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Hollywood Vampires [Album Review]

NEWS-Hollywood-Vampires

Hollywood Vampires
2015, Universal Music Enterprise

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1. “The Last Vampire”
2. “Raise the Dead”
3. “My Generation”
4. “Whole Lotta Love”
5. “I Got a Line on You”
6. “Five to One / Break On Through (To the Other Side)”
7. “One / Jump into the Fire”
8. “Come and Get It”
9. “Jeepster”
10. “Cold Turkey”
11. “Manic Depression”
12. “Itchycoo Park”
13. “School’s Out / Another Brick in the Wall”
14. “My Dead Drunk Friends”

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Backing Vocals
Justin Cortelyou – Keyboard
Johnny Depp – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Dennis Dunaway – Bass
Bob Ezrin – Piano, Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Perry Farrell – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Dave Grohl, Neil Smith, Glen Sobel, Zak Starkey – Drums
Tommy Henriksen – Guitar, Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Brian Johnson – Vocals
Robby Krieger, Orianthi, Joe Perry, Slash, Joe Walsh – Guitar
Sir Christopher Lee – Vocals (spoken word)
Sir Paul McCartney – Lead Vocals, Piano, Bass
Kip Winger – Bass, Backing Vocals
Bruce Witkin – Guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Piano, Backing Vocals

The Hollywood Vampires are a supergroup project featuring Alice Cooper, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Hollywood A-list star Johnny Depp as the core members. The original “Hollywood Vampires” were a group of drinking buddies in the 1970s that included Cooper, Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin, former Beatles John Lennon & Ringo Star, The Who’s Keith Moon, The Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz and singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson.

This album was put together as a tribute to the the spirit of that original band of brothers, except this time without the alcohol. The track list features a variety of songs from the ’60s and ’70s. Tracks by The Who, Led Zeppelin, Badfinger, The Doors, Harry Nilsson, T. Rex, Plastic Ono Band, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Spirit, Jimi Hendrix, Small Faces are represented here along with two original tracks: “Raise the Dead” and “My Dead Drunk Friends”. There is also a spoken word intro my horror movie legend Christopher Lee.

Hollywood Vampires is a very cool album and while I may not be familiar (or even a fan of) some of the music choices, I can’t deny that it’s fun and great hearing an album featuring the likes of Alice Cooper, Brian Johnson, Slash, Joe Perry, Kip Winger, Paul McCartney, members of the original Alice Cooper band, Dave Grohl, etc. playing together. Obviously with a cast this big you can’t take everyone out on tour. For the live dates, the group consists of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin and former GNR members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.

This is a fun effort and hopefully the Hollywood Vampires will release more albums like this in the future. I wonder though, Alice had been working on a cover album for a few years and I haven’t heard much about that lately. Could it be his album of covers morphed into this project?

Highlights: “Raise the Dead”, “I Got a Line On You”, “Come and Get It”, “Jeepster” “Itchycoo Park”, “School’s Out / Another Brick in the Wall”

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The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [Album Review]

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The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2011, Capitol Records
Originally Released: 1988, Capitol Records
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1. “Under My Wheels” – Alice Cooper w/ Guns N’ Roses
2. “Bathroom Wall” – Faster Pussycat
3. “Cradle to the Grave” – Motörhead
4. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” – Armored Saint
5. “Born to Be Wild” – Lizzy Borden
6. “In My Darkest Hour” – Megadeth
7. “Prophecy” – Queensrÿche
8. “The Brave” – Metal Church
9. “Foaming at the Mouth” – Rigor Mortis
10. “Colleen” – Seduce

Any metal-head worth their weight in steel is well aware of this documentary that was released in 1988. It’s a truly fascinating look at life as rocker in the 1980s. For better or worse, warts and all, it absolutely captures a time and a vibe & scene that can never truly be replicated no matter how “retro” a band may act.

As it stands, the soundtrack to The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a solid compilation. Sure, bands like Seduce and Rigor Mortis didn’t stand the test of time but when it comes to the ’80s metal scene, you can’t really argue against the inclusion of bands like Motorhead, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Metal Church or even Faster Pussycat. It was all metal one way or another.

