An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
Everybody loved Alice Cooper when they thought he was an alcoholic drug-addicted necrophiliac homicidal Devil worshiping Commie pervert. But once they found out he was just Vincent Furnier, a nice Christian boy who loved his Mom and Dad, a good round of golf, hanging out with Groucho Marx, and a quiet night at home with the wife and kids - WHAT A CREEP! But, hey - At least he really was an alcoholic.
High School Track Star, Class Clown, and vendor of the worst jelly donuts in Phoenix, Arizona, Vincent had a real cool Ernie Kovacs-MAD Magazine-"Hellzapoppin'" thing goin' in high school. Despite a warped body (Vinny had a curvature of the spine do to a childhood bout of typhoid.) and what he referred to as "the cursed Furnier nose," the man who would be Alice had a quick wit and no problem making friends. After many installments of his "Get Out Of My Hair" humor column in the school paper, he staged a Beatles parody for the talent show with all The Guys wearing wacky wigs, banging on guitars and drums, and a gaggle of girls coached to jump around screaming and yelling. That was The Birth Of Alice Cooper, although it might have been more prophetic if instead of the girls screaming they had a bunch of guys coached to stand around saying "Oh wow!", "Far out!", and "Whoa!"
(Editor's Note - acid logic reader zoogirl states, "Alice didn't aquire his spinal curvature from typhoid. It was the result of spending most of a year in bed after a near-fatal bout of peritonitus due to a ruptured appendix. He was twelve or so at the time. I think the typhoid thing must be a distortion of the fact that when he first became sick, typhoid was suspected as he'd been messing around near a dead cow. For a reference, dig out your copy of "Me, Alice" or trot over to the SickthingsUK website." )
By the late sixties Vincent and The Dudes had moved to Los Angeles and were dressing up like hookers and movie monsters in "The Nazz," known far and wide as "The Most Hated Band In LA." Considering what town we're talking about, that can only be taken as a compliment. What was The Most Hated Band In Seattle in the late eighties? I bet they rocked!
But then, Bad News - There was another band called "The Nazz" and Todd Rundgren was in it. As we have all learned by now, Rundgren has made a deal with Satan and we're all obliged to give him whatever he wants for all eternity so Vincent had to find a new name for his band. Being fun lovin' sixties freak people, the band sat down at a Ouiji board and it spelled out A-L-I-C-E-C-O-O-P-E-R. Well, it really spelled out A-L-I-C-E-C-O-O-P-Q-R and Vincent cheated a little bit cause who wants to be known as Alice Coopqr for the rest of his life? Being The Nazz meant so much to Rundgren and the guys in his band that they broke up after only one album - It was their Ouiji board's idea. Rundgren later became a big star with his hit single "Hqllo, It's Mq".
Alice Cooper was signed by Frank Zappa's label and put out two records of just what you'd expect to hear on an Alice Cooper record released by Frank Zappa's cockamamie label before getting their act together on the road and going into the studio with Bob Ezrin. Bob Ezrin is a very interesting guy but after the chilly response we got to our Interesting Motherfuckers about Jack Douglas I doubt if we'll be doing any more Interesting Motherfuckers about record producers - Unless they convict Phil Spector. But Bob Ezrin produced the records that made Alice Cooper a star and from there he produced Kiss, Pink Floyd, and the new Jane's Addiction album. What's the one thing Ezrin's productions for Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Pink Floyd have in common that you can look forward to hearing on that Jane's Addiction record? Little kids. When you hear "Phil Spector" you think "Wall Of Sound", when you hear "George Martin" you think "The Beatles", and when you hear "Bob Ezrin" you think "little kids". No, not the way you think of "little kids" when you hear "Michael Jackson"! I mean every time you hear a Bob Ezrin record it won't be long until he's draggin' some little kids into the studio to make you go "Hey! Who let those goddam kids in here!?!" You know what I mean, the kids on Alice Cooper's "School's Out", Kiss' "Flaming Youth", and, most famously, the "We don't need no education" kids on Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall Part II." I bet you on the Jane's Addiction record we'll be hearing the little shits talking about, I dunno, how it's time to go out and score, maybe pick up some clean needles. (By the way, Alice Cooper has also worked with Jack Douglas but we've already learned the hard way how much you philistines care about Jack Douglas. Are there any little kids on "Rocks In The Attic"? Hell, no!)
