi Quatro has, in her own words, carved out her niche as a hit act and it`s giving her plenty of work and plenty of hits. That`s what she wanted, and what she`s doing now is keeping on keeping on: “After the initial rush of getting to number one with “Can The Can” – and I waited ten years for that – getting better is the rush now. Writing a better song, doing a better record, doing a better show…”
And getting a hit in her homeland. While we were talking, someone came in to tell her the new single was 74 with a bullet over there. “Just cut that out and send it to my sisters, will you?” When we`d finished talking she was still thinking about it. “74 with a bullet… hey, that`s great.”
Ten years ago Suzi Quatro started her career in America, in all girl groups. After six or so years Mickie Most asked her to come over here to record, it took them a while to sort out what they were going to do, and then… “Can The Can”. Hits have given her work, and work is what she`s doing. She`s just come back from Germany, America and Australia, next week she`s off again to Italy, America, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, Germany, Britain – and then it`s Christmas.
When she first came over: “I was getting to know what I was all about and Mickey was getting to know what I was all about, so it took time. I had a lot of growing up to do. You`re in your own environment, and you think you`re great, then someone takes you out of your environment and you find you haven`t got any legs any more. Your lose the silly ego and just keep the stuff that really means something. You learn that just because you`re American doesn`t mean you`re any better than anybody else. America`s so different from anywhere else, and now that I`m away I can see why it is so different. We grow up very fast there. You either love America or you hate it: I think now it`s the greatest place in the world to play music, but I live here. If the taxman`s all right.”

The all-girl band thing… “It didn`t ever make any difference to me whether I played with boys or girls, then when I got this band I realised that I get along one hundred percent better with men musicians.”
It always seemed just as silly to me to insist as dogma on having all women and all men: the only possible reason being gimmick. “It is, but when we first started, we just wanted to prove something. People are telling you all the time you can`t do something so you get a bunch of strong-headed girls and they go right ahead and do it. Then when you get a little bit older you see it doesn`t make any difference.”
From relatively nowhere to number one: did she and Mickey have a Masterplan? “We`ve had one major plan that`s stuck right through our association, which was he said he liked something in me that was a natural thing and I said great, don`t ever change it, and he said he`d never change it and that was our thing. A man that`s smart enough to see the natural talent instead of trying to create something… that`s what`s so great about Mickey. He directed me and brought out what he saw as important things, but they were… well, what I am I suppose.
“I always used to wear, well not the leather jeans because I couldn`t afford it, but a leather jacket. I haven`t changed – a little bit sleeker maybe, but that`s what you do when you make it, don`t you? You dress up a little bit more. If you`re just walking about the streets they`re not paying to see you walk about the streets, if you  do a show they want to see a little bit more.”
And material? Hits from the Chinnichap factory? “We were having a really hard time trying to write a hit single. We asked Nicky and Mike to write us a song, and they came down and listened to everything we`d done, went away and came back with “Can The Can”, which I still think is one of our best ones. It worked well, they do our singles. I don`t know what they`re like with their other acts, but Mickey – because he`s got a personal interest in this act – would never let anything go out that was more a Chinnichap song then a Suzi Quatro song. The two singles I thought weren`t really us were the two that didn`t make it so much, which just goes to show that if it ain`t us it ain`t gonna make it. People aren`t as stupid as journalists say they are – very few phoney songs get up there. I think the public know a true song when they hear it.”

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A niche: she says she`s found that, and that she won`t put out some things she`s recorded because they`re too far ahead for her audience. “When you`re on the road you progress so fast that if you put out a track – like “Angel Flight” which is 10 1/2 minutes long with strings and all – everybody would be so confused. There`s a danger of progressing too far ahead in too short a time.”
Talk about journalists insulting people – how does Suzi Quatro know that a 10-minute track with strings is too far ahead for her public? “No, the kids are buying you because you put out something that they like, you got a certain sound, so because on a night on the road you might have written something ten years ahead of time, it`s not fair to put it out and confuse them. You`re living a life on the road, they`re not: they`re still at home with their record players and their radios. If I was a kid and I heard that coming from me I`d throw it down the trash can because I wouldn`t understand it. I don`t put myself above – I just live a different life, living it faster than what they`re hearing. We`re four singles and one album old to those people.
“Listen, I`ve been in the business a long time, and you`ve got to be smart enough to know… well, Mickey`s the smart one because he noticed it before we did, because you`ve still got your egos to deal with and you think whatever you do is great. He pointed out that it was too far ahead. We all listen to different kinds of music when we`re home, but when we come together on stage we play one kind of music, and that`s what we`re known for. That`s what we do.”
You don`t find it restrictive? “No. You gotta progress but you gotta do it slowly. You gotta play it cool – look at it as if you were a fan, not a musician, go along with the crowd, nothing to upset them.”

