Originally Published: December 1997
The riff you'll know, but the name, Glen Buxton, the original Alice Cooper guitarist who died in November from complications arising from pneumonia, has long been overshadowed by that of the band's front-man.
Glam Rock was a golden era for those 'at 'em' pop intros, but rarely has a song announced itself so magnificently as Alice Cooper's "School's Out". That this celebration of the summer holidays/ode to truancy became a No. 1 was all the more joyous. Who knows? The Cooper band may have done more to foster the insurrectional spirit of punk five years later than they've been credited for - after all, Johnny Rotten past his audition for the Sex Pistols by singing along to "18".
Glen Buxton brought more than a Norman Bates of a riff to Alice Cooper. He was an inventive player, as early records like "Pretties For You" and "Easy Action" amply testify; and a wasted-looking prankster who's penchant for hard-living certainly suited the band's image during the days of mock executions and electric chairs.
When the management decided to clean up the band's act, it was Buxton who bore the brunt of the decision. He was sent to rehab, contributed next to nothing to the "Muscle Of Love" album, and coasted through the final tour while a double played in the wings.
After the failure of the Alice Cooper band's return as the Billion Dollar Babies, Buxton endured many health and financial problems, though more recently he had cleaned up and been playing with local bar bands.
His old front man said: "I grew up with Glen, started the band with him, and he was one of my best friends. I think I laughed more with him than anyone else. He was an underrated and influential guitarist, a genuine rock'n'roll rebel. Wherever he is now, I'm sure that there's a cigarette and a guitar nearby."