Welcome To My Nightmare Alice Cooper
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- 1Welcome To My Nightmare05:20
- 2Devil's Food03:35
- 3The Black Widow03:37
- 4Some Folks04:19
- 5Only Women Bleed05:50
- 6Department Of Youth03:20
- 7Cold Ethyl02:57
- 8Years Ago02:51
- 10The Awakening02:31
Info zu Welcome To My Nightmare
With the 1974 disintegration of the original Alice Cooper group, Alice was free to launch a solo career. He wisely decided to re-enlist the services of Bob Ezrin for his solo debut, Welcome to My Nightmare, which was a concept album tied into the story line of the highly theatrical concert tour he launched soon after the album's release. While the music lost most of the gritty edge of the original AC lineup, Welcome to My Nightmare remains Alice's best solo effort - while some tracks stray from his expected hard rock direction, there's plenty of fist-pumping rock to go around. The disco-flavored, album-opening title track would be reworked on the stage as more of a hard rock tune, while 'Some Folks' dips into cabaret territory, and 'Only Women Bleed' is a sensitive ballad that became a Top Ten hit. But the rockers serve as the album's foundation - 'Devil's Food,' 'The Black Widow,' 'Department of Youth,' and 'Cold Ethyl' are all standouts, as is the more tranquil yet eerie epic 'Steven.' Despite this promising start to Cooper's solo career, the majority of his subsequent releases were often not as focused and were of varying quality.
The comeback of Alice Cooper, the singer, without Alice Cooper, the group, poses the obvious question — was it him or them? The obvious answer has always been that it was Alice, whose star quality took him and his pals from being a maligned and second-rate heavy-metal act to a premier singles rock band of the Seventies. That ignores the equally obvious — that the music improved more than the stage gimmicks or the singing.
Some would argue that the responsible party was Bob Ezrin, the group's producer. But, aside from the Cooper albums and the records he made with Mitch Ryder and Detroit (whence half the sessionmen here), Ezrin has been a disappointment. Lou Reed's Berlin garnered much acclaim but Ezrin's production was thin. And this album is a TV soundtrack that sounds like one. The horn parts are so corny you might imagine that you're listening to the heavy-metal Ann-Margret.
Aside from Warner Bros.' Greatest Hits package released last fall, this is Alice's first album in 18 months. During the layoff Alice tried to develop an identity separate from the group's — on Hollywood Squares, the Smothers Brothers show and elsewhere. If it works, he and Svengali Shep Gordon will look like geniuses. If it doesn't they'll look like the Monkees with low Nielsens.
The fact is that most name rock groups can easily weather being out of the public eye for a year and a half. But Cooper is, by definition, different. Neither Alice nor the group was ever content with simply being in a rock band. Their fantasy was first to become a fad and then a fad that lasted.
The real question now is whether Alice needs that rock band. Based on the evidence here, the answer is probably yes. The music is admirably performed, and it is more deliberate and complicated than the basic rock of 'School's Out' and 'I'm Eighteen.' But without the wildness and drive of the sound the Cooper troupe had, the gimmicks on which Alice the performer must rely are flat and obvious. Guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who push this crew, are good but they never get into overdrive as Mike Bruce and whoever was filling in for Glen Buxton (often Hunter and Wagner) always did. Nor are the songs they write as captivating as Bruce's.
Welcome to My Nightmare sounds like a record put together by people who don't know each other very well and were brought together for an occasion. The basic ideas which made the hits are here but their shallowness is transparent now. Sources have begun to become too evident. The Jim Morrison vocal on the title track, for instance, is embarrassingly obvious. Similarly, the phasing and group singing effects on 'Devil's Food' recall other tracks on other albums where the gimmicks were used to better advantage. The pulsing rhythm section of 'Department of Youth' is only a pale echo of the same device as displayed on 'Under My Wheels' or 'School's Out.'
Ironically, this may be the result of a sharp increase in competence. Hunter and Wagner are fine guitarists, drummer Johnny Badanjek has been an unknown genius since his earliest work with the Detroit Wheels (listen to the first ten seconds of 'Devil with a Blue Dress On') and the refugees from Toronto-based Mandala who make up the rest of the session group have no glaring shortcomings. The sound here is the opposite of Berlin's — it's dense. All that's lacking is inspiration, but that is missing completely. Even the much vaunted ballad, 'Only Women Bleed,' which is indeed pretty, is not as involving or moving as the similar ballad, 'Teenage Lament '74,' on Muscle of Love.
Still, Cooper has always had a way around the charges of mundane music. He is making statements. That is what he seems to be doing on this album as well. But the statement is by now so trite, even (or especially) in his own context, that it is hardly worth making. The basic theme, murder and its consequences, is right out of 'Ballad of Dwight Fry.' There is nothing as insightful about violence here as that song, any more than there is anything about the vaguely occult 'Devil's Food' and 'The Black Widow' that's as arresting as the early 'Black Ju Ju.'
Cooper's sense of humor has deserted him. 'Steven' parodies with piano the spacy effects of The Exorcist's 'Tubular Bells' theme and that's the funniest moment. The rest is forced, from 'Department of Youth,' which tries to recapitulate the theme of 'School's Out,' to 'Escape,' which tries to do the same for 'I'm Eighteen.'
Alice has always wanted to go Hollywood, and TV Hollywood at that. Welcome to My Nightmare is simply a synthesis of every mildly wicked, tepidly controversial trick in the Cooper handbook. But in escaping from the mask of rock singer which he claimed he found so confining, Cooper has found just another false face (as he says so bluntly in 'Escape': 'Paint on my cruel or happy face/Hide me behind it'*).
