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Alice Cooper

Concerts, Divorce and Christianity… Music, Part II…

Nothing in my wildest imagination could have prepared me for the musical shift that was going to take place in my life in late 1995… The only way to describe it is that I was blindsided.

Up to this point in my life music was pretty much god to me, I listened all the time and attended concerts all the time as well. From the early 1980’s to the mid 90’s I devoured music and attended well over *100 concerts (partial list below)… I can’t stress how much I loved (and still love) going to concerts. The crowd, the moment the lights go out, the curtain drops and BAMM! The wall of volume that besieges your ears! Man, gotta love that… I quit a job to go to a concert, I told my parents I had to work to go to a concert, I went by myself at times (I didn’t care, I just had to go!) I drove hundreds of miles to go to a concert, I even took vacations based on where a concert was…This was just my way of life!

But by 1995 my life had turned upside down. I had moved out on my own, met a girl and within ten months gotten married, divorced and had to move back home again. I was trying to get my life straight but it just seemed to end up more out of control, maybe going off the rails would be a more appropriate way to say it…

In 1995 I accepted the gift of Christ and within two years knew that the god I had made had to be done away with so I took my cd collection of around 400 to a pawn shop and traded them for a guitar. I went cold turkey, only listening to “Christian music” and just in case you don’t know, in 1997 there wasn’t much available that was even halfway decent, AT ALL. I think I had maybe three albums to listen to if you include King’s X, it was tough! I drove 30 minutes each way to work so those three albums got a lot of play! I was looking everywhere for every possible angle to find music that could fit into my limited listening zone.

I found many different bands over the years though. The first band that really stood out was Skillet. I remember going to see them at a small venue and there may have been 20 or 30 people there… Fast forward to a year or two ago and they were playing with Creed to 10,000 people or so, it was like I had seen one of my kids all grown up! Other bands I found were Blindside, Galactic Cowboys, Grammatrain, P.O.D., Project 86, Common Children, Demon Hunter, and the O.C. Supertones among others… Probably the most surprising artist that I found to listen to that fit within the scope of what I was looking for was a guy named, ALICE COOPER… Yeah, that Alice Cooper.

I had heard that Alice Cooper was a Christian, I read an interview with him and thought “I used to like this guy” and thought this was a chance to really get something good. So I went and checked out Brutal Planet (which was the album he was promoting at the time), and let me tell you that is one Brutal Album! I had no idea that Alice Cooper could rock like this, I was so ecstatic! The next album was called Dragontown and rocked just as hard! These two albums were mentioned quite a bit on the Alice Cooper blog so no more is needed here! Having Alice along for the ride seemed to make things a lot better for me…

I went over 10 years and avoided listening to and being involved with just about everything that wasn’t “Christian”, even people. It was something I felt that I needed to do for myself and for my commitment to the Lord. I look back and see many fatal errors and assumptions I was under that weren’t balanced and at this point in my life I am still working on righting the ship! I’ve realized that at any given time we are all in different places in our lives and this was just where I was at. I lost many friendships through no fault other than my own naivety, I hurt people using that same naivety as well but I have made amends where they were available and feel as though I am more balanced than ever!

Looking back I see that my life through the years has been mirrored by the music I listen to. Music tends to be a soundtrack for our lives because there is usually something that we can listen to regardless of how we feel that can define and identify with us.  This, in my opinion, is what  makes music so great. It’s always there. No matter where you are at in life it just evolves with you…

Stay tuned, there’s more!

Peace out.

*KISS, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Ace Frehley, Frehley’s Comet, W.A.S.P., Cinderella, King Diamond, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Pantera, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Type O Negative, Metal Church, Biohazard, Danzig, Lilllian Axe, Dirty Looks, Judas Priest, Testament, Galactic Cowboys, King’s X, Fight, Flotsam and Jetsam, Helloween, Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Dangerous Toys, The Cult, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, L.A. Guns, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Mercyful Fate, Slaughter, Kix, Great White, Tesla, Babylon A.D., Bulletboys, Extreme, Saigon Kick, Faith No More, Firehouse, Jackyl, Queensryche, Sacred Reich, Shotgun Messiah, Suicidal Tendencies, many KISS cover bands, probably more as well…

The pictures below in order are:

1. Me with Tom Kiefer (lead singer of Cinderella)

2. Me with Bruce Kulick (lead guitarist of KISS)

3. Me with Jason McMaster (lead singer of Dangerous Toys)

4. Chuck Billy live (lead singer of Testament)

5. A group of people (myself included) including a current member of KISS… Can you guess which guy it is?

6. A group of people Dressed to Kill (myself included) like KISS… Which one is me?

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I Am Made of You, Alice Cooper Part I…

You ever see something that makes you think what the heck? Something that is gross but really cool at the same time? Let me tell you a story…

My first introduction to Alice Cooper came from my cousin Chris, seems he introduced me to a lot of different music! He had this album that just looked so rock-n-roll, it had Alice Cooper on the cover with (it looked like) a snake going in and coming out of his mouth! Kind of gross but but really cool at the same time, plus I was a teenager so what’d you expect?! Anyways, there was a song called He’s Back (the man behind the mask), it was on the soundtrack to a Friday the 13th movie as well as this album and I thought it was pretty cool but the other stuff I heard didn’t appeal to me as much for a few years. BUT, that first impression stuck.

