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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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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 – Music From and Inspired By

Mission: Impossible 2 – Music From and Inspired By (2000, Hollywood Records)

1. “Take a Look Around” – Limp Bizkit … 5:20
2. “I Disappear” – Metallica … 4:26
3. “Scum of the Earth” – Rob Zombie … 2:55
4. “They Came In” – Butthole Surfers … 4:42
5. “Rocket Science” – The Pimps … 3:30
6. “Have a Cigar” – Foo Fighters & Brian May … 4:02
7. “Mission 2000” – Chris Cornell … 3:42
8. “Goin’ Down” – Godsmack … 3:23
9. “What ‘Chu Lookin’ At?” – Uncle Kracker … 5:11
10. “Backwards” – Apartment 26 … 3:09
11. “Karma” – Diffuser … 3:16
12. “Alone” – Buckcherry …3:23
13. “Immune” – Tinfed … 3:49
14. “My Kinda Scene” – Powderfinger … 4:26
15. “Carnival” – Tori Amos … 4:18
16. “Nyah” – Hans Zimmer & Heitor Pereira … 3:32

Ordered this one online for dirt cheap all because I wanted the Metallica and Buckcherry songs that were exclusive to this album.

A number of singles were released from this album: Limp Bizkit’s “Take a Look Around” (a rap-metal reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme), “I Disappear” and the Foo Fighters/Brian May cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” spring to mind. The local radio stations seemed to be all over the Limp Bizkit single (it was 2000, after all, and rap-metal was all the rage) and “I Disappear” received substantial play as well.

I love “I Disappear”. I think it’s one of Metallica’s best songs. Sure it’s not heavy metal but it’s a great hard rock tune and whenever I heard it on the radio I felt compelled to drive faster. Maybe the music video of James Hetfield speeding around had something to do with that!

Once again showing myself becoming ever more the completist, Buckcherry’s “Alone” is what truly made me decide to buy this album. I didn’t even realize they were on this soundtrack until recently and the song is exclusive to this soundtrack so I had to own this. It’s a pretty good tune, not a career highlight for the band, but I like it and it’s a lot better than most of the songs here.

As you can tell by looking at the artists involved, this is mostly an alternative rock/metal album with most acts turning in the usual generic songs that has come to be expected from soundtracks. Chris Cornell’s “Mission 2000” is decent and despite the title, it’s not some type of remix or variation on the M:I theme — it’s a new, harder version of the song “Mission” which was on his excellent Euphoria Morning solo debut from the year previous.

To be honest, most of this soundtrack is garbage but I only spent a few bucks and got out of it what I expected to get out of it so I guess it’s not a total loss.

Highlights: “I Disappear”, “Have a Cigar”, “Mission 2000”, “Alone”

SLASH – Slash

Slash (2010, EMI Label Services/Dik Hayd Records)

1. “Ghost” … 3:34
2. “Crucify the Dead” … 4:04
3. “Beautiful Dangerous” … 4:35
4. “Back from Cali” … 3:35
5. “Promise” … 4:41
6. “By the Sword” … 4:50
7. “Gotten” … 5:05
8. “Doctor Alibi” … 3:07
9. “Watch This Dave” … 3:46
10. “I Hold On” … 4:10
11. “Nothing to Say” … 5:27
12. “Starlight” … 5:35
13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” … 3:28
14. “We’re All Gonna Die” … 4:30

Musicians:
Slash – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass (Track 9)
Lemmy Kilmister – Vocals, Bass (Track 8 )
Chris Chaney – Bass (Tracks 1-8, 10-14)
Dave Grohl – Drums (Track 9)
Josh Freese – Drums (Tracks 1-8, 10, 11, 13, 14)
Leonard Castro – Percussion (Tracks 1, 3-7, 10, 14)
Izzy Stradlin – Guitar (Track 1)
Eric Valentine – Piano, Keyboards
Ian Astbury – Vocals (Track 1)
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals (Track 2)
Fergie – Vocals (Track 3)
Myles Kennedy – Vocals (Tracks 4 & 12)
Chris Cornell – Vocals (Track 5)
Andrew Stockdale – Vocals (Track 6)
Adam Levine – Vocals (Track 7)
Kid Rock – Vocals (Track 10)
M. Shadows – Vocals (Track 11)
Rocco DeLuca – Vocals (Track 12)
Iggy Pop – Vocals (Track 13)

Producer: Eric Valentine

Well, it’s finally here: “Slash & Friends” (the original working title for this project). The few reviews I’ve read are mixed. Some “fans” were crying out that it sucked and Slash had sold-out before it was even released and now that it has been released typically those same “fans” are still saying it sucks and Slash is a sell out. Then you have Classic Rock magazine, who has claimed it’s the first great rock album of the decade. This might sound like mighty fine praise to some but given that the album was released in April 2010 the statement seems less impressive and sounds more like hyperbole to help promote an album they have a vested interest in (the album was a free UK-exclusive gift with a special Slash-themed issue of Classic Rock).

For my money ($7.99 + free shipping from BestBuy.com!), this is indeed a great album and I don’t really get the “sell out” criticisms. Why is he a sell out? Because a GIRL sings on this album? Fergie has a great voice for rock ‘n’ roll and she proves it on “Beautiful Dangerous”. If anything, I can see maybe cries of selling out coming from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine singing “Gotten”. It’s a decent song but if I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a Maroon 5 song. Not much rock to it at all other than the solo. Then again, Slash has always flirted with pop stars. He’s a guy that doesn’t like to pigeon hole himself and goes to play with whoever wherever he thinks he’ll have fun. Nothing wrong with that. He’s not a sellout, he’s just not close-minded.