It was probably not only necessary but inevitable that Cooper or someone like him would come along to remind us, at a time when rock was in danger of being taken too seriously, that it's only rock & roll and that rock & roll is only part of showbiz. But in dispensing with rock, Cooper has left us with only showbiz. I don't know if only showbiz is as marketable as only rock & roll. Perhaps it is. But it's not half as much fun. (David Marsh Rolling Stone Magazine, April 1975)
Vincent Damon Furnier AKA ‘Alice Cooper’, vocals
Dick Wagner, guitar
Steve Hunter, guitar
Gerry Yons, guitar
Prakash John, bass
Tony Levin, bass
Whitey Glan, drums
Bee Badanjek, drums
Bob Ezrin, sythesisers & keyboards
Josef Chirowski, sythesisers & keyboards
Gary Lyons, vocals
Michael Sherman, vocals
Vincent Price, special effects & vocals
Producer: Bob Ezrin Produced for My Own Production Company Ltd. A Black Widow Inc. and Kru Ltd. production. Recorded at Soundstage, Toronto; Record Plant East and Electric Lady, N.Y.; A&R Studios, N.Y. Mastered at The Mastering Lab, L.A.
Alice Cooper (vocals; born February 4, 1948), Glen Buxton (guitar; born November 10, 1947, died October 18, 1997), Michael Bruce (guitar, keyboards; born March 16, 1948), Dennis Dunaway (bass; born December 9, 1948), Neal Smith (drums; born September 23, 1947).
Before the world heard of KISS, the New York Dolls, Marilyn Manson or Ozzy Osbourne, there was Alice Cooper, the original shock-rock band. With their penchant for ghoulish stage shows and a gender-bending wardrobe, this five-man group brought the element of theater to the world of rock. That alone would securely cement their stature as innovators. Yet they backed up their penchant for outrage with rock-solid music. Beyond the visuals Alice Cooper was a musical powerhouse, incorporating melodic hooks and complex progressive-rock passages into a foundation of catchy, riff-driven hard rock delivered in Cooper’s menacing, take-no-prisoners voice. Many of their songs – including “I’m Eighteen,” “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and “School’s Out” – remain anthems of the classic-rock era.
During their Seventies heyday it was impossible to be indifferent about Alice Cooper. They were one of the first acts of the modern-rock era that forced people to sit up and take notice, engendering curiosity and controversy in equal measure. The controversy began with the group’s very name. Alice Cooper was the both a band name and stage handle of its lead singer (born Vincent Furnier), suggesting a flamboyant sexual dualism that America was not yet ready to accept. Reportedly, the name surfaced during a session with the Ouija board.
Onstage, Alice Cooper brought a new level of visual theatrics to arenas with their gory array of props, which included a guillotine, electric chair, boa constrictor and fake blood. Their musical set pieces included Cooper’s beheading and electrocution. Their bleakly humorous explorations of the dark side were a far cry from the Woodstock ideals of peace and love. “We were the group that drove a stake through the heart of the love generation,” noted Cooper. The group was even deemed objectionable behind the Iron Curtain. According to Pravda, the Russian state newspaper, “Alice Cooper’s singing makes the blood run cold.”
They even jump-started the punk-rock movement that took root in Britain, inspiring the likes of Johnny Rotten (a.k.a., John Lydon). “I’ve referred to the Sex Pistols as ‘musical vaudeville’ and ‘evil burlesque,’ and for me there was definitively Alice Cooper influence there,” Lydon reflected.
Alice Cooper was banned, censured and lambasted by the establishment, all of which further fueled ticket sales to their concert spectacles. Their 1973 tour broke box-office records previously held by the Rolling Stones, and raised the bar for touring rock bands. After Alice Cooper, fans came to expect more from the concert experience. They wanted to see a show.
The roots of Alice Cooper extend back to Cortez High School in Phoenix, Arizona, where the core members came together as music aficionados with a shared yen for the macabre and surreal. They weren’t necessarily alienated misfits, as three members of the Earwigs – the first group in the Alice Cooper lineage – were high-school track stars who ranked among the fastest milers in the state. Dunaway, original drummer John Speer and Alice Cooper himself (known as Vince Furnier to his friends) could run a 4:30 mile, according to Cooper. Renaming themselves the Spiders, they scored a regional hit with “Don’t Blow Your Mind.” They changed names again to the Nazz and moved to Hollywood in 1968 with the idea of making it nationally. The final name change to Alice Cooper came when they learned there already was a Nazz – the Todd Rundgren-led group from Philadelphia – in existence.
The Alice Cooper band comprised vocalist Cooper, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith. Frank Zappa signed them to his Straight label. Zappa was attracted to the way the group flouted conventions, both socio-sexual and musical. Alice Cooper’s first two albums, Pretties for You (1969) and Easy Action (1970), were strange even by Sixties psychedelic standards, but hold up today as monuments to the group’s undaunted pursuit of the bizarre.
However, Alice Cooper himself regards those records more as products of the group’s Nazz era and considers Love It to Death the first real Alice Cooper album. This release marked the group’s debut on Warner Bros. and the first of four with producer Bob Ezrin. (He would also go on to produce Alice Cooper as a solo artist.) With his cinematic and colorful production style, Ezrin came to be regarded by Alice Cooper as their George Martin (the Beatles’ producer). He taught them to focus, edit and tighten their more sprawling conceptual numbers. Released in 1971, Love It to Death was a tour de force of misfit fantasies and adolescent angst whose key number, “Eighteen,” gave Alice Cooper its first hit and an indelible classic about the anxieties of late adolescence. (Source: www.rockhall.com)
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