Super Duper Alice Cooper

Super Duper Alice Cooper
Directed And Written: Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen
Produced by: Banger Films
2014
Review by Chris Galea
5/10

A film documenting the life, career, trials and tribulations of one of the founding fathers of Rock and Metal is certainly something to look forward to. “Super Duper…” starts by focusing on the upbringing of Vincent Furnier before he adopted the stage name of ‘Alice Cooper’, on his first forays into music, on meeting bassist Dennis Dunaway at school and revealing the origins of the band moniker.

More than half the documentary consists of voices speaking over photos and archive footage both of which are not necessarily directly linked to what is being said. It’s a very strange approach not to mention that it’s also very frustrating that you’re not actually seeing the speaker/s and sometimes it’s not even clear who is speaking.

For many years and seven albums into the band’s existence, Alice Cooper the band and Alice Cooper the frontman were two distinct entities and the film dedicates a hefty focus on the former. It tells about the band being discovered by Frank Zappa, who really got the ball rolling for the band. We get to know about a handful of crucial performances that significantly elevated the band’s status, such as a 1970 festival with John Lennon also on the bill.

Even after those shows, radio stations kept ignoring the band but that all changed when famed producer Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd) was roped in and Alice Cooper finally had their first hit single: ‘I’m Eighteen’. Since its inception, the band kept honing the theatricality of their live shows and “Super Duper Alice Cooper” makes this patently clear. Speaking of which, the film mentions some truly bizarre anecdotes about their gigs, one involving a chicken (think of it as Alice Cooper’s version of the infamous story concerning Ozzy and a bat). No less bizarre is footage of a live show involving panties…lots of panties.

The documentary then covers the divorce of Alice Cooper the singer from Alice Cooper the band. Around the same time, Alice/Vince suffered a mental breakdown. Upon emerging from that precarious mental state, one of the first things Alice did was collaborate with songwriter Bernie Taupin, famous for writing the lyrics to almost all of Elton John’s songs (incidentally Elton John is said to be a big Alice Cooper fan). The result of the Cooper/Taupin collaboration was for me Alice Cooper’s magnum opus, the album “From The Inside”, released in 1978 and recorded with the help of a large number of session musicians.

We are also told that Alice Cooper had to deal with a crippling cocaine addiction, from which he eventually recovered and returned to the stage in 1986 after an absence of 4 years. And in fact the documentary clocks off somewhere in the mid-1980s.

So, if Alice Cooper meant nothing to you beyond the albums, videos and concerts, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” certainly provides a revealing background about the band and showman. Sadly, though, the documentary is conspicuously lacking in any depth whatsoever. It mentions a number of stepping stones in Alice Cooper’s career but there’s very little insight in terms of how, why, who, when….etc. On the other hand, a lot of important events, albums and musicians are wholly overlooked. So, for example, we have nothing about the “Easy Action” album of 1970. And guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, two musicians so crucial to the band, are almost completely ignored.

To that add what I mentioned earlier about invisible persons speaking over photo and video montages and in the end the prevailing feeling I got of this film-doc is one of a missed opportunity.

Interesting? Perhaps. But certainly not super duper.

Watch the trailer here:

Alice Cooper’s new album “Detroit Stories” will be released on February 26th, 2021 via earMUSIC.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Blue Öyster Cult – 40th Anniversary, Agents Of Fortune: Live 2016 CD

Blue Öyster Cult – 40th Anniversary, Agents Of Fortune: Live 2016 CD
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 35:02
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10

Few bands have been as well loved and influential as New York titans Blue Öyster Cult, their constant aim to push their own musical boundaries seeing them leading the pack for over fifty years. Originally forming in 1967 under the moniker Soft White Underbelly, it wasn’t until they changed their name in 1971 that things really took off and their seminal fourth album “Agents Of Fortune” was a game changer in 1976 and featured one of the all-time rock classics ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’. Returning to the album forty years later, the band decided to play it in its entirety and captured one of these sparkling performances at Hollywood almost exactly four years ago.

Following the running order of the original album, ‘This Ain’t the Summer of Love’ comes first, all heavy psychedelic rock that is sprinkled with the sort of dark, shock glam rock that was Alice Cooper’s stock in trade. More melodic than previous releases, the album at the time was seen as a more polished move from their heavy roots but there is so much to enjoy, and the songwriting stands up as well today as it always has. ‘True Confession’ adds a real rock ‘n’ roll feel, the guitarwork peeling off some of the sort of riffs that caught the imagination from that golden era. This idea of playing all these tracks live, giving them a new shine is most noticeable on the next track, but then ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ is so familiar to everyone over the years that any slight changes are magnified. Giving it a new coat of paint and shorn of the studio trappings, it sounds cleaner than ever, the vocals and guitars particularly fresh sounding and the fretwork at the end really stands out.

Another favourite, ‘E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)’ sounds as heavy as it always has, shining as one of the most powerful songs the band penned, the guitars of Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, Eric Bloom and Richie Castellano work together to huge effect. Also, the vocals of the long-time Roeser and Bloom are also outstanding, providing the sort of sweet colour to offset the heaviness in this, the second of a mighty one / two punch of album highlights. ‘The Revenge of Vera Gemini’ and ‘Sinful Love’ are prime examples of the sort of great 70’s material they were writing and it’s a joy to hear them, reflecting just why this album made its way into the homes of so many over the years. More sinister and hard-edged vibes appear in the form of the delightfully dark and fun ‘Vampire Tattoo’, the commercial sounding ‘Morning Final’ rolls magnificently and ‘Tenderloin’ echoes more psychedelia in a spacey but tightly controlled feast for the ears. It’s just left for ‘Debbie Denise’ to round things off and the track is a rollicking and majestic epic, full of the fire and class that is a Blue Öyster Cult trademark.

With a guest appearance from founding member Albert Bouchard, the band, along with rhythm section bass guitarist Kasim Sulton and drummer Jules Radino, have produced something that is not just a great celebration of a superb album but also a timely reminder of just how good they are. ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ may have been the peak of their worldwide fame but there is a hugely rich treasure trove of gold standard rock songs to discover if you’ve not scratched any deeper than that monster hit. With a new album penciled for release this year, there’s no better time to get acquainted with New York’s finest and “40th Anniversary, Agents Of Fortune: Live 2016” is a perfect entry point.

This is also available as a DVD/Blu-Ray.

TRACKLISTING:
01. This Ain’t The Summer Of Love
02. True Confessions
03. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
04. E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)
05. The Revenge Of Vera Gemini
06. Sinful Love
07. Tattoo Vampire
08. Morning Final
09. Tenderloin
10. Debbie Denise

LINE-UP:
Eric Bloom – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – Guitar, Vocals
Richie Castellano – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Jules Radino – Drums, Percussion
Kasim Sulton – Bass, Vocals
Special Guest: Albert Bouchard – Guitar, Vocals

LINKS:
www.blueoystercult.com/
www.facebook.com/blueoystercult/
www.blueoystercult.merchdirect.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/00tVTdpEhQQw1bqdu8RCx2
www.youtube.com/channel/UCToiTDJNmKtyBHAUUsbdZnQ

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.