Alice Cooper Group Founding Member (1968 to the Present)
Dennis Dunaway founded The Earwigs along with Vince Furnier in 1964. He became the bass player of the Alice Cooper Group until their indefinite hiatus begun in 1974. His and Vince's love of surrealist art, and song-writing prowess, were integral in shaping the image and sound that made the Alice Cooper Group one of the most creative, distinctive and successful bands in the world. During this time Dennis met and ultimately married Cindy Smith, the sister of drummer Neal Smith and they've remained together ever since!
Since the Alice Cooper Group hiatus begun, and in-between some prolonged periods of public inactivity, Dennis has been involved in several other projects including Billion Dollar Babies (1977), Deadringer (1982-2001), Bouchard Dunaway Smith (2001), The Dennis Dunaway Project, 5th Avenue Vampires (2010) and Blue Coupe (2010-Present). Since 2011, he has also become increasingly involved in Alice Cooper-related material again, including occasional live performances, contributions on the Welcome 2 My Nightmare and Paranormal solo albums, plus the debut album by The Hollywood Vampires. This has lead to vociferous calls for a full reunion of the surviving members of the Alice Cooper Group.
You can read all about Dennis and his experience in the Alice Cooper Group by obtaining a copy of his excellent 2015 autobiography 'Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group'.
Bouchard Dunaway Smith, Back From Hell
2001, Kachina Records, NS92347003
The only studio record released by BDS (i.e. Joe Bouchard, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith) is the excellent Back From Hell. Principally sold through Neal's official website on CD only, and featuring stand-out tracks like Love You Too Much and There Was A Girl, it has long since been withdrawn and is therefore now very hard-to-find.
My copy was sold at the 3rd Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend in Hollywood, Calfornia and is hand-signed by the band and also marked 'GBMW 87/150'.
The Dennis Dunaway Project, Bones From The Yard CD Album
2006, Deedledoop Records
Bones From The Yard is the only album released to-date by The Dennis Dunaway Project, a hard rock band featuring Ed Burns, Rick Tedesco, Dennis Dunaway and Russ Wilson. Featuring a number of songs written by Dennis himself, highlights incude the excellent Kandahar, Man Is A Beast, Subway (which inspired the track A Runaway Train on the solo Alice album Welcome 2 My Nightmare) and Home Sweet Home.
A 2nd album by The Dennis Dunaway Project was planned, but never materialised. However, much of the material is understood to have featured on a solo album by Rick Tedesco entitled A Light In The Attic. Included on this album is the song Fireball, which ended up being covered by Alice Cooper on his Paranormal solo album.
5th Avenue Vampires, Drawing Blood CD Album
2010, 5th Avenue Vampires
Drawing Blood is the only album released to-date by 5th Avenue Vampires, a hard rock band featuring Dennis Dunaway, Richie Scarlet, Russ Wilson and Joe Von T. With excellent tracks like Light In My Head, Pleasure And Pain and Dream Police, this is a worthwhile addition for Dennis fans.
This album can still be purchased from the 5th Avenue Vampires website, with buyers treated to a personalised note from Joe Von T. and, if you're lucky, some suprise creepy crawlies lurking inside the envelope!
After the release of Drawing Blood, two more songs (White Ladies and I'm Your Nightmare) were released as downloads in 2012. No further releases have been made to-date, however, it sounds like new music is in the pipeline, but with a different line-up alongside Joe (i.e. no Dennis).
Blue Coupe, Tornado On The Tracks CD Album
2010, Bouchard Dunaway Bouchard
Tornado On The Tracks is the debut album by Blue Coupe, a three piece classic rock band featuring Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard (both formerly of Blue Oyster Cult) and Dennis Dunaway. With excellent songs, such as You (Like Vampires), Angel's Well and God I Need You Tonight, this is an essential purchase for all Dennis fans. It is especially recommended that you watch the video for You (Like Vampires), which earned the band a Grammy nomination.
