In September of 1970 the band called Alice Cooper had been living out of their suitcases for a year; playing gigs across the country nonstop since leaving California in 1969. Choosing to put down roots in just outside of Detroit, in the center of the Midwest rust belt, proved to be one of the best decisions the band ever made, both creatively and financially. With two commercially unsuccessful albums behind them, Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Vince Furnier (aka Alice Cooper), Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith were at the threshold of turning their music into Gold and Platinum for the first time. In the dawn of a decade bookended by The Beatles and Punk Rock, Alice Cooper exploded as a revolutionary force in theatrical American Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Alice Cooper in the 1970s: Decades, a new book by UK-based author Chris Sutton explores the story of Alice Cooper from their early years as band of five guys through to the end of the decade, when Alice launched a solo career after the band dissolved.
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!
Alice Cooper with Dennis Dunaway Clone to his Left
It’s not exactly a secret that singer Alice Cooper has a small part in the new Tim Burton film version of the 1970s Gothic TV Soap Opera Dark Shadows. What I didn’t know until I saw the film yesterday is that it’s not justCooper but the entire original band called Alice Cooper that’s recreated for several scenes taking place during a ball at the Collin’s family mansion, Collinwood. For these scenes, Alice fronts a group of actors who mime to the band’s hit “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as well as the fan favorite “Ballad of Dwight Fry” from 1971’s Love It To Death. I must say that Burton did a terrific job of casting actors who look remarkably like original band members Glen Buxton, Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway (see photo above). And while the actor playing drummer Neal Smith is mostly hidden behind Alice during the performances, at least he appears to have Smith’s trademark long blond hair.
Worleygig.com has learned from a source inside the Alice Cooper camp that the concept of giving the audience an authentic, 70s-era Alice Cooper Band experience is owed not just to Tim Burton but also primarily to Johnny Depp (who must be a fan) and Burton’s team executed it beautifully, and as well as they could given the infinitesimally brief amount of screen time given to anyone other than Alice. It is certainly a deserved homage to one of the most innovative and enduring American bands of the seventies. What makes this story even more interesting though is the fact that Cooper’s former band mates (who were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011) apparently had no idea they were being represented in the film. Apart from being aware that Alice had a cameo in Dark Shadows, drummer Neal Smith told me on the phone that Alice hadn’t offered him any details on the part and that he was hearing about the entire original band being represented in the film for the first time from me. One might think that with the Hall of Fame induction last year, Cooper would consider that having their likenesses portrayed in a major motion picture would be newsworthy to his former band mates. But then again, why would he. Overall, I really loved the film, even though I was expecting to be disappointed, and thought the Alice Cooper band bits were lots of fun, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” being my favorite song from the original band and all. it Have you seen Dark Shadows? If so, what did you think?