It’s worth noting that by the time Alice Cooper produced Welcome To My Nightmare in February 1975, he was previously just one of the most renowned rock celebs on the planet. Concerning 1971 and 1974, the Alice Cooper Band, which consisted of Cooper himself (born Vincent Furnier), guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith, had notched up an extraordinary operate of some 10 main singles culled from 5 strike albums, four of which acquired them platinum position.
The band experienced shaped in 1968 out of the ashes of earlier band The Nazz (formerly identified as The Earwigs and then The Spiders). When Todd Rundgren also appeared with a band of the identical title, Vincent and buddies made the decision on a identify alter, and with a push story about utilizing a Ouija board to conjure up the name of a legendary 17th-century witch named Alice Cooper, so the younger shock rockers had been set in motion.
First achievements was muted – some getting the band’s outrageous tactic to their trade also considerably to handle, other folks baulking at the look of the band, specially Alice himself, as the young frontman swiftly adopted the titular title himself.
“People would appear and see us participate in and just think that as I was the direct singer then I have to be Alice Cooper,” he points out now. “But originally the band was just termed the Alice Cooper Band. But because anyone thought I was Alice I determined it would be much easier and better for the band to simply begin contacting myself Alice. Of training course, afterwards, when I would go solo for Welcome To My Nightmare, I’d really develop into Alice Cooper.”
The band came to the attention of Frank Zappa, who signed them to his Straight label. The guys had famously misunderstood Frank when he’d instructed them to come to his home for an audition at 7 o’clock, indicating in the evening, only for the band to arrive ready to participate in at 7 in the morning. Their 1969 debut Pretties For You went mainly disregarded, but just after an look at Toronto’s 1969 Rock And Roll Revival the band have been splashed all more than the newspapers soon after the now-famous ‘chicken incident’.
“Somehow a chicken got on stage,” Alice relates. “I did not know anything about farm animals so I assumed it could fly and threw it into the crowd. It landed in the front rows exactly where the lovers in wheelchairs have been sat. You can imagine the furore.”
Newspaper allegations that Alice experienced, in simple fact, bitten the head off the hen and drunk its blood on phase ended up immediately denied by the band, only for mentor Frank to famously notify Alice, “Well, no matter what you do, don’t inform anyone you did not do it!” 1970’s Quick Motion also went largely overlooked, but a transfer to Alice’s hometown of Detroit (“LA just did not get it – they have been on the completely wrong medications for us”) came as the major Warner Bros corporation acquired out the Straight label, and in the Uk the glam rock movement was collecting apace.
Teaming up with producer Bob Ezrin gave the band their irst style of achievements with the one I’m Eighteen from 1971’s Enjoy It To Demise and from then on Alice and the band hardly had time to breathe. Killer (1971), School’s Out (1972) and Billion Greenback Infants (1973) catapulted Alice Cooper to the top rated of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and outrageous gimmickry like the decapitation of child dolls and the introduction of a boa constrictor to the band’s dwell exhibit additional to the shock element the band, notably Alice himself, brought to the glam rock genre.
“I noticed Anita Pallenberg actively playing the Good Tyrant in the 1968 movie Barbarella putting on very long black leather-based gloves with switchblades coming out of them and I thought, ‘Alice must appear like that,’” he states. “That, and a minimal bit of Emma Peel in The Avengers.”
The outcome labored a address. Ethical campaigner Mary Whitehouse succeeded in finding the online video for School’s Out banned on the BBC, and a person Uk MP petitioned the then-Household Secretary to ban the band from doing in the Uk. Nonetheless, when 1974’s Muscle mass Of Love unsuccessful to match the good results of its illustrious predecessors, cracks started to exhibit.
“There was some discontent about the path we were going in, if I try to remember effectively,” claims Alice. “Some of the band made the decision that they ended up heading to go and work on their very own projects so I rather by natural means imagined I’d do very a lot the exact same. At the time there was no big decision to disband the Alice Cooper Band, we were being just working on distinctive factors. It just took place that inevitably which is the way factors turned out.”
For Alice Cooper the person, the selection was to also document his have solo album, even if it, like the previous 7 studio albums from the band (not to mention 1974’s immensely prosperous Alice Cooper’s Biggest Hits, which also outperformed Muscle Of Really like) also appeared less than the Alice Cooper name. After once more, Alice selected to get the job done with producer Bob Ezrin.
“Bob had labored with us on every single album from Adore It To Demise to Billion Greenback Infants,” states Alice. “He’d been a major participant in some of our biggest successes and it felt suitable to get him concerned again. On major of that, Bob is a genius. He hears items other people really don’t listen to and seems to know just how to orchestrate factors in a way you really do not get with other producers. His input was a must have to Welcome To My Nightmare.”