Blue Coupe, Million Miles More CD Album
2013, Blue Coupe
Blue Coupe's follow-up to Tornado On The Tracks features more evolved production and features a host of classic tracks including Hallow's Grave (featuring a guest appearance by Alice Cooper), I'll Forever Stick Around, Used Car, Supernatural Love, Ride With Me and Devil's Highway).
Blue Coupe, Eleven Even CD Album
2019, Blue Coupe, MoCo 004
After a 6 year break, the 3rd Blue Coupe album continues where Tornado On The Tracks left off, with 11 new tracks including the excellent trio Simple Answers Kill, Day After Day (Running Away) and Bitter Game. Upon release, fans were offered a very limited opportunity to purchase copies of the CD that were both personalised and signed by the band. I was lucky enough to grab one before they sold out less than 24 hours later!
Cold Cold Coffin
Cold Cold Coffin is a song by Dennis Dunaway that was ultimately turned into a lavish rock cinema short horror film directed by Brian Cichocki, who also produced the film alongside Sean Quinn and Peter and Orion Perenyi. This followed a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018 whereby patrons were offered a number of exciting rewards, including Alice Cooper Group memorabilia from Dennis' personal archive.
Cold Cold Coffin tells the story of a wealthy tycoon (Dennis) who discovers his young bride (Calico Cooper) married him for his exquisite estate instead of love. Heartbroken and angry, he exacts revenge by having himself cryogenically frozen in order to outlive her so she can't get his money (if he stays alive then she's not enitled to anything!).
The film, shot at Highlands Castle, NY, uses black-and-white visuals to provide the viewer with a traditional, ultra creepy, viewing experience, but with some contemporary twists (such as the use of panoramic drone footage). Coupled with the brilliant soundtrack, the end result is more than impressive and is well worth playing on a big screen with the lights turned off and music cranked up high!
The film premiered at the Theatre 80, New York on 14th August 2019 during a screening of the Live From The Astroturf motion picture. Several other screenings took place in the USA, and also in Berlin and London, prior to the films worldwide YouTube release on 26th October 2019.
As one of the larger backers of the Kickstarter project I was lucky enough to have my name included in the end credits as a patron!
In January 2020, Cold Cold Coffin deservedly recieved the award for 'Best Music Video' at the Los Angeles Motion Picture Film Festival.
Alice Cooper Group Member (1968 to the Present)
Michael (Mike) Bruce is the rhythm guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist (both lead and backing) of the Alice Cooper Group, having joined when they were known as The Spiders in 1966 (replacing John Tatum). Before this time, he was a member of Phoenix-based bands The Trolls, The Wildflowers (who released two 7" singles) and Our Gang.
Although a highly accomplished musician, Mike’s legacy extends far beyond this due to his prowess as a songwriter and composer. It is largely thanks to him that songs like Caught In A Dream, Be My Lover and No More Mr Nice Guy came to be. It was this all-round talent that inspired him to record his own solo album, In My Own Way, which was released in 1974 and written during the turbulent period where the Alice Cooper Group was beginning to fraction and both Alice (Welcome To My Nightmare) and Neal Smith (Platinum God) also released albums of their own.
This fluid situation can actually be felt in the music provided on In My Own Way, as some (but not all) of the material was potentially written for use by the Alice Cooper Group in the first instance. Sadly, the album failed to receive a meaningful commercial release, despite the fact that Alice appeared on the track As Rock Rolls On. Copies of the original LP are therefore very scarce, but there have thankfully since been CD reissues in both 1997 and 2002 (see below).
Since the Alice Cooper Group hiatus begun, Mike has been involved in several other projects including Billion Dollar Babies (1977), The Josiah-Bruce Band (1990) and Michael Bruce / The Michael Bruce Group (1998-Present). Since 2011, he has also become increasingly involved in Alice Cooper-related material again, including occasional live performances and contributions on the Welcome 2 My Nightmare and Paranormal solo albums.
