Metal Hammer

Originally Published: July 10, 1989

Alice On His Way To Sexyland

The New Life of Vincent Damon Furnier

Author: Edgar Klusener

And so Alice had finally escaped the twilight world of the demons, no longer followed by the dusky shadows, he was cleansed of blood and wine, and had laid down for a deep sleep underneath the tree of wisdom that stands in country called 'The Present Day'. And Alice slept for months and months, he even slept deeply for a whole year before awakening. Alice woke up and let out a small sigh and found himself underneath the tree of wisdom, then he opened his eyes, and saw... sex, everywhere around him on the streets and behind closed doors, on the back seats of limousines, on posters and in TV shows, in cinemas and behind bushes... So Alice got up slowly and while rubbing the last bits of sleep from out of his eyes, he attempted to get to know this new country inquisitively, where one three-letter word can mean so much. Alice then wandered through Sexyland, the land all around us, the country of which we are all citizens. Alice soon found companions to join him, musical associates who helped him where others had stumbled. And Alice saw and heard a lot, he surprised himself how much there was to see - and he wrote down everything. These songs about Sexyland will be on your radio soon!

On his journey through Sexyland he encountered many people from the world of entertainment. People like Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, Jon Bon Jovi and Kip Winger, a well-known man about town called Kane Roberts, Richie Sambora, Steve Lukather, Guy Mann-Dude, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Mark Frazier, Jack Johnson, Paul Chiten, Steven Deutsch, Gregg, Magnifico more even the Lord of the new church Stiv Bator. They all met up with Alice at various points of his journey, although only a few of them accompanied him all the time.

Alice was sitting in a nice office in Hollywood when he told us about the Earth today, he told us what Sexyland was and explained to us how he's written the songs with Desmond Child.

Desmond Child is the producer of 'Trash'. Trash is the title of alice's most recent album, and you can find on it of all Alice's stories explained in depth. Sir Arthur Payson took control during recording, and Steve Thomson and Michael Barbiero mixed the result. Alice Cooper was accompanied on the album by John McCurry (guitar), Hugh McDonald (bass), Bobby Chouinard (drums) and Alan St. John.

"'Trash'," Alice spoke, "is the word I use for everything that excites me. Trash is the girl with an amazing body that walks past me on Sunset Boulevard, Trash is the fantastic feeling I get behind the steering wheel of a fast car while zooming down the highway, Trash is sensational and impressive, 'Trash' is the best possible title for the album, and I think this LP is the best Alice Cooper had recorded in ages."

Trash is sex, pure and naked although it can also be bizarre and fairly normal looking or even surreal and sweaty. And, because it's Alice singing, the result has to be pretty weird and mixed up! Trash is the story of a mad freak who's a combination of the hunchback of Notre Dame and a wild animal, who chooses this particular girl as the victim of his love. She's lying in her bed at night and gets a complete fright whenever there's a knock on the room door, because she knows the maniac is in love with her!

Let's go back a few years and take a look at a different Alice, in a different time, at a different place.

"It was in 1983 or 1984, when Joe Perry and I had made up our minds to do some music together. We were on the verge of giving up drink and drugs, so we had bad withdrawal symptoms, and that was reflected in our attempts to get a song together. We were still shaking all over, and had wobbly knees all the time. It was just impossible to play music or anything - we couldn't have written a tune to save our lives, and in the end I had to say to Joe: Okay, come on man, forget it. We just can't do it.

And that's the way things stayed for ages."

But things didn't stay that way forever, and half a decade later, a cleaner Alice and a cleaner Joe Perry found their paths crossing after all. The title of the song the two guys recorded together is 'House Of Fire', and on it you can hear Joe Berry's unmistakable guitar playing.

"It was really fun to work together once we were both healthy again!"

Alice Cooper's most recent life began in the mellow surroundings of Hawaii in summer 1988 where he had retired to recover from the exhaustion of the previous world tour.

"This guy from Epic just turned up one day called Bob Pfeiffer and desperately wanted to sign me to Epic. The offer came at just the right time, because I was really unhappy with my old company MCA. I don't want to slag off MCA, they have product areas that they manage really well, the sad thing is that heavy metal and hard rock aren't one of the company's strengths. I don't want to start dissecting which mistakes happened where and when the truth is simply that we just couldn't work together particularly well any more."

So I gladly accepted Epic's offer, and I split with MCA in mutual understanding - and I don't mean that as a corny phrase, because there really weren't any bad feelings at all between the record company and myself."

