Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Alice Cooper, ‘I Love the Dead’

I could have filled the spooktober list with Alice Cooper songs. It seemed more fair for the sake of this list to limit each artist to a single track. And this one is a ghoul-tide gem, from the opening verse, “I love the dead before they’re cold from the album Billion Dollar Babies 1971. Their bluing flesh for me to hold. Cadaver eyes upon me see … ” Pause. “Nothing.” Other lines that make this song the greatest Halloween track ever? “I never even knew your now-rotting face.” “While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave, I have other uses for you, darling.” And the sing-along chorus is genius.

Alice Cooper lived up to his shock-rocker rep with this a darkly humorous track about necrophilia. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Cooper expresses his fascination and sexual attraction for fresh corpses – a pretty risky and taboo subject to take on in song, even by today’s standards. And as disturbing as the subject matter is, the track boasts some great playing by the Alice Cooper band. All of the members acquit themselves here, displaying their considerable chops as musicians.

During his Billion Dollar Babies tour, Cooper would simulate sex with a mannequin while performing this song. He would also stage a mock beheading of himself during the song.

On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 9/29/2021, Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley combined forces and delivered a thrilling display of hard rocking, theatrical entertainment at the newly constructed TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park in Indianapolis, IN.

This facility improved on what was already a good thing; providing state of the art sound and lights with upgraded seating options that ensure great visibility from virtually any seat in the pavilion or on the lawn.

Ace Frehley got right down to business, playing a tight set loaded with Kiss classics and a handful of his best solo material. Frehley will never be regarded as one of the best vocalists around, but he still plays guitar with his own unmistakable style and tone. His band featured two additional guitarists (one of them contributing some good lead vocals), a bass player who also took on some lead vocal spots, and a drummer who kept things solid and exciting. I hadn’t seen Ace since Kiss’s reunion tour in 1996, and it was nice to hear him leading a band, along with some funny between songs chatter.
I have now seen Alice Cooper somewhere around a dozen times dating back to 1978 and have written so many reviews of his shows that I doubt I have much new information to add. I believe that the extended time off really did wonders for the man’s vocal chords and overall stamina, though.

Cooper and his supremely gifted band had been touring relentlessly for the past several years (I saw him twice in 2019), and on this night his voice carried more power and clarity than I had heard from him since 2016. The haunted castle set remained the same, but a few songs were added, including a brilliant reading of the Velvet Underground’s Rock And Roll. All the familiar theatrics (the giant-sized Billion Dollar Baby and Frankenstein monster, the straight jacket, the dead baby serenade and consequent beheading by Guillotine) were in place and remain such well loved and well executed aspects of Alice’s performance, that we practically experience them like they’re brand new every time we see them. Of course the band got a block of songs to shine on, and shine they did.

The larger stage, sound, and lights of the new facility elevated all that immense talent to produce one of the top 3 performances I’ve ever witnessed from one of my all time favorite artists…as I’m quite sure I’ve said many times before, “Long Live The Coop!”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

In true hard rock fashion, the lyrics contain crude sexual metaphors that leave little to the imagination. A sampling: “Let me drink the wine from your fur tea cup. Velcro candy, sticky sweet.”

The “Frankenstein” is the singer’s monstrous sexual appetite.

This ferocious glam metal scorcher was written by Alice Cooper, Mark Manning (aka Zodiac Mindwarp), Ian Richardson and Nick Coler. Manning’s band, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, recorded the original version of this track for their 1991 album Hoodlum Thunder. The British rock band was the brainchild of vocalist/songwriter Manning, who formed the four-member band in 1985. They were the embodiment of “Sleaze Rock,” with many songs of sex and debauchery similar to this one.

Some famous string players appear on this track: Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are on guitar, and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue played bass.

The Hey Stoopid album was a big commercial success, peaking at #4 on the UK album charts and #47 in the US. Guest musicians played a big part in the album’s success: in addition to Satriani, Vai and Sixx, other notable musicians who played on the album include Ozzy Osbourne, Vinnie Moore and Mick Mars. The album was helmed by Peter Collins, who has produced albums for a number of big-name music acts, including Rush, Queensrÿche, Bon Jovi, Brian Setzer and Suicidal Tendencies.

