ALICE COOPER

"Welcome to My Nightmare / The Nightmare 1975 TV Special" (Eagle Vision; 2017)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

A few years ago, I worked for a television producer named Burt Rosen. Burt was an Emmy Award-winning producer who had made millions of dollars producing musical variety specials with some of the biggest names in television, music and movies of the time. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, at the zenith of his popularity, Burt and his partner David Winters produced TV shows with such legends as John Wayne, Raquel Welch, The Carpenters, The Benny Goodman Quartet, Kirk Douglas, Sonny & Cher and more.

Burt loved to tell stories about the people he worked with. And one of my favorites was about the time that David Winters came to him and said, "Burt, let's do a special with Alice Cooper."

Burt wasn't sure about doing a show with Alice. First, he knew very little about rock'n'roll, being a pop fan first and foremost. Second, the closest Burt had ever come to working with a rock star was when he worked with Tom Jones, and he wasn't sure he knew how to handle them. Winters, however, convinced him to at least go to dinner with Alice and his team, to spend an evening with them to see if perhaps that time together would change Burt's mind about doing the special. And Burt agreed.

The day after that dinner, Burt called Winters and told him, "No." He told his partner that, if Winters wanted to go ahead and make the special without him, he was free to do so. Burt wanted no part of it.

The first time Burt told me that story, I was flabbergasted. Being a huge Alice Cooper fan myself, I could not understand how Burt could have said no to working with one of rock's greatest showmen ever. "Why?" I asked him. "Why didn't you want to work with Alice Cooper?"

"Because," Burt told me, and there was a haunted look in his eyes. "Because those guys were weird." Burt never told me much more about what happened that evening with Alice Cooper, except to say that at one point, animal fur and blood were involved. Sadly, I never got him to elaborate any further.

The good news is that Burt's partners went on to produce that special, "The Nightmare." Jorn Winther, one of Burt's longtime collaborators, directed it, and Burt's partner, David Winters, did the choreography. Winters also produced a live concert film that shared the title of one of Alice's most successful albums, "Welcome to My Nightmare." Both are preserved here on this special edition DVD release and both are as watchable for sheer entertainment as well as nostalgic ... nay, historic, purposes.

Let's talk "The Nightmare" first. "The Nightmare" is the kind of network special they made back in the late 60s and early 70s, the kind of one-hour special with the kitschy, almost non-existent sets and the cheap-ass video special effects. It's the story of Alice Cooper falling asleep and fading into the nightmare world where he is met by his guide, the inimitable Vincent Price. It's a story told in musical vignettes, with every song from Cooper's classic album featured to at least some degree. It's got wild, bizarre costumes and a terrific performance by Alice himself, who holds up pretty well along the legendary Mr. Price. It's a little weird and dated at some points -- with some of David Winters' choreography featuring half-naked men dancing about wearing monster masks -- but that old school cheesy vibe adds to the program's creepiness. My favorites are probably Cold Ethyl and the flashlight-eyed Cyclops. And this is the best print of the program I've ever seen. It may not be up to today's Blu-Ray/4K standards, but it looks pretty good from beginning to end. You can tell it's a television program, though: They had to change the lyrics to "Man's got his woman, to take his seed," to "Man's got his woman, to take his need." Yeah. Stupid. Other than that, a fascinating classic show that true Alice Cooper fans will treasure for both its fine points and its not-so-fine points.

The other program, "Welcome to My Nightmare," is a straight-forward concert film from 1976 that features Alice performing many of the songs from "Welcome to My Nightmare," as well as the classic "Ballad of Dwight Fry," which is a highlight here. What sets this film/performance apart from others is the inclusion of David Winters' dancers and choreography, many of whom you also see in "The Nightmare." It's a strong but raw performance from Alice and the band, and the quality of this film is about on par with a VHS tape, which may very well be where it came from. It's not unwatchable but it's not quite DVD quality in sound or video either. Still, it's definitely worth checking out, even if only for rock history purposes. More than anything else, this particular film will surprise you because Alice Cooper was so good then -- forty years ago -- and he's still out there kicking ass and taking names today. I just saw Alice Cooper with Deep Purple and the Edgar Winter Band and Alice was nothing short of amazing.

So, bottom line: If you're an Alice Cooper fan to any degree, you're going to want to check out this DVD. If you've seen him on tour recently, you'll want to compare what earlier performances were like. If you haven't seen him in awhile, this is a great way to whet your appetite. And, if nothing else, it is awe-inspiring proof that Alice Cooper is one of rock's true legends, an incredible talent whose success is virtually unmatched in the annals of rock'n'roll history.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Paranormal" (earMusic; 2017)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper -- the king of the macabre, showman of the strange and rock front man extraordinaire -- has done it again with his 27th studio release, "Paranormal."

Each song on this album is extremely twisted with a mash-up of catchy tunes and superb musicianship. "Paranormal" is right up there with one of the best Alice recording of all time, the classic "Welcome to My Nightmare."

I have been a fan of Alice since I was eight years old and, when I first heard "Welcome To My Nightmare," I was hooked for life. I am still amazed and thankful that Alice can put out relevant and powerful music at the ripe young age of 69.

Each song on "Paranormal" plays like an Outer Limits episode, each with its own distinctive flavor, each more sick and twisted that the last. I have been spinning it for the past week and I plan on a boatload more spins before my bloody and warped corpse pops up: Cause of demise - TMA (Too Much Alice).

Just the song titles of an Alice Cooper album tell you a lot about it. Take a look at the track listing below:
Paranormal
Dead Files

Fireball
Paranoiac Personality 
Fallen in Love
Dynamite Road
Private Public Breakdown
Holy Water
Rats
The Sound of a Genuine American Girl

Piques your interest already, right? Add to that the six live cuts of classic tunes and you've got one terrific package.

And Alice's lyrics never disappoint. Take "Fallen In Love." Sounds like a sweet love song, right? But check out the following lyrics:

“I have fallen in love and I can’t get back up; I was a billion dollar baby in a diamond vest, now I’m a dirty desperado and a steaming mess; She drives me nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof; She's like a deadly cup of poison and I can’t refuse."

Maybe not so sweet.

"Paranormal" is a true Alice Cooper classic. It hits all the right points: creepy as hell, great writing, splendid musicians, production value in the stratosphere and charismatic simplicity. Vintage Alice.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.

