Cooper, Alice


Band members               Related acts

- Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Damon Furnier) -- vocals,

  harmonica (1968-)

- Michael Bruce -- rhythm guitar, keyboards (1968-)

- Glen Buxton -- lead guitar  (1968-)

- Dennis Dunaway -- bass (1968-)

- Neal Smith -- drums (1968-)

 

 

- Billion Dollar Babies

- The Nazz

- The Spiders

 

 

 


 

Genre: psych

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Pretties for You

Company: Straight

Catalog: STS-1051 (cover) WS-1851 (inner label)

Year: 1969

Country/State: Arizona

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve, with censored cover (not shown in photo above)

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4794

Price: $45.00

Cost: $1.00

 

Yes, yes I'll admit that early Alice Cooper is a guilty pleasure.  I'm not proud of it, but so what ...

 

Unlike so many bands, the internet is crowded with biographical info on this outfit, but here are the highlights.

 

Living in Arizona, singer Vincent Damon Furnier put together his first band, The Earwigs in the early 1960s.  The group mutated into The Spiders and by 1965 they were known as The Nazz (not to be confused with Todd Rundgren's Philadelphia-based outfit).  Having become aware of Rungren's outfit, in 1968 the group underwent another name change.  Reportedly Furnier came up with the 'Alice Cooper' nameplate while playing with a ouija board - it's supposedly the name of a 17th century witch that Furnier himself was suppose to have been in an earlier life.

 

Along with the new name, the band decided the time was ripe to get out of Arizona.  Relocating to Los Angeles the band hired Shep Gordon as their manager and were quickly signed to Frank Zappa's Reprise Records affiliated Straight label.  Self-produced (Herb Cohen and Ian Underwood reportedly actually produced it), 1969's "Pretties for You" is one odd album.  Clearly a band trying to find a niche for themselves (the GTOs reportedly dressed them up for the androgynous back cover photo), the album features a haphazard mix of psychedelic ('Levity Ball'), hard rock ('Fields of Regret') and Zappa-inspired weird experimentation ('Ten Minutes Before the Worm').  At least to my ears none of it is particularly convincing, though part of that may lie in the fact that the album was recorded in a week and the band weren't aware that their studio 'demos' would in fact comprise the final album.  To give credit where due, 'Living' and 'B.B. On Mars' were actually pretty decent slices of late-1960s psychedelia.  Straight also tapped 'Reflected' b/w 'Living' as a single (Straight catalog number ST-101).

 

Just to be clear, this has the original Straight cover, but the album itself has a Warner Brothers label and catalog number - it must have been released in 1970 when the Straight label was being closed down.  They clearly didn't want to waste sleeves that had already been printed.

 

'Pretties for You" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Titanic Overture (instrumental) (Alice Cooper) - 1:12

2.) Ten Minutes Before the Worm   (Alice Cooper) - 1:39

3.) Swing Low, Sweet Cherio   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 5:42

4.) Today Mueller   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 1:48

5.) Living   (Alice Cooper) - 3:12

6.) Fields of Regret   (Alice Cooper) - 5:44

 

(side 2)
1.) No Longer Umpire   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 2:02

2.) Levity Ball   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 4:39

3.) B.B. On Mars   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 1:17

4.) Reflected   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 3:17

5.) Apple Bush   (Alice Cooper) - 3:08

6.) Earwigs To Eternity   (Alice Cooper) - 1:19

7.) Changing Arranging   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 3:02

 

In case anyone cares, I found a May 2000 Goldmine interview with drummer Neal Smith where he talked a little about the album: 

 

"I like "Pretties For You" for its originality.  When you create music that sounds like other music that's going on at the time, it becomes dated.  On the other hand, when you do something that's different, it has a better chance of holding up over time.  Unfortunately, when we went into the studio, we were very green, and we didn't know anything about the recording process.  Frank Zappa said he wanted the album to sound like a car driving past a garage while a band was playing. That was his goal, and I think he more or less achieved it.  He had us set up our amps around the drum set, so there was total leakage.  We would run down the song - setting the dials on our amps and stuff, just trying to get a proper sound going so that we could record - and Zappa would say, "We got a take."  We would be like, "What? We didn't even play the song
yet."