Alice performed this song as part of a classic scene in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World. Backstage, Wayne and Garth meet Alice, who turns out to be a low-key intellectual and explains the origin of the word “Milwaukee” (Algonquin for “the good land”) When Alice invites them to hang out, Wayne and Garth bow down and proclaim, “We’re not worthy!”

The original plan was to have Alice perform “School’s Out” in the film, but two weeks before filming, Cooper’s manager Shep Gordon informed the film’s writer and star Mike Myers that Alice would be performing a new song instead: “Feed My Frankenstein.” Myers and Gordon ended up becoming good friends, and in 2013 Myers directed the film Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, which chronicles Gordon’s exploits.

The music video is basically and extended version of the Wayne’s World scene where it appears. It was directed by Penelope Spheeris, who also directed the film.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

This House Is Haunted By Alice Cooper, album: The Eyes Of Alice Cooper 2003

I don’t know about you, but, metaphorical though it may be, I think I can actually feel that cold wind, especially when I close my eyes and remember what ol’ Coop looks like without his makeup on …

I was sitting in my room, dark and gray and crying
Someone in my life, I fear, was at the point of dying
A cold wind blew right up my spine, it was the break of dawn

Of course Alice Cooper’s seen a ghost. Halloween and horror have always been part of the rockstar’s M.O., but even Cooper admits he couldn’t have made up something like what happened to him in the abandoned rural New York house where he and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry had holed up to write some new songs together. Both men were freshly sober at the time they began to notice strange things happening in the home. “It felt prankish,” Cooper recalled during his appearance on Celebrity Ghost Story. “Like, playful poltergeist.” He remembers hearing what sounded like furniture being dragged through the basement. Once he went to investigate, he claims to have felt the pressure of a hand on his back. Turned out the house was said to be haunted by the little boy who’d previously lived there before drowning in the lake.

On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 11/25/2019, I attended my second Alice Cooper show of the year, titled “An Evening With Alice Cooper”, at the prestigious Old National Centre’s Murat Theatre. In a weird way this concert felt extremely reassuring and satisfying. This requires a bit of explanation, because I have never seen a bad Alice Cooper show. However, some have been more awesome and awe-inspiring than others, and the previous show (July 11 at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN) just seemed to be lacking that extra spark. As a matter of fact, the show I caught at the Murat Theatre last year was similar, in that I felt like Alice might have been either a little tired or possibly not feeling 100%.

Whatever the case may be, Alice was totally in command on this night, fully energized and singing like a much younger version of himself. Of course, the band have all become rock stars in their own right, and the entire production is seamless and dazzling in every possible way.

Song wise, the show was virtually identical to the Honeywell performance with the one change being the addition of He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask), complete with Jason Voorhees murdering a pair of young people trying to take an onstage selfie. When Jason made a menacing move on Nita Strauss, Alice stepped in and stopped the horror icon from claiming another victim!

Strauss, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henriksen all shared lead guitar duties and executed all facets of Cooper’s historic catalog with gusto. The phenomenal Glen Sobel once again dropped an incredible drum solo, and Chuck Garric held down the bottom end in style (and bared his impressive abs…who could blame him?).

I don’t even need to re-state my love of Alice’s music, but Roses On White Lace, Escape, Steven, Muscle Of Love, Devil’s Food, and the band showcase on The Black Widow were all insanely fun for this lifelong Alice Cooper fanatic. Now I need to find a way to see a Hollywood Vampires show to make my Alice experience complete.

On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 7/11/2019, I saw Alice Cooper for the 10th time. The show took place at the prestigious Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN.

It is challenging to do these reviews after seeing some of my favorite artists so many times. Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, and Slayer are all similar situations. On the one hand, I keep going back because these artists are ingrained in my musical consciousness and I have absolute passion for everything they do and all they stand for. A simpler reason is that they continue to play incredible shows.

