Wednesday, March 9, 2011
ALICE COOPER: A REAL LIFE TESTIMONIAL
When I first came up with this idea, the first guy I thought of was my friend Randy, who I worked with at Concrete Marketing over a decade ago. Randy is the biggest Alice Cooper fan that I've ever met. I always had a respect for Alice, but I was more of a greatest hits person. Randy sat me down and explained just how important this guy was... not just to music but to his life. He made me realize that nothing Alice did in the past few years (or decades)- not any of his showbizzy moves, none of his bad albums - could take away from the impact of those early records. Thank you Randy: now some of my favorite albums are Killer, Billion Dollar Babies and especially Love It To Death. Take it from here, Randy!
"So, I was 10 years old when I first heard Alice's 'I'm Eighteen' on the radio. It was WSHE in Miami where I lived at the time. Before then, I had only listened to my sister's old hippie bands; Crosby Stills & Nash, Vanilla Fudge, Neil Young, NRBQ, etc. I remember leaning toward the radio in the backseat of my Mom's Mustang (no seat belts back then), to try and hear what this guy was screaming about. It was something about being 18. Or something like that. The song stuck in my head for days until I heard it again and asked my older sister who it was. "Alice Cooper." What? That's not a chick singer! From then on I was hooked. I saved up 6 bucks from chores and stuff and bought the record, Love It To Death.
I wore the grooves out on that thing. Then came Killer and School's Out. And finally I got my chance to see Alice in concert, live and in person. Saturday, April 21st, 1973 at Pirate's World in Dania Florida with Flo & Eddie opening, I have the ticket framed and on my office wall to this day. That show changed my life! I was 12 years old. The next day I talked my Mom and Dad into buying me a guitar and an amp at a pawn shop.
Even my Mom says I was never the same. I wore ripped up clothes, grew my hair even longer than it was and even started wearing eyeliner. I had a bit of trouble in school having my hair over the collar but I was a straight-A student at the time and my Mom defended me. She won but I was pretty mad and felt betrayed by the school. She wouldn't defend me over the eyeliner and in the school dress code it say no heavy or inappropriate makeup. It didn't mention gender at all. Hmmmm... Next day I showed up to school in a sundress. Wow! What a reaction! The dress code said nothing about boys wearing girls clothes but they thought it more aproppriate to have me see the school counselor in lieu of attempting any punative measures. I guess I won that one!
Later on at about 14 or 15, I got it in my head that wanted to be an alcoholic... just like Alice. Every pic I saw of him had that ever-present can of Bud. Fortunately, I just didn't like beer so I was spared the trauma of teen alcoholism. Just goes to show what profound influence these rock stars had over us kids.
I moved to New York City when I was 18 so I could hang at Max's Kansas City and play in a band. I've always been the 'flamboyant one' and I never forgot what I learned from Alice. I never really lost my love for those early Alice Cooper records all the way up to Muscle Of Love. Even at 50 years old people call me "trouserboy" because I wear lot's of rock star lookin' pants... all because I heard that one song on the radio all those years ago."