Posts Tagged ‘Alice Cooper’

The Freedom of Music: Your A Riot Alice

May 29th, 2011


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

The headline in yesterdays entertainment section said, “Alice Cooper cancels first concert in 30 years.” sidebar-7

Hmmm… Alice Cooper…cancelled concert… 30 years ago… it all sounds so familiar, as if it’s there somewhere in the memory bank just waiting. Alice Cooper…cancelled… 30 years… 1980…

Ah yes!

The headlines on August 20, 1980 read, “Alice Cooper cancels concert, fans riot.” The concert was at the CNE Grandstand, and I was underneath the stream of folding chairs that told the world, riot on. At 17, they were the best concert seats I ever had at that stage of my life: sixth row floors, slightly stage right. For a guy like Alice Cooper, who does so much in a show, it would be great to be that close to the action.

At the approximate starting time, local band Zon came on, and did the usual opening act thing, that is to say they were completely ignored for about half-an-hour. The truth is, we had no idea it was Zon playing, a band who’s album, Astral Projection, got played late in the night at parties. (Side note: Christmas Eve a few years later at a girlfriends house, I talked about the Alice Cooper riot of 1981 with the mother of Zon bassist Jim Samson).

Zon left the stage and the roadies took over, changing the equipment out. Drums were moved into place, props set up, guitars put on stands and microphone’s check, checked. Everything was ready, the pump was primed, the crowd cheered every time some roadie triple checked that the snare drum was just so. Surely it would be any minute now, any second even.

Watching news reports from the day now, I’m struck by a number of things: how primitive CNE stadium really was, how skinny we were, and that the decision was made at 10:00PM that Alice Cooper couldn’t go on. About 90 minutes after Zon left the stage, and hour after the last roadie tweaked the last bit of gear, and Alice Cooper was just then deciding it wasn’t going to happen.

They announced from the stage, long after the crowd had lost patience, that Alice Cooper would not be performing. Zon, however, would be happy to come back on and play some more songs for you, said Cooper’s lead guitarist (Dick Wagner?), who had the unenviable duty of ducking the first chairs to start flying.

If you see footage, and want to know where I was, I was under the flying chairs. My best ever concert seats suddenly turned into the worst ever concert seats. They were about to get worse.

Here’s what none of the reports from the time mention. The police arrived on horseback, entered the floor area of the stadium at one end, and slowly forced the crowd through one open gate at the other end. We went form ducking chairs to trying desperately not to fall and get trampled.

How bad were things? Here’s a line from a news report at the time:

…they tore out 200 seats welded to steel posts and bolted to concrete.

It’s possible PCP was involved but none the less, 200 seats welded to steel posts ripped out.

I stumbled home that night in a drizzling rain, mascara running down my face (we had done the whole black eyes schtick). Within’ days t-shirts would pop up: “Your a Riot Alice” and “I Survived the Alice Cooper Riot of 1981,” being the ones I remember. I never bought one, having actually survived folding chairs flying over my head, I didn’t need the t-shirt. I was just glad to be alive, and what else can you ask of rock and roll?

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Cool For Cats Friday: The No More Mr. Nice Guy Election

March 25th, 2011

Will they, or won’t they? It’s the question on the lips of political junkies and shut-ins from sea to sea to sea. Will the opposition vote non-confidence in the Harper Government, or will the electorate have to wait until 2012 to punish Stephen Harper by eviscerating Michael Ignatieff?

Either way, Harper should bring a band on the campaign trail, and sing a few numbers. Here’s a couple of suggestions. First, one to show he’s serious about winning.

Then to show he has a sense of humour:

I think full make-up and snake around his neck would also be a nice touch. I’ll tell you one thing, he’d lock up my vote.

