New Haven Register

Originally Published: April 16, 1999

Alice Cooper - Life and Crimes

Author: Fran Fried

Forgot to tell you about one of the impending signs of the Apocalypse back in January. Absentmindedly turned on the idiot box one Sunday, and one of the celebrity golf pro-ams was on, and there, playing in a threesome with a big name pro (a Mark O'Meara-caliber guy, but l can't remember which one) , were Alice Cooper and Michael Bolton.Anyway, just remembered it because the Rhino folks( who are plunging deep into the Warner Bros. archives now that Warner has bought the mighty little archival label) just dropped off the four cd box " The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper." The set comes around in time to help re-establish Cooper's place in rock/cultural lore as Marilyn Manson tries, with mixed success, to be the shock-rocker of his generation. It's not just Manson. Alice's costume theatrics were stepping stones for the dramatics of The Dolls and Kiss, of The Pistols (John Lydon wrote some of the revealing liner notes for the box), of some of Bowie's persona, of The Plasmatics, of Gwar, of all those bad hair bands of the '80s.And no-talent "modern rock" schlubs in the audience need to take notes here: When Alice sang of youthful disenchantment or rebellion, he did it with passion.None of this flat-voiced moaning stuff. He snarled. He seethed. and sometimes he did it in all-out fun. But he did it with heart.Compared to manson ripping apart Bibles, Coopers act was relatively tame. the worst he ever did on stage was hang or electrocute himself. but he was the first. He frightened the parents and made the teens go Wow! I was in sixth grade when I discovered him--as many kids did back in '72, thanks to "Schools Out." I'm still not convinced many people want to sit through 4 cd's of his stuff, but I can tell you I would've loved to see him at his prime. Lots of interesting tidbits and a great package -- a transparent shadowbox with Alice's face, in stock Alice makeup, behind a prison door.......