Bob experienced been doing the job on Lou Reed’s 1973 Berlin album, itself a rock opera of sorts concerning a doomed drug-addled couple, and with the Alice Cooper Band involved in many assignments of their have, a new established of musicians would be needed. Bob enlisted guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, and bassists Prakash John and Tony Levin from the Reed fold, whilst he himself would lend his appreciable keyboard, synthesizer and arranging abilities.
“It was extremely refreshing to be able to work with some new and terrific musicians,” points out Alice. “Dick Wagner I try to remember as currently being particularly superior and I actually clicked with him as a writer also. He’d already worked with us, playing My Stars on the School’s Out album and we went on to write or co-publish the likes of Department Of Youth, Welcome To My Nightmare, The Black Widow, Only Women of all ages Bleed… Not a bad array of product for a person album.”
Central to the theme of Welcome To My Nightmare is Alice’s fundamental thought that the music relate the tale of the nightmares experienced by a younger child named Steven.
“I loved horror movies,” states Alice. “Still do. And I also like theatre and musicals. And I generally had the grand strategy that we could acquire the fundamental album and build a stage demonstrate from it, which is what we in the end did. I noticed it as like a cross in between a unpleasant fairy tale and some thing like West Aspect Tale. If you hear to a thing like Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets from School’s Out you can hear that in any case.
“And doing work with someone like Bob Ezrin genuinely helped propel the entire thing forward. He does not truly keep again and is open up to anything so we truly just went for it. The full check out was to practically make the album seem like a soundtrack for a movie or a perform. And I think we realized that with Welcome…”
The icing on the cake, having said that, for the entire album, was to get renowned horror actor Vincent Price tag to agree to act as a narrator for the album, lending his promptly recognisable voice notably to the emphatic The Black Widow in the part of Museum Curator, uttering the memorable line, ‘And listed here, my prize, the Black Widow, is not she lovely…’
“That wasn’t planned,” Alice notes. “But as time went on we started wondering no matter if we could possibly need a little something to incorporate extra impact. I wrote to Vincent. I didn’t anticipate a reply but seemingly he understood all about who I was and was only a lot more than content to get part. He was fantastic, he seriously got trapped into the part and he even took aspect in the Tv special that followed. I consider he could possibly have even fancied undertaking the tour as nicely.”
Recorded at Toronto’s Soundstage and New York’s Electric Girl and A&R Studios involving 1974 and 1975, Welcome To My Nightmare was unveiled on the Atlantic label in February 1975 (it appeared on the Anchor label here in the British isles) exactly where it achieved range five in the Billboard charts. The album spawned a enormous US strike with the sensitive Only Gals Bleed (a song about a girl in an abusive relationship), despite the fact that to some degree typically for the more than-delicate US marketplace it was launched just as Only Girls. The two Office Of Youth and the disco-inflected title keep track of have been also singles.
The entire album was labored into an elaborate phase show to realise Alice’s original dream, which price tag more than fifty percent a million pounds and featured filmed sections, dancers, big spiders, dancing skeletons and a nine-foot-tall furry cyclops! Prior to this, the aforementioned hour-prolonged Tv distinctive, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, aired on America’s ABC channel that includes Alice in the key purpose as Steven, not able to wake up from the nightmares torturing him, and with Vincent Price that includes as the Spirit of the Nightmare. The movie won an Emmy and was later launched on both equally VHS and DVD.
The ensuing tour with its extraordinary phase present was also a achievement and a series of exhibits at London’s Wembley Arena were being recorded and released theatrically (and, naturally, subsequently on VHS and DVD) in 1976 but was not a massive strike. For Alice however, Welcome To My Nightmare (the album) represents a very last hurrah for the 70s. His final US platinum album just before his late-80s renaissance, and the begin of his spiralling fight versus liquor which would nearly totally derail him in 1977.
“I consider we got it ideal with this album,” he claims. “It had all the factors that I wanted on the file. And for a initially solo album, it is not a poor start out!”
The following chapter…
An accident in which Alice fell from the stage in Vancouver on the Welcome To My Nightmare tour was a clear indicator that his alcoholic beverages intake was obtaining a dire effect on his vocation. The following Alice Cooper Goes To Hell album (1976) performed fairly effectively but 1977’s Lace And Whiskey was not great and next the subsequent tour Alice checked himself into rehab, recording 1978’s From The Inside album about his time there. The remainder of the 70s have been used showing on Television demonstrates this sort of as The Muppets and making cameo film appearances.
Alice’s early-80s do the job is mainly greatest neglected, not minimum by Alice, who statements no recollection of recording Zipper Catches Skin (1982) and DaDa (1983). On the other hand, he eventually kicked the booze, returned freshly sober and signed to MCA in 1986 with the metal-orientated Constrictor and adopted it with 1987’s even better Raise Your Fist And Yell. Both laid the floor for a return to arena glory with 1989’s Trash and the substantial hit Poison. A string of critically acclaimed albums has followed, like 2008’s Along Arrived A Spider, and Alice excursions regularly, maintaining his position as elder statesman of metal.