Mike also released his own short autobiography in 1996 ‘No More Mr Nice Guy, The Inside Story Of The Alice Cooper Group’, a no-holds-barred re-telling from his perspective that created some controversy at the time!
In My Own Way, The Complete Sessions CD Album
2002, Gonzo Multimedia, HST483CD
This 2CD version of In My Own Way features the original 10 tracks from the 1974 release plus a host of demos, outakes and alternative versions (in total, a massive 31 different tracks are provided). Notable tracks from the original album include King Of America, Lucky Break, the title ballad In My Own Way and As Rock Rolls On (which features Alice).
Included in the booklet is an interesting interview between Mike Bruce and music journalist John Kirkman, which explores the struggles that he and the rest of the members faced after the demise of the Alice Cooper Group.
Halo Of Ice CD Album
2002, NMC Music, PILOT 131
In 2001, following a club tour of the UK, Mike visited Reykjavik, Iceland and played a live show of hits with Alice Cooper Group superfans (and members of the band Dimma) Ingo and Silli Geirdal, who he had previously performed with at a small number of shows in the USA.
The audio from this show was captured and subject to two live releases, this one and The Second Coming Of Michael Bruce, which was released in 2005, contains additional material and is sadly very hard-to-find.
This is a terrific release though and contains many of the Alice Cooper Group's greatest hits, lovingly interpreted and with Mike on lead vocals.
Michael Bruce, Be Your Lover Anthology CD Album
2011, Floating World Records, FLOATM6088
This excellent 2CD anthology CD features the following content:
> All of the In My Own Way album (plus some of the bonus content from the above Complete Sessions version);
> A selection of the live tracks from both the Halo Of Ice (above) and The Second Coming Of Michael Bruce releases;
> A demo version of Muscle Of Love;
> An alternative version of Eighteen titled Forever 18;
> The all-new content of an EP released in 1983 called Rock Rolls On (the tracks being a cover of Billion Dollar Babies' Too Young, plus the originals Gina and Do You Want To Know); and
> An alternative version of Oh My Love (incorrectly titled as Oh My Life on CD1 and On My Love on CD2).
If you're looking to explore Mike's solo career then this is release for you!
Billion Dollar Babies
1976 to 1977
Following the hiatus of the Alice Cooper Group, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith formed a new group alongside Bob Dolin and Mike Marconi. With the name of the orginal group already taken by their former lead singer, the new band instead adopted the title of their most successful album, Billion Dollar Babies.
Glen Buxton was not involved in this project, due partly to his well known health issues at the time (which also impacted his involvement in the last 2 Alice Cooper Group albums). Glen sadly passed away, aged just 49, on the 19th October 1997 from complications of pneumonia.
Billion Dollar Babies released one album, Battle Axe, before disbanding after just 12 months and a short-lived tour featuring only 4 shows. The reasons for this sad demise were a combination of issues with the manufacture of the LP, their management and a live production so grand it was both uneconomical and logistically challenging to execute. Alice was also a big miss with demand for tickets difficult to generate without the most instantly recognisable member of the Alice Cooper Group.
Billion Dollar Babies didn't stick around for long but Battle Axe is a bit of a hidden gem and well worth hunting out.
Billion Dollar Babies, Battle Axe 12" Promotional Vinyl Album
1977, Polydor, PD-1-6100
This USA 12" promotional version of Battle Axe features the same sleeve as the main release (below) but includes 'DEMONSTRATION Not For Sale' stamped on the rear in silver. Additionally, the Polydor vinyl labels are white instead of red and feature the additional text 'PROMOTION COPY NOT FOR SALE' on either side.
Some / all copies are understood to have originally come with a poster, 2-page biography and 'Certificate Of Birth' (see image below) but these are now very rare. A promotional cigar is also known to exist (see image below), which formed part of press kits that were handed out to radio stations etc.
