Toronto Star

Originally Published: May 23, 1992

Blasts from past unearth early Alice, $125 Stones

Lost treasures and greatest hits packages are under the microscope this week:

Alice Cooper Live At The Whisky A-Go-Go 1969 (Bizarre/Straight Records): Before Killer, before Love It To Death, before there even was the Alice Cooper we are all unworthy of today... there was Live At The Whisky A-Go-Go.

Taken from eight-track tapes stored deep within the Bizarre/Straight record vaults, this is a glimpse of Cooper when he was still working out his act with his original band, and it's a must for serious Alice fans.

It's revealing to see how much Cooper was influenced by the Beatles, singing in harmony with his bandmates in a way he has rarely done since, on songs like "Levity Ball" (this week's StarPhone pick).

The jazz-rock lunacy associated with his early mentor Frank Zappa is also apparent throughout the piece, with numerous guitar side trips being taken.

The eight songs included here (the eighth isn't listed on the CD liner notes) are all from Cooper's debut album, Pretties For You, with the exception of "Nobody Likes Me", a previously unreleased song.

With lyrics like, "Frankly, we hate you, we hate you a lot/We hate all your family/We hate your dog Spot," it's not hard to see why Cooper ditched this one.

But it's a hoot to listen to live, and to consider that this is what Alice sounded like when he performed in Toronto later that year at the famous Rock 'n' Roll Revival show with John Lennon.

The only disappointment is the lack of liner notes to tell us more about what happened that night when Alice shocked Hollywood's Sunset Strip.