Originally Published: 1974
Alice Cooper - the product of a decade which developed television into the national pastime and then used it to show men walking on the moon. The more Alice watched television, the more he wondered what is real and what is not.
Alice Cooper - the product of this new American lifestyle. How did Alice differentiate the late show from the late news. Alice Cooper - Third Generation Rock.
Alice's road to the stage began six years ago. At that time, Alice was devoting his energies to art. His time was spent painting, singing, as a hobby, and of course watching television. His four closest friends, Glen Buxton, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce, were also artists. They also had played music for many years. Gradually, they all realized that they might be best able to express their art in the form of music, rather than painting.
Songs, to them, were not just to be music. Songs had to convey an image in its totality, just like a fine painting. This is what Alice Cooper does with each piece they perform. In order to do this, Alice has had to break through the boundaries normally imposed on musicians.
As with the creation of any new art form, acceptance was difficult to obtain. It was Salvador Dali, one of the world's greatest artists, who was perhaps the first to become aware of the group's visual potential. Dali, relating this thrid generation rock band to one of his sensational paintings, has expressed a desire that his "Geopoliticus Child" be used as a future Alice Cooper album cover. However, as the lines of the canvas become more clear, Alice Cooper emerged as the only group in America who dared to explore the enormous realm of the visual rock music performance. Seeing themselves as pieces of kinetic art, the band performs in a constant action-reaction sphere, a magnification, a semi-controlled explosion from the seething masses of us.
Drawing strongly from the TV upbringing, Alice is particularly fond of old movies, especially the musicals and the Busby Berkeley extravaganzas, such as "No, No, Nanette." It was Frank Perry, well known film producer, who first realized the strength of what Alice is doing in terms of theatre. After hearing the group and seeing them he wrote them into his most current picture, "Diary of a Mad Housewife."
A question always asked is why the name Alice Cooper for a group of five male musicians. "People are both male and female, biologically," explains Alice. "The typical male American thinks he is male - 100 percent, but what he has to realize is that he has got a feminine side." Alice reached this view while studying a hypnotist in Phoenix, who taught him to become three equal parts: male, for strength; female, for wisdom; and child, for faith. In their stage act, they strive for a total integration of these qualities. Their feminine image, their powerful rough music, and the "toys" that they play with on stage. More specifically, the name Alice Cooper itself because of its truly American ring. Being products of American media, an American name was only logical.
Being in existence for six years, it is surprising to many why Alice Cooper has only reached national significance in the last year. Alice himself, in an interview done two and a half years ago, provides the best explanation of this. "We act as a mirror - people see themselves through us, many times they react violently because they don't like what they see. If they were judging us at face value, they would say, 'Well, that's what it is,' but they put their values on it and their values are sometimes warped. They will react because they are insecure. They consider it shocking, vulgar. People who are really pure enjoy it. They enjoy it for what it is, entertainment. They enjoy it because it is really strong, positive. The more liberated you become, the more you realize that you are not just this or that, but everything. That's in the future."
Now the future is upon us. The third generation of rock and roll is here. A generation bombarded constantly with the scope of the TV media. A liberated generation which is not reacting violently to Alice Cooper, but which is saying thank you.
In these ever-changing times of supersonic transport and moon landings, it is generally accepted that through clearer understanding and a love for life that mankind shall pave the way for a better world in which to live. It is Alice Cooper in their striving to explore and innovate form; Alice Cooper, who serves to keep us constantly reminded of the state of affairs by which we are always surrounded and the ever present desire for improvement.
In a sense, they are a barometric scale of the times in which we live, evolving from the gyrations of Elvis Presley, through the symmetry of the hula hoop and profundity of the Beatles, to an awareness for the basic need for self-fulfillment and clearer understanding. With the dawning of the seventies comes the creation of third generation rock and Alice Cooper, who helps us all find out just who and what we really are.
ALICE COOPER - Vocals, Harmonica; NEAL SMITH - Percussion; MICHAEL BRUCE - Guitar, Piano, Organ; DENNIS DUNAWAY - Bass; and GLEN BUXTON - Lead Guitar.
SOURCE: Song Hits Yearbook, Summer issue 1974