For the most part, it seems like every song was written with that song’s particular singer in mind. I know Slash already had ideas for songs before enlisting the troops but I’m also sure the songs were tailored to suit the vocalists. “Ghost” sounds like The Cult, “Crucify the Dead” sounds like the best Ozzy song in the last decade at least, “Promise” sounds like something Chris Cornell would have done in Audioslave, “Nothing to Say” could have been on Avenged Sevenfold’s last album and so on and so on. In a way, this is somewhat disappointing for those that were looking forward to a bluesier guitar hero effort or for something similar to Guns N’ Roses from Slash. There is NOTHING here that brings to mind anything GNR has done. I’m okay with that but maybe some backlash stems from people wanting Slash to have delivered something more akin to the original GNR since Axl has moved the hired Guns into heavier more industrial terrain.

Slash claims this is a rock album and for the most part he’s right but songs like “Gotten” and “Saint is a Sinner Too” are pure pop that I can’t imagine Slash would be playing without the chosen vocalists. I was worried myself when I saw the guest list for this album. The participants just seem so over the place I thought it would all be a big mess. Definitely not the case and there’s a surprisingly low amount of filler with the two Myles Kennedy songs “Back from Cali” and “Starlight” being the only ones that really fall short with me. Kennedy is from the band Alter Bridge and he’s the only singer that has two songs and I’m sure it’s because he’s the singer for Slash’s touring band while promoting this album.

Everything else is decent at the very least while “Nothing to Say” featuring Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows and the album’s lead “By the Sword” featuring Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale are my favorites. “By the Sword” has a cool Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd classic hard rock sound to it.

Despite Slash’s insistence that this is a rock album, there’s a bit of genre jumping and he dips his feet (fret?) into the pop realm but it’s only done so in order to fit the singers. Even though this is a self-titled affair, Slash really isn’t the star here. There’s some good solos on this disc but this album isn’t built around them. It’s all about the songs as a whole and Slash (and friends) has delivered a very satisfying release that is much better than anything he did the first time he went “solo” with Slash’s Snakepit.

I do have two disappointments though: Dave Grohl drums on the album but does not sing (he apparently has a thing against singing on other peoples’ albums) and the U.S. version of this album does not feature “Baby Can’t Drive” featuring Alice Cooper and The Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger. It’s a pretty cool song so what gives ?!

Highlights: “Ghost”, “Crucify the Dead”, “Beautiful Dangerous”, “By the Sword”, “Watch This Dave”, “Nothing to Say”

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ALICE COOPER – The Last Temptation

Alice Cooper – The Last Temptation (1994, Epic Records)

1. “Sideshow” … 6:40
2. “Nothing’s Free” … 5:01
3. “Lost in America” … 3:54
4. “Bad Place Alone” … 5:05
5. “You’re My Temptation” … 5:10
6. “Prayer” … 5:37
7. “Unholy War” … 4:11
8. “Lullaby” … 4:28
9. “It’s Me” … 4:40
10. “Cleansed by Fire” … 6:13

Band:
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals
Stef Burns – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Greg Smith – Bass, Backing Vocals
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards, Vocals
David Uosikkinen – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Chris Cornell – Lead Vocals (“Stolen Prayer” and “Unholy War”)
Dan Wexler – Guitar (“Lost In America”)
John Purdell – Keyboards (“You’re My Temptation”, “Lullaby”, “It’s Me”)
Lou Merlino, Mark Hudson, Craig Copeland, Brett Hudson – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Andy Wallace, Don Flemmin, Duane Baron, John Purdell

One of my favorite Alice albums and it was also the second Alice album I ever bought. I FINALLY now own this on CD, after originally having it on cassette. I always wanted to upgrade to a CD, but because I was already so familiar with the album, it took me years to finally do it. The $6 price tag I found online recently convinced me to go for it.

This is a concept album and it’s a departure from his two previous efforts, Trash and Hey Stoopid. Those albums were full-strength pop-metal releases and while some of that sound is still here, it’s a much more serious affair and Alice has incorporated the sounds of his mid to late ’70s output. The more serious theme of this album is reflected in the absence of pop-metal songwriter Desmond Child and there are no cameos by pop-metal stars like Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Slash or Nikki Sixx. Instead, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell shows up for some vocals (I have read that Extreme’s Gary Cherone was also going to sing on the album, but scheduling problems arose).

This is a dark album that deals with Steven (from Welcome to My Nightmare) battling his temptations to join the traveling carnival of The Showmaster (aka – the Devil), where he would have to sell his soul. There’s some debate as to how this ties in Welcome to My Nightmare. Is it a prequel? Or is it a “reboot” of the Steven character? Who knows? Its even more confusing when you consider 2008’s Along Came a Spider, was another concept album, and it dealt with a serial killer called The Spider who is credited in that album with the name of Steven. On an interesting note, the original title for this album was going to be Along Came a Spider. There’s obviously a connection between all three, but I guess only Alice knows where the pieces fall. It’d be pretty cool if he adapted these albums into a Steven novel someday.

Speaking of stories, to coincide with this album’s release, there was a three-issue miniseries released by Marvel Comics written by Neil Gaiman that fleshed out this album’s story (Cooper AND Gaiman came up with the album’s concept).

Just a fantastic release that I never get tired of listening to, there is no filler at all. “Sideshow” definitely sounds like classic Cooper. I remember when my dad heard it for the first time (a Killers/School’s Out Cooper fan), he made that comment. “It’s Me” is one of my favorite Alice ballads.

Highlights: “Sideshow”, “Nothing’s Free”, “Lost in America”, “You’re My Temptation”, “Unholy War”, “It’s Me”, “Cleansed By Fire”

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