Alice Cooper - Along Came a Spider
Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
By Barbara Fara
Alice Cooper was born Vincent Fernier. Eventually Vincent would legally change his name to Alice Cooper after it was reported that he believed he was reincarnated from a witch burned at the stake who shared the name. He started his original band The Spiders with his high school friends and when it was time for them to move on; he created the Alice Cooper Band. Alice Cooper, lead guitarist Glen Buxton (Glen has since passed away due to pneumonia in an Iowa hospital: ANOTHER DEAD AND FORGOTTEN MUSICAIN THAT GETS NO RESPECT AND SHOULD BE REMEMBERED!), rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith made up the original group. They were playing with the Ouija board and it told him that he was a reincarnated 17th century witch named Alice Cooper. If not for him using the Ouija board that night we would not have all his classic songs today like Gimme, Only Women Bleed, How You Gonna See Me Now, Million Dollar Babies and on and on. Alice has had too many hits to count. Everything he has put out in my eyes has been a hit. He was originally born in Detroit his father and grandfather were both pastors of a branch of the Latter Day Saints. In his early childhood he rebelled though it had nothing to do with his family who he loved. He did not put down his father's beliefs but he wanted to be a musician. He became a major alcoholic over the years but after seeing Glen die, he turned his life around, went to rehab and then came out with Welcome To My Nightmare that chronicled his life in detox. Now, before we go any further, if you don't know his history Alice Cooper is the original shock rocker. Manson has crafted his image to emulate Cooper, Rob Zombie has tried but can't hold a pinkie to the original: no offence to them, but no other shock rockers compare. His last 3 cds that he released before this latest offering, Dragontown, The Eyes Of Alice Cooper and Dirty Diamonds are a trilogy. Now in 2008, he has put out a twisted new album called Along Came a Spider.
Before I jump into the review though, I want to mention a kick ass foundation that I just learned of that Cooper founded for kids living in Phoenix, AZ. Instead of getting into trouble, kids can go to the Grand Canyon University and sign up for classes at The Rock, which Cooper built to keep kids off the streets and explore their creativity. The center includes music classes, sports for kids to participate in, and even dance lessons. It helps kids in trouble to have the skills they need to turn their lives into something positive.
He already has a star on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame, a key to the city of Alice, ND, and an honorary degree at the Grand Canyon, and received a living legend award in '06 in London at the Rock Roll of Honor event. He has also appeared in movies like Wayne's World, the Muppet Show and Diary of a Madman and has released numerous concert films. He also is a golf celebrity, owns a restaurant and has become a popular radio host based out of Phoenix. Why isn't his show on Sirius yet? If that pig Howard Stern can get a show, the king should have one too.
For his younger fans who are just figuring out who he is, don't just pick up his latest release, but explore his earlier work as well. Pretties For You, School's Out, Muscle of Love, Welcome To My Nightmare these are the albums you should be looking for in addition to what you see now. Why hasn't he put out a box set yet? It would make it so much easier for new fans. He is known for his shock rock and stage presence, which has been missing from music for so long and is now making a comeback. It is true what Groucho Marx said, Alice is the last of the Vaudeville greats.
Alice has over the years helped many fellow musicians. In 1986, Megadeth was asked to open for Cooper on tour, and he became very close to Dave Mustaine; when Dave sought treatment for his own addictions, Alice was right there by his side. 2006, he wrote the forward to Gary McCord for his book, Golfing For Dummies. Alice also took part in the all Stars cup in the South of Wales golf tourney which was shown on live UK TV and there were numerous references to Cooper being the best golfer out there. He has golfed with Pat Boone for VH1. In 08, he received the Stevie Ray Vaughn award at Music Cares (part of the Grammy Association that helps musicians struggling with addictions) in Los Angles. Back when Stevie Ray was alive and playing shows, he would take time to talk to fans with addiction problems after he got himself cleaned up.
Over the years he has been on Warner Bros., MCA, Spitfire and New West Records and now found his home in SPV Records, home of the great Jon Paris . A lot of artist now are going to SPV because they let the artist say what they want to say and record what they want to do without massive fucking deadlines and tour schedules that they have no control over. They take care of their bands. And we cannot forget his wonderful Carol Kay.
Everyone says that he puts on a horrifying show, but he doesn't. His stage show has influenced KISS, Blue Oyster Cult, W.A.S.P. and Marilyn Manson. When he talks about Alice now, he refers to the personality that he created. You've got to give him credit for finally being able to separate himself from his persona. In '75 he released his first solo album called Welcome To My Nightmare. He collaborated with Bob Enzen and recruited Lou Reed's guitarist and it went to the top 20 with the hit Only Women Bleed. That same year, Cooper and Vincent Price aired a show in the spring that made history as the first rock video album ever made. Later in '83 it was released on home video and gained a Grammy nod for best long form video and made rock history.
