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(July 10, 1976)
Originally Published: July 10, 1976
Author: Pete Makowski
'Alice Cooper Goes To Hell'
(Warner K 56171) ****
This album has already received an almost unamimous thumbs down form the staff which really suprises as it's no better or worse than 'Welcome To My Nightmare'. In fact I would say this one is musically much more interesting.
The main argument against it, is the fact that Alice Cooper has shed his nasty image in favour of a suntanned golf playing beero going under the name of Vinnie Furnier. I always thought that Alice was just an image, a parody of himself, a man who always destroyed himself with his own violence. "But this all disco material", screams the staffers. O.K. I'll admit this album doesn't contain anythign with as much venom as some of the red hot snarling ditties of Cooper's heyday, but he made his musical changes and showbiz leanings evident quite a while ago in the last band album 'Muscle Of Love'.
Things haven't changed as much as people think, it's just that Alice Cooper and Vincent Furnier have got themselves into proper perspective. One's a performer, one's a person. So what he's saying is "look this is entertainment, enjoy it." Not so much a lack of conviction, more honesty. Izzat a good argument for the defence yer honour?
Taking things from there I'm happy to say that this album is entertaining and I enjoyed it. With a prologue on the inside of the sleeve addressed to Steven the central character from 'Nightmare' this can loosely be described as a follow up. Basically it's all about Alice going (wouldja believe) to hell. "For criminal acts and violence on the stage"; as the opening line state.
The album then proceeds to take you through Alice's exploits down under. The whole thing is taken very tongue in cheek. Like the conversation between Alice and the devil (who's a real cool dude) when Cooper tries to talk his way out this mess in 'Give The Kid A Break'. "For heavens sake", pleads Alice sounding like rocks answer to Mickey Rooney. "Watch your language", retorts Satan.
Amongst the proverbial melange of more obviously visually orientated paraphanalia like 'You Gotta Dance' and 'I'm The Coolest' there is some genuine eighteen carat rock and roll.
"I'm a dirt talkin; beer drinking, woman chasin' minister's son" screams the man on 'Guilty' with conviction that lets you know that Cooper's feet maybe in Hollywood but his heart's still back in Detroit.
Backing him we have a line up going under the name of The Hollywood Vampires featuring the twin guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner two mind devastating axe men. When these two guys play you know they mean business. That goes for the rest of the band too. Listen to 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Didn't We Meet' and you'll need no further proof of this groups worth. With Wagner co-writing and co-arranging this is an album where the feel and the music hold the concept together rather than the theme and a glitzy production. The whole thing's much more basic than 'Nightmare', lots of spaces that will be filled once the whole extravaganza gets on the road, something I'm looking forward.
Okay so this isn't the most original album in the world, the chorus in the closing track 'I'm Going Home' sound suspiciously like 'I Love The Dead' and 'I Never Cry' is another 'Only Women Bleed', it's still all strong stuff. No one does it like Alice.