Ultimate Classic Rock reports that Chris Squire, legendary Bass player for the progressive rock band Yes has died (June 28th) after a battle with Leukemia. He was 67 years old. This kills me, as Squire was one of my rock heroes and my favorite bass player ever, followed by John Entwistle and Dennis Dunaway of Alice Cooper. Not only was Squire a phenomenally innovative bass player, but he was also one of the first bassists to release a solo album (1975’s Fish Out of Water) on which the bass is played as a lead instrument with no other guitars appearing on the record.
All you have to do is listen to the lead track on that album, “Hold Out Your Hand” — a song that I would put up against the best of Yes’s entire catalog — to have your mind completely blown. Chris Squire was a true Rock God. Both his contributions, as well as the loss of his talent, to the world of Rock music, is immeasurable.
I’m going to assume that everyone reading this not only knows who Alice Cooper is, but is also aware that “Alice Cooper” was originally the name of a band with five guys in it. If you don’t know that much, you need to do your homework. Aside from getting your hands on Bob Greene’s long out of print book, Billion Dollar Baby, this film is as good a place as any to get schooled.
Although many only know Alice Cooper as an individual solo artist and Pop Culture icon, there are legions of devoted fans who are deeply dedicated to the music, history and memory of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-inducted original band called Alice Cooper – a group that recorded seven groundbreaking gold and platinum-selling albums of original material and set single concert attendance World Records before disbanding in late 1974. For that latter group, let me speculate now that there will never be a better-made, more authentic public vehicle for telling the story of that original band, in as close to the ‘true story’ as possible, than this film. If the statement “Alice Cooper was a Band” resonates with you, then there is no way you will want to miss seeing this film.
Super Duper Alice Cooper is a highly entertaining documentary that aims to tell the life story of Vincent Furnier, the lead singer of the band Alice Cooper, who took the name as his own when the group disbanded. Vince/Alice’s story is told via first person voice over and vintage interview clips with Alice, but Alice Cooper band bassist Dennis Dunaway (whom Furnier met in high school) and drummer Neal Smith, who joined the band when they were still called The Nazz, also contribute to its engaging narrative. Furnier’s early days playing in local Phoenix bands with Dunaway and AC co-founder and lead guitarist, the late Glen Buxton are discussed in fairly minute detail, so you get a really good idea of the struggle that these guys went through on their way to becoming the biggest band in the world. Oddly, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter, Michael Bruce is never mentioned by name even once in the film.
The most enjoyable parts of the film, for me, were the up-and-coming story of the band, its transition into becoming Alice Cooper, and the insane live performance footage, 90 percent which I would guess has never been shown in public before. It is one thing to read about how the band Alice Cooper invented Shock Rock, but it is an entirely different animal to see it play out before your eyes. No wonder that fans who were lucky enough to see the band live 40 years ago still talk about those shows to this day.
I’d say that a good 80 percent of Super Duper Alice Cooper is dedicated the formation and disintegration of the band (and holy shit, what a great fucking band they were), with the other 20 percent covering Alice’s budding solo career, alcoholism, cocaine addiction and recovery. So, there’s something for everyone. Consult Google to find a showing in your area, or wait for the DVD release. Either way, you gotta see this film.
The Worley Gig Gives Super Duper Alice Cooper 5 out of 5 Stars!
Super Duper Alice Cooper is a new documentary film due for release in the Spring of 2014 that will be previewed at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in April. While the film’s storyline seems to be based on Alice’s time fronting the band from whom he would eventually take his name as a solo artist, it appears, sadly, that it also focuses fairly tightly on the myth and legend of Alice (AKA Vince Furnier) as an individual, rather than on the story of the band which was made up of five individuals. Not that the filmmaker isn’t allowed to make the film he wants, if he wants to just focus on Alice. But it’s like every time somebody refers to the band called Alice Cooper as a “He” it just makes me want to scream. And this is kind of more of the same. Alice Cooper was a band.
I have heard that Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith, as well as producer, Bob Ezrin were interviewed for the film although there are no on camera appearances. But at least fans will get to see classic performance footage of the original band including Dennis, Neal, Michael Bruce and the late Glen Buxton. This would be my main motivation for seeing the film.