The documentary itself was actually what turned me on to Megadeth as they performed “In My Darkest Hour” in the film and it certainly made an impression on me.

The lack of Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Poison, KISS or W.A.S.P. is a bit odd given how their stature and appearances in the documentary but the soundtrack isn’t meant to be all encompassing. If it was, we’d be putting up with having to listen to the likes of London, Tuff and Odin, too. A few tracks either start or end with audio clips from the film.

We could argue for hours over who truly deserves to be included on a compilation of ’80s metal but this soundtrack is just a taste of what that era had to offer and is meant to tie in most closely with bands featured in the documentary. Keep that in mind and what you’ve got is a good collection of ’80s rock & metal that will fit right in with your retro denim vest.

Highlights: “Under My Wheels”, “Bathroom Wall”, “Born to Be Wild”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Prophecy”

Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare
1975, Atlantic Records

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1. “Welcome to My Nightmare”
2. “Devil’s Food”
3. “The Black Widow”
4. “Some Folks”
5. “Only Women Bleed”
6. “Department of Youth”
7. “Cold Ethyl”
8. “Years Ago”
9. “Steven”
10. “The Awakening”
11. “Escape”

Why can I say? No knock on the Alice Cooper group but this is the best album to feature the Alice Cooper name. It’s a shame that the original band members couldn’t have carried on together but with the songwriting help of producer Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter a classic album was indeed delivered here.

I never really stopped to think about why this album was released through Atlantic Records while the original Alice Cooper group and the rest of Alice’s solo albums up through 1983 were all released on Warner Bros. Records. What I discovered is the fact that it was a solo release came into play in addition to Welcome to My Nightmare being considered as somewhat of a soundtrack for a TV special and stage show.

Conceived with live performances in mind, this album features Alice at his most theatrical. “Welcome to My Nightmare” is one of the all-time great openers for a live show. “Devil’s Food”, with its audio effects, serve to take you only further in the nightmare. “Only Women Bleed” is the type of classic ballad that Alice has tried to replicate many times throughout his career. “Department of Youth”, “The Black Widow” and “Cold Ethyl” are fist-pumping rockers, with the lyrics to “Cold Ethyl” delivering some truly sick humor. “Some Folks” and “The Awakening” take their influence from show tunes and musicals. “Years Ago” is just plain haunting with Alice giving creepy performance and “Steven” is more of the same and one of my favorite Alice songs of all time. “Escape” closes the album on a more upbeat note.

I don’t have a personal connection with this album like I do with Trash (my first Alice album) but there’s no denying that Welcome to My Nightmare is Alice Cooper’s most consistent and greatest release. There is no filler here. This is the album that solidified Alice as a legend. Definitely worthy of cranking up on Halloween!

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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper [Review]

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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper
1999, Rhino Records

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Disc 1
“Don’t Blow Your Mind” – The Spiders (1966) – 2:36
“Hitch Hike” – The Spiders (1965) – 2:01
“Why Don’t You Love Me” – The Spiders (1965) – 1:57
“Lay Down And Die, Goodbye” (Original Version) – The Nazz (1967) – 2:07
“Nobody Likes Me” – (demo version – 1968) – 3:23
“Levity Ball” – (studio version – 1968) – 4:45
“Reflected” – (Pretties for You – 1969) – 3:14
“Mr. and Misdemeanor” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 3:00
“Refrigerator Heaven” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 1:54
“Caught in a Dream” – (single version – 1971) – 2:55
“I’m Eighteen” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:58
“Is It My Body?” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:39
“Ballad of Dwight Fry” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 6:34
“Under My Wheels” – (Killer – 1971) – 2:47
“Be My Lover” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:21
“Desperado” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:29
“Dead Babies” – (Killer – 1971) – 5:42
“Killer” – (Killer – 1971) – 7:05
“Call It Evil” – (demo – 1971) – 3:28
“Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets” – (School’s Out – 1972) – 4:39
“School’s Out” – (single version – 1972) – 3:31

