Live From The Astroturf 7" Single

'The Happening'

On Tuesday 06th October 2015, fans attending an 'Alice Cooper Happening' (i.e. a signing / questions and answers event) in support of Dennis Dunaway's excellent Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! book were treated to an extra special surprise. The venue was Good Records in Dallas, Texas, which just happened to be the city that Alice was due to be performing in the following day on his solo Raise The Dead tour.


What happened now goes down in folklore, with Alice, Dennis, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce from the original group joined by Ryan Roxie (in place of Glen Buxton) and Chuck Garrick (harmonica) to perform an intimate set of 8 classic hits in front of a couple of hundred people, who crammed into the store (with many more catching a view from the parking lot).  


This marked the first performance by the surviving members since they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2011. In fact, it was also the longest time that they'd spent together on stage since the Group went their separate ways back in 1974.

Flyer for the Book Signing and Happening

The full setlist that night was:


1. Caught In A Dream (without Alice and featuring Michael Bruce on vocals);

2. Be My Lover;

3. Eighteen;

4. Is It My Body;

5. No More Mr Nice Guy;

6. Under My Wheels;

7. School's Out; and

8. Elected.


More footage and interviews from that night can be viewed here.


The 7" Single Release (2016)


Not content with putting on one of the greatest Alice Cooper moments in recent years, the co-owner of the store, Chris Penn, had the sheer audacity to celebrate the historic night through the release of a two track 7" vinyl release called 'Live From The Astroturf, Alice Cooper' (the single taking its name from the pink astroturf located on the stage where the band performed). The two tracks included were Eighteen and 'Body', which were originally paired together on the single of Eighteen in 1970. A great article about all the effort taken to make this release a reality can be found here.


The result was a super deluxe, limited edition, release that instantly became the hottest Alice Cooper item of 2016 when it was released on US Record Store Day (Friday 25th November). To be fair, the quality of this release was unbelievable and truly in keeping with the lavish vinyl albums associated with the original Alice Cooper Group all those years ago.


This release was initially marketed as being limited to 2,500 units worldwide, with the numbers comprised as follows:


> 1,150 Opaque Pink Variant;

> 1,150 White Variant;

> 100 Black Variant; and

> 100 'Willy Wonka' Split Pink / White Variant.


Images of all these releases are provided below.


All versions came in a shrink-wrapped gatefold foil board jacket with a hype sticker and six 5" x 7" double-sided art prints featuring both photos and pencil drawings (by Ingo Geirdal) of each Group member. The record came packed in a colour sleeve featuring thumbnail pictures from the big night. A further paper inlay featured some press articles from local newspapers plus credits and details of the official Live From The Astroturf website.


A neat touch on this product is that the classic 'WB' Warner Brothers shield icon is replicated by Good Records on the silver vinyl labels, only this time it states 'GR'. This is something that Friday Music also did on their School's Out re-issue of 2009.


The packaging was truly exceptional and this was recognised when the release was honoured with the title of 'Best 45 Single Package' at the prestigious Alex Awards 2017.  


The audio was mixed by Justin Cortelyou and Bob Ezrin and the release was dedicated to Glen Buxton and Chris' Mum.  


Finally, on the inner edge of each disc, there was the following lyric inscriptions (representing the first words of Eighteen and Body respectively:


Side A: 'GRR 33-A Lines form on my face and hands'

Side B: 'GRR 33-B What have I got?'


The 'Willy Wonka' version was, initially, definitely the one that everyone wanted to get their hands on as it included everything the other ones did but was (a) really rare (b) the vinyl looked especially cool (c) the art prints were hand-signed in silver pen by the surviving Group members and (d) it also came with a cool glow-in-the-dark Live From The Astroturf record adaptor and a paper jukebox strip.


All of the above versions retailed for about $15 and were individually stamped with a blue foil number on the back of the sleeve, on the bottom left. As all the units were sealed, it was not possible to know what version you had until you opened it. That said, and having done plenty of research of the numbers of the ones that fellow fans ended up with, it seems highly likely that the colours were numbered as follows:


> 'Willy Wonka' Split Pink / White variant = 0,001 to 0,100;

> Opaque Pink variant = 0,101 to 1,250;

> Black variant = 1,251 to 1,350; and

> White variant = 1,351 to 2,500. 


However, even the Willy Wonka variant was (in my opinion at least) surpassed by an unannounced-to-the-masses 'Good Records Version'. This retailed for about $25, was limited to 200 copies (therefore, resulting in a total production run of 2,700 units) and featured all the same contents of the Willy Wonka version but with the vinyl coming in stunning fluorescent / translucent pink, the sleeve stamped with a pink foil number and with everything packaged in a pink ziplock bag (rather than being sealed like the other versions). As the title suggests, this version was only available to customers walking into the store, so was out of reach of the vast majority of fans. It's at this time that I'm mad at my parents for not letting me grow up in Dallas! A great video of release day at Good Records can be seen here.