Once he'd received the new offer, Alice was forced to prematurely end his holiday on the island paradise. "Whatever it may cost don't ever worry, always do what YOU think needs doing, don't worry, we'll pay!" That's what Epic stated in the contract they offered, and Alice took the company by their word. Producer Desmond Child was the first person to become involved in the LP. Shortly afterwards, Alice retreated to a studio with him, and they soon started writing!

"You can have everything you want... and EVERYONE! The only thing you have to do in return, is bring us the songs, bring us a finished album!"

Epic's demands just had to be taken seriously! Which is how Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were approached. And Epic's generosity also lead to Alice getting involved with various other Big Names listed on the album cover under the heading: Guest appearances.

And so Alice gathered together all his friends and fellow travelers, when he discovered that there were more than a few surprises in store for him.

i had always though that these mega-stars like Bon Jovi were ultra cool dudes, that they were arrogant and completely obsessed with their star status, so I never really counted on them agreeing to go into the studio with me when I asked them. After all I am Alice Cooper, who compared to these guys is only a second rate rock 'n' roller. Man how wrong can you be!

All these guys are really excellent musicians, and they love just going out and rockin' it up. For example I had asked Richie Sambora to play just a really short solo for me. In the end we sat around for ages, he just couldn't get enough, then he listened to the other material and kept saying: 'Don't you think I should play something on that track as well? Couldn't we re-do the guitar part on that track? Come on man, we can play that even better, can't we?"

These guys definitely aren't the kind of musicians who would do anything just for money, they don't go into the studio, plug in their guitars, record their parts and then piss off. These guys are all rock 'n' roll animals, they have fun playing whether its in the studio or whether its playing live gigs, they're just the ultimate rock 'n' rollers. People like Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora manage to play for a whole evening in front of thousands and thousands of fans in a massive stadium, but they'll still have the energy to march on to the next best live club and rock it up in front of one hundred and fifty people for another hour or so. Music counts more for guys like that than anything else in the whole world!"

Alice is still extremely impressed and seems to have had quite a bit of fun in the studio, something he gladly admits - and you can hear that ion the album. Admittedly, 'Trash' sounds slightly more commercial that 'Constrictor' or 'Raise Your Fist...', but it also sounds livelier and fresher. The record company thinks the same way. And ALice is incredibly proud of his first outing to Sexyland and the results.

"We gave the company exactly what they wanted, they got what they hoped. We've recorded three or four potential singles and we still didn't have to sell out. The singles aren't wimpy at all, they're all tracks that I am really proud of, they are real Alice Cooper classics!

Despite the slightly commercial touch, the album has turned hard, a real hard rock record with no pop on it. But it was also really important for me to include tracks that can be played on the radio. I mean, I'm not stupid, I know exactly what I have to do to get my music on airplay than I got during the 'Constrictor' and 'Raise Your Fist...' times. So I wrote the songs accordingly - and it was really fun as well!"

The most important thing is that Alice has found an escape route away from his obsession with demons and hang-men, murderers and ghosts and has gone inside the crude theatre of lust. And he's enjoying his new surroundings as much as he can.

"Well, I have to admit that I had a great deal of fun on 'Constrictor' and 'R.Y.F.A.Y.' with all the blood, the horror and the nightmare stories, especially when it came down to reproducing the two albums live and building the various stage sets. That's why I'm pretty sure that there'll be quite a few classic horror scenes built into the new show, however they won't dominate the show. And why should they, after two albums and two tours, everything starts getting slightly boring and evolve into a stereotype for me as well as for the audience. Why should I keep on plagiarizing myself? Alice Cooper has still got far too many other ideas than be forced to rely on clichés like that. I want sex now,. The new album delves into the whole subject of sex a lot more than previously... hmm, that could also mean that more girls than ever turn up at Alice Cooper concerts in future."

This excursion into kinky erotic fantasies according to Alice Cooper could, however get him into trouble in less than tolerant countries. During his last tour of Germany, his show had to be dramatically moderated after pressure from local political groups - a unique occasion during the entire world tour. Even in the infamous religiously conservative American Mid-West Alice had been allowed to act out his production without any restrictions. "That was one of the most amazing stories that ever happened to me. These guys in Bavaria kept going on about these dolls that I used in my show. They had believed the exaggerated claims of an unnamed sensationalist daily paper - they were that stupid. Whatever, I wasn't under any circumstances allowed to use the dolls on stage. So I asked whether I could use teddy bears instead, whether I was allowed to... NO TEDDY BEARS! An honest answer, and the press had a field day the following morning. At the concert that evening, hundreds of kids who had read in the paper that Alice Cooper wasn't allowed to use teddy bears, chucked them on stage.