Alice Cooper fans worldwide rejoice! Marshall Blonstein’s Audio Fidelity is releasing “…one of the best rock ‘n’ roll records of all time” – the band called Alice Cooper’s classic album Billion Dollar Babies on Hybrid SACD (Super Audio CD) on February 4, 2014! As a bonus, along with the meticulously reproduced artwork, enclosed in every CD is the very collectible replicated Billion Dollar Bill that was Included in each original vinyl album.
With Billion Dollar Babies, the band called Alice Cooper refined the raw grit of their earlier work in favor of a slightly more polished sound, resulting in a mega-hit album that reached the top of the US and UK album charts. It’s impossible to overstate how popular the band had become by the time their sixth album was released. The album is brilliant, decadent and encapsulated all the celebrity trashiness of the ‘70s only three years into the decade.
Song for song, Billion Dollar Babies is probably the original Alice Cooper group’s finest and strongest work. The album’s singles “Elected,” “Hello Hooray,” “Billion Dollar Babies” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” all became hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Also included are a pair of perennial concert standards – the disturbing necrophilia ditty “I Love the Dead” and the chilling macabre of “Sick Things.”
After the album was released, the band embarked on a tour which broke the US box office records previously held by The Rolling Stones. The show climaxed with a guillotine execution of Alice. The album and the tour made the band into the world’s preeminent pied pipers of teenage trash culture and the most successful rock band ever to be loathed by American parents.
“Other than the original ‘Alice Cooper Band’ being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2011, our second biggest achievement was when our album Billion Dollar Babies went to Number #1 in all three music trade magazines at the same time in April of 1973. Number #1 in Billboard, Number #1 in Record World and Number #1 in Cash Box. We had hoped it would sell Gold or Platinum as a follow up to the success of our album School’s Out, but a Number #1 album was something that was totally unexpected. Over the years the title track “Billion Dollar Babies” has become my signature song because of the recognizable drum intro.”
– Neal Smith, Alice Cooper drummer and founding member
“I remember we were out on the road when the album finally came out in February 1973. I listened to it in my hotel room and just got this really big smile. I was thinking, ‘It’s amazing, we’re really pulling this off’. The album was very, very unique and very, very different. I was really proud of the songs, especially ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and ‘Generation Landslide’.”
– Michael Bruce, Alice Cooper guitarist/keyboardist and founding member
1. Hello Hooray
2. Raped and Freezin’
4. Billion Dollar Babies
5. Unfinished Sweet
6. No More Mr. Nice Guy
7. Generation Landslide
8. Sick Things
10. I Love the Dead
Produced by Bob Ezrin, Mastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Mastering.
Neal Smith, drummer for the original Band called Alice Cooper sent me the link to this video a couple of days ago and told me it was a clip he had never even seen before. Knowing how many fans of that awesome band I have as readers, I knew I had to post this as soon as I could get it together. This clip is especially great because you get to hear Neal and guitarist Michael Bruce have a very candid conversation about whether Neal or bassist Dennis Dunaway will provide the voice of the little girl in the song’s introduction. Neal twirls his sticks a lot and Kachina the snake also makes an appearance! Enjoy!
Image Courtesy of Dennis Dunaway (Circa 1985, Click Photo to Enlarge)
How happy does Nikki Sixx look in the picture above, where he is book-ended by Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper) and Kub Coda (Brownsville Station) on the left and Neal Smith (Alice Cooper) and Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult) on the right? Nikki’s arms appear to be virtually un-inked and I’ve never seen Neal and Dennis with shorter hair, so you can tell this photo is from another era entirely. Still, it’s a fun blast from the past. Motley Crue Bassist and Renaissance Man Nikki Sixx was born on this day, December 11th, in 1958. Happy Birthday, Nikki!
Dennis Dunaway, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and Bass Player for the Band called Alice Cooper, celebrates 65 years on the planet today, December 9th. Read my two part interview with Dennis from 2004 at This Link. Happy Birthday, Dennis!
