Monday, October 18, 2010

Goes To Hell

Being that Alice Cooper (and his original band)has finally been nominated for the rock n roll Hall of Fame for the 2011 ceremony it will only be fitting to talk about the Coop this month. Whether he actually makes it in remains to be seen. He is going up against Chic, Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Neil Diamond and Tom Waits Just to name a few. He's been eligible since 1995 so that makes 15 years of being snubbed so that the likes of Madonna and her ilk could be inducted. I imagine Chic , beasties and ll cool j will be shoo ins, if past history is any indication and the Coop is likely to be snubbed again. As most of you know Alice Cooper's career spans more than four decades. Cooper has drawn equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock (like chopping up bloody baby dolls). The first shock rocker so to speak. In the seventies politicians and pressure groups tried to ban the Alice Cooper band's shocking act which only served to fuel the fire, making the Alice Cooper band even more famous.

Last year in October I talked about Alice's fictional character Steven, who we were introduced to on his classic Welcome to my Nightmare album. I Talked about several albums where Steven made his appearances. Alice Cooper Goes to Hell is another concept album which came out in 1976, a year after the Nightmare in which Steven sort of makes an appearance. Now this story is not really about Steven but on the albums original liner notes on the inner sleeve we have this little text.

“Lay still, Steven, and I'll tell you a bedtime story. I'll tell you a bedtime story that's not for all children. It's a very special story, that only special children will understand. It's a half-awake story, and it will be better if you close your eyes. It's a story that takes place in a dream, like other nightmares you have known. It's a dream that Alice has dreamed. You can dream along with him. You can follow Alice down the staircase, deep, down the stairs to the pit where he doesn't want to go, but he has to. If you go to sleep now, Steven, you can go down the long and endless stairway and sing sweet songs to Alice and free him. And if you can't get to sleep, Steven, and in the middle of the night you get out of bed, when everything is quiet and the trees are still and the birds are hiding from the dark, you can lie down on your bedroom floor and press your ear tightly to the boards. If you listen very carefully you can hear Alice searching for a way out, forever chasing rainbows. Sleep tight, Steven. And have a good night.”

Most fans think the storyline is about Alice himself and Steven is the one listening to this bedtime story, who is telling the story to Steven is not entirely clear and is open to conjecture. The story seems to go like this, Alice is sentenced to go to Hell (“Go to Hell”). Hell is symbolized by Disco music (“You gotta dance”). In Hell, Alice meets the Devil (“I’m the Coolest”) and realizes that he has met him before (“Didn’t We Meet” possibly a reference to the Nightmare album). “I Never Cry” deals with Alice’s real alcohol problems and in “Give the Kid a Break” Alice pleads to the Devil to let him go. In “Guilty” Alice says that if doing rock n’ roll dooms him to eternal Hell, than it’s worth it and he is guilty because he loves rock n’ roll. “Wake Me Gently” is a song that connects to the Welcome to My Nightmare-theme, where Alice thinks that everything is a nightmare, and wants to wake up. In “Wish You Where Here” Alice makes a phone call from Hell to his girlfriend. In the song “Going Home” he is indeed finally going home, escaping Hell. There are some parts of the album where the Steven and the Alice Cooper character seem to be the same person which is another discussion altogether. So to sum it all up this album is not an "official" Steven album but it bears mentioning in the whole Steven storyline.

Go To Hell
I'm the Coolest
Buy It

Funny Toon


Anonymous said...

Nice post! That liner note scared the poop out of me when I was a youngster, one of the many reasons why Alice will always be cool in my book.