Disc 3

“It’s Hot Tonight” – (Lace and Whiskey – 1977) – 3:21
“You and Me” – (single version – 1977) – 3:25
“I Miss You” – (Billion Dollar Babies – Battle Axe – 1977) – 3:31
“No Time for Tears” – (Sextette film outtake – 1977) – 2:59
“Because (featuring The Bee Gees)” – (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film – 1978) – 2:45
“From the Inside” – (single version – 1979) – 3:30
“How You Gonna See Me Now” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 3:53
“Serious” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 2:41
“No Tricks” – (single B-side – 1978) – 4:15
“Road Rats” – (Roadie film – 1980) – 2:43
“Clones (We’re All)” – (single version – 1980) – 2:51
“Pain” – (Flush the Fashion – 1980) – 4:10
“Who Do You Think We Are” – (single version – 1981) – 3:05
“Look at You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear” – (demo – 1981) – 3:18
“For Britain Only” – (UK-only single – 1982) – 3:02
“I Am the Future” – (single version – 1982) – 3:45
“Tag, You’re It” – (Zipper Catches Skin – 1982) – 2:52
“Former Lee Warmer” – (DaDa – 1983) – 4:07
“I Love America” – (DaDa – 1983) – 3:47
“Identity Crisis” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 2:50
“See Me in the Mirror” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 3:12
“Hard Rock Summer” – (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 2:30

Disc 2
“Hello Hooray” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 4:15
“Elected” – (single version – 1973) – 3:43
“Billion Dollar Babies” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:39
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:07
“I Love the Dead” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 5:07
“Slick Black Limousine” – (Flexi-disc from New Musical Express – 1973) – 4:27
“Respect for the Sleepers” – (demo – 1973) – 3:48
“Muscle of Love” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:45
“Teenage Lament ’74” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:52
“Working Up a Sweat” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:31
“Man with the Golden Gun” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:13
“I’m Flash” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 2:47
“Space Pirates” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 3:30
“Welcome to My Nightmare” – (single version – 1975) – 2:54
“Only Women Bleed” – (single version – 1975) – 3:17
“Cold Ethyl” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 2:54
“Department of Youth” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:17
“Escape” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:14
“I Never Cry” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 3:43
“Go to Hell” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 5:11

Disc 4


“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Demo – 1986) – 3:20
“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Movie Mix) (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 3:44
“Teenage Frankenstein” – (Constrictor – 1986) – 3:32
“Freedom” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 4:04
“Prince of Darkness” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 5:09
“Under My Wheels” – (The Decline of Western Civilization II film – 1988) – 3:10
“I Got a Line On You” – (Iron Eagle II film – 1988) – 2:59
“Poison” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:27
“Trash” – (Trash – 1989) – 3:58
“Only My Heart Talkin” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:44
“Hey Stoopid” – (Single Version from Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:15
“Feed My Frankenstein” – (Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:42
“Fire” – (single b-side – 1991) – 3:00
“Lost in America” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 3:54
“It’s Me” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 4:40
“Hands of Death” (Spookshow 2000 Mix) – with Rob Zombie – (Remix of the version on “Songs in the Key of X” soundtrack – 1996) – 3:53
“Is Anyone Home?” – (A Fistful of Alice – 1997) – 4:10
“Stolen Prayer” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 5:35

As you can see by the wall of text (which hopefully was formatted and will post correctly) devoted to 81 songs spread out over 4 discs and, wow, this is what a box set should be. I’ve seen some labels use the box set as an excuse to release a series of albums together in their entirety or to basically do a giant-size greatest hits but The Life and Crimes… really hit the nail on the head. Sure, you get the greatest hits, the best of, the fan favorites but it’s the number of oddities and rarities that makes this a box set worth owning.

Not a single album goes untouched and this box set starts at the very beginning back when the original Alice Cooper group started out as The Spiders and then The Nazz and goes right up to 1997 when Alice released “Is Anyone Home?” as a new studio track on his live A Fistful of Alice album. Then you’ve got demos, singles, songs from soundtracks (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandMonster DogFriday the 13th Part VI!), remixes, B-sides, the previously UK-exclusive “For Britain Only”, etc. This one really has it all for the Alice Cooper fan!

