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Originally Published: August 04, 1972
Author: Jacob Wiesel
Alice Cooper popularity has spread rapidly, like fresh blood on a clean mirror. They have planted seeds of affection in front of such unlikely groups of people as a total of two truck-drivers and a dog, all the way up to teeming, seething, multitudes of strung-out music addicts numbering in the tens of thousands at a time.
The appear that festers this ever-increasing affliction is the way that little tiny steel door in everyone's mind, labeled 'madness', swings open every time that precocious, little faggot minces out onstage. It is such a universal bond, that it seems inevitable that soon the entire populace of this planet wil be linked to Alice via those ever so finely woven brain connections. Inevitable because no matter how saintly we taught ourselves to be, that pervasive little door exists in all of us varying only in proportions from one person to the next.
Most go to see Alice for the same reason that people slow down on freeways to scrutinize the occasional artistic array of spilled human guts - enchantment with the morbid, and a need to vent those repressed hostilities and/or lusts which are forever being stored in out psyches. More specifically, a recent psychological study titled, Psychotic Cerebric Orgasms Stimulated by One Alice Cooper (Spielvogel, Chen & Wai-Foo, 1967), proved conclusively that LSD-25 coupled with the multi-media stimulation proved by Alice Cooper ". . . feels real good." Hence, with Southern Comfort bottle in hand and LSD tablet in brain, Powerhouse (my car), assorted friends and lover and myself undulated towards the Hollywood Bowl (thusly named for its one-time intended use).
Touchdown was nary a problem, nor was the hike towards out seats. However, the location of said seats was a bit tricky since that seat-finder lady with the plastic, JJ Newberry White-Sale smile demanded that we be more specific then pointing to ". . . someplace over there."
Once in the box, the seating arrangement was handled with decorum and aplomb - first come, first served. Once seated, the first round of drinks was prepared and we confronted our first problem. Two female children with irresistibly soft eyes inquired if they could occupy the remaining two box seats "til the owners come." Harboring a rather lewd fantasy I handed them a drink and they say down.
Tranquility and comfort at long last attained we watched and some idly lusted for JoJo Gunn. They sure were pretty. Silver lame suits, floor-length, rose-printed robes, white crotchless pants, all very pleasing to the dilated eye. And their music was appropriately sallutory - the perfect prelude to Alice Cooper.
"By the way, did anyone see what I did with the ticket stubs?" No one cared. And The Fear set in. Now that I had misplaced them it was inevitable that I would soon be asked to produce them. Oh well, the mounting fear/tension seemed appropriate in the face of the Alice Cooper show.
Intermission (an opportunity for some idle star gazing). Then, in order to reinforce and remind me of the induced state of mind I was in, KRLA and KDAY with dubious help of Sight and sound Productions arranged to have the Wolfman in sheikÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clothing mount the stage atop a camel in order to introduce Alice. At least, I think that's what happened.
She strutted out onstage accompanied by her boys in waiting, and began the extravaganza. First off was "Caught In A Dream," an appropriately mind-orienting fantasy which blanketed the audience in hypnotic fashion. A trance was spreading throughout the audience, and as for myself I felt as though I were being irresistibly and euphorically drawn into the center of a maddening maelstrom of . . .
"Can I see you ticket stubs?", demanded a pencil flashlight. I decided not to respond, in the hopes that this inquisitor would think me dangerously catatonic and leave me alone.
"Er, excuse me!" tap, tap, tap, on the shoulder. "Can I see your stubs?"
Mustering up every ounce of calm and diplomacy I looked squarely into his flashlight and countered with "Who wants to know?"
After about fifteen minutes of hassle we finally managed to convince this usher, via the age old tactic of bodily threats, that he should leave us alone. And, that we would take care of the little fellow who, by presenting a ticket stub, proved conclusively that he also belongs in our already overcrowded box.
His name was Kevin, and he looked like a miniature George Gobel with glasses. He said and I quote. "I got my ticket from Mr. ------ -------- (A Warner's heavy) but they won't let me sit with them because they don't smoke dope," he said, as he placed a joint in his mouth and casually lit his nose. I handed him a drink, and returned my much shattered attention back to the stage.
Alice Cooper was brilliant that night. Every tune has its own set of movements and its own set of props. The music was accurate, strong and raunchy. Props and music combine to give their show a ludicrous sense of reality. So much so, in fact, that one can't help but crave the violence which Alice makes look so appealing. Alice Cooper is the only rock 'n roll band who managed to capture the brutal essence of the primitive side of man. All of their madness is a reflection of ourselves. A composite picture/mirror of all the things we'd like to see or do, but are afraid to.
Onstage, Alice is being mercilessly ravaged by guitarist Gary [Glen] Buxton during the bridge to "Gutter Rat" [Cat] b/w "Street Fight." It was glorious. While the band maimed and brutalized on another, 2 tape recorders executed the score to this mini-ballet with great skill. Bottles broke over heads, clothes were being torn, and it suddenly occurred to me that one of these days, in front of the largest concert crowd in the world, Alice would probably allow herself to be legitimately murdered for the sake of carrying her show to the ultimate . . .
"All right, let's see your stubs!" I froze. I couldn't believe there was going to be more of this nonsense. Turning, I saw standing before me Pencil Flashlight and what seemed to be a 6'5" bicep.
"Why?!" I ventured, explaining that everyone who had claimed ownership to our box was seated and satisfied. "I'm not" he replied.
