Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Listen Baby, you really wouldn't understand

He was born Vincent Furnier in Allen Park, Michigan in 1948, a year before my dad. Today, he's hard core, right wing, conservative, golf fanatic who doesn't drink and is faithful to his wife. But 40 years ago, he took the name of a 17th century witch, Alice Cooper, drank and drugged to unbelievable excess, put on horror makeup, tattered women's clothes, cavorted with pythons, guillotines, and blood; and changed rock and roll.

Today, Alice Cooper, the creator of shock rock, and forefather of Heavy Metal and glam rock, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. For anyone who likes rock music, it's about time it happened. Cooper started out in Michigan in basic rock bands, emulating the Beatles. Wanting to be a rock star and n0thing else, he got creative. Once he and his band mates settlesd on his androgynous name and wild make up, they chose a musical style that had not been tried successfully. Most rock stars were heroes, Alice Cooper was the villain. Alice and his band met legendary musician and producer Frank Zappa, who hooked them up with the underrated all female band, The GTOs. Those girls, which included infamous rock groupie Pamela Des Barres, played with the Alice Cooper band's image and the macabre, shock rockers were born.

I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame once, in 1996. I spent about 5 hours there, saw maybe half the place, and left somewhat unfulfilled, and definitely confused. the best exhibits were from the 1970s, featuring acts that either not inducted or were inducted recently. Pioneering groups like Alice Cooper, T.Rex, the NY Dolls, Motorhead, and Kiss are all featured but not as inductees. What's the point? Having a Hall is ridiculous anyway. My wife's favorite group is New Kids On The Block. Those guys should have pay double for tickets to even get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as customers. Bon Jovi, in my opinion, the biggest hacks in rock history other than Journey, were denied entry this year, yet in my twitter timeline, there are plenty of lame, I mean misguided people who like them.

Since there is a Hall of Fame, I will say, that Alice Cooper makes a great honoree. He created a genre. He influenced many bands. Most of all, he never took himself too seriously that you wanted to disregard him. His music is really good, especially his first 3 albums. I first saw Alice when I was about 8 years old. After my parents went to bed, I snuck a look at latenight tv, and caught Alice Cooper's act. I was enthralled. I became a fan young. His signature song, School's Out, is played by kids my teenaged daughter's age. Tom Waits and Neil Diamond made it into the Hall this year. Waits, while great, is too serious and depressing to blog about and Neil Diamond gets plenty of publicity. I thought it was a good time to talk about why the singer's name is Alice. The next line is the title of this blog post. Enjoy some more Alice...the telephone is ringing:


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