"Raise the Dead: Live from Wacken" (UDR; 2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

If you, like me, were lucky enough to catch Alice Cooper on his latest tour, then you're going to want to add this 2-CD, 1-DVD (or Blu-Ray) set to your collection.

"Raise the Dead: Live from Wacken" is just what it's title promises. It's a document of Alice's latest tour, captured live at the legendary Wacken festival in Germany. It's amazing that Alice still rocks this hard after all these years. The man's energy is just boundless. And he's got a terrific supporting band to back him up, making his classic songs (i.e., "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies," "The Ballad of Dwight Fry") sound as fresh and powerful as his new material ("Dirty Diamonds," "Caffeine" and especially "I'll Bite Your Face Off"). And one of the big highlights of the set is Alice's dedication to his "dead, drunk friends" including live covers of songs by The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the Who.

The set list is amazing, the sound quality is near perfect and the DVD or Blu-Ray disc is something to behold, including bonus footage and an interview segment.

There are few live performers who deliver a show as dynamic and as captivating as Alice Cooper even today and "Raise the Dead: Live from Wacken" is proof positive that Alice Cooper is still running strong.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.

"Super Duper Alice Cooper" (Eagle Vision; 2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Super Duper Alice Cooper" is a documentary about the legendary rock band and the star who became its namesake. It's a history lesson, pure and simple, telling the story of the band from their very early origins through the comeback and subsequent iconic status of its lead singer, Mr. Alice Cooper.

The film is full of fascinating, rare photos and video that give the viewer a glimpse of who Vincent Furnier and crew were before they became Alice Cooper. It follows them from their early struggles to make it in the music industry through their huge success with "School's Out," to the split-up that began Alice Cooper's ultra-successful solo career. And it's not afraid to talk about the demons that not only pushed Alice temporarily out of the music business but nearly killed him.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of rare photos and videos here. Some of them very funny (i.e., a very young Alice posing with his bandmates and looking all of 16 years old) and some of them downright terrifying (Alice's appearance on the Tom Snyder Show during his cocaine years is more akin to a guest-starring role on The Walking Dead than a rock star interview).

The film is well-paced and interesting throughout and features "contributions" (according to the box art) from Iggy Pop, Elton John, John Lydon, Dee Snider and more. Alas, there lies one of the disappointments in the film: Many of these "contributions" are no more than audio clips, superimposed over a still photo of the contributor. It would have been nice to have more on-camera interviews and perhaps a little more musical performance.

But these are minor complaints. Fans of Alice Cooper will find this documentary utterly fascinating. I even learned a few new things: How "Alice Cooper" got their name and where Alice's trademark mascara originated. You'll have to watch the documentary to find out but, having been a fan of Alice Cooper since 1976's "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell," I was thrilled there was still more to discover.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.

"Billion Dollar Babies" (Audio Fidelity; 1973/2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I won't bore you with a review of the music contained on this classic album (but, if you'd like, you can read my original review here). Instead, I'll simply tell you about the differences between this release and the original CD release.

First and foremost, this is an SACD release. According to Wikipedia, "the SACD format can offer more channels (e.g. surround sound), and a longer playing time than CD." This is terrific, if you have an SACD player, and many audiophiles do. Artists like Pink Floyd, Sting and Genesis have released music in SACD format, and have sold hundreds of thousands of SACD copies. Although there is some argument as to how much better SACD sounds than CD, most SACD users say there is a discernable difference.

So, Alice Cooper fans with an SACD player will want to add this disc to their collection and, in fact, those without an SACD player may want to add it as well. Not only is it a numbered, limited edition (making it an instant collector's item), the hybrid disc is also playable in standard CD players and comes with a miniature version of the Billion Dollar Bill insert that was included with the original release. It's very cool.

"Billion Dollar Babies" is one of the original Alice Cooper band's best albums, produced brilliantly by the legendary Bob Ezrin, and its amazing production and performance qualities still shine today. This SACD edition has been mastered by Steve Hoffman of Steven Marsh Mastering.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com or http://www.audiofidelity.net.

"Welcome 2 My Nightmare" (UME; 2011)

Reviewed by Snidermann

It's been 36 years since my favorite album of all time, Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare," was released, so you can imagine my excitement as the release date for the sequel, "Welcome 2 My Nightmare," approached. Here's kind of how those last few days went:

Rough Edge Editor R. Scott Bolton texted me, saying he had received a review copy of "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" in his mailbox. I have been waiting not only the past 36 years for this release, but especially the past year. The album was completed about a year ago but has been sitting on the shelf while Alice finished his current tour. Anyway, our text exchange went something like this:

R. Scott Bolton: I have "Welcome 2 My Nightmare."
SniderMann: When can you get it to me?
R. Scott Bolton: I will drop it by in a few.

One hour later, after one spin of the new CD, I sent this message back to Scott:

SniderMann: "W2" is dark, sickly twisted, it may be his best since "The Last Temptation" (1994). Very intricate songwriting combined with the old band (original Alice Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith appear on three tracks and original "Nightmare" producer Bob Ezrin is back at the helm).
R. Scott Bolton: I think it’s the best since "Goes To Hell" (1976).

The next day, I sent Scott this text:
SniderMann: After three spins, this might be Alice’s best release send the original "Nightmare" album and that record is a paragon of rock'n'roll releases.
R. Scott Bolton: It is definitely Alice at his best.

So, after 36 years, Alice Cooper has released a sequel to his monster 1975 hit, "Welcome To My Nightmare." This was a recording that changed my life forever. I was in the 7th grade and the 8th graders used to play records during lunch and a they liked to play "Department of Youth" from the first "Nightmare" album. Well, that was it - I was hooked and hooked in a big way. I saved all my cash and went to buy the album. I wore it out. I bought another one, wore that one out, too. Finally, I was able to keep my third copy from the destruction of the needle. I've owned the original album in every format available: 8-track, cassette tape, CD. The music was sick, twisted, dark, funny, devilish and downright fun. My musical horizon just had the lid blown off it.

But back to the new recording. Three tracks have the original members performing on them: Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith (alas, Glen Buxton, the original guitarist for the band, passed away in 1997." And, right from the beginning, Alice’s dark humor was apparent. On Track One, "I Am Made Of You," Alice revisits Steven from the 1975 recording. After listening to this song only, you knew Alice Cooper and the Nightmare were back and as strong as ever. The songs are demented vistas of hell that only the shock maestro of one Alice Cooper and his entourage of perverse bards can bring to light.

