Alice Cooper Trashes the World is a live concert video by Alice Cooper. The concert was filmed in Birmingham, England, in December 1989, during Cooper's tour in support of his commercially successful album Trash.
Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier on February 4, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan. He is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over fifty years. His stage shows feature guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people. Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, including art rock, hard rock, heavy metal, new wave, glam metal, and industrial rock.
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Originating in Phoenix, Arizona, in the late 1960s after he moved from Detroit, Michigan, "Alice Cooper" was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and Neal Smith on drums. They called the group, Nazz, but in 1968, the band learned that Todd Rundgren (link below) also had a band called Nazz, and found themselves in need of another stage name. Furnier also believed that the group needed a gimmick to succeed, and that other bands were not exploiting the showmanship potential of the stage. The legend is that the name "Alice Cooper" came from a session with a Ouija board, largely chosen because it sounded innocuous and wholesome, in humorous contrast to the band's image and music. However, in an interview with Mark Radcliffe on the Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC Radio 2 on 30 November 2009, Alice described the incident with the ouija board as an urban legend: "We literally got that whole story about the witch thing the way you guys got it. It was like just pure urban legend. I heard about the witch thing probably the same day you did, but it was a great story. "Alice Cooper" was a character on Mayberry R.F.D. (played by Alice Ghostley) at the time (I like the legend better!).
The original Alice Cooper band released its first album, Pretties for You, in 1969. It was produced by Frank Zappa (link below) on Straight Records. Pretties was a critical and commercial failure, briefly appearing on the Billboard Top 200, and none of its songs have ever been played live by Cooper since the release of the band's breakthrough album Love It to Death.
Alice Cooper's "shock rock" reputation apparently developed almost by accident at first. An unrehearsed stage routine involving Cooper, a feather pillow, and a live chicken garnered attention from the press; the band decided to capitalize on the tabloid sensationalism, creating in the process a new subgenre, shock rock. Cooper claims that the infamous "Chicken Incident" at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert in September 1969 was an accident. A chicken somehow made its way onto the stage into the feathers of a feather pillow they would open during Cooper's performance, and not having any experience around farm animals, Cooper presumed that, because the chicken had wings, it would be able to fly. He picked it up and threw it out over the crowd, expecting it to fly away. The chicken instead plummeted into the first few rows occupied by wheelchair users, who reportedly proceeded to tear the bird to pieces. The next day the incident made the front page of national newspapers, and Zappa phoned Cooper and asked if the story, which reported that he had bitten off the chicken's head and drunk its blood on stage, was true. Cooper denied the rumor, whereupon Zappa told him, "Well, whatever you do, don't tell anyone you didn't do it.
Despite the publicity from the chicken incident, the band's second album, Easy Action, produced by David Briggs and released in June 1970, fared even worse than its predecessor, entirely failing to dent the Billboard Top 200. Around this time, fed up with Californians' indifference to their act, they relocated to Pontiac, Michigan, where their bizarre stage act was much better received by Midwestern crowds accustomed to the proto punk styles of local bands such as the Stooges and the MC5. Despite this, Cooper still managed to receive a cream pie in the face when performing at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. Michigan would remain their steady home base until 1972. "L.A. just didn’t get it," Cooper stated. "They were all on the wrong drug for us. They were on acid and we were basically drinking beer. We fit much more in Detroit than we did anywhere else."
Alice Cooper appeared at the Woodstock-esque Strawberry Fields Festival near Toronto, Ontario, in August 1970. The band's mix of glam and increasingly violent stage theatrics stood out in stark contrast to the bearded, denim-clad hippie bands of the time. As Cooper himself stated: "We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love. We wanted to see what was next. It turned out we were next, and we drove a stake through the heart of the Love Generation."
In autumn 1970, the Alice Cooper group teamed with producer Bob Ezrin for the recording of their third album, Love It to Death. This was the final album in their Straight Records contract and the band's last chance to create a hit. That first success came with the single I'm Eighteen, released in November 1970, which reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1971. Not long after the album's release in January 1971, Warner Bros. Records purchased Alice Cooper's contract from Straight and re-issued the album, giving the group a higher level of promotion.
Love It proved to be their breakthrough album, reaching number 35 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts. It would be the first of eleven Alice Cooper group and solo albums produced by Ezrin, who is widely seen as being pivotal in helping to create and develop the band's definitive sound.
The group's 1971 Love It tour featured a stage show involving mock fights and gothic torture modes being imposed on Cooper, climaxing in a staged execution by electric chair, with the band sporting tight, sequined, color-contrasting glam rock-style costumes made by prominent rock-fashion designer Cindy Dunaway (sister of band member Neal Smith, and wife of band member Dennis Dunaway). Cooper's androgynous stage role had developed to present a villainous side, portraying a potential threat to modern society. The success of the band's single and album, and their tour of 1971, which included their first tour of Europe (audience members reportedly included Elton John and a pre-Ziggy David Bowie), provided enough encouragement for Warner Bros. to offer the band a new multi-album contract.
