Originally Published: September 1980
Author: Jeffrey Morgan
Flush The Fashion
"Goodbye. Hey, goodbye guys! Maybe I'll see - maybe I'll see y'around sometime, huh? Hey, don't make a stranger of yourself, huh? Remember the Coop, huh? I hope - I hope y'don't forget me or nothin'. Goobye..."
Alice, "Alma Mater," 1972. A real man who knows when it's time to admit his mistakes - and I'll be the first one to publicly confess that the skinny little weasel sure as shootin' had me fooled. Hell, I thought he was washed up. You know: Finished. Kaput. Had then bun. He probably had you fooled, too. I mean, how long did you stick around after the glorious wretched excess of 1973's Billion Dollar Babies belched up the afterbirth remains of the original Alice Cooper group via the flaccid Muscle Of Love? Could you bear to watch one of rock's great originals slide into a nickle and dime decline?
I sure as hell couldn't.
So now it's seven years later and, as late as two weeks ago, there was no way you'd get me to listen to an Alice Cooper album at this late stage of the game - let alone go out and actually buy one.
After all, we know what the Stature Of Limitations is on a body M.I.A., right?
Wrongo, boyo. Raise that curtain, hello hurray, old snake eyes is back with a two-sided disc-dose that's more fun than freebasing with a polyester shirt on. After years of scamming us with a tightrope walk between rock 'n' roll and bleeding-women bull, Alice has finally dug down, come up, and put his money where his meat is.
Still, seven years is a long time to be playing footsie with the die-hard-rock fans of the world but, I kid you not, on Flush The Fashion, Alice shows the stuff that got him elected CREEM's 1973 Punk Of The Year in that annual readers' poll (and when I say punk, I mean, smart-ass - and, make no mistake, next to Steven Tyler, they just don't come any punkier than Alice).
So why, do you ask, is this new LP gonna stick to the roof of your skull like a web gob of Double-Bubble?
1. The title. Flush The Fashion is a great rock 'n' roll title - especially in this day and age of terminal vagueness. (Agreed, Muscle Of Love was also a great title - and hey, three guesses who pre-dated the Sex Pistols on that one - but that LP sucked glass doorknobs. This one doesn't.)
2. The cover. Etched in fury with a rusty nail by old Salvadork A.C. himself, it's a brilliant work hailing from the "who-gives-a-shit" school of design.
3. The songs. "Clones" you all know about by now. It out-replicas Gary Numan by adding a sense of humour tempered with a streak of masculinity. "Leather Boots" sounds like epileptic Warriors on speed-balls and isn't what you think it's about. Nuff said. No? Well . . .
4. The lyrics. "Pain" contains some of Alice's best lines since "Second Coming" and, as for "Model Citizen," can you find fault with a guy gutsy enough to sing a like like "I'm a friend of Sammy Davis (casually)"? I can't and I don't even know the jerk.
5. The vocals. Maybe those nights in the detox tanks really did the trick, 'cause Alice sounds like Public Animal #9 again. When he snarls "I'm the burnin' sensation when the convict fries," he sounds just exactly like you'd want him to sound.
6. The back-up vocals. Flo and Eddie, for that classic T-Rex sound. No Liza or Labelle in 1980.
7. The production. As I said: jackhammer. You can thank Roy Thomas Baker for this one.
8. The credits. It's about time somebody gave credit to Basil Fawlty for inspiration on a a rock 'n' roll album.
9. The concept. The concept this time around is that there is no concept this time around - other than Alice declaring war on the new decade.
10. The score. Alice: 1, New Decade: 0.
11. The moral. It's 1980. Do you know where your heroes are?