Read the behind the scenes story of Alice Cooper's single: "Sound of A," as reported by Ed Masley for AZ Central.Read More
Pretties for You reached #110 on the Billboard charts, but it’s quirky style hadn’t set the world on fire like we – Alice Cooper - had hoped, so we collectively decided to write songs in a more relatable style.
Easy Action was recorded in a hurry, and had signs of our new direction but hadn’t had proper time to fully blossom.
We had a notorious reputation through our association with Frank Zappa, and by word of the “Chicken Incident” at the Rock and Roll Revival in Toronto, but something was missing - a hit single.
By the time Bob Ezrin saw us at Max's Kansas City in New York, Michael had already spearheaded the development of songs including "Caught in a Dream," “Ballad of Dwight Fry” and "I'm Eighteen." Neal had written “Hallowed Be My Name” and I had written "Black Juju" as a vehicle for making the Alice character more relatable.
As for a hit single, we knew that the majority of record-buyers were teenagers, so that was our target audience.
Glen, Michael, Neal, Alice, and I had become friends as high-school teens so we knew what we were talking about as we took turns singing improvised verses to the chords that Michael had come up with.
It took a while for us to hone the song into the stage arrangement that would convince a young wanna-be producer, Bob Ezrin, to help our managers, Joe and Shep, land us a major record deal. But with that done, the first thing Bob did was to help us trim the fat from our arrangement down to a concise AM friendly version that we recorded for the Love It To Death album at RCA Mid-Atlantic Studios in Chicago.
“I'm Eighteen" was released and soon became the most requested song in the history of CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The station’s powerful transmitter reached most of Canada and throughout mid-western America.
Years later, Disc Jockey Rosalee Trombley, known as "The Girl With The Golden Ear," told me that she started playing the song because she loved the lyrics. She could relate to them, and so could teens everywhere.
The group known as Alice Cooper was officially on the map.
What is your fav I'm Eighteen memory? Share in the comments, below.
It was an amazing crowd. - DD
Here's the link for the live review - http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Article/8799/Alice-Cooper-Arena-Birmingham-14/11/2017
Lisa Torem is a thoughtful interviewer and a great writer and her friend Phillip Solomonson is a great photographer. They're Chicago based and they've collaborated on several articles for Pennyblack Music in the UK. - DD
Click this link...
“PARANORMAL is like 12 great episodes of The Twilight Zone,” laughs Alice Cooper, “each song tells its own twisted little tale.”
Yes, the inimitable King of Shock Rock is back with his first album of original material in six years. It’s a weird and wonderful collection of guitar-driven delights, but what else would you expect from the composer of beautifully warped classics like “Under My Wheels,” “I’m Eighteen” and “Billion Dollar Babies”?Read More
Here are some of our favorite articles, interviews, and reviews from the last two months:
Bandit Lites recounts the Alice Cooper concert at TPAC from the perspective of a lighting designer.
Penny Black Music reviewed the Alice Cooper reunion set at TPAC and Music Biz 2017.
They also interviewed Cindy Smith Dunaway on how she created the glam rock look that defined the Alice Cooper brand.
The Rocker Dad podcast spoke with Dennis about Alice Cooper, Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, and Crohn's disease.
Want to know Dennis's top eight favorite rock and roll songs? Gruelmokey has the list.
Know Your Bass Player picked one of Dennis's basslines as one of rock and roll's greatest. Find out which one.
The Classic Rocker reviewed Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! What a thrill that it's reaching new readers.
Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith will tour UK with Alice in November 2017
On May 14th, 2017 following Alice Cooper’s customary execution via guillotine on stage at his Nashville concert, fans were treated to something rarely seen since 1973. The stage went dark and original band members, bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith reunited to perform a five song mini-set of their classic hits with Alice.
This followed the recent announcement that his forthcoming album – Paranormal, out July 28th on earMUSIC – will include two new recordings written and recorded by the original line-up (“Genuine American Girl and “You And All Of Your Friends”).