The list of people who helped with this recording is a testament to the effect Alice has had on modern music. Desmond Child and Dick Wagner helped write some of the music. Tommy Denander and Vince Gill (yes that Vince Gill) helped on guitar. Rob Zombie and Ke$ha were guest vocalists.

So, as I write this, I have had "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" in my hands for 29 hours. I have listened to it at least half a dozen times. I am already whistling and singing the tunes throughout the day; they are ingrained in my psyche. It's that kind of record. It's another Alice classic.

All hail Alice Cooper and his merry band of miscreants, for they have brought us a killer album that rivals the original recording. Go forth! Go forth and tell everyone that Alice Cooper is back!

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Along Came a Spider" (SPV; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Along Came a Spider" is a welcome return by the master of macabre concept albums, Alice Cooper. Harkening back to the days of classics like "Welcome to My Nightmare, "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell" and "Billion Dollar Babies," "Along Came a Spider" combines brilliant, theatrical hard rock with a horror movie storyline and succeeds on every level.

"Along Came a Spider" tells the story of a serial killer nick-named "The Spider" because he wraps his victims in silk. The nick-name also applies to The Spider's ultimate plan, which isn't revealed until the final track.

Like Cooper's best concept albums (and I count among them the above-listed as well as "Brutal Planet" and the first half of "Raise Your Fist and Yell"), "Along Came a Spider" tells a complete story about the serial killer and his victims. It explores the killer's psyche and history and it does so with surprising depth and insightfulness. I've often said that Alice Cooper is one of rock's best but unsung lyricists and this CD only makes me believe that more firmly.

Musically, "Along Came a Spider" is nowhere near as heavy as "Brutal Planet" but more modern sounding than "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell" and tighter than "DragonTown." Most of the songs here are hard, mid-tempo rockers but the standard Alice Cooper ballad is here as well. The album is sharply produced and organized perfectly. For best results, listen to this album from beginning to end.

I was a little disappointed with Cooper's last studio album, "Dirty Diamonds," but "Along Came a Spider" has renewed my faith in the man who's been at the top of the rock'n'roll heap for a long, long time and doesn't look like he's going down anytime soon.

Performing on "Along Came a Spider" are: Alice Cooper - vocals; Eric Singer - drums; Chuck Garric - bass; Keri Kelli - guitar; Jason Hook - guitar. Slash also makes a special appearance. 

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Along Came a Spider" SPV; 2008)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper’s "Along Came A Spider" is at once familiar and totally unique. The story is about a serial killer who drapes his victims in a web. 

This CD is told in a way only the true master of over the top heavy music can do. The story starts with a voice announcing that a killer's diary had been located.  Alice brings back a character, Steven, first introduced in the "Welcome to My Nightmare" release in 1975 and later explored on "Hey Stoopid!" from 1991. If you remember anything about the tunes with Steven in them you know that he comes from a very dark and demented place (what fun!). 

The music here is pure Cooper, more than slightly twisted, done with a lot of heart and soul. Of course, I am biased when it comes to Alice Cooper, he has been my favorite performer since I first heard "Welcome To My Nightmare. I must say that "Along Comes a Spider" is the most brilliantly twisted release I have ever heard and I can not get enough of it. 

All hail the king of perverse metal, who once again shows that he is the very best at what he does: make killer fucking music.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" DVD (Shout! Factory; 2005)

Reviewed by Snidermann

and/or 

I've been a hardcore Alice Cooper fan since I first heard the classic "Welcome To My Nightmare" in seventh grade. I have seen Alice Cooper live at least a half dozen times and what a show he delivers. However, one thing I have always regretted is not seeing the original Alice Cooper band -- with Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce, Neal Smith, Glen Buxton and, of course, Alice Cooper -- perform live. 

So when my esteemed editor R. Scott Bolton passed the first time on DVD "Good To See Your Again, Alice Cooper," with its subtitle: "Live 1973: The Billion Dollar Babies Tour," I jumped at the chance to review this DVD. 

More than just concert film, "Good to See You Again" plays a little like "Yellow Submarine" on acid. A bizarre, limp and sometimes unwatchable storyline is linked together with some killer concert footage from that tour. Frankly, you can only take so much of the "story" portion of the film before you're reaching for the fast forward button. The live stage show, however, was pure Alice Cooper, with all the trimmings including guillotines and snakes. Not to mention the amazingly talented Alice Cooper Band. Thankfully, the DVD features the option to watch only the live concert footage and ignore the rest.

"Good To See You, Alice Cooper" is classic rock'n'roll that should be part of every Alice Cooper fan's library. A major highlight here is new audio commentary by Alice himself, offering fascinating insights on what happened back then and what's going on today.

This DVD gets a solid four guitarsaws for the live concert footage and a big zilch for the stupid fucking "movie."

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Dirty Diamonds" (New West Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Snidermann

ORIGINAL REVIEW (2005)

Alice Cooper's new CD, "Dirty Diamonds," is a journey through the mind of the twisted king of shock metal that leaves you scratching your head and saying “What the hell was that?”

And, after three for four spins of this CD, I am still asking the same thing.  

If you were expecting "Billion Dollar Babies," "Hey Stoopid!" "Brutal Planet," or any of the other Alice Cooper classics, you'll be in for a surprise. "Dirty Diamonds" has the stripped down sound of Cooper's own "Da Da" and features even more ballads. In my opinion, the entire CD is way too slow and lacks the usual darkness that has been a staple in Coop's music for more than thirty years.  

The production value here is tighter than most of the recent Cooper releases and that can be both a positive and a negative. The positive being that the CD sounds great and the negative being that it lacks any real imagination or charisma.

I know Alice Cooper is famous for trying new and different ways to express him self musically, but I found "Dirty Diamonds" boring and lackluster at best. I found it extremely difficult to give this recording a low grade because Alice Cooper has been an essential part of my personal music history, but I must follow my heart. "Dirty Diamonds" just doesn't measure up to the usual Alice Cooper material.  

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

REVISED REVIEW (2008)

I am a true blue fan of Alice Cooper, to the core. If I could, I would get his face tattooed on my back but, alas, I cannot.

I usually dig any Alice Cooper release and love it just like I have for the last 25+ years. However, as you can see from my review of his 2005 release "Dirty Diamonds," (above), I really did not care for that recording at all. I thought, oh well, can’t love them all.