Good for a career I`m sure, but for a musician? “If I did just what a musician thinks I`d been down in a bar in Nashville somewhere singing Billie Holiday songs. And that wouldn`t get me anywhere would it? You ask any musician who`s successful, and I bet they`d tell you if it wasn`t down to that they wanted to have a successful career they`d be doing something entirely different. It`s a stupid artist that pretends they`re in it just for creativity, because it`s a job as well. Don`t you give me that peace/love bullshit.”
I wasn`t going to. But there`s a way of striking a balance. Did she find that a problem? “No I don`t. I`ve been doing this so long that I find it quite easy to look at it as a business and still keep quite happy on the creative side. If I was to die off tomorrow I`d definitely go down to some little bar and sing and get drunk every night – actually it wouldn`t be so different to what I do now, only I wouldn`t be making any money.”
She`d said earlier about roadwork, you go where your work takes you. Does she enjoy it? “I`m a nutcase about it. One day at home and I`m absolutely dying to get back on the road. I like on the road better than off the road because off the road`s boring – you get drunk or try to give yourself a false buzz somehow. Suburban ech, I hate it.”
Surely life on the road is also a false buzz. “Sure – I know it`s a fantasy but I enjoy it and I give other people enjoyment doing it. When Mick Jagger stops I`ll wait till a year after he stops and then I will. Give the next person a chance.”

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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 Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Marley, Billy Preston, Ronnie Lane, Golden Earring, Ronnie Spector, Duane Eddy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Andy Fairweather Low, Viola Wills, Mick Jagger, Argent, R. Dean Taylor, Johnny Bristol, Julie Driscoll, Status Quo, Georgia Fame, Vangelis, Greenslade.

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 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 Suzi Quatro from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Here`s a girl you just can`t stop to love. Trying to build her image as a very bad girl in this and other interviews, while we all really knew that inside she was a really, really nice girl. But it`s an interesting story of a girl trying to break into a male-chauvinist business. So the story of Suzi is always an interesting one! Enjoy.

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Madcap of the Fourth or reincarnation of Attila the Hun? They couldn`t tell. It wasn`t what she said, it was…

WHAT SUZI DID

By Kate Phillips

Suzi Q, fantasy figure for the mini-libbers of the nation:
“I get all these letters from little girls telling me that they`re tough, that they swear like me, and they`re not gonna get stuck at home… and I did answer one, it was from a mother who said her daughter wanted to leave school and be like me, and could I write and tell her to finish school first. So I wrote back-”
-And told the kid to wait?
“-No. I said, if your daughter`s like I was, one year ain`t gonna make no difference. So it`s best to let her go. I know my parents could have kept me under lock and key and I`d have got out somehow and run away.”
Pretty much your standard hellcat raunch? Yup, Leatherclad Rap number 49, courtesy Chinn, Chapman and Mickie Most (image-makers to the public). But don`t give up just yet.
Why were you a rebel, Suzi?
“I wasn`t so much rebellious as a loner; and that made me rebellious in the end.
“There`s always one in a big family, and that was me, so I had to learn to take care of myself. I can remember every day of my life when I was a kid, though my teenage years are a bit hazy.
“Yes, that probably is because I was unhappy.
“I wanted more attention. I can even remember when I was three, biting my little sister`s fingers off…”

