alice - The I-94 Bar
Probably the brimming cup in Alice Cooper's history (if you're looking at album sales), what you've got here is the tide turning. Voted the #1 band in the world by NME on the back of the admittedly strong "School's Out" LP, "Billion Dollar Babies" tried hard to mimic the same approach, but failed, mainly due to a slicker, more commercial sound.
It’s been years in the making and "LOUDER THAN LOVE", the long-awaited documentary paying tribute to legendary Detroit music venue the Grande Ballroom, is finally available.
The Grande was the birthplace or breeding ground for the likes of the Stooges, the MC5, The Up and The Rationals. It also became a notorious killing field for visiting international bands who had to undergo a "trial by support band" where the locals did their best to blow them off the stage (sometimes succeeding.)
“LOUDER THAN LOVE: The Grande Ballroom Story” is Tony D’Annunzio’s first independent film as a producer and director. His movie chronicles the Detroit music scene in the late 1960s, as told through the eyes of the legendary bands that played there.
From its barn-storming opening track "Under My Wheels", through to the white-noise climax of the title-track, "Killer" proves itself time and time again to be one of rock 'n' roll's greatest albums. Now, yeah, I know that sounds hyperbolic, but in this instance I feel I'm justified. There are some albums that refuse to be played quietly, and "Killer" is one of them, the kind of record that is guaranteed to annoy the neighbours at 2am, when your house party has probably lurched five or six beers over the line.
The recent passing of legendary American guitarist Dick Wagner is as good an excuse as any to look back on his long and incredible career. Philadelphia-based record label head, manager, writer and all-round music maven Geoff Ginsberg conducted a landmark I-94 Bar interview with Dick in 1999. It's reprised below. - The Barman
From the teen-anthem assault of "Caught In A Dream" through to the Rolf Harris (no, I'm not joking) cover of "Sun Arise", Alice Cooper's first real LP is a must-have rock 'n 'roll record.
Let's not get into discussions about how many times this notable, nay historic, 1969 Toronto gig from the nascent Alice Cooper band has been released.Ladies and germs, this is the definitive, speed-corrected version, with correct song titles, spunky pink artwork and a second gig from San Francisco appended, for good measure. Plus, a couple of feathers inserted, if you're lucky.
Toronto 1969 was the notorious Chicken Show where Alice (the man, not the band) threw a live bird into the crowd only to have it tossed back at him...in pieces. Leaving aside the animal rights aspects of this on both sides - being out of your mind on booze is no excuse for throwing a flightless fowl into a crowd of excitable Hoser stoners – you might wonder what the fuss was all about, musically speaking.
It is true that Alice Cooper was the most despised band in L.A. at this stage; soaking in the discordant skronk, seemingly random rhythmic shifts and walls of feedback, it's often easy to hear why.
"Old School" is an Alice Cooper fan's dream come true. That said, it's not for the casual fan, but then the $A200+ price tag is more than likely to scare off the less than devoted buyer. But if like me you're a keen fan of the classic era of when Alice Cooper was the name of the band, not only the stage name of one Vincent Furnier, minister's son, then you'll find much to love in "Old School".
Alright, look past the anthemic glam-rock title track (the one song Alice himself knew was going to be a hit from the point uber-guitarist Glen Buxton first played the glorious opening riff to him), "School's Out" is one great hard-rockin', vaguely concept-driven LP – and that concept is very vaguely drawn at best. But the best thing about it is the fact that there a bunch of toons on the album that really go against the teen-glam angle of the title track. As a matter of fact, they start from track number two.
Some of us have had a lot of problems forgiving Alice Cooper the man for ditching Alice Cooper the band. The first two Alice Cooper band albums, “Pretties For You” and “Easy Action” were fairly decent if you go in for a bit of whacky hippy burlesque. They have their fans but, truth be told, they needed a firmer hand than Frank Zappa if they were going to amount to anything more than a sideshow.
Next came five albums of perfection. Even the much maligned “Muscle of Love” shits over anything that tried to pass itself off as competition. I know we're all Stooges and Dolls fans here but the Coop actually owned the mainstream throughout the early ‘70s.
Well, they were a shit hot band with great song-writing, a genius producer and a grand guignol stage show. How could they miss?
Well, the thing is...