Billion Dollar Babies, 12" Promotional Radio Sampler Vinyl
1977, Polydor, PRO 022
This USA 12" promotional Radio Sampler was produced for AOR (i.e. Album-Oriented Rock) radio stations and includes 4 selected tracks from the Battle Axe album (Battle Axe / Sudden Death, Winner, Rock Me Slowly and Dance With Me). Obviously, the idea behind such items was that the music was played to new audiences, who would then purchase the full album and but tickets for live shows.
Included is a simple card sleeve featuring a candid black-and-white image of the band on the front together track listings and Polydor contact information. The rear of the sleeve is blank except that it has 'DEMONSTRATION Not For Sale' stamped on the rear of the sleeve in gold.
The vinyl features white Polydor labels and includes the text 'PROMOTION COPY NOT FOR SALE' on either side. The inner sleeve features promotional material for Polydor artists (including Billion Dollar Babies).
One item that came with most / all copies of this record, but which is not included with mine, is a 2-page letter from Polydor Incorperated that explains the track selection and addresses some of the issues associated with the mastering of the initial Battle Axe disc. Images of this letter kindly provided by fellow Alice Cooper fan John O'Donohoe are provided below.
Billion Dollar Babies, Battle Axe 12" Vinyl Album
1977, Polydor, PD-1-6100
This USA 12" version of Battle Axe features a simple card sleeve and red Polydor labels. On the front of the sleeve is a futuristic robot equipped with an axe guitar and on the back are close-up images of the band members, track listings and credits.
Billion Dollar Babies, Rock 'N' Roll Radio 7" Promotional Vinyl Single
1977, Polydor, PD 14394
Billion Dollar Babies released 2 singles from the Battle Axe album, Rock 'N' Roll Radio and Too Young, both of which are featured below.
This USA promotional 7" vinyl single features white Polydor labels, comes in a Polydor paper sleeve, and includes Mono and Stereo versions of Rock 'N' Roll Radio (from the Battle Axe album) on Sides A and B respectively. This was a common feature of promotional singles at the time, as it enabled radio stations to play songs on both AM (Mono) and FM (Stereo) stations.
Billion Dollar Babies, Rock 'N' Roll Radio 7" Vinyl Single
1977, Polydor, PD 14394
This USA 7" vinyl single features red Polydor labels, and includes Rock 'N' Roll Radio on Side A and Wasn't I The One on Side B (both from the Battle Axe album).
Billion Dollar Babies, Too Young 7" Promotional Vinyl Single
1977, Polydor, PD 14406
This USA promotional 7" vinyl single features white Polydor labels, and includes Mono and Stereo versions of Too Young (from the Battle Axe album) on Sides A and B respectively.
Billion Dollar Babies, Too Young 7" Vinyl Single
1977, Polydor, PD 14406
This USA 7" vinyl single features red Polydor labels, comes in a Polydor paper sleeve, and includes Too Young on Side A and Love Is Rather Blind on Side B (both from the Battle Axe album).
Billion Dollar Babies, Complete Battle Axe CD Album
2001, NMC Music, 800945 007726
Although the original vinyl version of Battle Axe (above) can still be found quite easily, there has sadly never been an official release on CD. However, in 2001 this excellent (but by all counts, totally unauthorised) triple CD set was offered by NMC Music. This really is a treasure trove of material with owners getting the original 12 tracks from Battle Axe on CD 1, 11 demos on CD 2 and 10 tracks from their first ever live show in Flint, Michigan in 1977 (including some Alice Cooper Group songs). Some of the recordings are a bit hit or miss but it's great to be able to hear this music.
Also included in the set is an exellent booklet, which includes a biography, concert photos, an interview with Michael Bruce and a foreword by Carlton Sandercock.
Alice Cooper Touring Band (1996 to 2001 and 2012 to the Present)
Ryan Roxie is one of the current guitarists in Alice's touring band, having previously been a member in the late 90's / early 00's. He has also played for a number of bands including Electric Angels and Slash's Snakepit.
