Originally Published: June 28, 1969

Alice Cooper Drives Its Message Home

Author: Fred Kirby

New York - Alice Cooper, a musically driving and visually exciting act, had a strong first set at Steve Paul's Scene on June 12. The Straight Records artists, performing in gaudy outfits to a psychedelic light show, overpowered their materials at times, but where always interesting.

The evening also saw the return of Slim Harpo to the club. The Excello artist sang some of his top numbers, including the rhythmic "I'm a Bee King" and the country blues "Rainin' in My Heart," always one of his best numbers, not only for his singing, but also for his expert work on harmonica. He was backed by a new group, House, which opened the set with three numbers.

It's difficult to tell how much of Alice Cooper is a put-on, although "Nobody Likes Me," the put-on was obvious. Here, the lead singer, who also calls himself Alice Cooper, bemoaned his fate while singing through the grill of a door, while guitarist Mike Bruce and bass guitarist Dennis Dunaway argued to the contrary.

Even his essentially slower numbers had hard elements, a major instrumental ingredient of the quintet, which also drove itself through "Sing Low Sweet Cheerio", "B.B.On Mars", "Reflected", and "No Longer Umpire", which are Straight. Bruce shared vocals with Cooper, with the album's "Reflected" being a good duet for them. However, the vocals often were obsured by the unit's big sound.

The group offered one long number, "Don't Blow Your Mind Like We Did Last Summer," to end up. This afforded good solos for lead guitarist Glen Buxton and Bruce. Drummer Neal Smith's solo was a wild affair. Smith's strong beat on a double drum set were vocal throughout. But here he pounded at his instrument, rose and beat the cymbals to submission before collapsing at the front of the stage. Cymbals and part of the light show apparatus went over. It was a wild ending for a wild group.