Their follow-up album Killer, released in late 1971, continued the commercial success of Love It to Death and included further single success with Under My Wheels, Be My Lover in early 1972, and Halo of Flies, which became a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands in 1972. Thematically, Killer expanded on the villainous side of Cooper's androgynous stage role, with its music becoming the soundtrack to the group's morality-based stage show, which by then featured a boa constrictor hugging Cooper on-stage, the murderous axe chopping of bloodied baby dolls, and execution by hanging at the gallows.
For me, Killer was their absolutely best album. There is not a single song on the album that I do not like (link below).
The summer of 1972 saw the release of the single School's Out. It went Top 10 in the USA and to number 1 in the UK, and remains a staple on classic rock radio to this day. The album School's Out reached No. 2 on the US charts and sold over a million copies.
With Cooper's on-stage androgynous persona completely replaced with brattiness and machismo, the band solidified their success with subsequent tours in the United States and Europe, and won over devoted fans in droves while at the same time horrifying parents and outraging the social establishment. In the United Kingdom, Mary Whitehouse, a Christian morality campaigner, persuaded the BBC to ban the video for School's Out, although her campaign did not prevent the single also reaching number one in the UK. Cooper sent her a bunch of flowers in gratitude for the publicity. Meanwhile, British Labour Member of Parliament Leo Abse petitioned Home Secretary Reginald Maudling to have the group banned altogether from performing in the country.
In February 1973, Billion Dollar Babies was released worldwide and became the band's most commercially successful album, reaching No. 1 in both the US and UK. Elected, a late-1972 Top 10 UK hit from the album, which inspired one of the first MTV-style story-line promo videos ever made for a song (three years before Queen's promotional video for Bohemian Rhapsody), was followed by two more UK Top 10 singles, Hello Hooray and No More Mr. Nice Guy, the latter of which was the last UK single from the album; it reached No. 25 in the US. The title track, featuring guest vocals by Donovan, was also a US hit single.
Their 1973 US tour broke box-office records previously set by the Rolling Stones and raised rock theatrics to new heights; the multi-level stage show by then featured numerous special effects, including Billion Dollar Bills, decapitated baby dolls and mannequins, a dental psychosis scene complete with dancing teeth, and the ultimate execution prop and highlight of the show: the guillotine. The guillotine and other stage effects were designed for the band by magician James Randi, who appeared on stage during some of the shows as executioner. The Alice Cooper group had now reached its peak and it was among the most visible and successful acts in the industry.
Muscle of Love, released at the end of 1973, was to be the last studio album from the classic lineup, and marked Alice Cooper's last UK Top 20 single of the 1970s with Teenage Lament '74. An unsolicited theme song was recorded for the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, but a different song of the same name by Lulu was chosen instead. By 1974, the Muscle of Love album still had not matched the top-charting success of its predecessor, and the band began to have constant disagreements. For various reasons, the members agreed to take what was expected to be a temporary hiatus. "Everyone decided they needed a rest from one another", said manager Shep Gordon at the time. "A lot of pressure had built up, but it's nothing that can't be dealt with. Everybody still gets together and talks."
Furnier had adopted the band's name as his own name in the 1970s and began a solo career with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. To avoid legal complications over ownership of the group name, "Alice Cooper" had by then become the singer's new legal name. Speaking on the subject of Alice Cooper continuing as a solo project as opposed to the band it once was, Cooper stated in 1975, "It got very basically down to the fact that we had drawn as much as we could out of each other. After ten years, we got pretty dry together." Manager Gordon added, "What had started in a sense as a pipe-dream became an overwhelming burden".
- "Billion Dollar Babies"
- "I'm Eighteen"
- "I'm Your Gun"
- "House of Fire"
- "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
- "This Maniac's in Love with You"
- "Welcome to My Nightmare"
- "Ballad of Dwight Fry"
- "Gutter Cats Vs The Jets"
- "Only Women Bleed"
- "I Love the Dead"
- "Muscle of Love"
- "Spark in the Dark"
- "Bed of Nails"
- "School's Out"
- "Under My Wheels"
- End credits - "Only My Heart Talkin'"
- Alice Cooper - vocals
- Al Pitrelli - guitar
- Pete Friesen - guitar
- Derek Sherinian - keyboards
- Tommy Caradonna - bass
- Jonathan Mover - drums
- Devon Meade - Backing Vocals
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ~ Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper Trashes the World LaserDisc is for sale on eBay
Styrous® ~ Sunday, July 29, 2018