The collection here features some of Alice’s best work and others would argue some of his worst (like his weird stuff from the late to mid ’80s). All told, warts and all, this is an excellent overview of Alice Cooper’s career.

For me, this was a great introduction to much of Alice Cooper’s catalog. Unfortunately, over time, I lost the actual box and booklet that came with the set. Oh well, at least I still have all of the CDs. I don’t think the price has dropped much over the years on this one. I think it was about $60 when it was first released but even if you’re paying $40-50 today, this is a worthy purchase for Alice fans.

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Alice Cooper – Zipper Catches Skin [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Zipper Catches Skin
1982, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Zorro’s Ascent”
2. “Make That Money (Scrooge’s Song)”
3. “I Am The Future”
4. “No Baloney Homosapiens”
5. “Adaptable (Anything for You)”
6. “I Like Girls”
7. “Remarkably Insincere”
8. “Tag, You’re It”
9. “I Better Be Good”
10. “I’m Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)”

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Vocals, Synthesizer
Dick Wagner – Guitar
John Nitzinger – Guitar
Mike Pinera – Guitar
Billy Steele – Guitar
Erik Scott – Bass
Jan Uvena – Drums, Percussion
Duane Hitchings – Synthesizer, Guitar

Produced by Alice Cooper & Erik Scott

Another “lost” album from Alice. “Lost” as in he doesn’t remember writing or recording it due to all of the heavy drinking he was doing at the time. Alice continues to try to find his footing in a world where new wave and punk were driving musical forces and adapts his music accordingly.

That oddball Alice Cooper humor is at least back with this album. You can only imagine how silly some of these songs are by the titles alone: “Remarkably Insincere”, “Zorro’s Ascent” (a tune that a lot of people seem to like but it’s complete filler to my ears), “I Like Girls”, “No Baloney Homosapiens” and the one that sounds the most like a Weird Al Yankovic song, in terms of song title and music —  “I’m Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)”.

This album is probably just as good/just as bad as Special Forces with “I Am the Future” being my favorite track here. That song seems to combine Alice’s ’70s soft rock ballad style with synthesizers into a somewhat haunting tune that reminds me of music from Dawn of the Dead or The Warriors. This song made it’s way onto a movie soundtrack of its own — Class of 1984.

The other standouts are “Make That Money” (which features some nice guitar work), “No Baloney Homosapiens” (which is about aliens coming to earth) and the slasher movie-inspired “Tag, You’re It”.

A fairly forgettable effort all around though. Fortunately, Alice would begin to get back on track creatively with his next release, 1983’s creepy DaDa.

Highlights: “Make That Money (Scrooge’s Song)”, “I Am the Future”, “No Baloney Homosapiens”, “Remarkably Insincere”, “Tag, You’re It”

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Alice Cooper – Special Forces [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Special Forces
1981, Warner Bros. Records

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1. “Who Do You Think We Are”
2. “Seven and Seven Is”
3. “Prettiest Cop On The Block”
4. “Don’t Talk Old To Me”
5.” Generation Landslide ’81 (live)”
6. “Skeletons In The Closet”
7. “You Want It, You Got It”
8. “You Look Good In Rags”
9. “You’re A Movie”
10. “Vicious Rumors”

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals
Danny Johnson – Guitar
Mike Pinera – Guitar
Erik Scott – Bass
Craig Kampf – Drums
Duane Hitchings – Keyboards

Producer: Richard Podolor

Another low spot for Alice, yet probably a touch above Flush the Fashion. This was during Alice’s infamous heavy drinking “blackout” period. Special Forces is the first of three consecutive albums in which, to this day, Alice says he does not remember writing, recording or touring for. That’s pretty sad. It’s also unfortunate that Alice can’t give us any insight in regards to his thoughts and motivations during this time.

