Here’s a great Alice Cooper story you may not have heard. Back when they were still a notorious LA club band in the late '60s, they secured an audition with Frank Zappa, who told him to come round to his house at seven. Hardworking, all-American types that they were, they showed up bright and early at seven AM, set up and started to play —waking up a mighty surprised Zappa who was expecting them twelve hours later. Perhaps impressed by their chutzpah, he signed them to his label.
Within two years, Alice was warping kids’ minds and giving parents nightmares from coast to coast. And our Alice Cooper six-pack kicks off with live versions of four songs from that vintage era: “I’m Eighteen” is the classic statement of early-'70s teen angst; and “School’s Out,” released just in time for graduation day 1972, has been a summer staple ever since. Not to be overlooked are the two more tracks: “Under My Wheels” is a snarling rocker that anticipated punk by a few years; while “Billion Dollar Babies” catches the decadence of the glitter era—and features one of the spiffiest drum intros to hit Rock Band in months.
Cut to 1989, when lots of veteran rockers were having comeback hits. Not to be outdone, Alice teamed up with Desmond Child, who’d co-written biggies for Bon Jovi and Aerosmith; and came up with “Poison,” which brought the classic Alice sound into the hair-metal era . Don’t try to tell us you didn’t love it.
These days Alice is still going strong, and still specializing in theatrical concept albums. The newest tune in the package, “Vengeance is Mine,” comes from Along Came a Spider, about a serial killer who’s undone by his female prey. The track rocks hard and heavy, with a guest guitar solo by ex-Guns N' Roses member Slash.
We can’t promise better scores on the Alice Cooper pack if you wear lots of dark makeup and put a live boa constrictor around your neck. But it definitely wouldn’t hurt.