 



Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Billion Dollar Babies

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BS-2685

Year: 1973

Country/State: Arizona

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: textured gatefold sleeve, original inner sleeve; all inserts

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

A lot of you will probably wince at this comment, but 1973's "Billion Dollar Babies" is easily Alice Cooper's most consistent and enjoyable album.  Dare I say it, but it's also one of the decade's classic releases.  Produced by Bob Erzin, their sixth studio release saw all of the ingredients for mega success fall into place.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Hello Hooray', 'No More Mister Nice Guy' and 'Generation Landslide' the band began churning out first rate pop-rock that managed to feed the audience's hunger for the band's then-bizarre and dangerous image, while simultaneously being radio friendly.  Okay, the gruesome and tasteless 'I Love the Dead' probably fed the former ...  Anyhow, Cooper's vocals seldom sounded as good, nor did the band.  Backed by an extensive American tour and a wave of publicity the album hit the top of the US (and UK) charts.  The band also enjoyed a pair of hits with 'No More Mister Nice Guy' b/w 'Raped and Freezin' (Warner Brothers catalog WB 7691) and the title track b/w 'Mary Ann' (Warner Brothers catalog number WB 7724).  (Piece of trivia regarding the album; the inner sleeve photo showing the band posing with a stack of money was in fact real cash.  The band borrowed $1 million in cash from a local bank in order to take the photo.)

"Billion Dollar Babies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hello Hooray   (Rolf Kempf) - 4:14

2.) Raped and Freezin'   (Mike Bruce - Alice Cooper) - 3:15

3.) Elected   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 4:05

4.) Billion Dollar Babies   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Reggie) - 3:39

5.) Unfinished Sweet   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Neal Smith) - 6:17

 

(side 2)
1.)
No More Mister Nice Guy   (Mike Bruce - Alice Cooper) - 3:05

2.) Generation Landslide   (Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton - Alice Cooper - Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 4:31

3.) Sick Things   (Bob Ezrin - Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce) - 4:18

4.) Mary-Ann   (Mike Bruce - Alice Cooper) - 2:19

5.) I Love The Dead   (Bob Ezrin - Alice Cooper) - 5:08

 

 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Muscle of Love

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BS-2685

Year: 1973

Country/State: Arizona

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: textured gatefold sleeve, original inner sleeve; all inserts

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

 

 

"Muscle of Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 

2.) Never Been Sold Before  (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 

3.) Hard Hearted Alice  (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce) - 

4.) Crazy Little Child   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Working Up A Sweat  (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce) - 

2.) Muscle of Love   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce) - 

3.) Man With The Golden Gun   (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 

4.) Teenage Lament 74   (Alice Cooper - Neal Smith) - 

5.) Woman Machine  (Alice Cooper - Mike Bruce - Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway - Neal Smith) - 

 

 

 

The 'fold like this' marks on the insert refer to very bad instructions on how to make the insert into a schoolbook cover.
(Renfield, March 1996)

 

Coming off such conceptual, theatrical, sleazy hard rock records as the massively successful School's Out (1972) and Billion Dollar Babies (1973), the Alice Cooper group decided that their next release would be more along the lines of their earlier, more straightforward work (a la Love It to Death). While the album was a gold-certified, Top Ten success, it performed below expectations (their previous two albums peaked at number two and number one, respectively), and would unfortunately prove to be the original Alice Cooper band's last studio album together. The album may not be as coherent as their previous classics (producer Bob Ezrin took a leave of absence) and more filler is present than usual, yet Muscle of Love is perhaps Alice Cooper's most underrated record — more than a few overlooked and forgotten classics reside here. The two best-known tracks are undoubtedly the Top 20 anthem "Teenage Lament '74," which features none other than Liza Minnelli and the Pointer Sisters on backing vocals, and the boisterous title track. But other tracks are just as good — the Led Zep-stomping opener "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)," the gentle "Hard Hearted Alice" (a precursor to Cooper's future ballad-oriented direction), the raging "Working Up a Sweat," and "Man With the Golden Gun" (which was written for the James Bond movie of the same name, but rejected). A forgotten hard rock classic. [Note: Muscle of Love is currently available in the U.S. only through Metal Blade mail-order.]

