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Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies

"One of these days somebody's gonna have enough guts to take a machine gun and fire into all the sicko creeps we got running loose in this fine nation of ours. You bet, ratatat kapowee, and that'll be the end of 'em, buster."
– Sgt. Carter

ZOUNDS!! HERE'S a new group that'll blow ya right into the stratosphere with their kooky costumes and really weird psychedelic music. Imagine a band that plays with babies like they were handling silly putty and designing an album in the shape of a wallet. Isn't that too much, groovers?!

Like, deejays and flashy rock critics and promo men across the country are getting hip to the pulsating vibrations of this rather kinky new group. Not to mention the flood of press raves which usually tend to read something like this:

Clear the air – Alice Cooper has arrived!! With just two hit singles under their belts – ‘School's Out’ and ‘I'm Eighteen’ – they're already sweeping teens off their feet in every major country. And with the immediate release of their latest elpee, they're bound to eventually conquer the Universe!

The group consists of five rather tough looking dweebs who all combine the natural charms of both Monti Rock the Third and Tiny Tim. One lanky member of the lot especially looks vicious – lead acrobat, Alice himself. Alice does most of the crazy stuff when the group is appearing onstage. Sometimes he wets his pants and drinks the piss. Other times he vomits up chicken livers. But mostly he just hangs himself while eating a live snake, and boy, if you don't think that's ever a laff riot!

The other members of this bizarro group all got those wicked devil eyes with long false lashes, and their hair is stringy and greasy enough to whet any young swinger's appetite.

Their music is loud and raunchy and tasteless. When Alice was asked what groups influenced his style primarily, he winked his darling eyes and spat – "Oh, mostly I'd say it was crap like Crappy Appleton and the Herbie Mann Snorklers." Another member suggested – "I think our croaks come mainly from the Thorndike Pickledish Choir." But all agreed that the only real record they had listened to in the last year or so was Senator Bobby's version of ‘Wild Thing’.

But kooky though they may be, Alice Cooper is here to stay.

Yet, despite the Alice Cooper fever that is spreading across this nation, there are still a few "old-timers" who can't quite "get into" the antics of this comical group. Their usual stand is that Alice Cooper is nothing more than a vaudeville act and should appear right alongside Ed McMahon every night on the TV tube. One irate teenager wrote in to America's leading pop periodical, THE BEAT, to say that "they (Alice Cooper) look diseased and half sick, and the lead singer resembles a sleazy pimp who gets his kicks from whipping eight year old caterpillars." Another angry teen explains her feelings about the group much more articulately;

To the Editor:

I have been particularly puzzled lately by the over-rated music of a group called Alice Cooper. They have just put out a new elegantly packaged record crammed with soundtrack rejects from BABES IN TOYLAND. All the music on it sounds just like the glittering pops the bubbles make on the Lawrence Welk Show. This is okay; I can understand this somewhat. People need pop personality music cause it helps em to fantasize. They dream of stars and lights and pizzazz and neon. But what a racket!

But I'm tired of hearing pop music head in this direction. Hell, my mom listens to Vicki Carr and Johnny Mathis...l don't want to grow up and be like her and get old and flabby and listen to sudsy muzak. I want some rock 'n' roil!!

I mean, whatever happened to those stupid awful one-hit groups like the Bobby Fuller Four or the Gants or the Seeds? YUK! That may have been terrible rotten music, but at least it was funny.

From a girl who is sick of Alice Cooper
Cindy Lou Harrison

But despite such protests (by no means representative of Alice Cooper's popularity since only very few such complaints ever appear in print), this group is still skyrocketing to $$$.

Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies album cover photo

Critics love 'em, fans drool all over 'em, and disc jockeys spin their wares like crazy. Alice Cooper may look like pirates or hoodlums or batty creatures from Uranus, but that don't stop anybody. Their music may be too produced and too slick and too polished for the fans of the Gentrys, but their records still sell. In fact, no personality since Maynard G. Krebbs hit the airwaves has had so much overnight fame and glory.

But the group has essentially worked for it. They've earned it all from the sweat of their brow and the blood dribbling from the corners of their mouths. It took lotsa, lotsa gimmicks – everything from burning calves onstage to castrating every member of the Fugs – and certainly they haven't tried everything yet (rumor has it that the group wants to resurrect Hitler at Madison Square Garden), but they finally reached the top. Now Alice can even afford golden slippers to match his beautiful earrings.

"I luv 'em. They're absolutely fab."

"Alice is so super keen. One of these days I'm gonna get him to twitch my knockers."
Bette Midler

"But, I mean, they're sooooooo tremendously show-biz."
Wayne Newton

© Robot A. Hull, 1972, Phonograph Record Magazine