Well, after three years I thought I would give it another try and, lo and behold, I discovered that this release fucking rocks and I am man enough to admit I was wrong. "Dirty Diamonds is classic Alice Cooper: Twisted, strange and slightly more off kilter than normal.

Alice paints a strange picture that ranks "Dirty Diamonds," as, maybe not my favorite, but still a great one.

"Brutally Live" DVD/CD Combo (Eagle Vision; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As good as Alice Cooper's studio albums usually are, there's really nothing quite an live Alice Cooper show. The reasons for this are many fold: First, Alice Cooper and his band don't just stand there on stage and play their instruments. They put on a show, a famous show, complete with sexy nurses, hangmen's nooses, guillotines, giant spiders and, of course, big snakes. Second, Alice Cooper always surrounds himself with the best musicians. Alice may be the star, but he's always got an amazing supporting cast.

That's what makes "Brutally Live" such a great two-disc set. First, you get to see Cooper's complete show as it was recorded on July 19, 2000 at Labatt's Apollo in Hammersmith, England. The show was from Cooper's "Brutal Planet" tour, one of his best tours and, in fact, one of his best albums in recent years. The DVD has a glorious look throughout - the images are crisp and clear and the sound is nearly perfect, especially for a live recording. And a special "alternate camera angle" feature on some tracks allows you to choose which angle you're watching the show from. Also included is the music video for the song "Gimme."

The second disc is simply an audio of 80% of the complete show. Like the DVD, it's got a great selection of songs, ranging from the early stuff ("I'm Eighteen," "Under My Wheels") to the rarer material ("It's Hot Tonight," "Caught in a Dream") to the new stuff ("Blow Me a Kiss," "Wicked Young Man"). Also included on both DVD and CD is a great rendition of The Who's "My Generation."

With the exception of five songs cut on the audio version (which still clocks in at nearly 80 minutes), the audio disc is identical to the DVD. This is good because I feel safer on the road with Alice Cooper fans who might be bad drivers listening to "Brutally Live" rather than watching it while they guide their giant SUVs through traffic.

The "Brutally Live" DVD was released last year sans the bonus disc and, if you've already purchased that and you don't care about having the audio disc as well, there's no need to buy this new edition - it contains no other additional material (except, of course, the separate audio CD). But if you haven't picked up the DVD yet, might as well buy the one that comes with a CD, too.

Performing on "Brutally Live" are: Pete Friesen - guitar; Ryan Roxie - guitar; Eric Singer - drums; Greg Smith - bass; Teddy Zigzag - keyboards; Calico Cooper - Whipdancer/The Nurse; The Controller/The Executioner - Pat Nowak.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"The Eyes of Alice Cooper" (Eagle Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

David Bowie may be the first person you think of when you hear the words "rock chameleon," but you should also think of Alice Cooper. From the early days of his career (way back in the late 60s) to today, Alice has always adapted well to the different types of rock that were popular at the time. Consider his experiments in concept albums ("Goes to Hell," "From the Inside"), heavy metal ("Raise Your Fist and Yell," "Brutal Planet"), new wave ("Flush the Fashion"), punk ("Special Forces") - and everything else in between - and you can see that Alice has adapted well to every rock du jour of the past two and a half decades. Impressive.

With "The Eyes of Alice Cooper," Cooper has once again created an album that captures the sound of modern rock. The interesting thing is that modern rock has finally come full circle. Today's popular rock styles are raw, gritty and unflinching. So is this CD ... and so was Cooper's earlier stuff. In fact, as fresh and new as "Eyes" sounds, it also sounds lovingly close to his "Killer" CD from 1972.

With a truly stellar band behind him and some of the best songwriting Cooper's done in years (and that's saying a lot - Cooper's songwriting is always superior), "Eyes" is a collection of high octane rockers and poignant ballads. As I mentioned, Cooper's songwriting is always excellent and the lyrical content of "Eyes" is Cooper at his best. The title of "Between High School and Old School" is clever enough on its own but the song itself could become an anthem for all the aging rockers out there who refuse to stay home Friday nights to watch JAG when there's a good rock'n'roll show in town. "Detroit City" is an ode to the classic rock that spawned from there and, in fact, features the MC5's Wayne Kramer on guitar. "Man of the Hour" is a tune about having it all yet having nothing. There are 13 songs in all and not one of them comes close to being filler.

A lot of credit here also has to go to producer Mudrock (Godsmack, Powerman 5000) who has given Alice new life while at the same time paying due respects to his past.

"The Eyes of Alice Cooper" is one of the year's strongest and most refreshing CDs. Alice Cooper must have guitar strings for veins and a big drum kit for a heart because rock'n'roll is definitely in the man's blood.

Performing on "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" are: Alice Cooper - vocals; Eric Dover - guitars, backing vocals; Ryan Rosie - guitars, backing vocals; Chuck Garric - bass guitar, backing vocals; Eric Singer - drums, backing vocals; Teddy "Zigzag" Andreadis - keyboards, accordion, percussion; Scott Gilman - saxophones, clarinet and other instruments; Calico Cooper - Thermin, backing vocals; Wayne Kramer - additional guitar on "Detroit City."

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"The Eyes of Alice Cooper" (Eagle Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

There are few things in rock that are certain: Ozzfest will roll on; KISS is a big fat zero without Bruce Kulick; Lemmy is still god and Alice Cooper will always make good records. 

If you need proof, just pick up Alice's latest, "The Eyes of Alice Cooper." Stripped down rock'n'roll with Cooper's classic writing style, "Eyes" totally reminds of the Alice Cooper band in the "Killer" days. 

"The Eyes of Alice Cooper" is full of strange, sick, little ditties that Alice has proven himself the master of over the years. Last time I saw Alice perform live was a couple of months ago at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles and he debuted one of the new songs there: "Between High School and Old School" - you can guess what that one is about. 

The lyrics of "Eyes" are innocent on the outside, but really hold many dark secrets. 

Alice once again surrounds himself with the best musicians around and his musical expression is unmatched in today's metal scene. In addition, his ability to match his music with the times makes him (to quote R. Scott Bolton) "a rock'n'roll chameleon. Well, this chameleon has shown his colors again in this exceptionally well-done and tightly knit piece of rock'n'roll. 

As my 14 year old son said, "Now comes the tour," and neither one of us will miss it. Kudos to Alice Cooper and his band for this totally unique musical experience. 

