Tomorrow will be a special day for Alice Cooper as it will be the 50th anniversary of the album, Love It To Death. Cooper’s third album will be celebrated by the syndicated radio show, In The Studio With Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands.
“Love It to Death in March 1971 may have been the third album by the band Alice Cooper, but that doesn’t change the fact that nobody bought the first two except label owner Frank Zappa,” said Redbeard, host of the show.
“By December of that same year, EVERYBODY had heard ‘I’m Eighteen’ off of Love It to Death, and Alice Cooper had written and recorded a soon-to-be-classic additional full album, ‘Killer’. And indeed, it was”.
“Detroit’s blue-collar bars and cheap motels along Woodward Avenue may be less than 200 miles away from the steps of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, but it turned out to be a four-decade odyssey for Alice Cooper.
“Only in rock’n’roll can a preacher’s son named Vincent Furnier [Alice Cooper] dress up in make-up, leather, and fishnet stockings while simulating his own execution by hanging, beheading, and electrocution as 10,000 mesmerized fans gladly pay for the macabre experience”.
Vince’s band, formed by five friends from Phoenix AZ, struggled to choose the perfect name for their group. The Spiders, The Earwigs, and The Nazz were all early choices but, by 1969, they had moved to Los Angeles with the name Alice Cooper.
After recording two unsuccessful albums on Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label, Pretties for You and Easy Action, Alice Cooper headed for Furnier’s hometown Detroit, in hopes of better luck. The band signed with Warner Brothers and released two new albums in ’71 – Love It to Death and Killer- both a success.
“When I first saw Alice Cooper (that was the band’s name then, as well) shortly after the March 1971 release of their third album Love It to Death, he was genuinely menacing. Trust me, the audience never rushed the low six-foot stage that night, fearing that Alice’s dark intimidating prowling would escape the invisible boundary that separated our hippie peacenik world from his.
“There was no hint of the clever humour that would inform some of his later work. At a time when Mick Jagger and David Bowie were sporting eyeshadow and feather boas, Alice Cooper was appearing in a straitjacket draped in a REAL boa constrictor.
“Alice proves in this classic rock interview that you can project practically any fringe, edgy, sociopathic image in rock and get away with it – as long as you deliver the hits. And beginning with ‘I’m Eighteen’, followed in rapid succession by ‘Under My Wheels’, ‘Be My Lover’, ‘School’s Out’, ‘Elected’, ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, and ‘Only Women Bleed’, Alice Cooper and his long-suffering intrepid producer then and now on the new Detroit Stories, Bob Ezrin, indelibly changed the rock world and revolutionized American Top 40 radio.” Stream the episode of In The Studio here.
Meanwhile, Alice Cooper has said that the shock rock routine which propelled the band to fame wouldn’t work in today’s climate. In a new interview with The Independent, Cooper was reflecting on his and his band’s early days in Rock and Roll.