Originally Published: May 08, 1999
The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper
NEVER DID Alice Cooper snarl a more prophetic line than in the 1972 single 'Elected', when he declared 'We're all gonna rock to the rules that I make'. Back list the bad guys, from Manson to Guns N' Roses to the Sex Pistols, and you're guaranteed one prime evil influence. No, not Donny Osmond but our boy Alice - heavy rock's premiere anti-hero. One of the coolest things about this four-CD Cooper box set can be found in the info-stuffed booklet with the two pages lovingly penned by former Pistols John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon. If anybody ever asks you what the hell you see in Alice Cooper, just give the buggers this to read. Never has the music, the concept and perhaps even more importantly, the fun of Alice Cooper been better understood.
The packaging of this set is amazing, and the photos scattered throughout are a joy - but, let's face it, this box set lark is purely for the ardent fan. Nobody's realistically going to fork out a fistful of tenners for an introduction to an artist they don't know - they're gonna a buy a greatest hits album from the bargain bin. And when you get down to assessing the actual music, the rarities/demos content here could be shoved onto a single CD, which is something of a disappointment.
That said, there are a handful of previously unobtainable gems, such as the curiously titled 'Look At You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddy Bear' which was featured on the track-list of '81's 'Special Forces' album yet was mysteriously not on the record itself.
Value for money quibbles aside, this is an excellent celebration and overview of Alice's Career, from the classic '70s material of the original lanky long-hair Cooper band, to his mercurial solo excursions and rathercheese-laden soundtrack fodder like 'Hard Rock Summer'.
As rip-offs go, 'The Lifes And Crimes...' is priceless. Buy two.