Performing on "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" are: Alice Cooper - vocals; Eric Dover - guitars, backing vocals; Ryan Rosie - guitars, backing vocals; Chuck Garric - bass guitar, backing vocals; Eric Singer - drums, backing vocals; Teddy "Zigzag" Andreadis - keyboards, accordion, percussion; Scott Gilman - saxophones, clarinet and other instruments; Calico Cooper - Thermin, backing vocals; Wayne Kramer - additional guitar on "Detroit City."

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"DragonTown" Special Edition (Spitfire; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

DragonTown is one of those CDs that continues to grow on you the more you listen to it. Not quite as intense or as bombastically brilliant as "Brutal Planet" (which has to rank at the top of Cooper's best releases ever) "DragonTown" plays better now than it did when I first reviewed it upon its initial release (see review below). In fact, in my opinion, some of the songs have become minor classics since then ("Sex, Death and Money," "Disgraceland" "I Just Wanna Be God.")

This two-disc Special Edition, however, drives "DragonTown" up another notch. First, you get the original CD in its entirety - all twelve original tracks. The second disc begins with "Clowns Will Eat Me," a song that appeared on the Japanese pressings of the "Brutal Planet" album. "Clowns Will Eat Me" is a damn good song, too, with very Kinks-ish riffs and very Alice Cooper-ish lyrics. Next are two live songs, both of which are performed with fiery charisma and impressive talent: "Go to Hell" and the true  Cooper classic, "Ballad of Dwight Frye." Track 4 is a remix of "Brutal Planet" that gives it an almost industrial/sci-fi sort of sound. Cool, but not as cool as the original mix.

Rounding out Disc Two are two videos - for "Gimme" and "It's the Little Things," both from "Brutal Planet." Great videos, both of them.

So if you didn't pick up "DragonTown" last time due to lukewarm reviews, pick it up now. This Special Edition really ups the ante and makes it a package well worth the purchase price.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"DragonTown" (Spitfire; 2001)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper's second release in as many years is nothing short of typical, brilliant Alice Cooper. "Dragontown" is full of dark and sinister themes somehow tied together with a common thread (as to what that thread is I have yet determine, but I will keep trying to figure it out). 

"Dragontown" is heavier than most of Cooper's releases, which is a welcome change to most of what is put out as metal music today, and in my opinion is some of his very best work to date. Not only is the music good, the lyrics are deep and thought provoking. "Disgraceland" is a fine example - it's a very cool little ditty about the final years of Elvis Presley that may not be so flattering to the King, but Cooper's point about the lack of support Elvis had in his later years is well-taken. And the song is very funny as well.

The Coop has done it again. I can't wait to see the live show and this time plan on taking my 12 year old-son. It's time to introduce him to the master of all live performers: Alice Cooper. 

"Dragontown" gets 4 chainsaws, but wouldn't have on the first run through. It was a bit slow at first, however, the following spins uncovered discreet layers that prove just how talented a musician Alice Cooper really is.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"DragonTown" (Spitfire; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Unlike his brilliant previous release, "Brutal Planet," Alice Cooper's latest CD, "DragonTown," doesn't grab you the first time through. In fact, though it pains me to say it, I found "DragonTown" pretty boring the first time through. It's over-produced, it's not nearly as clever or as serious as "Brutal Planet," and some of the songs just seem to plod along.

Subsequent spins, however, have unlocked some of the CD's attractions. Only the opening track, "Triggerman," and the biting "Disgraceland" (about the fall of Elvis Presley and featuring Alice's first Elvis impression since "Lace and Whiskey") truly work the first time you hear them. Other tracks, like track 2, "Deeper," improve only slightly upon hearing them again and again. Others, however, truly begin to shine. "Sex, Death and Money," "Fantasy Man," I Just Wanna Be God" and "Much Too Late" are examples that grow quickly on you. The strange strains of the title track also play better once you know what to expect. 

Although my first listen would have generated only a two chainsaw rating for "DragonTown," I think the CD earns three chainsaws now that I've listened to it completely about a half dozen times. It may not be one of Alice's best (although "Brutal Planet" certainly was), but it's still Alice and it still kicks ass. 

Performing on "DragonTown" are: Vocals - Alice Cooper; Guitar - Ryan Roxie, Tim Pierce, Wayne Swinney, Bob Marlette; bass - Bob Marlette, Grey Smith; drums - Kenny Aronoff; keyboards and programming - Sid Riggs, Bob Marlette; String arrangement - Bob Marlette; Backup vocals - Ryan Roxie, Teddy "ZigZag" Andreadis, Eric Dover, Calico Cooper, Giovanna Moraga.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"Mascara & Monsters: The Best of Alice Cooper" (Warner Archives/Rhino; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This single CD set from the fine folk at Warner Archives/Rhino is basically an extended version of Cooper's earlier (much earlier) "Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits." For the most part, the same songs are found herein and then the CD goes beyond, into later years.

With 22 tracks and 76 minutes, there's no way you can say this isn't a great CD. Beginning with "I'm Eighteen" and going all the way through "Poison," much of Cooper's extensive career is represented. And the liner notes by Cooper and Jeffrey Morgan are fascinating as well.

But the bottom line is that "Mascara & Monsters" is really just an slimmed down version of Cooper's box set, "The Life & Crimes of Alice Cooper," a far more extensive and comprehensive history of the rock monster that is Alice Cooper. My advice is that - if you really want to know what Cooper's all about - you go with the box set. The notes are more extensive, there are more photos, and you get four, count 'em, four CDs stuffed with rare tracks. Sure, it costs a little more, but - especially for the Alice Cooper fan - it's worth every penny.

Then again, if you're just interested in the Top 40 stuff, or you're simply a cheap bastard, then look no farther than this CD.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Billion Dollar Babies" Deluxe Edition (Warner Archives/Rhino; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Billion Dollar Babies" is arguably the album that put Alice Cooper on the rock'n'roll map. Loaded with crunchy hooks, sick, funny sick lyrics and the attitude that would keep Alice in the minds of rock audiences for over three decades, "Billion Dollar Babies" remains amazingly fresh and surprisingly effective even today.

This "Deluxe Edition" of the classic album contains a digitally remastered version of the 1973 original. It's a gloriously crisp and true re-release - you've never heard "Billion Dollar Babies" like this before. The dentist drills in "Unfinished Sweet" and the dual vocals in the title song stand out sharper and clearer than ever. 