All copies of the single either sold at, or mailed from, Good Records had an extra 'Including Their Hit "I'm Eighteen"' sticker on the packaging. This is a delicious nod to the original release of Love It To Death (which both tracks on the record originate from). Fans of that album will also recognise the 'Live From The Astroturf, Alice Cooper' writing on the front of the sleeve, as this is presented in the same font as the Love It To Death album. 


Last but not least, 18 test pressings that came in simple card sleeves (with hand-written copy number) were created in Opaque Pink, Red/Pink Marble effect and Blue/Green Marble effect. A handful of these were offered for sale by Good Records in Spring 2017 with most / all snapped up by die-hard fans. Purchasers were treated to some extra goodies including spare / leftover hype stickers, test record adaptors and t-shirts (see image below).


Onto the music now, and the high quality of the packaging is, thankfully, transferred to the audio side of things with a stunningly rich quality present (I have a good turntable but it sounds unreal even taking that into account). The tracks are also nicely cut and include some of the banter beforehand between out-of-character Alice and the Good Records audience.


Finally, to celebrate this release a very limited range of posters, t-shirts and spare art prints were also made available to purchase for a short period of time (see image below for more details). These sold out very quickly!

Original Sales Information
Willy Wonka Version (Limited to 100 Copies)
Willy Wonka Version Contents
Opaque Pink Version (Limited to 1,150 Copies)
Black Version (Limited to 100 Copies)
White Version (Limited to 1,150 Copies)
Good Records Version (Limited to 200 Copies)
Good Records Version Contents 1
Good Records Version Contents 2
Glow-in-the-Dark Record Adaptor
Merchandise Range
Good Records on Record Store Day 2016

Test Pressings

Demand Outstrips Supply


There is so much to love about this release but, sadly, also a few things to be a little disappointed about. Firstly, as it was released as part of the US Record Store Day event, it was generally only available to people walking into participating record stores across the country (with customers typically allowed only one copy each). Not good for people like me who live overseas but, very thankfully, Chris Penn kindly put word out to die-hard fans via Facebook that copies could potentially be reserved / sent via mail order if they emailed him with a commitment to buy a month or so in advance. I did just that and, after several weeks of anxious waiting, was thrilled to be offered an Opaque Pink version a few days before Record Store Day. 


What is frustrating though is that within hours of the release, numerous copies were appearing on eBay at a significant mark-up on the retail price.  This is really sad when proper fans in the US commented that they weren't able to secure a copy when they went to their local store and queued up to get in. To make matters worse some eBay sellers, who are likely to have been record stores as well as opportunist shoppers, appeared to have multiple copies for sale with the worst culprit that I found having 14 available (I know this as they gave me the numbers of each one that they had). This is nothing new though and is certainly not a criticism of Record Store Day or the producers of this single. The same thing happens at Record Store Days across the globe with opportunists and hooky record stores often grabbing the hottest releases for themselves and selling them online at a large profit (see example eBay listing below).


The other frustrating thing was that several people appeared to secure multiple copies via the commitment process, with a handful getting hold of all 5 variants. This meant that they ended up with 2 sets of signed art prints whilst many others missed out entirely and were forced to hit the after-sales market, at great expense, to find the ones they wanted. However, this may have been due to how well they knew those involved in the project, or whether they helped get the project off the ground with 'Early Bird' financial support.


Still, you can't please all of the people all of the time and there is no point being bitter about it (even though I may sound like I am). I'm extremely thankful for this release, I'm thankful for securing at least 1 copy and I'm thankful to Chris and co. for making me fall back in love with new music releases. Even if I had ended up with all the variants, I would have swapped them all in heartbeat for the opportunity to have been at Good Records for the original performance by the Group and to simply take in the atmosphere of the Black Friday release.


Note: Since writing the above article, I spent the next 2-or-so years working hard to build my collection of this iconic release. In February 2019 I finally obtained the last piece in the jigsaw, by securing the much sought after Willy Wonka variant. It was a very happy day when I was finally able to complete my collection of 'The Fab Five'!  I don't have a Test Pressing, but I can live with that.

Good Records Version sold by opportunist on eBay in December 2016
In Summary


This was a truly spectacular release and everyone involved have my utmost respect and admiration. If this is the last Alice Cooper Group release then it was a very worthy one. I hope it's not though and would thoroughly encourage a full vinyl album of the event to be produced (perhaps via the Crowdfunding approach). If it is then I'd be first in line to get involved! 