At the end of a very exciting week that included indulgent gourmet foodie events and a Rolling Stone Magazine-sponsored concert featuring cool bands like The Sheep Dogs and Cake, we rounded out the week in fitting scenester style at a party for designer Andy Hilfiger’s Andrew Charles line of ready-to wear-Rock ‘n Roll clothing, now on display/for sale at pop-up store Riff, located at 313 Bowery in the space formerly occupied by the Morrison Hotel Gallery. The designs in this moderately priced collection – which includes T-Shirts, blouses and tops, jeans, jackets and dresses – are inspired by the very fun style of legendary Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and his daughter, model Chelsea Tyler.
Entering the store, it was time to wax full-on nostalgic for the ’70s, as the ground-floor showroom was decorated in an old school glam rock fashion that we can only assume must have been influenced by next-door neighbor John Varvatos’ upscale rock clothing boutique (which makes its home in the space vacated by CBGB). Framing the racks of sequin-embellished tops and leopard print mini-dresses, the walls of the store were adorned with one-of-a-kind rock paraphernalia (especially loved a framed collection of Ramones’ Gold Cassette Awards, plaques, photos and CDs that most likely belonged to Marky Ramone) and a sizable number of large canvas portraits of Rockers that are part ofThe Smoking Series by artist Michael H. Most of these assemblage paintings are new additions to the series since we visited the exhibit this past summer. Great work, Michael!
This was definitely a see-and-be-seen event. It was fun to catch up with pals like Ken Scrudato, Scarlet Rowe, Dennis Dunaway and Vera Ramone King, but there were also lots of stars old and new in the crowd. Or course, once Steven Tyler arrived, the swarm of photographers was enough to get (literally) swept away in! Downstairs, the former CBGB’s Lounge was packed wall to wall with partiers while Andy Hilfiger’s band, Hired Killers, Inc. rocked and knocked everyone on their asses with their awesome tunes! The biggest surprise of the night came when Steven Tyler joined Hired Killers on stage for spot-on renditions of “Mama Kin” and the blues standard Aerosmith made their own on their self-titled debut, “Train Kept a Rollin.” Insane! The place was so dense with bodies that it wasn’t until we got home and checked our FaceBook news feed that we realized we’d missed seeing a ton of friends in the crowd, but it sounded like everyone had fun!
Steven Tyler with Andy Hilfiger (Photo by Anne Raso)
The RIFF pop-up store officially opens for business today, Saturday October 15, 2011 at 313 Bowery (at Bleecker), NYC, New York and closes its doors after the Holiday season ends three months from now. Drop on by while you can and get some of your gift shopping done in Glam Rock Style!
Alice Cooper’s latest solo release, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, is getting a lot of attention currently, due in large part to the fact that original Alice Cooper Band members, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce collaborated with Alice on three of the album’s songs. Neal Smith’s writing contribution, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” is the first single and here’s the video, embedded below for your enjoyment. While this video is a live shoot from Alice’s ongoing tour, the audio track is from the studio recording and features Neal on drums, Dennis on bass and Michael on guitar. In case you’re curious and do not yet own the album, the other two tracks on which original band members collaborated/play are “Runaway Train” (co-written by Dennis) and “When Hell Comes Home” (co-written by Michael Bruce).
Alice Cooper’s long-awaited sequel to his 1975 classic Welcome to My Nightmare comes out on September 13, 2011, but Alice will preview select tracks in their entirety and offer his personal commentary on his syndicated Nights with Alice Cooper radio show on Friday, August 19th. Coop kicks off the program with the world debut of W2MN’s first single, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” (written by original Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith) and he’ll pick other favorites from the 14-track album, including “Runaway Train” and “I Gotta Get Outta Here” to tease and talk about during the show. W2MN, recorded with longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin (who produced the original multi-platinum Welcome To My Nightmare album in 1975), picks up right where they left off.
On Friday’s edition of Nights with Alice Cooper, Alice dishes on the array of collaborators on the new CD, including original Alice Cooper members Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith (reunited on three tracks!); global pop superstar Ke$ha, and legendary Alice and Lou Reed guitarist Steve Hunter, who is part of Alice’s current touring band and featured prominently on the first Nightmare album. During the five-hour program, the show will follow its normal format in addition to airing the world premiere tracks. Nights with Alice Cooper is broadcast on more than 125 affiliate stations in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. To find the station in your area visit This Link.