My kids love Alice Cooper! I know, my bad… I can’t help it, in a way my daughter has turned me on to some great Alice Cooper music. Wait, I am getting ahead of myself. I gotta admit it, I love Alice Cooper too… He’s been innovative and so original as well as being kind of a musical chameleon (more on this later) at times too. Throughout his career, he’s had music that appeals to really just about anyone. His own forms of rap, country, metal, industrial metal, big band, disco, rock, beach music, etc… There’s really no area he hasn’t touched! As a matter of fact he pretty much covered most of these all on his most recent album!

I’m probably not the classic Alice Cooper fan though… If you don’t know, Alice Cooper originally was a band, not just the lead singer (Vincent Furnier)… In the later 70’s the band separated and all wanted to do solo albums, well Vincent (who’d changed his name to Alice Cooper by then) did the same and never looked back. I am a huge fan of solo Alice Cooper and while I like some of the old stuff, I mainly like lots of random songs. I have a habit of listening to something once and giving up on it for a while and eventually coming back around, even if coming back around is years later! Let me share a story about this…

Several years ago I bought an album called The Eyes Of Alice Cooper… It came out in 2003 and was the follow up to Dragontown, which (along with Brutal Planet) has a big industrial heavy rock sound and was a huge fave of mine. Dragontown is a concept album that just blew my mind as well as its predecessor Brutal Planet… So when I got The Eyes of Alice Cooper and it had this garage rock sound to it, I was appalled! I was expecting Brutal Planet III! I thought it was awful, there wasn’t anything on it that appealed to me. I skimmed it and just put it up forever. Well fast forward to late 2011 and my daughter and I were watching a few songs from a concert and one song in particular, Between High School and Old School, stood out to my daughter. So I pulled out the cd  to let her hear it and listened to the entire thing in the process and thought to myself wow this is pretty good. So I put it in the mp3 player and listened to it on my 50 minute drive to work, then I listened to it on the way home… The next day I repeated the process, etc… I couldn’t believe that I had let that album sit there so long! Now I listen to it all the time and it makes me laugh to think that one fresh listen did that! Of course I’m in a different musical mindset now and wasn’t expecting it to be Brutal Planet III anymore.

So anyways, speaking of albums I never gave a chance… In 2011 Alice Cooper released a follow-up to his highly acclaimed album Welcome to my Nightmare, it was titled Welcome 2 my Nightmare. From the time I got it my kids have loved many songs on there, Alice Cooper isn’t afraid to be silly or goofy and it appeals to children of all ages! This album is so versatile that I even came home one day to hear my wife say that she had been listening to it! WHOA, WAIT A MINUTE!? SAY WHAT?!?! HA! So this album really has some appeal! First off, before you listen to the opening song from his 2011 Nightmare you have to know something, this guy is 63 years old! Listen to this and tell me that this guy still doesn’t have it!  He is an amazing specimen for sure… I won’t tell you what the song means, or what I think it means but if you listen you may not be able to deny the genius behind it. When I drive down the road with this song on my family turns into The Partridge Family! Everyone (even my wife) is singing this one!

Oh wait, I am supposed to be telling about an album that I never gave a chance… It’s called Welcome to my Nightmare, it was released in 1975. I just never listened to it to be honest, then of course I was letting my daughter hear a song off of it that says Baby, Baby come on and save me! My daughter thinks it’s about her since she is the baby here and she just loved it so I downloaded the entire album and again here I am saying I can’t believe that I let this one go so long without listening to it! I liked all the songs he played off of it live, well except for the ballad… And here I am all these years later with my ears cursing me for not giving them something good to devour… I am going to dig more in-depth with my own reviews of the albums that I already love and then start on the albums I don’t have and haven’t given as much of a chance!

So my next thought is okay, what album will I listen to next by AC that I either haven’t given a chance or didn’t like that will blow my socks off?! One thing is for sure, I know there will be another song, or another album that will do it to me… It has become old hat to me now.

To be continued…

Peace out…