Book Review: "Me, Alice: The Autobiography of Alice Cooper" - Alice Cooper and Steve Gaines

As a hardcore Alice Cooper fan, I was first surprised to learn that Alice Cooper even wrote – or, rather, dictated – a memoir back in 1976. And then I was further surprised to learn that it goes for anywhere from $600 to $3000 on ebay and amazon! The reason for this is because Me, Alice: The Autobiography of Alice Cooper hasn’t been in print since 1977. And after reading my easily obtained PDF copy (God bless the internet, which insures no piece of literature will ever be truly “cancelled”), I can speculate as to why.

For a quarter of a century and possibly earlier, Alice Cooper, a Born Again Christian, has played the role of the family friendly horror rocker who just wants to tell a spooky story with a morality play and with loud guitars providing the soundtrack. And, though his past is nearly as sordid as any of his contemporaries in the biz, he’s attempted to retcon his entire career in this new wholesome light, claiming that he’s never used a single cuss word and even excising some of his more sexual songs, such as “Spark in the Dark”, from his live sets.

Well, I love you, Alice, but I call bullshit. First of all, the reason MOST of your discography is free of the f-word is because most bands of your vintage didn’t really swear back then; both because it was just unheard of AND because it made it more difficult to get on the radio. And secondly, well, unless my ears deceive me, the song “Enough’s Enough” from the 1983 album Dada does have a couple of f-bombs, but apparently you were too blown out on coke at the time to remember making any of your early 80s albums; how convenient. Even without the cuss words, there are plenty of cringe-inducing sexual innuendos in some of your other material (“we must have been the first to GO DOWN in history”, “I wanna drink the wine from fur teacup”).

So, given all that, plus the fact that Alice went back on his no marriage policy, dissed on Republicans (which he is one now), admitted to jerking off into a jelly donut which he then gave to his sister, expressed a blatantly cavalier attitude towards his girlfriend getting an abortion, and a bunch of other The Dirt-tier sexual escapades which probably embarrassed his family, close friends, and fellow church members, it’s not hard to see why Alice probably would prefer if Me, Alice would stay out of print in perpetuity.

Strangely enough, the biggest shock for me, and I’m not being facetious at all when I say this, is reading Alice Cooper swearing so much. That’s probably another reason he’s happy to see Me, Alice go out of print; because Alice always speaks like a gentleman in interviews, trying to portray himself more like, say, old-timey entertainers like Fred Astaire or Groucho Marx than just your stereotypically uncultured, foul-mouthed rock musician.

Furthermore, anyone who thought the man who sings “Only Women Bleed” isn’t the type of sleazy goon who would sodomize a groupie with a fish might balk at such classy statements as, ahem, “I got sadistic blow jobs where I thought the girl was going to rip the skin off my cock with her teeth and soft, sensual blow jobs where I had to look twice to make sure the chick hadn't slipped her false teeth out and she was gumming me. I must have shot, I'm pleased to say, gallons and gallons of come into hundreds of mouths.” Not to mention that, the Alice entourage also read off a nightly “ball score”, which isn’t referring to sports.

Alice also LOVES big tits. If you wanna know whether Alice is a boob or butt guy, well, you get your answer over and over and over again.

I guess it also wouldn’t hurt to mention that, considering the book was written in 1976, Alice uses the language of the day, which is to say, he uses words that would be considered “hate speech” in the modern parlance. This is a third reason why I think Alice would probably prefer if Me, Alice remained out of print.

But offensive language notwithstanding, Me, Alice is an indispensable read for Alice Cooper fans. Considering the book is only about 260 pages long and was written shortly after the Welcome to My Nightmare tour, it provides far more insight into Alice’s early career, the post-hippie rock scene, and the music industry in the 70s than his more recent PG-rated, profanity-free, and light on details memoir Golf Monster.

For instance, any Alice Cooper fan knows that Bob Ezrin helped sculpt the Alice Cooper band into a tight hard rocking combo that spit out a nearly flawless series of LPs from 1971 to 1973. However, I had no idea just how meticulously crafted Love It to Death was. Alice Cooper literally recorded the album bit by little bit, sending a handful of songs to Warner Bros. -  who didn’t at first believe this was the same Alice Cooper they “inherited” from Frank Zappa’s dissolved Straight-Bizarre label - at a time before getting approval to finish the album. Furthermore, “Eighteen” was released as a single before Love It to Death was even finished!

Internet music critic Mark Prindle said in his review of Love It to Death, “One of the larger mysteries in the history of rock is what exactly happened between 1970 and 1971 to make the Alice Cooper Band so goddarned good. Was it their sudden move to KISS's fabled Detroit Rock City?” Well, Mark, and rest of the world, there ya go. But don’t take MY word for it! Read Alice’s sleazy, foul-mouthed memoir instead!

Alice also talks about his early life, which involves his family’s crisscrossing across the country, bouts with sickness, his father’s heavy church involvement, and LOTS of jerking off. He also tells the entire story of how his band, originally called the Earwigs – who became the Spiders who became the Nazz who became Alice Cooper – went from doing goofy Beatles parodies for their 1964 high school talent show to becoming the most popular band in the world by 1972, only to burn out and break up in 1974.

And, yes, Alice talks about all the important characters in his life story; his hustler manager Shep Gordon, Frank Zappa, who never took the Alice Cooper band seriously and wanted to call them Alice Cookies, the other four members of the Alice Cooper band, and a few friends and roadies who most people will forget about shortly after reading the book. He even does sort of a mea culpa regarding his using the Alice Cooper name as HIS name, which inevitably turned him into the main attraction and made lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neil Smith just seem like backup musicians; he even vaguely acknowledges how Michael Bruce wrote the riffs which would make him a multimillionaire.

At the end of day, the Alice Cooper who wrote Me, Alice IS pretty much the same Alice as the one today. He tells the chicken story the same exact way he always did. His drug of choice was always booze (except in the early 80s when he was blown out on coke). He claims, as always, that Alice Cooper is just a stage character and that he’s not like that in real life. He lauds Detroit as the hard rock capitol of the world. And, even as early as 1976, he’s an avid golfer.

It’s just that he also likes to swear and talk about his dick a lot. Oh, and tits.

Edwin Oslan
Revenge of Riff Raff
19th March, 2021

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