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The Freedom of Music: Alice’s Nightmare

March 6th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Welcome to my Nightmare was Alice Cooper’s best, and most successful album. Leaving his original band amid ego-fighting, he hooked up with producer Bob Ezrin, and wrote Nightmare. They hired top notch musicians, and recorded Cooper’s masterpiece of rock theatre.sidebar-3

He followed it up with a massive tour that re-enacted the album on stage, adding in some old Cooper gems like Billion Dollar Babies, Hello Hooray and Schools Out. The show featured a big bed in the middle of the stage, around which Cooper danced with a rag doll in Cold Ethel, with cane carrying skeletons in top hat to Some Folks and put the theatre in “masterpiece of rock theatre.”

Once the tour was done, Cooper released a film of the show, and all us 14 year olds who didn’t get to the tour dutifully took ourselves off to the local cinema, where for four weeks we could spend a Saturday afternoon experiencing the tour on a twenty foot screen and “super-dolby all about the place loud,” sound system.

There was a time in the mid 70’s when these concert movies were moderately popular, and the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Band and the Faces released them. Once the theatrical release was over, however, there wasn’t much place to show the movie, and they went away. Then the 80’s came around, and TV execs figured music could sell on their medium. These old concert movies got picked up and carried a stable of them that they showed weekly, cycling through a bunch of movies such that, locally, CITY TV showed Welcome to my Nightmare two or three times a year. After going from theatre, to a regular TV rotation, Welcome to my Nightmare disappeared.

In a musical environment in which every tour ends up on DVD, every artists has too many concert videos and every old video is available and easily accessible, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare has been noticeably absent form my local HMV video section. Oh it’s been released, last time almost ten years ago. Never mind that in the last ten years The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and The Complete Beatles Ed Sullivan Shows has been released. Never mind every concert ever recorded to any form of video has found it’s way to the home DVD market, even ten years ago when it was out, I never saw Welcome to my Nightmare on the DVD store shelves.

Once all these concert movies, and more, made it to video, then DVD and Blue Ray, it got buried. And it and world where there half a dozen new concert movies every week, that’s passing strange. Perhaps the new Welcome to my Nightmare tour will be released on DVD.

Sorry, that’s the new Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour, as in Welcome to my Nightmare, the sequel. Alice got together with Bob Ezrin and decided to do Welcome to my Nightmare 2. They have recorded and the record is apparently in the can. A fall release is being discussed, and a large Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour is planned. The tour promises to once again be theatrical, hopefully pulling the giant spider and dancing skeletons out of Alice’s closet.

And when the tour is wrapped and put back away, it’s not hard to imagine a DVD release. Maybe then the Welcome to my Nightmare movie will get some of the respect it deserves.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: Like A Rockstar Edition

January 29th, 2011
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorLast year Bob Seger suggested on a Detroit radio show that a fall tour was in the works. The fall shows never happened, apparently because Seger put the kibosh on them at the last minute. This year he surprised his people by telling them, reschedule for the spring.

Seger will be hitting select venues in select cities with the Silver Bullet Band, working 30 – 40 dates around drummer Don Brewer’s schedule. Reportedly he will be playing classic Bob Seger music as well as songs from a new, unreleased, unfinished album.

fluffincolorWhen Bob Seger hit’s the stage, he should take to heart the warning that Jimmy Buffet provides: Buffet was unconscious for ten minutes and spent a couple of days in hospital after falling off the stage in Sydney Australia this week.

Buffet stepped to the front of the stage at the Hordern Pavilion and misjudged where the stage ended, falling 30 feet to the concrete floor below. No word on whether the little birdies circling Buffets head were flying clockwise or anti-clockwise

fluffincolorRock star rumble: In an article in Rolling Stone a few weeks ago, Robert Plant, justifying his choice to make mediocre adult contemporary instead of reuniting with his old mates, Led Zeppelin, said:

There’s nothing worse than a bunch of jaded old farts, people who have written their story… I don’t deal in that, and I don’t deal in people who deal in that.

Who could he be calling out here? I’m sure we could all think of a few names, but Alice Cooper wouldn’t have been one.

None the less, step right up, Alice Cooper:

Jimmy Page wants to do it. John Paul Jones wants to do it. And they got Bonham’s son, who is a killer drummer. All they need is Robert Plant. But what is Robert Plant out there doing? Playing folk music! What is he doing?

