Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper invented shock-rock in the 1970s, sparking controversy with his ghoulishly theatrical live shows and hard rock hits like School’s Out and I’m Eighteen. Alice Cooper joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a career-spanning conversation.

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This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Parents Music Resource Center-inspired Senate hearings in 1985. The PMRC, co-founded by Tipper Gore and Susan Baker, was pushing Congress to clamp down on songs with questionable lyrics because it claimed the music was having an adverse effect on America’s youth. But there to testify eloquently in defense of free speech was the unlikely trio of Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. The PMRC hearings led to the ubiquitous Parental Advisory stickers that many CDs were forced to carry. Some retailers would refuse to stock any CDs that had the labels, which was a major concern in the pre-Internet era when access to music was more restricted. The PMRC even issued a Filthy Fifteen list of particularly objectionable songs, including tracks by Prince, Mötley Crüe, and even Cyndi Lauper.

Win Butler, lead singer of Arcade Fire, has spoken out against the poorly managed launch of the Tidal streaming service – despite being one of its celebrity investors. He still defends the concept of offering HD-quality streaming, but blames Tidal’s struggles on the major labels insisting on a $20 per month fee, twice the cost of Spotify. But Greg and Jim wonder if Butler should be concerned with cleaning his own house first. Despite being signed to the respected indie Merge, Arcade Fire still has deals with major labels for distribution and promotion.

Alice Cooper

This week, Jim and Greg talk to shock-rock legend Alice Cooper. Cooper was born in Detroit but later moved to Arizona for high school, where he was a teenage jock in a rock band. His group, The Spiders, performed around Phoenix and LA for a few years before they changed their name to Alice Cooper (Alice’s real name is Vincent Furnier.) Their first couple albums Pretties For Youand Easy Action didn’t gain much traction but once they teamed up with producer Bob Ezrin, they found success with the album Love It to Death. A string of popular records followed such as School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare but for a time, critics couldn’t see past the group’s on-stage antics. Alice is perhaps most famous for his special brand of shock-rock including props like snakes, guillotines and even straight jackets. Now, he put out a 15-CD box set, The Studio Albums 1969-1983 and is touring with his new supergroup The Hollywood Vampires, which he formed alongside Johnny Depp and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. Jim and Greg were very excited to speak with Cooper and discuss his on-stage persona, sobriety, music catalogue and relationships with other famous artists.

Jim

This week, Jim decided to select a track by the all-girl band She. The song Outta Reach was released on Kent Records as a single in 1970. Jim was inspired by an article from music critic Lindsay Zoladz that originally appeared in Bitch Magazine. Her piece billed She as the greatest girl group you’ve never heard of. That got Jim thinking about the lack of girl rock bands in music history and how this ensemble in particular was powerful, sonically interesting but unfortunately never hit it big. However, Jim really likes this track, which showcases She in their glory days.

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