More information can be found on the official website for this release. This includes the opportunity to register your version and be in with a chance of winning some Astroturf-related merchandise (although, to date, no updates appear to have been performed).


Also please visit my Facebook group, Alice Cooper Live From The Astroturf to talk about this record and register / trade your version. 

Chris Penn with a 'Living Legend' award from Alice Cooper superfan Paul Brenton

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (Opaque Pink Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

So, here's my original Opaque Pink copy, #0,182, in all its glory and because it came direct from Good Records it features the additional 'Including Their Hit "I'm Eighteen"' hype sticker. Having removed the shrink-wrapping, I took the stickers off and placed them on the sleeve.


When I reserved my copy I also ordered an extra set of art prints so one set has been opened and the other remains sealed.


I have since managed to get Dennis Dunaway to sign the art print featuring the original flyer for 'The Happening'.


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (Opaque Pink Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

This is a sealed Opaque Pink version, #0,797. It does not feature the the additional hype sticker on the front, meaning that it was not originally shipped from Good Records.


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (Black Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

This rare Black version, #1,331, was purchased from an Alice Cooper fan in the US who had figured out the numbering order at the time of release and built several sealed sets of the Pink, Black and White variants.  


It is exactly the same as the Opaque Pink version (above) but is obviously black and also doesn't feature the additional sticker on the front (as it wasn't shipped from Good Records).


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (White Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

This White version, #1,410, was purchased from an Alice Cooper fan in the US who had purchased multiple sealed copies in an attempt to find the 2 rare variants.  


It is exactly the same as the Opaque Pink version (above) but is obviously white. This also has the additional hype sticker on the front, meaning that it must have been originally shipped from Good Records.


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (White Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

This is a sealed White version, #2,055. It does not feature the the additional hype sticker on the front, meaning that it was not originally shipped from Good Records.


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (Good Records Edition)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

Wow, what a total pleasure it is to own this very special version of Live From The Astroturf. This is #0,098 and features all the extra goodies including the pink ziplock bag, pink foil number, signed prints, glow-in-the-dark 45 record adaptor and the juke box slip. An absolute dream of a record and a new standard for others to try and match!


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (Willy Wonka Variant)

2016, Good Records, GRR 33

And here, in all her glory, is the last jewel in the crown, my Willy Wonka (#0,020). This features the iconic split Pink / White disc and, just like the Good Records Edition, a sealed set of signed prints, glow-in-the-dark 45 record adaptor and the juke box slip.


It took me several years to get hold of one, but I got there in the end!


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 18" x 24" Silkscreen Posters


Also on offer to fans at the time of release was a large silkscreen promotional poster, which was available on both white (limited to 75 copies) and pink (limited to only 25 copies) card. Each copy was signed and numbered by the artist William 'Bubba' Flint. I have one of each with the white version being #57 and the pink one being #01.

Live From The Astroturf T-Shirts


These great T-shirts were purchased from Good Records, with one the original design sold at the point of release (bright artwork set on a black shirt) and the other purchased during the UK Tour of 2017 (faded artwork set on a grey shirt. These are both worn with pride on a regular basis!

Front View

The Astroturf Story Continues

Live From The Astroturf quickly established itself as a pivotal Alice Cooper release due to the historical nature of the performance. This was emphasised in the Summer of 2017 when the recording of Eighteen was selected as the B Side track on the first single taken from Alice's new solo album Paranormal. Better still, Paranoiac Personality was also issued as a 7" vinyl single meaning that another member of the Astroturf family was born.

On the 14th June 2017, Alice Cooper announced on his website that the surviving Group members would be joining him for a mini-set as part of his UK solo Spend The Night With Alice Cooper tour (featuring 5 shows in Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London).


It wouldn't be unfair to say that this decision may well have been influenced by the success of the Good Records performance and the subsequent Live From The Astroturf release. It was therefore very fitting that Chris Penn announced to hardcore Astroturf fans in September 2017, via the Live From The Astroturf Facebook group, a very limited 'UK Tour Edition' to celebrate this significant milestone.  