Before we look at the tracks, we must remember that if it wasn't for Glen in the original band, whose sound hadn't been heard before, things may have never happened for Alice. In '77, it became clear at the peak of his career that everything was crumbling as his dependence on alcohol grew to him consuming two cases of beer and a bottle of whiskey a day. He was NOT committed, he knew he needed help and had himself hospitalized. Then he released another semi-autobiographical release in '78 with Bernie Torbin with another hit How Are You Gonna See Me Now, which was based on his fear of how his wife would see him after release from detox. In '84, Alice was nominated for Grammy, which I believe he should have won, but instead they gave it to fucking Duran Duran.
Since I have given you monsters a little history, let's look at latest release on SPV; an 11 track album, his 25th, that's a whole quarter of a decade of music.
Let's look at the tracks:
Prologue / I Know Where you Live This is not a typical Cooper album; he has turned his character into a fictional serial killer, so we dedicate this to all the serial killers from the past on. In 2003, Carol Kay sent me a copy of her husband's album Tough Room which was recorded live at the The Bitter End in Manhattan (a great club, by the way); the album has one song on it called Spooky Old Alice, a song about a stalker. Well, Ricky, I found your answer your stalker; he just sent me a song called I Know Where You Live.
Vengeance Is Mine To begin with, this is the second track and it reminds me of the days when Alice first started out. The band is so tight it sounds like the original line up. It can be taken as a serial killer who is about to be paroled and will go after who put him behind bars, OR, so many people have tried to knock Cooper out of the biz saying so much sick shit about him, but he always comes out on top. He does it here, getting back at everyone trying to ruin his career. I would put this in the top ten of his songs. Alice has a sick mind, but he speaks the truth.
Wake The Dead In the beginning, the killer wakes up like every other day, has his coffee and breakfast and all these weird thoughts are going through his head. He can't stop the voices. Let's go back to the Son of Sam; a disgruntled postal worker, unhappy with his life who received messages from his neighbor's dog. This song seems very connected to Son of Sam. He was arrested for the famous NY murders where he would kill couples in their car. When you are actually listening to this track, he is giving you the life of David Burkowitz, who was finally caught by a parking ticket in Yonkers, NY.
Catch Me If You Can Over the years, there have been many serial killers; this one serial killer was killing children and when it came to his sentencing he told the judge "You better kill me or I will kill again." When I look at this track, he is showing you that this killer doesn't care what sex the victim will be. When he talks about his web being spun, to me that is where he hides the bodies, and he is the spider and now must hide his victims. Police find the bodies just like the infamous Ed Gein, who loved his mother and killed his older brother and everyone in his life except his mother. She abused him emotionally and so he killed women by abducting them, hanging them feet up and draining out their blood, cutting off their heads and making women suits, ultimately trying to replace his mother. When he was sentenced, it took them over two years to figure out it was him after the bar he attended where he killed the bartender/owner and he was the last one there. When they found the bodies, he felt he did nothing wrong and he ended up in a hospital. In my words, this would be Ed Gein saying catch me if you can. But he was caught and now he's a dead mother fucker.
(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side This is about a true stalking serial killer. He plans it, he watches them, and he knows every move they make. He becomes their friend, and now he lets them know that they are on his terms now. Alice left one thing out Ted Bundy's yellow Beetle. This is Alice Cooper's version of Ted Bundy's life.
Wrapped In Silk There is an amazing show on Showtime called Dexter which tells the story of a vigilante serial killer. His mother was working as an informant for the Miami PD. The mom gets killed and Dexter is taken and raised by the chief of the Miami police. Early on, his father realized he was a killer and trained Dexter to only kill bad people, a code of ethics for him from his father. Growing up he killed his pets and such and as he got older, he joined the Miami police department where he became a blood spatter expert. When Dexter kills his victims, he kills to get the crime off the street. Now, when you listen to this song, Alice is describing this show. Dexter does wrap the victim and crime scene in plastic and makes sure the site is totally contained. He knocks them out with a shot and tapes them down, and takes a sample of their blood. Before he kills them, he interrogates them about their nasty past and makes them relive their crimes. The victims always promise to never do it again, and then he cuts them up. This is the life of Dexter, the imaginary serial killer on Showtime.