In addition - and this is perhaps where the Deluxe Edition succeeds most - the newfound sound clarity reminds you that, at this point at least, Alice Cooper was a band. The fretwork of Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce are sharper than ever and the drums and vocals by Neal Smith and Denis Dunaway shine as never before. The re-mastering, which took place under the watchful ear of the album's original producer, Bob Ezrin, is an outstanding success.

But you get more than just a re-mastering of he original album here. A second disc is also included, containing 11 live performances from 1973 (again, when Alice Cooper was a band) and three outtakes/demos (an outtake of "Generation Landslide" entitled "Son of Billion Dollar Babies" and two demos of basically the same tune, "Coal Black Model T" and "Slick Black Limousine." Again, the sound quality of Disc 2 is simply amazing.

Finally, Warner/Rhino have gone to pains to re-create the original album's Grammy Award-nominated packaging. The CD digipack is the album's original snakeskin wallet and it opens to a folded billion dollar bill (simply printed here, unlike the original packaging in which the bill was separate) and a set of wallet photos that you can remove and do with as you like (just like the original). In addition, a 24-page booklet with lyrics, photos and liner notes from Rhino A&R VP David Lees and New Times writer Brian Smith.

"Billion Dollar Babies" is a spectacular tribute to one of rock's true showmen and legendary talents. Here's to hoping Warner/Rhino put more of these babies together.

For more information, please visit http://www.alicecooper.com or http://www.rhinorecords.com

"Brutal Planet" (Spitfire; 2000)

Reviewed by Snidermann

If you want an unbiased, uninformed opinion of Alice Cooper's new release, "Brutal Planet," you won’t get it here. If that's what you're looking for, go to the rags - like Entertainment Weekly or People. They'll probably trash "Brutal Planet" ('trash.' get it?) because their snobby "music critics" just don’t understand!! 

"Brutal Planet" is simply dark, simply twisted, simply poignant and simply - Alice Cooper. Alice pokes sarcasm at quite a few things on this new release, including racism, work place burn out, gluttony, greed, wife abuse and a few more that I haven't quite figured out yet.

I really enjoyed this in-your-face release with its off center view of life in the world of today. I can relate to what Alice says in this recording and appreciate the dark humor he uses. 

A few notes of interest: Bob Ezrin is the Executive Producer of "Brutal Planet" (Ezrin has been long associated with Alice, working such classic Cooper albums as "Welcome To My Nightmare" and others). Former KISS drummer Eric Singer is on drums and Brian Nelson, Alice's Assistant, shares a writing credit with Alice on the song, "Pessi-mystic." China, Phil X and Ryan Roxie are on guitars;  Bob Marlette is on rhythm and bass guitars and keyboards. Marlette also did a superb job producing this CD.

This is Alice Cooper’s first release of new music since 1994 and he has done it again with the same flare and style that we have all come to except from rock'n'roll's morbid maestro. "Brutal Planet" rocks, just like I knew it would. Even after thirty some odd years, Alice Cooper can put forth thought- provoking, important music. Can't wait for the tour!

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Brutal Planet" (Spitfire; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Brutal Planet" is Alice Cooper at his best. It's a hard-rocking, clever-lyricked monster of a CD that combines Cooper's classic style with a modern hard rock beat.

No, we're not talking about nu-metal here. Thankfully, Alice doesn't give rap a try. Instead, he gives us that legendary voice, dripping with venom and sarcasm, as he sails into nearly a dozen songs about life here on this "Brutal Planet."

If you read our news section, hopefully you've already gone over to the Spitfire Records website and downloaded the free "Brutal Planet" MP3 there. If you've heard the "Brutal Planet" track, you'll get an pretty good idea of what "Brutal Planet" the album is all about.

"Brutal Planet" is dark but it isn't desolate. It's a Todd McFarlane comic book of a CD; it looks and sounds gloomy but there are lessons to be learned herein. Important lessons that Cooper delivers with the utmost subtlety. A fine example is "Wicked Young Man":

"I like to run my body on heavy heavy fuel
I can punch thru a wall, kick like a mule
I got a pocketful of bullets and a blueprint of the school
I'm the devil's little soldier; I'm the devil's little tool
I am a vicious young man
I am a wicked young man
It's not the games that I play
The movies I see
The music I dig
I'm just a wicked young man."

And "Wicked Young Man" isn't the only place that Cooper discusses issues of importance. "Sanctuary" is about the slow death of the 9 to 5 world; "Blow Me a Kiss" is about hatred because of one's differences; "Eat Some More" is about the obscenity of a wasting food when millions are starving; "Take It Like a Woman" decries spousal abuse and "Cold Machines" is about the loss of the human soul in this age of technology.

It's great, heartfelt stuff and - with terrific songwriting and musicianship backing it up - it's a hell of a CD. I see a Grammy nomination in Alice's future.

But fans of Alice's light-hearted material need not fret. There's some fun stuff here, too. "It's the Little Things" has a verse that says it all: "You can burn my house; You can cut my hair; You can make me wrestle naked with a grizzly bear; You can poison my cat, baby, I don't care. But if you talk in the movies, I'll kill you right there."

There isn't a bad song on "Brutal Planet," although "Pessi-mystic," which Alice wrote with his longtime assistant Brian Nelson (aka "Renfield) and producer Bob Marlette, comes close. The song itself isn't bad but it's repetitious chorus of "Shut up, shut up, shut up" grates quickly on the nerves.

"Brutal Planet" is a great Alice Cooper album and great rock'n'roll. Alice isn't a legend for nothing and this album - some thirty years after he first put on the makeup - proves it.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper" (WEA/Rhino; 1999)

Reviewed by Snidermann

This terrific box set contains 81 songs and 280+ minutes of Alice's old stuff, Alice's new stuff and everything in between. The songs play like an autobiography of rock's master showman. It's all here: the strange, the twisted, the bizarre and the macabre. All are represented on this wonderfully sick collection of classic Cooper tunes. 

This four CD set puts the legendary career of Alice Cooper (the band) and Alice Cooper (the individual) in perspective. It contains not only all the Cooper classics we've grown to love over the years ("School's Out," "Welcome to My Nightmare"); it also contains rare recordings by Alice's early bands: Spider and Nazz. In addition, there are rare studio and single versions of songs that only the darkest Alice fans knew existed (like me!).

Another aspect of "Life and Crimes" that I find fascinating is the way each song showcases a different aspect of Alice Cooper’s dark, twisted personality and his long-running and legendary career. The first time I listened to this CD, I listened to it from beginning to end, in order, and it was like an audio biography, allowing me to see Alice Cooper come to life before my ears. 