The UK Tour Edition was split into 2 variants, the '18 Version' (we all know the significance of that number) and the '5 Version' (in recognition of the number of UK dates that the Group would appear at). Both versions featured a stack of goodies, including:


> Silkscreen cover* with art from William 'Bubba' Flint on the front and Matt Cliff on the back;


> 7" x 7" colour prints of front and back covers numbered and signed by the artists;


> 7" x 7" prints of the original front and back covers numbered and signed by the photographers (Allison V. Smith and Karlo X. Ramos);


> 7" x 7" 45 adapter print numbered and signed by the Chris Penn;   


> Black custom 45 insert adapter with white print;


> Jukebox strip (as per the original Good Records and Willy Wonka version);


> 5" x 7" double-sided art prints (as per the original versions);


> Pink ziplock bag with hype stickers (as per the original Good Records version);


> Spare set ziplock bag hype stickers and centre circle 7" vinyl labels (Eighteen and Body);


> Printed inner sleeve and insert (as per the original versions);


> Pearlescent Dennis Dunaway 'Snakes, Guillotines, Electric Chairs' guitar pick;


> A Hollywood Bowl replica ticket bookmark;


> Numbered flyer / make-shift ticket from the night of the 'Alice Cooper Happening';


> A Good Records business card; and 


> A small piece of pink astroturf (I kid you not!).


* The 18 Version came in a black silkscreen cover, whereas the 5 Version was pink. Both were individually numbered (out of 18 and 5 respectively) by hand on the back in silver pen. The inside of the covers contain print that closely matches that used on the original test pressings. A white cover was also produced (see image below) but this was for internal use by Good Records and only 3 exist (2 have since been secured by hardcore fans though, both of which contained a white disc inside).  


The 18 Version came with either a pink, white or black vinyl disc (believed to be about 6 of each) whereas the 5 Version came with the Willy Wonka split pink / white disc. These were presumably spare discs from the original release due to the very limited production run of this special version.


Oddly, the 5 7" x 7" prints are numbered up to 30 rather than 23 (what were the other 7 for I hear you ask?). 

The 5 Version *image by Daniel Akers
The 18 Version, Pink Vinyl Variant *Image by David Maynard
The 18 Version, White Vinyl Variant *Image by Michael Grootswagers
The 18 Version, Black Vinyl Variant
18 Version with black vinyl (top) 5 Version (centre) and 3 Version (bottom) *Image by Christopher Daniels

An 18 Version (#9, with a pink disc) was sold on eBay in February 2020 for a hefty £407, which was more than double the original price.

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Single (UK Tour 18 Version)

2017, Good Records, GRR 33

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to purchase an 18 Version and quickly put my name down with the hope that I'd get one of the 6 black variants. I really wanted one of these as I missed out on one of the ultra-rare 100 pressings from the original release in 2016. To say I was happy when this little beauty, number 7 of 18, showed up is a bit of an understatement! 


The whole package is absolutely superb with a lot of effort put in to make it worthy of the event it celebrates. This one is particularly brilliant, as it combines the special feel of the original Good Records version with the scarcity of the black variant (there are only 106 black discs now doing the rounds).


I especially like how the locations and dates of the 5 shows are included in the artwork on the back cover and the personal touches, such as the flyer from the event and the little chunk of pink astroturf. Do I prefer it to the Good Records version? I think I may do, you know! 


The 5 7" x 7" art prints are numbered 17 of 30.


Discogs Link: Click Here

Live From The Astroturf 7" Vinyl Singles

Live From The Astroturf, UK Tour T-Shirt


This excellent T-shirt was produced to coincide with the release of the UK Tour Edition (above) but wasn't made widely available.


It features the excellent artwork by Matt Cliff that featured on the back cover of the UK Tour Edition release, with an image of the Alice Cooper Group set in front of a Union Jack and above a London bus. At the base are the 5 UK tour locations and dates, with a further Union Jack and a Scottish Flag either side (we won't mention that there should probably have been an English flag on the left, rather than the Union Jack).

Front View

Live From The Astroturf 7" Cookies

To celebrate the 2017 UK Tour with the surviving members of the Alice Cooper Group my wife (Sarah-Jane) and I took on the challenge of making some Live From The Astroturf Cookies!


These were a labour of love with edible vinyl stickers produced and each of the variants from the UK Tour Editions faithfully replicated in all their glory (we couldn't work out how to make a translucent pick one).


I somehow managed to transport them safely from Exeter in the South West of England to Bethnal Green in East London (via the Underground) and presented them to Chris Penn at the Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! book signing event at Crypt Of The Wizard. They went down a storm and even Dennis and his amazing wife Cindy enjoying them!


The cookies even made one of superfan Paul Brenton's articles covering the UK Tour in the Music Express (thanks Paul).


During the UK Tour, Chris was also kind enough to gift me an awesome custom-made Live From The Astroturf glow-in-the-dark 45 adaptor badge. When he gave it to me he knighted me as Vice-President of the Live From The Astroturf Appreciation Society!

Live From The Astroturf Mini 7" Singles

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Live From The Astorturf release I produced this set of mini singles complete with matching inserts. I even managed to make a replica pink ziplock for the Good Records Edition!  

Live From The Astroturf custom 7" mini singles

For the Live From The Astroturf 12" album Click Here.