It seemed that the usher we had offended sicked this spectacled goon on us in a fit of vengeful madness. After five minutes of threats and counter threats goon and I were about to recreate, in earnest, Alice's aforementioned ballet. But, before either of us could initiate the contest, Cheryl, my lady, attacked the both of us with the most dangerous, unrepellable weapon known to mankind - womanly tears. The goon backed off, Pencil Flashlight cursed and I sucked my thumb. Stability was regained once again for the first time.
By now, Alice had run through selections from "Killer" and "School's Out," most of which went unnoticed due to interruptions, and was now ready to begin the Grande Finale. At the precise moment that she began "Eighteen" I perceived a brilliant insight: I had to make a pee-pee.
With much regret, I scurried off to the little men's room hoping to get back in time for the climax. As I reentered the box-seat area, I commended myself on my timing (Alice had just begun her ascent on the gallows) and headed towards the appropriate aisle.
As I reached the foot of the goon-guarded, rope-enclosed walkway which led to my seat, I displayed my ticket stub (borrowed from a sympathetic neighbor) and came to a dead halt.
"No one is allowed back to their seats during the performance." Sirens went off in my brain, I was brought to the brink of insane rage twice this far, but this threw me over the edge. Where did they think they were, at the Music Center watching Nuryev? People were dancing in their seats; there were people yelling and screaming; panties were being tossed about and faggots were being hung, and they wouldn't allow me to walk back to my seat.
I calmed myself down, and tried a trick I had seen work in many movies depicting the work of supposed mild-mannered journalists: I flashed my press card (very heavy). My actions evoked form the goons the same response one might get from a cashiers if you tried to buy groceries with monopoly money.
My mind entered into a state of rabid frenzy and I was about to become dangerous when the sky exploded. Cascades of silver stars emanated from atop the bowl, skyrockets took off, colors, lights and flashes engulfed the stage. Suddenly, Alice reappeared, wearing silver top hat and tails (symbolixing her resurrection) and she sang the concluding song of the set.
Had i been afforded the opportunity to watch it, I'm sure it would have been orgasmic. As it was, the spectacle only had the effect of temporarily diverting my rage, which then afforded me the opportunity to relocate my elitist (hah) box-seats, and my friends.
Reunited at long last, we headed carward as I recounted to my friends why I had disappeared for half the set. In describing the incident in fine detail, I experienced a mental, instant replay and as a result The Loathing, which had began to increase in exponential fashion.
As we passed through the shrub encrusted archway that lead back down the hill to where Powerhouse was located, who should happen to run across but the very same 6'5" gluteous maximus who has hassled us earlier in the evening.
As we passed him, he recognized Cheryl as she attempted a reconciliation with a "peace-and-flowers" type of remark. To this, muscle-brain responded rather crudely. Once again, The Madness set in: I flipped him the bird.
Suddenly the Cosmos opened wide, as was his right hook. And in the half-second that it takes for the human body to prepare itself for danger, I though. What should I do? I remembered the stage show and in my minds' eye I saw Alice dangling on the end of a rope. I remembered the fight scene. I realized tha by flaunting violence and death, Alice is showing us a side of her that exists in all of us. I knew then, what Alice would have done in this situation . . . I went for the fucker's throat.
Suddenly, as if by some magical force, I found myself lying flat on my back (an opportunity for some idle stargazing. Surveying the scene, I discerned that the magical force in question was a second goon who had found it ignominiously expedient to attack me from the rear. (an action which validated their sexual predilections.)
As I lay there, I noticed two things. Firstly, that Mercury was in retrograde, and secondly, that I had the curiously refreshing desire to commit first degree murder.
I leapt to my feet with great speed and splendid gymnastic skill, and was about to initiate round two when I also noticed four rather dapper looking gentlemen in blue uniforms moving toward us.
Being incredibly rational, considering the circumstances, and having quickly computed the odd to be six-to-one, I decided to settle for a draw. (Somehow, that reversion to the basic animal instincts of self-preservation, and the knowledge that, if necessary, I could indeed, defend myself, somehow, it made me feel good.) I felt even and avenged.
But as I was about to turn and walk away, goon No. 2 threw another punch (in the presence of his ally and the police) which hit me squarely in my midsection. The scuffle had ended, a draw had been called (between me and my real opponent) and that motherfucker hit me again. If memory serves me well, he added a remark akin to "That'll learn ya."
And it did. These guys are genuinely sadistic. They gleefully look for opportunities to extend their duties beyond reasonable limits. And like the jackel, they move only in packs and attack only when their opponents are hopelessly outnumbered.
Had it not been for the last punch, the incident at the bowl would have ended there and then. But that last, cowardly punch spurned me on to revenge.
The next morning I tried to lodge a complaint (through official channels). I went to the sight & Sound offices and after intimidating an exceptionally mindless secretary, I was granted an audience with an accountant. He listened to my story, explained that they were only doing their job and then, ever so sincerely, he apologized.
Futility reigned supreme. I couldn't attack my attacker because I would then have to answer to all of them en masse, and official channels were uncaring and impotent. With that realization in mind, I stood up, calmly smeared some congealed blood from hand across some "official" looking papers that were on his desk, then went home to get drunk.
There is no moral here, just acts from which to draw one's own conclusions. However, consider this incident the next time you see some kid dragged off by the rent-a-thugs. And consider if you will, that you may very well be next.
P.S. Thanks for the moral support Alice. I needed that.
(Kindly submitted from the collection of Warren Hewetson.)