"Muscle of Love" came under scrutiny in South Africa where the inner sleeves depicting Alice and group outside the "Institute of Nude Wrestling" was considered obscene by the Customs and Vice Squads. The albums were finally allowed into the country without the offending material.

The working title for the album was 'A Kiss And A Fist'.

Mr. Trudnich, Dean Of Men

"Mike Trudnich is/was my father. He's been passed away, for 3 years now. The small man, who's photo is above the name of Mr. Trudnich on the bookcover that came with the record, and elsewhere on the sleeve, is NOT my Dad. I don't know who that man is or what his name might be. My Dad is on the back of the book cover. Alice and the boys are beaten up and peeling potatoes, I think there are some naval police (I'm going off memory cause I don't have a bookcover or copy of the photo) and also a cook. My Dad is the cook. The one with the HUGE belly, smoking a cigarette, with a sock hanging from the ladle!

 

I have not always been so proud of this! I didn't go showing it off to my girlfriends a whole lot unless I knew they liked Alice and where cool. My parents were complete hippie, biker types. They were friends with the people who owned Pacific Eye and Ear, who did the album cover. My Dad met Alice through them at that time and they hit it off. My Dad drank nothing but Olympia beer,
Alice drank nothing but Bud so they partied and Alice said he should do the album photo.

 

Now please remember as I tell you this, it's what my Dad told me so who knows if it's all true! I was 8 at the time and I remember it was a very exciting day in the house before he left for the shoot and that says a lot because life in our house was like living in a biker clubhouse. Well, almost! They were gone all day and night and the next day when we saw our parents and asked "what did you bring us?" they pointed to a huge pile of potatoes! I think they brought home 100 pounds or something like that! We were so disappointed! However, my sick and twisted folks loved to see us suffer before making us happy and so as soon as we had a good frown they gave us our autographed treasures! I can't remember who all got what (there where 7 of us!) but I know I got a very large billion dollar bill that they all had signed, to me! It was great!!! When we got a copy of the bookcover and we saw Dad's name under the small mans face we laughed hysterically! We asked our Dad what happened? That's not you! He told us that Alice played a joke on him and had a good laugh on him and that he thought that was "bitchen!" Mr. Trudnich, Dean of Men, is the big~belly cook!

 

It's a great memory. I don't know what happened to my billion dollar baby bill, but I ended up with one of my parents treasures, a cardboard cutout of Alice about a foot tall in his Popeye~ish/naval uniform. I take good care of him (although my folks didn't and he got a little roughed up in their care) and he always hangs in a place of honor!

Sincerely, Heather Trudnich

"Muscle of Love" was a landmark for my career in an odd way. It followed "Schools Out" (no2.) and "Billion Dollar Babies" (no1.) Strangly enough it was the original Alice Cooper Bands last album. It featured "Teenage Lament", a top twenty single, and a bunch of other strange little songs. We still do "Muscle of Love" on stage when we need a shot of adrenaline."Man With the Golden Gun", was written for the James Bond movie but they were too scared to use it. All in all I never really understood this album. I think that's good.
Alice Cooper

'Big Apple Dreaming (Hippo)': Apparently the working title of the song was "Hippopotamus", which was named after the club of the same name in New York City that the band used to frequent.

In 'Woman Machine', the Computer voice of Alice reading from a studio manual, probably inaccurate in places. Corrections welcome to the following.

"...Exceeds one million when the stop button is pressed, the...has results PCR621, into the drayer reading pool to rule the relay run for one quarter second, after the Q603 deenergizes. Therefore, the time delay occurs only when the stop button is pressed, during the record nine. The sole function of the compassador c620 is to maintain charge in..."

The flanged voice at the end of "Woman Machine" was just Alice reading the technical section of an Ampex tape recorder manual which was in the recording studio.
(Alice Cooper, Circus Magazine Book)

"Man With The Golden Gun" was written for the James Bond movie of the same name. Alice had seen the title at the end of the previous Bond film (a Bond tradition) and had come up with the song in hopes of getting the group name on one of his favourite movies (Alice loves Bond movies). The makers of the Bond flicks were concerned that Mr. Cooper's image didn't fit well with the movie and rejected it in favour of Lulu.