Ryan is also an accomplished singer songwriter and formed his own band, Roxie 77, in between his spells with Alice (to date, there has been an album and an EP released). In 2018 Ryan released his first solo album, Imagine Your Reality, which is an excellent collection of hard rock songs (my personal favourites being To Live And Die In L.A. and Me Generation.
Ryan filled in for Glen Buxton during the legendary Live From The Astroturf reunion of the Alice Cooper Group at Good Records, Dallas in 2015.
Humanary Stew, A Tribute To Alice Cooper CD Album
1999, Eagle Records, EAGCD062
Humanary Stew is an 11-track Alice Cooper tribute album featuring songs between the Love It To Death and Goes To Hell eras. A high profile cast appears on the songs including Joe Elliott, Dave Mustaine, Ronnie James Dio, Slash, Bruce Dickinson and Dee Snider, who all provide their personal twists to the songs. What results is an interesting, but unessential, release (as they were never going to top the original).
This album has been re-released a few times under different names (i.e. Welcome To The Nightmare and A Salute To Alice Cooper) with up-to 3 bonus tracks (Under My Wheels, Bed Of Nails and Roses On White Lace).
Alice Cooper Touring Band (2003 to the Present)
Chuck Garrick is the charismatic current bassist for Alice's touring band. Prior to this, he played for a number of bands including L.A. Guns and Dio.
In 2013 Chuck formed the band Beasto Blanco. Unlike his appearances with Alice and the rest of the band, he is the star of the show here, providing lead vocals whilst also playing guitar. He also makes good use of his Alice Cooper connections, with fellow band member Tommy Henriksen producing the music and Alice's eldest daughter (Calico Cooper) and drummer (Glen Sobel) guesting on some tracks.
The result is a hard rocking sound with tracks that, quite literally, kick your ass! To date, the band have released 4 albums (3 studio and 1 live) and have performed live dates at numerous intimate venues. Stand out tracks from the first album (Live Fast Die Loud) include Beasto Blanco and Blood Shot, whereas Buried Angels and I See You In It are notable rockers from the 2nd (Beasto Blanco) and 3rd (We Are) studio albums respectively.
The self-titled 2nd album is also notable as it includes a cool high-octane cover of Alice's hit single Feed My Frankenstein.
Beasto Blanco, Live Fast Die Loud CD Album
2013, Rat Pak Records, 638647 802925
Beasto Blanco, Beasto Blanco CD Album
2016, Rat Pak Records, RPR603076
Beasto Blanco, Live From Berlin CD Album
2017, Rat Pak Records, RPR603091
Beasto Blanco, We Are CD Album
2019, Rat Pak Records, RPR603108
Alice Cooper Touring Band (2011 to the Present)
Tommy Henriksen is one of the current guitarists in the both Alice's touring band and the Hollywood Vampires. He is also a highly respected producer, mixer and singer songwriter and has worked for some of the industries major artists (including Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Meat Loaf).
Tommy has released several solo albums since 1999, but it was Tommy, Tommy, Tommy (which came out in 2014) that really cemented him as a respected recording artist in his own right. Standout tracks from that album include Teenage Kicks Part 2, Give'm Hell, All My Heroes (which includes an Alice reference) and Mr Finn (which is dedicated to his son). Tommy, Tommy, Tommy was released under the Bellyache Records label and was made available on CD and black vinyl, which was limited to just 300 copies worldwide. All pre-orders from the label came with a set of button badges.
2017 saw the release of another acomplished solo album, Starstruck. This very much follows on in style from Tommy, Tommy, Tommy and includes the excellent tracks Punk City, Those Kids Are Alright and Famous. Startruck was also released under the Bellyache Records, who offered it on CD, 3 vinyl variants (black, green and white and all limited to just 100 copies worldwide) and cassette! All pre-ordered copies from the label were personally signed by Tommy and came with a set of guitar picks.