I don't care, I'm still looking forward to coming back to Europe."

We'll just have to wait and see whether Alice Cooper [text missing] these stage accessories on this tour. Maybe he'll be accused of being pornographic? I suppose it all depends what the press over here in Britain has to say about Alice Cooper...

Alice an Desmond wrote about twenty songs for 'Trash'. Then there are also the songs that the team was offered by other writers. Like for example 'Only My Heart Talking'. "Two guys just brought the song along one day, one of them is called Chris Roberts. I always forget the other guy's name, doesn't really matter. Anyway, Des and I listened to the tape one day and came to the joint opinion that a song like that was really missing from the album. The only thing that disturbed me were the lyrics. They weren't at all the kind of thing Alice would sing. Okay, so they suited the song and everything, but they weren't my style, they weren't what I would have normally said and sung. So we reworked the track. Desmond tackled the musical side, changing the arrangements and I worked over the lyrics on numerous occasions. As soon as that had been finalized I rang up Steven Tyler and asked him whether he was into the idea of singing the song with me. My God if I'd known what I was letting myself in for...

I had to sing higher than I ever have done before, just to reach the deep parts, because Steven's voice really is that much higher than mine., and even then he sang a whole octave higher than me. We pushed each other to the outer limits... but it was great fun!

That particular track reminded me of 'Only Woman Bleed' or 'I Never Cry' right from the start, so it did have something typically Alice Cooper about it, and it was clear to me right from the start: Steven just had to sing on that track!"

The title track 'Trash' was also written by someone else.

"That track had a different title originally and was written by a band from Boston who played it to Desmond one day. We listened to the track later on,, and liked it instantly. 'Trash' is an amazing rock 'n' roll song, musically as well as lyrically. I re-worked the lyrics a little, and Desmond looked through the arrangements and the song was ready!"

"Whatever you do, whoever you are, I couldn't give a damn. I don't care whether you're the minister president of Bavaria or the Pope in Rome, Senator of Boston or the President of the United States - I don't care. I know exactly that when you're going to bed with someone you're in love with, you're just trash, a creature from the tips of your hair down to the toes and that you're just into pure sex!"

And that describes the basic statement of 'Trash', the album as well as 'Trash' the single. Everyone's the same in bed, the head is switched off, the interbrain has taken over.

The things Alice Cooper experienced in Sexyland aren't your typical 'boy meets girl' clichés so often encountered in rock, but far more abstruse, surreal and confusing and unusual. Even small and apparently common love stories are, once you take a closer look, anything but normal and common. One lover loves so intensely, that he has to kill his partner, the love is so strong that houses are built out of fire and S/M fantasies dominate the dreams.

Joan Jett and Desmond originally wrote the track 'House Of Fire' actually, and Alice only changed the lyrics of the song. That song will also be released as the first single.

"I was into the visual ideas right from the start, and they occurred automatically once the lyrics had been finalized. 'Let's build a house of fire...', that just sounds so surreal, just the idea. I'm trying to transform the pictures I combine with the lyrics onto video, but I'm expecting to have to use quite a few excellent trick specialists to do so."

These trick specialists and just a tried and tested stage designer will also be playing a major role during the production of the new stage show. Alice has once again relied heavily on unusual dramatics, on pure rock theatre, even though the song will be a different one this time.

And Alice was feeling better and better in Sexyland, where there was so much to see and experience, where even the dark shadows weren't as dark as in the world of nightmares and demons. And every night, Alice would tell his friends new stories from the world called today, and those stories were so much fresher and so much more interesting than the stories Alice had to tell when he was younger. You'll love them all, so have a good listen!

Draw the curtains and look over to Hollywood for a second. There's a film museum there, where original film posters are up for sale, scripts from over the past decades, film magazines and all kinds of other things loved and cherished by movie maniacs.

"We were going to take a few photos of Alice in there," the manager reckoned. And that is what happened. Once he'd arrived at the museum, Alice discovered to his surprise "i can't believe it, exactly here, in these rooms is where I used to rehearse with my first band!"