At the end of the credits of most James Bond films, there is a teaser that says something like "Watch for 007 next summer in 'Never Say Never'." Alice, being the Bond fan that he is, had seen one of these that said "Watch For 'The Man With The Golden Gun'." He figured, Hey, I'll write a song with that title and they'll be practically forced to use it! I think what he didn't count on was that in 1973/74, the name Alice Cooper was still much to controversial to be attached to a mainstream project like James Bond. Better to go with someone safe like Lulu (!??)
(Renfield, November 1995)

Neal was all excited about doing 'Man With The Golden Gun' song. After he told me he mentioned not to tell anyone because they might not use it, but they were hoping it was going to be a hit and they would have to use it. In high school Neal and I played in a rock group called "The Laser Beats" we did some James Bond music in our set list. Also when Neal got his new Rolls Royce he had an 8 track installed, Cindy, his sister, said he had James Bond Theme music that he played when he drove it.
(Band friend Skip Ladd, June 1998)

Actress/Singer Liza Minilli sang backing vocals on the 'Muscle Of Love' album. Rumour has it she arrived in the studio and immediately started searching for the beer.

An early title for the song 'Muscle of Love' was 'Respect For The Sleepers' and a rehearsal version can be heard on the box set..

It has been mentioned that a song called 'Baby Please Don´t Stop' was considered for the albums featuring Neal on vocals.

The album was reissued as half of the 'A Man Called Alice' album. The other half was 'Lace And Whiskey'.

...There were other reasons that Ezrin didn't produce 'Muscle Of Love'. The "story" that he was too "ill" to do it were false. That's all I'm saying. Stories are given to the press all of the time to put a spin on things or to hide things.
(Renfield, November 1997)

A video/promo film was made for the track 'Teenage Lament '74'.

The concrete walls seemed to stretch for miles, the pungent smell of disinfectant permeating the air. Each footstep, every movement, caused tiny echoes to reverberate through the gloomy passageways. It might have easily been the bowels of a huge coliseum, but instead it was a jail, and it house five of the most dangerous personalities alive in rock and roll today. Past a cell where Bogart quietly ate his lunch, beyond the bars where Cagney read a letter from a sweetheart he hadn't seen since being locked up for grand larceny, next to the wooden cot George Raft lay on, waiting the Alice Cooper band

The world's biggest musical menace looked strange, even for Alice. Dressed in striped prison uniforms, Alice and the band were shackles with heavy lead balls and chains. Six Keystone Kops dotted the depressing corridors of the jail, as the Cooper group plotted a way out. Someone slipped Alice a hairpin, and as he watched the female Keystoners fall asleep, he quietly opened the door to his cell. The five Cooper characters tip-toed down the jailhouse corridor past the sleeping guards - until one of them stirred. Then all hell broke loose. Alarms sounded, Kops scurried, and the chase was on!

Alice made a flying dash for the door with his group close behind him. Glenn brought up the rear as the slapstick chase continued into Manhattan's busy mid-town shopping district. The luscious female Keystone Kops followed closely - through alley ways, over cars and behind office buildings. Finally, the band of weary outlaws, ball and chain flung over their shoulders, turned down Second Avenue. The Fillmore East loomed in the distance. When they reached the doors of the hallowed auditorium, they ducked inside.

The huge building was deserted. The acres of seats were empty. But up on stage stood the famous chrome Cooper stage set from their last, legendary tour. The with Keystone Kops not trailing far behind, the group jumped on the stage, materializing saws and axes to chop through their balls and chains. Finally free of their convicts' charm bracelets, they dash not for the door, but for their instruments, and quickly broke into the first chords of "Teenage Lament '74". As the final notes of the new Cooper song reverberated through the empty Fillmore, the police arrived and fought it out with the group on stage.
(Alice Cooper jail house rock by Robbie Granit circa '74)

Norm Klein was the bodyguard hired by Alice for the 'Muscle of Love' tour as chronicled in 'Billion Dollar Baby'. Previously he had wrestled as Tasor Tarkeno.

 

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