Now, Alice announces that the three members of the original Alice Cooper band will join him on tour in the UK, returning to these shores 46 years after they first shocked and enthralled us on their historic 1971 tour.
In Nashville, they were joined by current band member Ryan Roxie filling in for the late Glen Buxton on guitar. The band ripped through “I’m 18,” “No More Mr Nice Guy,” “Muscle of Love,” “Billion Dollar Babies” and then closed with “School’s Out,” bringing back current band members – drummer Glen Sobel, bassist Chuck Garric, and guitarists Nita Strauss and Tommy Henriksen for a grand finale.
Original Alice Cooper Band Reunites in Nashville, TN. Photo by Kyler Clark – CerealKyler Photography
And they enjoyed it so much that they decided to bring the show to the UK.
Alice says, “When the original band broke up in 1975, there was no bad blood. There were no lawsuits — we had just burned out the creative process. We had gone to high school together and had recorded something like five Platinum albums in a row. We were never out of sight of each other for 10 years. Everybody just went their own way. Neal, Dennis and I always stayed in touch. Mike disappeared for a while and Glen Buxton passed away in 1997, which was a big blow.
“But last year Neal called me up and said, ‘I have a couple of songs.’ I said great, bring ‘em over. Then he said Mike was stopping by, so I had them come to my house and we just worked on a few things for a week. Then Dennis called up and said, I got a couple songs. So, I thought, hey let’s do this! When you listen to the record, it just fits right in.”
The next logical step is to rekindle their friendship, doing what they do best – performing as one the greatest live rock bands in history.
Original Alice Cooper Band Reunites in Nashville, TN. Photo by Kyler Clark – CerealKyler Photography
For more information visit www.alicecooper.com
Alice Cooper, plus The Mission and The Tubes presented by AEG live in the UK, November 2017:
11th – Leeds – First Direct Arena
12th – Glasgow – The SSE Hydro
14th – Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena
15th – Manchester – Manchester Arena
16th – London – The SSE Arena, Wembley
VIP: Alice is offering several VIP packages at www.alicecooper.com, including meet and greet and a backstage tour.
AEG Live are offering pre-show packages, available at: http://po.st/AC17Tckts
Alice Cooper just dropped his new single, "Paranoid Personality." It includes a bonus track of "I'm Eighteen - Live in Dallas," recorded in 2016 with original band members Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, and Michael Bruce, with Ryan Roxie joining as well.
Download the bundle now ... let's raise those download numbers to rally for more reunion tracks! Available in iTunes.
I was still on a high from playing in the Alice Cooper reunion at Tennessee Performing Arts Center the night before. I had a busy day ahead at the Music Business Association’s Music Biz 2017 conference.
By breakfast, the Renaissance Hotel was abuzz with industry professionals and musicians. Every open chair was filled with reps from Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and more energetically brainstorming with record label execs and artists.
Most of my day was spent speaking with the press or playing music. During breaks, I met tons of fans from all parts of the globe. They told me about their first introductions to our music and what it means to them. The stories are similar but I always get a thrill out of hearing them. We would talk about their favorite songs, concerts they had attended, and how they wished Glen was still around.
At 8 o’clock, it was time for the Music Biz Industry Jam 2. The ballroom was dark except for the theatrical lighting on stage. The crowd was filled with music professionals.
In the green room, Michael, Neal and I were having photos taken with Robin Zander of Cheap Trick when Alice walked in. I told Alice he could go back to his room because we had a new singer. He didn’t listen.
Steve Harkins (Vice Chairman of Music Business Association and presented Alice’s road manager, Toby Mamis, with a special lifetime achievement award.
Then, Bob Ezrin took the podium and charismatically told the story of how he first met the Alice Cooper group (you can read about it in my book). The conference had announced that Michael, Neal, and I would accept the award on behalf of the full band.