I have been an Alice Cooper fan for over 25 years and I truly believe that nobody - and I mean nobody - does it better for as long as Alice Cooper's been doing it. Today, thirty years after Vince Furnier and a few of his friends began playing rock'n'roll, Alice Cooper has changed the face of rock'n'roll forever. For the better, I might add. 

"I love a loud guitar; I got one tattooed on my chest!"

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"The Last Temptation" (Sony; 1994)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Dark and foreboding, "The Last Temptation" is done to perfection by the macabre master/showman himself, Alice Cooper. 

Conceived by Cooper and comic writer/novelist Neil Gaiman (who also created "The Sandman") "The Last Temptation" tells the story of a young, bored, young man who makes a deal with the devil. That may sound clichéd but it goes much deeper than that and the presentation is totally unique. Gaiman and Cooper are both artists whose talent transcends their particular art forms and "The Last Temptation" is an impressive collaboration. A series of comics was released in tandem with this release and the comics and this CD each enhance the other.

Cooper's legendary status and his musical genius leads him to consistently surround himself with world class musicians. He uses not only their instrumental talent, but embraces their songwriting ability to enhance each recording. "The Last Temptation" is a fine example of that, featuring songs that were written to be pieces of a whole rather than radio hits. For example, Chris Cornell co-wrote two of the songs of this CD with Alice and his participation is apparent. (Cornell also lends his voice to one track). 

What sets Alice Cooper's "The Last Temptation" aside from other artists' work is Cooper's continuing attention to production value, exceptional musicianship and spirited and involving songs. "The Last Temptation" is a phenomenal collection - one that too few people have embraced. When seen in the overall picture of Cooper's career, "The Last Temptation" was the right album at the right time. If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favor and search it out. 

Performing on "The Last Temptation" are: Alice Cooper - vocals; Stef Burns - guitar/vocals; Greg Smith - bass/vocals; Derek Sherinian - keyboard/vocals; David Vosikkinen - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Hey, Stoopid" (Epic; 1991)

Reviewed by Snidermann

All hardcore Coop fans know that "Hey, Stoopid" is one bitchin' recording. To everyone else: listen up. 

As with most Alice Cooper albums, the seemingly simple lyrics are loaded with social commentary and wit. Most of the themes are familiar to everyday life: being true to your self, heartbreak, drug abuse, sex and insanity. However, Alice adds his own special brand of sickness to "Stoopid" that is totally (and only) Alice. 

The list of guest appearances on this CD reads like a Who's Who of hard rock: Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Satriani, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Slash and Steve Vai all lend their incredible talent to this CD. A noteworthy guitar duet between Steve Vai and Joe Satriani on "Feed My Frankenstein" matches both players "talking" with their guitars and, in my opinion, that's enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! 

The songs herein are dark and strictly Alice and, once again, Cooper revisits Steven (from "Welcome To My Nightmare"). In Alice's own words, "That is not a nice place." For people not in the know, Steven is a character that Alice created about a mentally disturbed young man in an insane asylum. In my opinion, Steven hasn't healed much since "Nightmare." In fact, he seems to have gotten worse. 

An extraordinary CD from an extraordinary artist. Alice Cooper, despite his legendary status, doesn't get the credit he deserves as far as the impact he has had on rock'n'roll.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Raise Your Fist and Yell" (MCA; 1987)

Reviewed by Snidermann

The Coop's 1987 "Raise Your Fist And Yell" classic Alice Cooper even though many fans have never heard of it. Staring out with the patriotic "Freedom" Coop shows that he hasn't lost his touch at writing anthems like the classics "Schools Out" and "Elected." 

"Raise Your Fist" is one sick little ditty after another, with several linking tracks telling the tale of a serial killer, that any true Cooper fan would recognize as a sort of "mini" concept album. Fuck the critics that didn't like this release because it simply rules! 

"Raise Your Fist" is stripped down musically with just Alice, a guitar, bass and drums and you don't really need anything more in my book! 

This is one of Cooper's best releases of all time, but, of course, I think they are all fucking brilliant. (Editor's note: I think this is probably Cooper's most underrated record, too). 

Alice Cooper fans who may not have heard of "Raise Your Fist And Yell," by all means, pick this one up!

Performing on "Raise Your Fist and Yell" are: Kane Roberts - guitar (if you have every seen Kane, his is one big fuck who simply shreds!), Kip Winger - bass (yes, the same Kip Winger from Winger, Ken Mary - drums, Paul Horowitz - keyboards and, of course, Alice Cooper on vocals. 

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"Da Da" (Warner Bros.; 1982)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper's "Da Da" may be one of the rocker's more little known titles, but it still features Alice's signature twisted style. 

"Da Da" is full of sick, dark and macabre tunes and - even though none of them are particularly notable (except to true Coop fan) - they all show another side of Alice Cooper's genius that should be experienced. 

As a long time Alice Cooper fan, I searched everywhere for this CD. Finally, I found it on the Internet where I discovered it was only available as an import. Rough Edge Editor R. Scott Bolton told me that it was worth the extra money and he was not wrong. "Da Da" showcases Alice Cooper's superior storytelling ability and his uncanny insight into the macabre that is still going strong even today. 

The legendary Bob Ezrin (KISS, Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction among others) produced this very strange and truly magnificent release. The CD's production is far and above anything released at the time and it still shines today. Not only does this CD fucking rock (just like virtually any other Alice Cooper recording) "Da Da" shows Cooper's outstanding ability to get into the head of the average, everyday American. 

Da Da rocks and for any Coop fan out there that has not heard this CD, I strongly recommend you add it to your collection.

Performing on "Da Da" are: Alice Cooper - vocals; Dick Wagner - guitar, bass and vocals; Graham Shaw - vocals; Bob Ezrin -  drums, keys and vocals. 

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Flush the Fashion" (Warner Bros.; 1980)

Reviewed by Snidermann

The 1980 Alice Cooper release of "Flush The Fashion" is typical Coop. It is full of strange ditties, dark and warped images, just what you would expect from an Alice Cooper release. Unfortunately, the release did little or nothing on the charts and did not spawn a single. Still, to a true Alice fan, it is priceless in its simplicity and pure form. 

