Behind the Scenes: HBO's VINYL Episode 3 Features Alice Cooper Storyline and Blue Coupe Song
VINYL! What an exciting project to be involved in! The HBO show which is a Scorsese (partnered along with Rich Cohen, Terence Winter, and Mick Jagger) airs on Sundays, and Episode 3 ("Whispered Secrets") featured the Alice Cooper Band in its storyline and a new recording of Alice Cooper song "I Love the Dead" on the soundtrack, featuring Andrew WK, Blue Coupe, and James Mastro.
I had met Don Fleming at the Irish Consulate’s apartment in Manhattan in 2012 when Blue Coupe were scheduled to play the This Land Is Our Land Festival at Lincoln Center. And so when Don was tasked with choosing musicians for the VINYL recording, and being that Albert and Joe had worked with him before, he asked Blue Coupe to record "I Love the Dead," which I originally recorded with Alice Cooper in 1973.
At the chance to work with such a line-up as Don, Jagger, Scorsese and Co., we had to jump.
Scorsese has been responsible for so many brilliant projects. I loved Shine A Light in IMAX. The Rolling Stones tour with gigantic sound, filmed as though you were right on stage with the band—what a concept! Hopefully this series will be regarded as having the same awe and hypnotism.
Before we knew it, we were in the Electric Lady feeling like we’d crammed for a test the night before. Like I said, it was short notice! The song is no waltz through the graveyard, as they say, especially for the guys who had never played the song before, but the ‘Lady has magical vibes. Electric Lady Studios was Jimi Hendrix’s; To any musician it’s hollowed ground. The opportunity to be in this legendary space was nothing short of colossal.
James Mastro was one of the guitar players, who I knew from Ian Hunter’s album Rant. We had Joe McGinty playing keyboard which added the perfect touch.
We got down to business: We talked about which particular part each guitar player would play, we sorted out who would cue parts in the absence of vocals ... Would it be Albert in the drum isolation booth, or someone else? We strategized who to look at for cues, and when.
Once the brainstorm had passed, we got ready to record. The studios were aptly named: With the chemistry in that room, it sure was electric. It only took a few passes to nail the track down, and then Albert, Joe and I got ready to sing the background parts.
Don asked the important question of who would handle the blood-curdling scream. Who did it on the album originally? Well, I did! He insisted I do it on this version. The playback on the studio monitors was epic, and we were all satisfied when we left.
The process beyond that was very controlled and secretive, very mysterious. We weren’t told anything about who would play us or what the episode would entail—very hush-hush stuff. What was the payoff like? Well, the best way I can describe how I felt when I first saw my character come on screen is like coming home and realizing someone’s moved all the furniture.
What did you think about the episode?