Alice Cooper hit the stage with a brand new set (a haunted castle…quite amazing to behold) and dug deep into his treasure chest of songs and pulled out some gems I had never heard him perform before. The song My Stars from 1972’s School’s Out album was terrific, as was the title track from 1973’s Muscle Of Love. Not only did these songs bring some new energy to the show, they provided some exciting riffs for Alice’s all-star band to add their magical touches to.

Another deep cut that got a particularly hard rocking makeover was Roses On White Lace from 1987’s Raise Your Fist And Yell, providing a fast metallic riff for the shredding of Nita Strauss, one third of Alice’s assassination squad of lead guitar aces. Each of these three got plenty of space to shine, and each have their own distinctive style that suits different facets of Cooper’s career.

During one early song, Cooper displayed some tasty blues harmonica, accompanied by Wabash native Tommy Henriksen, who played some back and forth lead guitar with the bosses harp licks.

Ryan Roxie, the longest tenured of the trio, played lots of melodic and soaring lead lines from some of the most classic songs.

Once again, drummer Glen Sobel delivered an absolutely jaw dropping drum solo on the capacity crowd, accompanied by bass playing muscle man, Chuck Garric (who has been a mainstay since 2002).

As admittedly superb as the musicians are (and they are the top of the line, each and every one), no Cooper show is based solely on music, and this was no exception. The theatrics were all in place, from the giant Frankenstein monster who made a brief appearance during the opening Feed My Frankenstein, and a full rampage later on Teenage Frankenstein, to a truly spectacular larger than life evil baby (looking a bit like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man with Alice Cooper makeup!). This baby took place in the onstage “execution” of Alice by guillotine. Although the guillotine had a malfunction, the old gag still provides a great bit of suspense and entertainment. Alice did his straitjacket appearance while singing Steven from the magnificent Welcome To My Nightmare album (1975), and segued into Dead Babies from Killer (1971).

Cooper’s wife Sheryl played the part of the evil nurse with sadistic glee. So, this was the 10th time for me, but I’m not done yet! Going back for more in November, when Alice brings the show back to the Murat Theatre at The Old National Centre…to be continued!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare

Alice Cooper released his first solo album, Welcome To My Nightmare, in 1975. All his previous albums had been the Alice Cooper group. With Nightmare, the Coop had basically bought Lou Reed’s stellar backing band and enlisted the production wizardry of Bob Ezrin to create the fantastic concept of a boy/man named Steven and his nightmares.

Alice made a tv special based on the record and launched a massive tour in support of his new solo identity. I remember purchasing this album and spending considerable time investigating all the sonic possibilities within via a great set of headphones.

Horror movie legend Vincent Price performed a suitably creepy voice over for the song The Black Widow (that I have memorized still to this day).

Images abound in the songs, like the frozen lover in Cold Ethyl, the abused woman in Only Women Bleed, the spiders coming out to play in the bridge between Devil’s Food (with one of the heaviest riffs I had heard up to that time) and The Black Widow. Then, on side two, the cinematic trio of Years Ago, Steven, and The Awakening provided me with a mini-movie of the mind every time I listened to them.

The hard rocking Department Of Youth united all of us alienated teens, and the nearly punk energy of Escape brought the party to a satisfying close.

In 2011, Cooper even made a sequel, Welcome 2 My Nightmare (reminding me that I need to pick that up one of these days), another concept album that continues the story line, I believe. I have been an enormous fan of Alice Cooper since my very earliest days of being consumed by my lifelong obsession and love affair with rock music.

In July of this year I will be seeing him live for the 10th time. I am just as excited about this as I was the first time I saw him perform in 1978. Long live the Coop!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Alice Cooper: From The Inside

Alice Cooper went to rehab and came out stronger than ever with From The Inside (1978).

The album is populated with characters based on people that Cooper encountered during his stay in a sanitarium for his alcoholism.

