The Big Book of Hair Metal
is a colorful book just like the bands itself.
Author Martin Popoff gives a little history prior to
the Hair Metal days and ends with the beginning of Grunge.
I pulled out the Alice Cooper text in this book.
I have to agree w/ Popoff on Alice's albums during the 80's as
being "metal kiddie rock."
Just listen to the lyrics and compare it to "Love It To Death" or "Billion Dollar Babies" album.
Even "DaDa" was far more superior lyric wise.
The Big Book of Hair Metal
by Martin Popoff
Pg 20 - 21
LIZZIE GREY (GUITARIST, SISTER, LONDON):
Blackie Lawless wanted to be Alice Cooper, pretty much. What he was
doing w shock rock. At the time with Sister, he was doing things
like eating earthworms onstage, nightcrawlers, and throwing meat
at the audience in his later W.A.S.P. band. Alice Cooper had a huge
appeal to people like Blackie and myself. I was a huge Alice Cooper
fan, although a guitarist, not as someone doing the theatrics, but
as someone who is creating the music for those sorts of theatrics. Kiss
was an influence as well. Blackie and Gene Simmons had kind of a
rift going between them because of a girl named Star Stowe, who had
known both of them or something [laughs]. Star’s really well-known
she did a really great Playboy spread, where she was holding
a Rickenbacker guitar over her crotch, and I think that was one of the
first times it was really done to that degree. So she kind of gets kudos
Pg 22 - 23
Quiet Riot was sort of hard rock, Slade-influenced, the British hard rock
that influenced all of us so much—Slade, Sweet, Mott the Hoople, Mark
Bolen, T. Rex., Quiet Riot were a bit older than us, and guys like Nikki
Sixx and I . . . we used to go watch Quiet Riot, and Randy Rhoads
was so awesome to watch. He was so fluid and had such a great feel
for that kind of music. And needless to say Kevin DuBrow’s voice was
pretty much a dead ringer for [Slade’s] Noddy Holder. Quiet Riot was
really popular, and Sister was very unpopular [laughs]. There wasn’t
that much draw for that kind of thing in the late ‘70s. Because you
had Rodney Bingenheimer doing disco on the Sunset Strip, and you
had Fowley doing the Runaways, and there was this sort of foppish,
poppish leftover from the late ‘70s. Arthur Kane was a good friend of
mine before he passed away, and he used to talk about how the whole
New York Dolls thing and the whole glitter rock thing only lasted for
a couple years from like ‘74 to ‘76. Then it got kind of eclipsed by the
whole disco thing. So it was really fun, back in ‘76, ‘77, when I would
see Blackie kind of moping around Hollywood, because there wasn’t
much appeal for the shock rock thing, other than Alice Cooper who
was doing it his first time around [laughs]. But we would be hanging
around the Starwood. That place was just phenomenal because you
had all these influences, like disco going on in one room, and then you
had the foppish metal rock, whatever you want to call it, Quiet Riot.
We call it glitter more than glam. Our distinction is that glitter rock
was everything going on in the ‘70s and glam rock was kind of like
the second coming of glitter rock, and that was bands like Poison and
London and all that.
Bands like Slade had an influence as far as what people looked like; you started
seeing bands coming out of England that kind of had a little bit more of a visual thing
going on. This was way after Alice Cooper, actually, and really nobody went there
until Kiss finally did, and they certainly influenced a lot of stuff. And that’s where
bands like Sister, who came to be known as W.A.S.P., got their image. Plus Judas
Priest and Scorpions, even in their early genesis, they were doing that hardcore look
with the studs and the leather, and bands like Sister wanted to have that harder-
edged image that was basically invented by people like Scorpions and Judas Priest.
JAY JAY FRENCH (GUITAFHST, TWISTED SISTER):
Twisted Sister started out as a glam/Bowie band, and
then me taking the lead vocals, we became a Mott the
Hoople/Lou Reed-type band. When Dee Snider joined,
he was very much influenced by Alice Cooper and Black
Sabbath. So we became a glam band again, but not a
pretty glam band like the original version. We became a
more theatrical band. Not gross—that’s probably not the
best way to put it—but theatrical. The original band was
a real attempt at female impersonation, but when Dee
came in, it was a very theatrical glam look.
Pg 100 (Intro to 1986)
QUITE A FEW EXCITING HEADLINES in
the world of hair; circa 1986. In Van Halens world, the band is back
with a new front man in Sammy Hagar, who helps edge the band into
the hair metal world with all of his syrupy sentiments on smash hit LP
5150. Meanwhile, Diamond Dave goes loud and proud as a solo artist,
putting together a Technicolor band of flash and excess so bright that it
is almost a parody of hair metal. Alice Cooper returns from near death
with a new record label and a shameless hair metal direction, from
his assembled band of young shredders through all the production
excesses one could possibly handle. The next buzz band, Guns N’
Roses, gets signed, partially because there’s a misguided view that
they are somehow an “authentic” band above the goofiness of hair.
And then well within the definition of hair metal that’s attracting all this
denigration come two new baby bands, Cinderella and Poison, both
with debut albums that upset the apple cart but good. Moving more
pancakes is Bon Jovi who finally explode with Slippery When Wet,
ushering in the golden era of hair metal, the fruition of all that money
spent on soft-focus, slow-motion videos sparkling with pixie dust and
other white powders.
The thing about constrictor was that I had just sobered up.