Tommy Henriksen, Tommy Henriksen CD Album
1999, Capitol Records, 724349 486324
Tommy Henriksen, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy CD Album
2014, Blue Martin Records, BLM 330518-2
Tommy Henriksen, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy 12" Vinyl Album
2015, Bellyache Records, BR-055
Tommy Henriksen, Starstruck Cassette Album
2017, Bellyache Records, BR-063
Tommy Henriksen, Starstruck CD Album
2017, Bellyache Records, BR-063
Tommy Henriksen, Starstruck 12" Vinyl Album
2017, Bellyache Records, BR-063
2010, Entertainment One, E051473)
This excellent documentary on the late, great, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead features Alice as a guest 'talking head'. Alice's contributions aside, this is well worth checking out for any fan of rock-and-roll.
From Straight To Bizarre DVD
This excellent documentary takes a detailed look at the legendary Straight and Bizarre Records labels founded by American musician Frank Zappa in the late 60's. The Alice Cooper Group is featured in-depth, with Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith explaining (in all new interviews) how they came to sign for the Straight label and what ultimately led them to splitting with Zappa as their careers took off following the release of Love It To Death.
Also featured are clips of Living, Reflected, Levity Ball, Lay Down and Die Goodbye, Return Of The Spiders, I'm Eighteen and Ballad Of Dwight Fry.
I'm very grateful to hardcore Alice Cooper Group fan Chris Daniels for gifting me this copy. Chris has one of the finest collections of Alice Cooper related Straight and Bizarre records in the world and is therefore obviously a big admirer of this release.
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon DVD
2014, Dogwoof, DOG307
Supermensch is an excellent documentary film by Mike Myers (of Wayne's World fame) about Alice's long-standing, larger-than-life, manager and friend Shep Gordon. As expected given their intertwined history, there is heavy Alice Cooper content with some fascinating insights covering the very early days of the Alice Cooper Group and their rise to fame. There is also some nice candid footage of Alice and Shep hanging out together.
The film features interviews with a host of stars including Shep himself, Alice, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone and Mike Myers and is well worth checking out.
HBO Vinyl Blu-Ray
2016, HBO, 5051892 199858
Vinyl is an entertaining USA TV drama series created by Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Rich Cohen and Terence Winter. It is set in 1970's New York, where a fictional record company (American Century Records) is struggling to adapt to changes in the music scene.
A number of high profile historical music icons are portrayed, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley and the Alice Cooper Group. The latter appears in episode 3, where attempts are made by an A&R rep to persuade Alice (played by Dustin Ingram) to sign as a solo artist. Thinking he's getting somewhere, he turns up at an Alice Cooper Group rehearsal only to find out that all the Group members know and that Alice is going nowhere. Alice then puts him in his guillotine and 'chops his head off' before dangling his own severed head in front of him. Great drama and you also get a chance to hear a cover of I Love The Dead.
Sadly, a second season was not commissioned but at least we have these 10 episodes to enjoy. It's well worth a purchase (and not just for the Alice Cooper content).
Alice Cooper Touring Band (2014 to the Present)
Nita Strauss is one of the current guitarists in the both Alice's touring band, replacing Orianthi Panagaris. Prior to this, Nita was best known as a member of the Iron Maiden all-female tribute group The Iron Maidens.
Although comparisons between Nita and Orianthi (the only other female musician to appear with Alice) were inevitable, they are notably different with Nita being more visably energetic and engaging with audiences. For this reason, she has become very popular with the Alice camp and fans.
For her first solo album Nita reached out for funding via the increasingly popular Kickstarter platform. This proved to be a resounding success with her target of $20,000 smashed 8 times over, with backers signing up for a host of cool incentives including signed CD and vinyl copies of the album, pizza with Nita and even a gust guitar solo for backer's own albums! Upon release, vinyl fans were also treated to a number of different exclusive variants from different sources (see images below).
Controlled Chaos is an excellent instrumental album featuring 11 mainly heavy tracks (my favourite of which is Alegria). In amongst the chaos, there are also some slower paced songs including the excellent Here With You and a cover of Queen's The Show Must Go On.