Another cover (Love’s “Seven and Seven Is), which some people seem to like, but I don’t. Then there’s the supposed “live” updated version of Billion Dollar Babies‘ “Generation Landslide”. Sounds pretty dead and pointless to me. “Skeletons in the Closet” is quite the guilty pleasure. It’s kinda got a R&B/rock/pop vibe to it and was the working title for this album. “You Want It, You Got It” and “You’re a Movie” still see Alice in his new wave synth-heavy mode, but I dig ’em, especially “You Want It, You Got It”. “You Look Good in Rags” is another pretty straight-forward rocker that makes me wish Alice tossed his fans a few more of these during the early ’80s.

I like six of the ten songs here, so I suppose I can’t say this is a bad album but they are more like six decent songs. Not six great songs, so I wouldn’t call Special Forces a career highlight for Alice.

Highlights: “Who Do You Think We Are”, “Don’t Talk Old to Me”, “You Want It, You Got It”, “Skeletons in the Closet”, “You Look Good in Rags”, “You’re a Movie”

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Alice Cooper – Flush the Fashion [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Flush the Fashion
1980, Warner Bros. Records

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1. “Talk Talk” (Sean Bonniwell)
2. “Clones (We’re All)” (David Carron)
3. “Pain”
4. “Leather Boots” (Geoff Westen)
5. “Aspirin Damage”
6. “Nuclear Infected” – 2:14
7. “Grim Facts” – 3:24
8. “Model Citizen” – 2:39
9. “Dance Yourself to Death”
10. “Headlines”

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals
Davey Johnstone – Guitar
Fred Mandel – Guitar, Keyboards
John Cooker Lopresti – Bass
Dennis Conway – Drums

Producer: Roy Thomas Baker

Flush the Fashion is the beginning of Alice’s new wave-inspired era, which would run for a few more albums. If new wave is the way Alice wanted to go, it only makes seems that he hooked up with Roy Thomas Baker for this album. Roy had already been having success in the genre with new wave icons The Cars. Too bad Ric Ocasek didn’t sit down and co-write some songs with Alice. While Lace and Whiskey and From the Inside are quirky classics in their own right, I can’t really say the same for Flush the Fashion.

Three of the songs here weren’t even written by Alice. “Talk Talk” was originally performed by ’60s garage rock band The Music Machine. I don’t mind this song at all but I think it’s an odd way to open the album. “Clones” and “Leather Boots” used outside writers and they are the two most “new wave” sounding tracks on the whole album. “Leather Boots” is not good at all, sounds like something Squeeze would’ve recorded, but “Clones” is actually enjoyable if you don’t mind new wave music and it is the most well-known song of the bunch.

There are two other tracks here that I like. “Pain” seems like an attempt to do something that might have belonged on Welcome to My Nightmare but it comes across more as a sign of what’s to come on 1983’s DaDa. The final track that I would consider to be of any value is “Grim Facts”. It’s the most straight-forward rocker out of the bunch and it’s a breath of fresh air on this album.

One thing about Alice Cooper is that he’s always willing to change with the times. While most of his songs generally have fallen under the broad genre of “rock”, he’s not afraid to get in there and experiment with different styles. While you can say that his willingness to try disco, soft rock and new wave music in the late 1970s/early 1980s hurt his career, it still produced a number of classic tunes and more than handful of guilty pleasures.

So, yes, Flush the Fashion delivers a few tracks worth seeking out but the album as a whole is Alice’s first dud as a solo artist. Even his new image falls flat as during the time of this album/tour he looked something like an old drag queen or schoolmarm.

Highlights: “Talk Talk”, “Clones (We’re All)”, “Pain”, “Grim Facts”

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Alice Cooper – From the Inside [Review]

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Alice Cooper – From the Inside
1978, Warner Bros. Records
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1. “From the Inside”
2. “Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills”
3. “The Quiet Room”
4. “Nurse Rozetta”
6. “Millie and Billie”
7. “Serious”
8. “How You Gonna See Me Now”
9. “For Veronica’s Sake”
10. “Jackknife Johnny”
11. “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)”

Producer: David Foster

Though longtime producer Bob Ezrin and guitarist Steve Hunter are not involved in this album, Alice was able to retain the services of guitarist & songwriting partner Dick Wagner in addition to enlisting the aid of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and a young Steve Lukather. Frequent Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin co-wrote all lyrics with Alice. It’s no secret that this album was inspired by Alice’s time spent in the hospital while trying to become sober and that makes songs like “The Quiet Room” all the more haunting and the open and honest “How You Gonna See Me Now” all the more tender.