I had never been Alice Cooper on stage sober. What do you think that
first gig was like? Me putting on all of the gear, getting ready to go
onstage and realizing, what if Alice doesn’t show up? I’m going to be
out there in front of these people without the alcohol. What it Alice
just doesn’t show up? Well. the first night we played. Guns N’ Roses
opened for us and I had this new band with Kane Roberts and Ken
Mary and Kip Winger on bass—a great band. And what I wanted to
do was come out with an album that had no ballads on it. It was just
pure heavy Alice. You know, it was heavy metal, but I called it “heavy
Alice.” It wasn’t really metal like Metallica or Megadeth, but I had
this new sound and I had the new image. If I look at Alice now, back
in the Billion Dollar Babies or School’s Out days, I see a character that
was a whipping boy. I look at his posture and he’s humped over.
I look at the fact that he gets his head cut off and he gets hung. He was
always society’s whipping boy, and that’s the way alcohol made me
feel. He appealed to the outcasts of the world. And now Alice was this
incredibly vicious villain who stood straight up, who wore all black
leather, and he was now this character that was an arrogant Captain
Hook. And he looked at the audience with disdain, as if “You are the
great unwashed and I am of course Hannibal Lecter” [laughs]. And it
was a new way of me performing Alice. I didn’t feel beat up anymore.
I needed to prove to the audience that there was a new generation
BEAU HILL (PRODUCER, ON WORKING ON CONSTRICTOR):
It was just Alice, and he didn’t really have a band. And he had a
cowriter, Kane Roberts. He and Alice had spent a great deal of time
writing this record, and Alice got a new deal on MCA, and that’s how
they got me in. I introduced Alice to Kip Winger, and Kip played bass
on the album, and then subsequently Alice hired Kip to go out and tour
that particular album. Alice was so easy to work with. He was such a
gentleman and such a riot. He was really open. It was like. “Okay, how
about we try this?” “That’s great, let’s do it.” I was an Alice fan when
I was a kid, and so this was a real privilege tor me. He had already
come back from the edge of all of his various abuses that he was so
notorious for. The weirdest thing that he did is that he’d like to fall
asleep on the couch and watch what he referred to as splatter movies,
stuff like Halloween and Friday the 13th, all that kind of stuff. He was a
very gracious person to be around, and any time we were out walking
on the street, he would stop and sign autographs.
I did not want to come out with anything with the soft underbelly to it.
I wanted Alice to come out there and punch the lights out. I saw all these
bands. I saw, you know Kiss. I knew who Kiss was; we helped invent Kiss.
We told them where to buy their makeup. They were no shock to me. And
I said, “I need to blow these guys off the map.” And to me, attitude-wise
and show-wise, we did. Kiss were a different thing from us. Kiss were comic
book, where Alice was still the master of theater. And I was the master of
surprise. This was much darker than anybody in Kiss. The one thing about
Constrictor is that I took metal, and to me, made it a little smarter. The
arrangements, the guitar playing of Kane Roberts . . . he is the most underrated
guitar player of all time. The fact that he looked like Schwarzenegger really
detracted from his guitar playing. I mean people did not listen to him.
They’d listen to the album and say, “Who played the guitar on this? It’s incredible!
Is it Eddie Van Halen? Is it Steve Vai? “No, that’s Kane Roberts.” He was a genius
guitar player, on both those albums [Constrictor and l987’s Raise Your Fist And Yell].
And if you listen to those albums, there’s a lot of early Alice melody lines. I learned
my lessons from Bob Ezrin. I never wrote songs that didn’t have great melody lines.
It’s just now I was attacking it differently. I was attacking it with a much more
aggressive guitar, bass, and drums.
BILLY CHILDS (BASSIST, BFHTNY FOX):
Not to speak for the other guys, but I guess they would pretty much
agree with me. I always saw us somewhere slightly above average.
Never saw us a huge Bon Jovi-type band or anything like that. I
saw us as a rock band. l didn’t really see us as an ’80s band. I thought
we had an awful lot of elements of AC/DC to us, but there was also,
because of our original singer [“Dizzy” Dean Davidson], who was an
awful lot like Tom Kiefer, there was an awful lot of Cinderella influence
in there. . . .
Well, we toured with Poison, the first headlining tour, which was
a really great experience, really nice guys. With Poison, our first big
tour, we were actually making twenty-five dollars a day per diem. We
weren’t even getting salaries. We toured with Ratt; they were pretty
cool for the most part. Once again, nice enough guys. Alice Cooper,
fucking beautiful guy. Great White . . . I would say that ninety percent
of the people I toured with were definitely cool. There were very
few assholes. You have to look at it this way, Martin, these guys are
beginning to live their dream. They’re playing these arenas, or sold-out
clubs. They’re on their first albums, and the guys are in a good mood.
Most of the people I ran into were nice enough. Did a lot of touring with
Joan Jett. Once again, cool down-to-earth chick. A lot of people don’t
understand that, but she really is.
We took three days writing [“Poison”]. Now, usually I say a hit is
written in five minutes. So maybe the basics of “Poison” was written
in a half-hour. But when you’re working with Desmond Child, he is a
song doctor, he is a surgeon. He spent two days just on the background
vocals. I mean, he really, really made that song work. The basics
were written, yeah, in maybe an hour. But he really sat down at the
piano and worked out every one of those background vocals, which is
something I never would be able to do. Desmond was good, because
Desmond came from a whole different place and, yeah, Desmond did
push me. He wasn’t satisfied with “That’s a good song.” He was a song
doctor, and he would sit there and go, “Yeah, it’s good. It’s not great.”
And he would just work on that song until it was great. And that’s why
Trash sold three, four million copies, because there was somebody at
the helm that really, really was working there but also making sure the
album was great.