If you Asked These Two Musicians If They Were Crazy... They Might Say Yes

Alice Cooper

It's getting so hard to see a doctor nowadays that people are soliciting examinations for all of their ailments from people on the street. Either they want to be calmed and reassured death is not minutes away or doctor visits are eating into their lottery money. Normal citizens will ask me to view discolorations of the skin or some knot or bump and actually want my opinion of what it might be. My answer, always the same, "That's cancer," seems to alarm them. "Oh my god! Why would you say such a thing?" I tell them this because I am not a doctor and I want them to go away. This will work most of the time...

Our obsession with diagnosing others as "crazy" has reached such expert proportions that the word is meaningless in modern society. To label someone crazy does not have anything to do with their mental state any longer, it just means they have outlived their usefulness. Someone exceeding the speed limit behind the wheel of a car you're in is making good time, until they get a ticket, then they were driving like a maniac. Girlfriends aren't crazy - EX girlfriends are. Back in the 20th century if you were "crazy," you got thrown in the hole, not released back into the wild to drunk dial you at 4:15 am claiming you ruined their life by not doing the dishes. Being crazy meant something and branded you with a badge of honor that scared the fuck out of voters and landowners. Alice Cooper scared people and got put away, but is by no means crazy.

Alice Cooper is the Hugh Hefner of rock, meaning his name is the brand and everyone wants to hang out with him. When asked about not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he said it would be cooler to "get kicked out" of it, displaying the aura that made everyone stop asking what his real name (Vincent Furiner) is. Also making up that aura was Alice's late 1970's daily consumption of booze that would euthanize the average bar patron. This drunken layer not only affected the Cooper stage show but his judgment enough to write a loose concept album around a fictional private detective named "Maurice Escargot." The record, "Lace And Whiskey" tried to succeed by harnessing the singer's newly found star power (Cooper appeared on the Muppets, Hollywood Squares, Dinah Shore's talk show and funded the renovation of the famous "Hollywood" sign.) and a ballad ("You And Me" which went to #9 on Billboard.) helped the album sell, but no one was really buying that this baby killer was in the rat pack. During the support tour for the album, Cooper checked himself into a sanitarium in order to treat his sadistic alcohol habit. Before he cleaned himself up, he recorded "It's Hot Tonight", a bad ass rocker enough out of place with the rest of the album that metaphorically has a drunken Cooper picking up the best looking girl in the bar. The opening riff is as heavy as a humid summer night without air conditioning, giving way to twin guitar ruckus mimicking all the noise from the street cascading through your open window. The song might have been taken more seriously if it was not for Cooper's need for fame knocking down his credibility with the rock crowd and the stage performance of the song featuring the singer in full P.I. getup being chased by chickens with automatic weapons.

Listen to "It's Hot Tonight"

Buy Alice Cooper music
Alice Cooper - Lace & Whiskey - It's Hot Tonight

Frank Marino

Frank Marino took a lot of acid, so much of it the experiences couldn't be called "trips" they were full blown relocations. As a result of these daily interactions with LSD, he had to be placed in an institution while still in his teens. Instead of concentrating on eating solid food again while under psychiatric care, Marino instead focused on playing guitar religiously throughout the day forging his renowned speed, power and technical skill that drew comparisons to the greatest guitar players dead or alive, and a drive and passion not normally associated with someone that probably used the word "groovy" more than once. After being released from the hospital (or maybe being asked to leave on account of the noise being too much for the inhabitants of the ward) Marino embarked on his journey into rock music with a slightly clearer sense of direction.

After pounding out a number of albums with his band "Mahogany Rush", Frank ventured on his own trying to expand on his Canadian homeland fan base by breaking through in the US. Marino's second solo effort "Juggernaut" succeeds in capturing the American audience by showcasing the guitar player's adept ability to bounce between different styles, both old and new. The new was the initial single from the album "Strange Dreams", and its addition of a synthesizer, which meshes very well as it interacts amongst the heaviness of the story generated in the deepest sleep. This new dimension works because Marino himself, and not some new wave poseur, mans the controls of the synth line so it acts almost as another guitar track, complementing the sound of the song enough to make you want to reach for the corner of your eye in order to remove the deposit that built up overnight. The song's ability to get attention without overpowering you had no similar brethren on the album, dooming any change of a successful follow-up single.

Listen to "Strange Dreams"


Matt said...

Excellent writing. I'm going to nick the idea of diagnosing everything as CANCER. That's brilliant.

Nice choice (and comments) on Cooper, too.

Uncle E said...

I used to, and still do love The Coop, but only up to about 1981 or two. I tell anyone within earshot that the original Alice Cooper band were the best garage band on the planet. Fuck the Stooges, man, these guys were amazingly raw. I did get a little anoyed when I heard about Vincent golfing with Dick Cheney wannabe's, but that still doesn't take away from the fine, fine work he did in the 70's.
And, for the record, I really do like the Stooges, I just thought that would get my point across a little more dramatically...Excellent post!

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International Flower Spy said...

This is great. I love Alice Cooper, and you're right who doesn't want to hang out with that!