Always ones for drama, we had planned all along that when Bob called us onto stage to accept our lifetime achievement awards, Alice would walk up with us.
It was time to play our six songs. This performance was more intimate without any theatrical props. As most people know, that’s a rarity for us! I saw teary eyes in the crowd.
I burned the midnight oil enjoying the other performances and chatting with incredible musicians. I especially liked watching Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), plus the Campbell family’s special tribute to Glen Campbell.
I saw Sesu Coleman (Magic Tramps), Steve Conte (New York Dolls and Michael Monroe), Rachel Bolan (Skid Row), Damon Johnson (Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, Brother Cane, and Black Star Riders), and Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osborne, Quiet Riot, and Whitesnake).
It means a lot to be honored by the industry, and even more to be able to join my friends on stage and play music that is so dear to me. Stay tuned for some collaborations coming up on Alice’s next album.
On May 14th, the original Alice Cooper group reunited on stage at Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Dennis details how it came together.
The rehearsal process was a peculiar one; each of us had our own process. Michael and Neal rehearsed in Phoenix with Michael’s wife Lynn playing bass. I ran through the songs in Connecticut with an unplugged bass while watching TV, and occasionally with the songs cranked through my stereo and a small Fender bass amp.
Finding an outfit wasn't a daunting task; I happen to know a superb costume designer! Cindy went to her sewing room and got out her sparkly treasures from the original Alice Cooper stage costume stockpile. She covered a black shirt with moon-shaped mirrors, crystals, glitter, and rhinestone bracelets in the concept of the tuxedo she had designed for me for our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The shirt was intended to be an extension of the Billion Dollar Bass, as if someone had grabbed a handful of the mirrors from the bass and threw them at the shirt.
When we got to Nashville, we rehearsed the songs in the dressing room with Ryan Roxie. We had to decide which guitar parts each guy would play—sometimes Ryan plays Michael’s parts with Alice, and now he had to play all of Glen’s parts. We also had to lock in which guy to look at for each cue. We had arrangements and endings to sort out. Neal played on little practice pads (Alice joked that Neal should play them in the real show). The guitars and bass played through tiny amps at low volume. Bob Ezrin and Shep Gordon were there.
At the first sound check at TPAC, Michael bent over to adjust his effects pedal. Not one to pass up a slapstick opportunity, I ran over and pretended to kick him in the butt. In perfect synch, Neal did a loud cymbal crash.
We had a short break to grab a bite to eat, and then it was time to warm up in the Green Room.
Alice's current band rocked through a modified version of their set for thousands of fans who filled two balconies. I stretched my high-kick leg. Exercised my hands. Polished my golden sunglasses.
Finally, it was time. The curtain had closed at the end of Alice’s modified set, but the house lights didn’t go up. The die-hard fans knew what was about to come, and raised their iPhones like a sea of lanterns. The drum tech prepared Neal’s set and the roadies got us ready to go. The curtain rose.
We blasted “Eighteen,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Muscle of Love,” and then “School’s Out/Another Brick in The Wall” with both bands for the big finale.
Whenever I looked into the crowd, I was surprised to see so many people were crying. Some shows are good, some are great, and some feel downright transcendent. Performing with Michael, Neal, and Alice is very special, and since it doesn’t happen often, magic was in the air. Of course everybody misses the fiery Glen Buxton, but I know he would have liked Ryan.
I loved that our daughters joined us, especially since it was Mother’s Day. (On Father’s Day two years prior, they travelled to Cleveland to support me at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame event.)
The players in Alice's current band are exceptionally talented rock stars, and hanging out with them feels like being with extended family. Ryan, Tommy Henriksen, Nita Strauss, Glen Sobel, and Chuck Garric are always friendly and accommodating. It was fun sharing the stage together, and spending time after the show!
I was on cloud nine over how many amazing fans had gone to such great lengths to be there. Some came from Canada, France, and even Australia.
As far as future reunion shows, hopefully our fans will make a big enough noise to reach the ears of the concert promoters!