Alice co-wrote the lyrics with Bernie Taupin (on loan from Elton John) and assembled a fantastic studio band for this collection of amazing songs.

Some of my favorites include Jackknife Johnny, Serious, Nurse Rozetta, Millie And Billie, The Quiet Room, How You Gonna See Me Now, and Inmates (We’re All Crazy).

The album cover on the vinyl version was a lot of fun with its opening doors into the asylum and the hidden door where Alice was sitting in his quiet room laced up in a straight jacket.

The back side of the cover opened up to a picture of all the inmates rushing out with their release papers in hand.

I was lucky to see the tour that supported From The Inside and it remains one of the best staged concerts I have ever witnessed.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…Long Live The Coop!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams


Billion Dollar Babies (1973) by Alice Cooper, was just an enormously entertaining album (well, it still is) in my teenage years. Seriously, what other band back then was writing material this twisted?

Song titles alone tell the story…I Love The Dead, Raped And Freezin’, Sick Things, Unfinished Sweet, Generation Landslide…just genius level weirdness, but at the same time deliciously catchy.

These songs would get in your head and run around endlessly like a hamster on one of those wire wheels.

No More Mr. Nice Guy, Elected, Billion Dollar Babies, and Hello Hooray were all successful singles and have all been in regular rotation in Alice’s wonderful stage shows up to the present day. This album was recorded in a party atmosphere and I read somewhere that there were lots of prominent musicians who recorded various parts and sang backups, but there was so much extra-curricular activity taking place that nothing was properly documented.

It all worked out just fine for all of us diehard Alice Cooper fans, because Billion Dollar Babies is still as wonderful today as it was in 1973.

I had the original vinyl and it came with this huge Billion Dollar bill that had the band picture on the front in place of a dead president. Wish I still had that…it was a really cool artifact.

As I recall, the album itself was designed to look like a snakeskin wallet and when you opened it up, the bill was folded inside a slot that looked like a money clip. Those extra touches were one of the joys of the vinyl experience!

On This Day in History

On this date in history, 3/29/2018, I returned to the luxurious Old National Centre’s Murat Theatre in Indianapolis to witness my 9th Alice Cooper show. Everyone in attendance at this one caught the final night of his current tour, and it was an electrified event of stellar proportions. Having just seen Alice at this same venue roughly a year and a half ago in October of 2016, I noticed a lot of similarities to the previous show, along with some streamlined changes, too.

Any act that has been touring as long as Alice has will have the songs that are set in stone in their sets, and the classics were well represented here, with “Billion Dollar Babies”, “I’m Eighteen”, “School’s Out”, and several others being crowd favorites. A lesser known gem, “Halo Of Flies”, returned as the band feature, with an absolutely sensational drum solo from Glen Sobel. Alice’s current hot shot (and literally HOT) lead guitarist, Nita Strauss, similarly had a solo spot earlier in the evening where she blazed away in guitar hero(ine) fashion…proving conclusively that women are shredding on equal ground with men and “plays pretty good for a girl” can be retired from discussion forever!

One of Alice’s heaviest songs, “Brutal Planet”, opened the show and set the tone for the hard rocking band’s performance throughout. In addition to Strauss, long time Cooper guitar ace Ryan Roxie, and Indianapolis native Tommy Henriksen rounded out the triple threat lead guitar arsenal, aided by the bottom end bass badassery of Chuck Garric. Alice even played some harmonica on one of the new songs.

During the encore of School’s Out (complete with bubbles, balloons, and the singalong edit of Another Brick In The Wall’s immortal “We don’t need no education” chorus) Alice introduced the band and his wife/dancer Sheryl. At the end of the introductions, he said the part of Alice Cooper was played by King Herod, a reference to him preparing to appear in NBC’s live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar (airing on Easter Sunday).

The 70 year old legend was in great voice, and aided by an absolutely energetic, entertaining, and astonishingly talented band, continues to be at the top of his game.

As long as the Coop is out there touring, I will make every effort to be in the audience. Long live the Coop!

Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic

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