Killed by Love There are people born in this world that care and that have a heart and a conscious. Even though these killers were abandoned, they had to have a need for love that the killings fulfilled, like Susan Smith, the so called perfect mommy. All she was concerned about was being loved. Who would kill her two kids for love? She was having an affair with a guy that didn't want kids, so she killed them. In this song we have a serial killer who has a heart. For once in his life, he gets bitch slapped. He is in a one-sided relationship. He loves this person with all his heart and they get dumped. In the killer's view, what would you do? Would you kill them? This one doesn't he cries and it destroys him. His nemesis ultimately was love, and now he ponders if he should kill himself or his ex-love. This is the side of the serial killer that has a heart and wants to be loved and he doesn't know how to deal with it. His ex-love gave him something new, an emotion. It's called being hurt. Now he knows what the victims feels like every time he kills. He is being killed by the love of his life, now they must get their head together and my question is, what did this partner ever see in this killer that made them end the relationship? Did they catch you in the act? He has learned that life fucking hurts and maybe this is the time that he will self analyze what is going on so he can change and forgive himself and ask his victims for forgiveness and live and learn and love again.
I'm Hungry How do you do, let me introduce myself. My name is Jeffrey Dahmer. Mr. Cooper wrote a beautiful song about me even though I was killed in prison. I lived in my parent's house and then moved into an apartment. I also rented a storage unit. Mr. Cooper was sooo sweet by changing up his victims to young boys and men. Dammit, if that 17 year old didn't get away I would still be in business. Yes, I DO have places to put your body parts, your brains and such. I will boil the skin off your bodies and eat you. You will leave me your body, your soul and your bones to show off to someone one day. You should be glad that I am dead and that your son or your husband is on their way home and not running into me at a bar to have a quick drink where I would spike his drink and take him home. I had my handcuffs, but now they are in the property of the police department; they have my knives, they took my whole medical bag of torture. I wish somebody would make a museum in my name, but they won't because nobody respects the art that we make. It is from the childhood that we had. I am speaking for all serial killers, a good childhood or a terrible one but maybe one of my great grandparents were killers. I am a homosexual man; I could not get a date because in the long run I would get dumped. Instead I killed you to stop you from hurting me. Thank you Mr. Cooper for writing such a beautiful song about me.
The One That Got Away Let's talk about Hannibal Lechter. He was a cannibal and a psychiatrist to a psychopath named Wild Bill. Wild Bill would use a van, drug his victims, put them down in a well; the women would have to be heavy set, not petite. And once they die from starvation, he would cut their skin off and make things out of the skin. His victims always died, that is except one - the senator's daughter who got away. I am looking at this for this song. Spider is that voice in his head, bringing him full circle telling him what to do. It all comes down to this: whether you hear voices or not, even MPD, there is a difference between MPD and channeling. With MPD you black out and become the other person. Psychic wise you are channeling I hear who is speaking but I know what is around me. I know who is giving me tips in fact, I know I channeled half of this review. Say spider does the murder, but Bill wakes up and wonders what he did - he does not remember anything. (Editor's Note Lechter and Wild Bill do not really exist they come from a movie called Silence Of The Lambs starring Anthony Hopkins)
Salvation Back in the 60s, there was a phenomenon known as the British Invasion started by the Beatles John Lennon, Paul Mccartney, George Harrison, Ringo Star. The band broke up in what people say was the prime time of their career. There were musical differences; Linda Mcartney and Yoko Ono were blamed for the break up. Who's really to say, but if that band broke up, it was between the four of them. It was never public record. After they broke up, Lennon went through issues with the IRS, wiretappings and constantly being followed by the FBI. The president at the time was Nixon and he would do anything to get rid of Lennon because Lennon was an activist for the anti-war movement. Just as his first album came out after 10 years or so, Double Fantasy, he began doing a lot more live interviews he was very political. He was all for the rights of humans and did not believe in war, but peace. I believe if he were still here today, his mouth would be going off. On Dec. 8th, 1980, for about a week and half, there was a young man named Mark David Chapman who went on a mission to find John Lennon. Now, when we look at Chapman, he was a military brat. He would admit later that he lived in fear of his father who abused his mother. In his early years he also had fantasies that he had God like powers over others. Prior to Chapman's stalking spree, he tried to commit suicide in 77 in his car. Around 78 he took a trip inspired by the book Around the World in 80 Days. For a month before Johns's death, he ends up in New York with the Catcher In the Rye in his pocket, staying in nice hotels and then after the money ran out, the YMCA. As he is doing this, Lennon was finishing up his recording sessions in Record Plant Studios. Early that morning, Chapman met his housekeeper who had returned from taking his son on a walk. Around 5 pm, Lennon and Ono leave the Dakota for a recording session. As they walked towards their limo, Chapman came up and shook his hand and that he had a copy of his new album for Lennon to sign. About 10-11pm, John returned back to the Dakota. Chapman walks up to the limo Yoko was 5 feet in front of Lennon. As he entered the archway, Yoko and Lennon passed Chapman and walked towards the entrance of their home. As Lennon was entering his home, Chapman appeared and shot Lennon four hit his back and shoulder and then one of the bullets pierced his aorta, which would cause severe blood loss by aortic dissection. He supposedly called out "Mr. Lennon" and then dropped in a combat stance. At that time he killed John Lennon. He did not leave the scene of the crime; he stayed and remained at the scene of the crime, took out his book and read it until the police showed up. The police rushed him to the hospital and Chapman was arrested. Lennon died at 11:15 that night. Chapman stated that "I am sure that a large part of me is the devil" He is locked up. In 81, Chapmans lawyer goes to court with a plea of not guilty by insanity, which would have put him in a metal institution rather than jail. He decided he did not want to plead insanity because god told him not to and to never appeal, regardless of the sentence. Judge Dennis Edwards was upset by his change of plea but declared him competent to plead guilty. His sentencing was disrupted by two psychiatrists that spoke out on his behalf but the judge shot them down. He read a passage from the Catcher in the Rye and was sentenced to 20 years to life. Since the shooting he has become a Christian and has to be separated from the other prisoners for his own safety. He spends most days now in the library and as a kitchen helper and a grounds keeper. In 04, he described what he would do if released: go from church to church and tell his story and lead people to god. Ono published a one page paper stating that she was not yet ready to forgive. Every year, there is some kind of celebration for Lennon. This must never stop.