Careful Robert, he’s got a snake.

fluffincolorMotley Crue singer Vince Neil was sentenced to 15 days house arrest Wednesday after pleading guilty to DUI. He was arrested for driving his Lamborghini 60MPH in a 40 zone in Los Vegas last June, and found to be over the legal alcohol limit. And Wednesday was a good day for Neil this week.

By Friday, reports had surfaced that Neil is being investigated for up to $1Million tax evasion.

Tax evasion is no 60 in a 40 zone, as Wesley Snipes can testify.

fluffincolorNot a rock star, but Charlie Sheen think he is one. This week Sheen went on yet another bender, this one ending with TV’s highest paid actor in the hospital. Very Rock Star.

His hospital stay is being reported as a hernia, which is, alas, very not rock star. Sorry Charlie.

fluffincolorShe may not be a rock star, but she plays the daughter of one on TV. And now, for the second year running, Miley Cyrus is listed as AOL’s’s “worst celebrity influence.”

See Charlie, that’s how Rock Stars do it.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The “I Really Thought It Would Last” Edition

December 18th, 2010
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorHottie Scarlett Johannson has split from hunky Ryan Reynolds after two years of wedded bliss:

After long and careful consideration on both our parts, we’ve decided to end our marriage.


Wouldn’t it have been better if they had given “long and careful consideration,” before they got married? And wouldn’t it have been more honest if the announcement had said, “We’ve both decided we can’t continue to live with someone prettier than me.” ?

fluffincolorBrother and Sister in TV life, ex-husband and wife off TV. In a marriage that was so creepy for no good reason, Dexter siblings Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter have split.

They have been, reports indicate, “separated for some time.”

fluffincolorHaving missed the last few weeks, here is some stories worth noting:

  • Miley Cyrus caught on video smoking from a bong: Hammered Montana: Non-Stop Dank Party
  • Wesley Snipes surrenders to authorities to begin his three year prison term for income tax evasion: how the world is better after this Federal Snipe hunt I‘m still not sure.
  • Willie Nelson pot bust in Texas: who ever imagined if you cross Hannah Montana with Wesley Snipes, you’d get Willie Nelson?

fluffincolorWe used to have a saying in our youthful, less delicate days of yore: wouldn’t f#@& her with your

fluffincolorFrom the “perhaps we can just forgo the whole horseman drama and go straight to separating the sinners and the faithful,” department:

If Mariah Carey is pregnant is a sign of the apocalypse, what is Mariah Carey is expecting twins a sign of? Surely not just that the IQ of the Carey/Cannon household will soon approach triple digits?

And hey, who’s that guy with the beard and sandals?

fluffincolorThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced it’s 2011 inductees…

Ladies and Gentlemen, the cream of rock and roll music, class of 2011:

  • Neil Diamond
  • Tom Waits
  • Alice Cooper
  • Darlene Love
  • Dr. John

Leon Russell will also be given the award formerly known as the sideman (now called, boringly, the award for musical excellence).

Alice Cooper is a definite, Dr. John and Tom Waits OK, but in the most liberal definitions of rock and roll, how does Neil Diamond get inducted? And who is Darlene Love? If a music geek like me has never heard of her, should she really be in a hall of fame?

fluffincolorBlake Edwards (1922-2010) – Highlights’ of a life well lived:

Blake Edwards was married to Julie Andrews and was played by John Lithgow on film. He script wrote on Orson Welles infamous The War of the Worlds and created the Peter Gunn series. He had his hand in Victor Victoria, The Party and The Day of Wine and Roses. He is responsible for The Pink Panther series of movies.

For all the above, and so much more that Blake Edwards accomplished, there is still one achievement that, to my mind, is the feather in Edwards career cap. Edwards directed Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of the best movies ever.

Edwards died this week, with his wife and children by his side, of complications of pneumonia in Santa Monica. He was 88.

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