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Friday, June 03, 2005

ALICE MARK IV

Over the years Alice Cooper has put on a great many faces. I divide his career into six parts. Part one is the LA based Alice Cooper Band, part two is the Warner years with the Alice Cooper Band, three - the ballad filled late seventies drunken solo Alice, part four brings us the newly sober Alice greeting the new decade (the eighties) playing with punk/new wave, and relapsing. Five is the shameful 'hairbandwagon' years (the mid to late eighties), and lastly part six - the constant touring (golf and Rock) aggrometal present day Alice. I'm a fan of all the periods except Five, I just couldn't get behind that 'rambo' guitar player and those awful pseudo metal songs (Poison), but I'm partial to four.
In 1980 Alice Cooper did quite an unexpected thing, he broke from the crooning Alice of the late seventies, and came out with a punk inspired album called 'Flush The Fashion'. This LP would easily find it's way onto my top fifty. 'Clones (We're All)' was the featured single, and it holds up well twenty five years on, but my favorite tracks are 'Pain', 'Aspirin Damage', and 'Leather Boots'. My favorite lyric on the record is from 'Model Citizen':

I'm a martyr
I'm a sadist
I might be the Saviour here to save us
I'm a friend of Sammy Davis, casually

In 1981 Alice gave us another volume in this quirky chapter in his career. 'Special Forces' is a weaker album than it's predecessor or it's follow up, but it does have it's moments, most notably his cover of Arthur Lee's 'Seven and Seven Is' and his cop in drag number - 'Prettiest Cop On The Block'. In 1982 he dropped the fantastically titled 'Zipper Catches Skin', which starts off with a three song vignette which culminates in one of the best songs he ever wrote - 'Remarkably Insincere'. Alice concludes this foray into new wave with 1984's 'DaDa', which is overall disappointing with the exception of 'Former Lee Warner', 'Is Dis Love or Is Dislexia', and the killer 'I Love America':

I love that mountain with those four big heads
I love Velveeta slapped on Wonder Bread
I love a commie... if'n he's good and dead, yup
I love America

I believe both 'Special Forces' and 'Zipper Catches Skin' are out of print, but you should still be able to find 'Flush The Fashion' and that's the best of the lot anyway.

Comments:
Brush with Greatness:

1986, Scottsdale, AZ - I was working at an eatery and actually waited on the great Mr. Cooper.

He was having lunch after playing golf, he was a class act, tipped me quite good and even signed the menu for one of the cooks.

Great blog

Hue
 
I was wondering when we'd here from you on your man Alice. I'm good for parts one, two, three, and four. Six, for the golf part only. Golf fuckin' rules!!!

I really like a lot of records from the first four periods. Billion Dollar Babies & Killers, incredible. But, I liked the ballad years as well. Perhaps on account of those songs being on the radio in heavy rotation creates a sound track to some happy times of carefree teenagehood, but also because there are some great record in their entirty from that era. Goes to Hell and Welcome to My Nightmare being stand outs. And of course, the Tony and Jackson favorite, From The Inside with all the amazing guest players and Bob Ezrin oversite. Still listen to ALL these records on a fairly regular basis.

Good post Jackson. You'll have to bring me up to speed on the Flush record. I've forgetten anything from it. I know and can play "Muscle of Love" pretty well. It's got a wailing bass line in it. Could be a coveralble tune and S&M.
 
"I read Dad's books like I did before....."

Yeah, all the seventies Alice is awesome (well, Lace and Whiskey is a bit weak) but I felt that this early eighties period had been sort of swept under the carpet.

Didn't I blog 'From the Inside'?

"Oh Billie it's fresh in my memory
The night that it had to be done
You with your pick axe and scissors
And you with your shovel and gun

And I liked your late husband Donald
But such torture his memory brings
All sliced up and sealed tight in baggies
Guess love makes you do funny things

Oh Millie oh Billie criminally insane
Oh Millie oh Billie"
 
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