Alice Cooper's big break came in that stupid place up North. No, not New England. No, not Seattle. Okay, you forced me to say it - Canada. They were playing up in The Place That's Only There To Make Mexico Look Sexy and at one point some goober threw a live chicken onstage. If you ask me it would have been funnier if it had been a duck but, as has been ably demonstrated by The Kids In The Hall, Canadians don't know dick about funny. But Alice, guided by his Inner Vincent, was only concerned with the safety of the poor bird and decided to help it escape by picking it up and gently tossing it into the air. Yeah, I'm sure Sting would have known better, but Alice thought chickens could fly. But they cannot, so the unfortunate chicken merely fluttered into the mob of excited rock and roll fans. If it had been a mob of American rock and roll fans the chicken would have been hastened away from the hustle and bustle of the concert and given a warm, loving home. Unfortunately, this chicken had fallen into the clutches of a pack of Canadian rock and roll fans and was savagely torn into bloody greasy pieces by future members of Rush, Loverboy, and The Scorpions (Not Canadian? They still suck). The next day every newspaper in the world had a front page story about this psycho rock star who slaughters innocent chickens onstage (Except for The New York Times, which had a front page story about a lesbian folk singer verbally abused in an Alabama fried chicken shack.) Adults hadn't been so pissed off at a rock star since John Lennon said he was ashamed The Son Of God came from Texas and decided to pile up all their Alice Cooper records and light bonfires. Then they realized that none of them had any Alice Cooper records to burn up in bonfires so they went to the record stores and bought all the Alice Cooper records they could get their hands on. So then, of course, all the Alice Cooper records went straight to The Top Of The Charts and all of the kids, who didn't read the newspapers and were oblivious of the Chicken Scandal, went to the record stores and bought all of the records THEY could get their hands on. And then they went home, listened to the Alice Cooper records, found out how really good they were . . .
. . . and for the first time Baby Boomers were as uptight about rock and roll as their parents were when The Beatles came along. Pete Townsend really lost it over Alice Cooper - "He's sick, tragic, pathetic - And will always be that way!" Eh, get back to work on that book about child abuse you were doing so much online research for. Damn, his attorneys must kick ass even harder than his original rhythm section if his creepy ass ain't in prison.
If you want to read a good book about Alice Cooper at his height in the seventies, pick up "Billion Dollar Babies" by Bob Greene (Although it's probably out of print, like my own "You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You're Driving Me To Drink." What? A book has to actually be in print before it can be out of print? Damn that elitist publishing industry!). Greene went on the road to cover the Alice Cooper phenomenon and, since it was almost Christmas, to surprise everyone at the end of the show by coming out dressed up as Santa Claus. Too much! Alice and all the guys in the band standing up there waving goodnight when - All of a sudden! - "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" starts blasting out of the speakers and "Hey! Look, guys! It's Santa Claus!!" The crowd goes nuts as Ol' Saint Nick Ho Ho Ho's his merry way across the stage with his bag of toys and - BAM! BANG! POW! - The crazed rock stars beat the crap out of the beloved Pixie, take away his sack of toys, and chuck all of the gifts into the crowd. Have An Alice Cooper Christmas, Boys And Girls!! Ha! But Greene's Big Scoop was the inevitable reality that lead to Alice Cooper's undoing - Despite all the chaos, slapstick, and mayhem Alice Cooper was still little ol' Vincent Furnier, a nice Christian boy who loved his Mom and Dad, TV game shows, taking his little girl to church, and found Rock Stardom to be flat out Dullsville.
Hardboiled rock snobs wrote the whole thing off once all of Alice Cooper's singles were ballads instead of rockers. Those of you too young or too smart to have been a rock fan in the seventies may not know this, but releasing a ballad as a single was the single worst thing a rock star could ever do - Even worse than taking a role in the "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" movie. But there are worse things than ballads. Sure, The Clash never recorded any - But did Alice Cooper ever make you listen to REGGAE? How much of a grouch are you determined to be that you hate "I Never Cry" and "You And Me"? Yeah, they sound a lot like Barry Manilow, but people LIKE Barry Manilow! Nobody will admit it, but they do. And if admitting to liking Barry Manilow is out of the question, admitting to liking Alice Cooper sounding like Barry Manilow . . . My God, I have completely lost it here, haven't I? Can I borrow your "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" cassette? Is that new Jane's Addiction thing out yet? Hey! Let's smoke crack and kill somebody!
what's funny? After all these years the first thing that comes to mind
when I think of Alice Cooper is still that old story about him shooting
his wad into jelly donuts and laughing while his sister ate them. What?
I called it "that old story" because I assumed that you'd already heard
it. You hadn't? Oh.
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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