I am the Spider/Epilogue You don't know who your neighbors are. It could be postman, your babysitter, your Fed Ex man, your neighbor, if could even be a family relative. But they were born with the disease to inflict pain and suffering. They may have grown up torturing animals, bullying and being violent. The one thing they have to do is let that rage out by torturing but that does nothing for me. Then one night I meet my friend Steven, now Steven isn't real, he's the voice in my head and it's very true, Steven and me are like a spider, we will trap you, torture you and let you die a slow and painful death. I may leave you in a cellar for three weeks, maybe with some water and a pot to piss in and a few crumbs of bread. You can't scream if I let the gag out of your mouth, promise me! You don't want to get Steven mad. Oops. I came down to my basement and thought you were asleep and I thought I would be nice and bring you a meal, and when I let the gag out, I told you not to scream. Why did you have to scream? You like getting Steven mad? And now you are at the perfect stage to let Steven feed off of you. Can't you shut your mouth up? Don't you know who I am? I am
Steven's pet. I'm Steven's spider, I trapped you, drugged you and I am going to be the one that kills you. Our young serial killer decides to kill his victim in a slow and torturous way. After the victim dies, his alter personality comes out, and Steven decides to cut the victim up, limb by limb. Take out your eyes, and cut them up to a point that they were so unrecognizable that they would fit into a stew pot. Now, from Steven's point of view, he is Doctor Hazard she starved and killed her patients, but no, you had to put up a fight. You had to scream, I might have let you go. I had to take over. I want to let you know that you made a beautiful beef stroganoff and your eyes and brains a tasty appetizer that I fried up and ate them with your fingernails as dip. Because of you, I, Steven, and my friend are sitting 28 years in a jail cell because you had to open your stupid fucking mouth, you dumb asshole. Metaphorically speaking, this is a child that was abused and or was born with emotional issues that the parent's never caught. By fluke, his first kill is a squirrel; his second kill is a rabbit. So daddy thinks if he takes his child out and teaches him how to hunt. The voice in his head is saying, this is what we've been waiting form this is what we want. This is what you call the birth of a serial killer. And if you look up, in a dictionary or encyclopedia or forensic book, most serial killers begin with bedwetting, socially dysfunctional, they have no friends, constantly picked on, and all they think about is revenge but they just don't know how to do it until they meet the voice inside their heads. But it does not mean that they wait for a voice they just want revenge it's in their genetics. They have unresponsive parents or the parents just advise that they stick up for themselves. They keep journals. A normal person would write their feelings, but this child enjoys fantasizing about what they would do, violent thoughts. I would recommend everyone go rent American Psycho. Now, in the movie, Mr. Bale does not hear voices, he just wants to be better than everyone else. He wants to get rid of his nemesis. In the movie, I if could get Bale to write for me, I would. He puts on any CD he can find and gives them a great review. He raved about Huey Lewis and the News. Whitney Houston and Robert Palmer! This is the making of a serial killer. It may start early in life or not, but every serial killer has their own modus operendi. Some get a huge rush, some get their rocks off, but they just keep on killing. In the movie American Psycho, at the end of it, we all wonder what the killer did, was it real or not real? If it was not real, was this a fantasy killing he was playing out for the killer in his dreams? Or did it really happen? You tell me.
PS Editor's Note Never keep your journal where anyone can read it. Whether it is just a fantasy or you really are killing people. This is a note to the parents around the world look for the signs in your children that we just gave you. You may think it is just a joke, but inside they are taking it very seriously. Killing small animals is a warning sign and no joke. Do you want your child to end up like Steven? If you see these signs, get the child the help that they need or they will end up like Steven. Children can have emotional issues and often need help. What Cooper has done is make another masterpiece. He is giving you all a warning save your children before it's too late.