Whaaaat?
“I just hated her. She was such a pretty baby, too. And she lay with her fingers drooping over the edge of the cradle, and I crept up and just crunched them as hard as I could.
“I`m surprised they didn`t fall off. Then I ran upstairs and listened to her crying, and my mother coming in and saying `What`s wrong with this baby, she`s always crying` and I`d be up there laughing away. Isn`t that terrible?
“When I was about 11 it suddenly hit me. I went into her room late one night, sobbing. `Nancy, are ya sleeping? I`m sorry I used to bite your fingers, I`m sorry…` I was crying my eyes out, the memory has suddenly gone boom in my head.
“So anyway, when I got to the age when my parents thought they had to give me attention and protect me from the outside world, because I was growing up, I said fuck you, you never cared before…”
No, I don`t think it explains why Suzi`s a rebel; I don`t think she is a rebel, otherwise she wouldn`t still be tied up in the baby biker packaging in which her management present her.
It does explain her self-confessed need to be onstage regularly, since otherwise she gets “nervy” and bitchy without the adulation of a crowd to keep her happy. And it`s probably got something to do as well with her ritual “toughness”, which she demonstrates with naive pleasure during the course of our conversation. A nervous minion of RAK Records puts his head round the door to ask a question Suzi considers superfluous, so she sends him off with a chilly reply; and turns back with a conspiratorial smile to her audience.

“See, there, I got nasty there for a minute. I had a guy in here yesterday, shaking. He`d come in with this list of questions – `Why are you so butch?` `Why aren`t your tits bigger?` Really that stupid. I laid into him, told him he made me puke: he was trying to laugh, and pretending to write it all down, but he went out in tears.
“Of course I`m gonna behave like a bitch, if people treat me like one.”
Maybe they wouldn`t ask her silly questions, though, if she didn`t have such a silly image to live up to. Let`s get one thing straight; in spite of the fact that she`s rather small and very pretty and very charming, in her literal-minded way, it is not amazing (a) that Suzi plays bass (some girls play drums, remember?) (b) that Suzi swears (yawn) and (c) that Suzi wears leather onstage (double yawn).
If those things ever had any novelty value, it`s surely worn off by now – a suggestion backed up by the fact that none of her last few singles – “The Wild One”, “Your Mamma Won`t Like Me”, “I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew” – have done much business, and the new one, “I Maybe Too Young”, which is lyrically one of the crassest efforts so far (“I`m little Suzi, the backstreet girl/I`m gonna hang around and wait for you”) isn`t, as yet, creating any stir either.
To give Suzi her due, she`s genuinely bored with all these questions about what it`s like to be a female rock and roller. “It doesn`t matter what sex I am, but other people can`t get used to it,” she complains.

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But until she gives up her position as teeny little cute front lady for all those Big Ugly Men, and till she starts writing her own singles and singing in a way that odd things on her albums have shown her to be capable of no-one`s going to believe her protestations of sexless equality with the rest of the band, or see her as anything other than a willing doll manipulated by Chinnichap.
Nobody has got her to say a word against them yet, or to admit that her claim to have broken the rock and roll barrier for girls is as yet a false one. But sometimes she really gives herself away:
“The only time the boys in my band think about me as a woman is when it`s time to change into our stageclothes and I go off to another dressing room, or when some big heavy guys come up and they know they might have to protect me a little, `cos it might get a bit rough – but otherwise I don`t think they think about it either.”
It`s not that I think the lady`s got to sacrifice her modesty, or get herself beaten up, to achieve parity: but I do think the best thing she could do (after casting Mike and Nicky into Outer Darkness) would be to get herself a gig as one of the boys in a band – a good one – and concentrate on living down her Lulu and the Luvvers aura for a while. After that, if she actually emerged as leader in her own right – well, then all us Little Girls would really have something to inspire us.

Back to Suzi`s childhood. Her own inspiration, she says, was Elvis: “It never occurred to me that I couldn`t look up to him, just `cos I was a girl. I just said, Oh I`d love to do what he does. I was one of those kids who practised in front of the mirror with a chairback and four big rubber bands for a bass. It really worked quite good. And I`d practise facial expressions – I could match myself in the mirror and not be embarrassed, it was like watching someone else. I didn`t even care when my mother caught me at it…”
Do you use any of those expressions now?
“No, not any of them; I use such ugly expressions onstage, and people say I`m a sex symbol! They must be mad. Sexy to me is when someone`s got their leg pointed, or they`re putting their body into pretty shapes…”
But you don`t only fancy men when they pose, do you?
“No but men are different..”

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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: Procul Harum, Genesis, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

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.