A highlight is here is the track, "Clones," which not only deals with cloning, but with the feelings of the clones and the status of the world at the time cloning is possible. Also, Alice puts a personal face to the pain, and lets the listener deal with the emotions. Being a troubled child is a major topic with "Flush The Fashion" as well.

This may not be one of Cooper's best received recordings, but it is vital in the evolution of Alice Cooper and to rock'n'roll in general. To those of you Alice Cooper fans who have forgotten this release, dust it off and play it again or go to your favorite CD store and pick up a (probably used) copy of this killer album.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"From the Inside" (Warner Bros.; 1978)

Reviewed by Snidermann

After 10 years of heavy alcohol abuse, Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Furnier) finally confronted his alcoholism head on and decided he had to get himself clean or die. Since alcohol treatment centers did not exist back then as they do today, Alice did the next best thing for his health and his family: he checked into a mental hospital to dry out. After his release, a clean and sober Alice finished his rehabilitation by writing an album that chronicled his experiences in the hospital and the people he met there. 

"From The Inside" was originally released in 1978 and features songs co-written by Alice's friend and longtime Elton John collaborator, Bernie Taupin. Together, Cooper and Taupin, arguably two of the best rock lyricists in the business, painted a musical tale of life "from the inside." This release is Alice's best. It is full of extremely colorful characters and their equally colorful stories. (Interestingly, Alice once told an interviewer that he had to be careful not to use any real names; some of the folks he wrote about were so messed up, he feared retribution should they be released!)

"From the Inside" is unlike any other Alice CD before or since. It is a deeply personal and honest work and, I like to think, helped Alice finally recover from his addiction. Most of the songs herein are about some truly troubled people who I would rather not meet, but, regardless, each has some fascinating stories non the least. 

Any Alice Cooper fan not familiar with this album should check it out soonest. Any non-Cooper fan could do worse than start out here. It's Alice at his personal and most vulnerable best. An album that truly came from the heart.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

"Welcome to My Nightmare" (Atlantic; 1975 / 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I can't say much more about his legendary Alice Cooper classic than Snidermann said about the original CD release below. Here, "Welcome to My Nightmare" gets the re-master treatment with results that are as subtle as they are brilliant. Listening to this version of "Welcome to My Nightmare" is like going from a standard TV set to an HD set -- the essence is still the same but everything seems so much clearer and brighter. The stereo separation is much more apparent and every song sounds fresher, newer, than on the original CD release. Congratulations to the re-master team for making a true classic sound much better without destroying its original tone.

Also included are three bonus tracks, all taken from the rather bizarre ABC-TV special, "The Nightmare," originally broadcast in 1975. These are alternative takes on "Devil's Food," "Cold Ethyl" and "The Awakening," all of which sound light years better than they did on the original special (which, admittedly, I have only seen on VHS cassette) and are different enough from the original recordings to warrant a listen. Is this "Nightmare" the better for the bonus tracks? Not necessarily, but that are interesting to listen to.

If you've never added this record to your collection, I would suggest adding this edition to your CD library. Alice Cooper fans will want to go with this near perfect re-master as well.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"Welcome to My Nightmare" (Atlantic; 1975)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper’s "Welcome To My Nightmare" was released on Atlantic Recording Corporation in 1975. This was Cooper's first musical endeavor without the boyhood friends he had recorded previous records with. Cooper was ready to expand his stage show to include more, larger theatrics and overall bigger stage shows. However, the band thought the show was too large already and should be scaled back. The Alice Cooper band disbanded and each member went on to pursue their individual music careers.

Vincent Furnier took his stage persona of Alice Cooper and what he did with the character is nothing less than rock'n'roll history.

Every track on this classic album belongs in a hard rock Hall of Fame. Those tracks include the title cut, "Devil's Food" (narrated by the late Vincent Price as the curator), "The Black Widow," "Some Folks," "Only Women Bleed" (Cooper's bit hit about spousal abuse), "Department Of Youth," "Cold Ethyl" (a lovely ditty about necrophilia), "Years Ago," "Steven" (a visit into the mind of an insane man), "The Awakening," and, finally,  "Escape."

Bob Ezrin - who went on to fame with other bands such as Pink Floyd and KISS, produced this masterpiece and he had a major influence in the modern conception of what Alice Cooper is today.

The strange and twisted musical content of "Nightmare" is as relevant today as it was in 1975. Easily my favorite album of all time and arguably on of the best ever recorded, it isn't fair to rate such a classic. But, we've got a system, so I'll glad brand this one with the max.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"Muscle of Love" (Warner Bros.; 1973)

Reviewed by Snidermann

"Muscle Of Love" is the inauspicious last CD featuring the entire original Alice Cooper band. It's good, solid rock'n'roll, but it lacks the power and force of previous albums like " Killer," " School's Out" or " Billion Dollar Babies." 

The music is true to the Alice Cooper band form and style, but the internal conflict going on at the time is apparent in the music here. This release has some classic, rarely heard tunes (" Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)" and " Teenage Lament '74." I think I understand what the band was trying to do here, but I don't think many casual fans would or would be encouraged to take the time to explore. 

"Muscle of Love" was a departure from the usual Alice Cooper release and, even when I first heard it, I thought it was total crap. But after listening to it many, many times over the years, I've really come to like it. 

This was the last time that the classic Alice Cooper lineup of Dennis Dunaway on bass, Neal Smith on drums, Michael Bruce on  guitar, Glen Buxton on guitar and Alice Cooper on vocals got together to put record a release. Too bad. Together, they were an awesome band. Maybe what's left of the old gang should get together one of these days and record a new CD. What the hell, sounds good to me.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com

"School's Out" (Warner Bros.; 1972)

Reviewed by Snidermann

In 1972, the Alice Cooper band released "School's Out." The title song became a Top Ten smash. It was and continues to be an anthem for kids throughout the world as a song to be played giddily loud on that wonderful day - the last day of school. 

Of course, "School's Out" isn't the only good song on the album, not by a long shot. The tunes are typical Cooper-ditties about life after high school and the changing face of friendship. In my opinion, this is the Alice Cooper band's best release, musically, of them all. Each song explores a distorted view of life in middle America that is brilliant in its simplicity, but still rocks like the devil. 

Four guys from high school (Vincent Furnier, Neil Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce), combined with producer Bob Ezrin to record this rock'n'roll classic. Musical magic not to be outdone by anyone, anytime, period.

For more information, check out http://www.alicecooper.com.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright © 2017 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 Sep 2017 02:01:04 -0400.