The previous album, Lace and Whiskey, was a bit out there for Alice, but I think From the Inside brings him a step closer to Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, at least. Still, some songs here are a sign of the times. “From the Inside” is a funky disco rock number while “How You Gonna See Me Now” is a soft rock ballad that fits right alongside “You and Me”. “Millie and Billie” is a typical late-1970s easy listening duet between Alice Cooper and a female singer.

There’s a fair number of rockers this time around though: “Nurse Rozetta” (possibly one of the sleaziest and most sexually-charged songs Alice has ever recorded), “Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills”, “Serious” and “For Veronica’s Sake”. The album ends on a mellow note with the ballad “Jackknife Johnny” and epically produced “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)”, which has a weird dreamy vibe to it that would’ve made it perfect for a musical or Lace and Whiskey.

“How You Gonna See Me Now” and “The Quiet Room” are two of my favorite Alice songs and there’s another of other enjoyable tracks here. That makes From the Inside a minor classic in my eyes.

Highlights: “From the Inside”, “The Quiet Room”, “Nurse Rozetta”, “Serious”, “How You Gonna See Me Now”

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey
1977, Warner Bros. Records
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1. “It’s Hot Tonight”
2. “Lace and Whiskey”
3. “Road Rats”
4. “Damned If You Do”
5. “You and Me”
6. “King of the Silver Screen”
7. “Ubangi Stomp”
8. “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”
9. “I Never Wrote Those Songs”
10. “My God”

Producer: Bob Ezrin

This is one of those “Alice has started drinking too much” albums that I always assumed would be incredibly cheesy and spotty without ever listening to it fully. I already knew of “It’s Hot Tonight”, “You and Me” and “Road Rats” due to their inclusion on the Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper box set. “Road Rats” I never cared for (though the version on that box set is a remixed 1980 version), but I’ve always loved “It’s Hot Tonight and “You and Me”.

Too many session players to list for this album (which was  but just know that leading the way is Alice, Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter.

Lace and Whiskey is yet another semi-concept album with Alice debuting a brand-new character in the form of private investigator Maurice Escargot. While the whole thing comes off as very cheesy (and given that this album was inspired by showtunes and 1940s/1950s music, I’m sure that’s the point), I wouldn’t say it’s a spotty record. There’s a few duds like “Road Rats”, “King of the Silver Screen” & “Ubangi Stomp” but the rest is excellent, even if you might be able to consider most of them guilty pleasures.

“It’s Hot Tonight” is about nothing more than sex. I’m completely okay with that. “Lace and Whiskey” really hammers home the theme of being a private eye with a film noir style. A great vibe that Alice would similarly capture on the song “Dirty Diamonds” years later.

“You and Me” is Alice Cooper doing an easy listening ballad. Did the demon in the bottle make him do it or were Alice and producer Bob Ezrin looking for a big-time radio hit? Regardless, the song found itself charting at #9 on the Billboard charts as a single and the legacy continues because, as someone who used to work a day shift at Walgreens just a few years ago, I can tell you this song was played nearly every day before noon. It’s a great song but in the long run it probably did more damage than good as far as Cooper’s fanbase was concerned.

“(No More) Love at Your Convenience” is quite possibly my favorite track from this album. Such a guilty pleasure. Alice goes disco! “I Never Wrote Those Songs” is another easy listening ballad (complete with saxophone solo), but has a clever theme to it. “My God” in another fantastic piece that features a church organ.

Lace and Whiskey is definitely an oddball Alice album. He really went outside the box with this one and dropped the shock rock gimmick, but it’s a good effort for the most part and worth seeking out.

Highlights: “It’s Hot Tonight”, “Lace and Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”, “I Never Wrote Those Songs”, “My God”

http://alicecooper.com
http://www.facebook.com/AliceCooper

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

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