September 20, 2006

"I'm in the middle without any plans..."

"I'm a boy and I'm a man..." I've chosen "Eighteen" by Alice Cooper as today's Unplayable 45 I Won't Throw Out:

Unplayable 45

Wow! Is that in bad condition! It even has paint on it.

What got me thinking about this one is that Bob Dylan ended this week's "Theme Time Radio Hour" with an Alice Cooper song. The theme today was school and the song was "School's Out" -- get it? -- because it was the end of the show. Lyrics: "School's out for summer/School's out forever/School's been blown to pieces." That doesn't resonate well these days, does it?
"Fantasy used to be a lot more effective than reality," said Alice Cooper...

Now "you cannot shock an audience anymore. Audiences are shocked - and I'm shocked - by CNN. When you're seeing a real guy getting his real head cut off by real terrorists on television, and then you see Alice Cooper get his head cut off in a guillotine that's an obvious trick, well, it's not very shocking."...

Thirty-four years and the Columbine shooting later, Cooper stills fends off accusations that his music, and the music of other artists such as Marilyn Manson (who counts Cooper as a big influence), is somehow responsible for the actions of disturbed teenagers.

"I think any time that you're a personality that goes against the grain, you're an easy target," Cooper said. "If I wrote a song that said, 'Go out and buy yourselves some guns and go to your school and go kill everybody that you don't like and it'll be OK,' well, yeah, I think I'm responsible if somebody does that. But if I say, 'School's out,' I don't think that 99.9999 percent of the people will go, 'Yeah, school's out; I hated school, too; (I'm going to kill someone).' "

But, as Cooper acknowledged, "you're always going to have that 1 millionth of a percent that goes, 'Yeah, I know what I'll do ...' That person's going to do something horrible no matter what they hear."

Though he might have strong opinions, you won't hear Cooper giving his political views in his lyrics. For Cooper, rock 'n' roll and politics were never meant to be bedfellows.

"You won't find any political songs, excepted for 'Elected,' which is a satire, on my records. You're never going to find me promoting this candidate over that candidate because I'm sitting there going, 'Why should people who like my music ... vote for the guy I'm voting for?' " Cooper said. "Asking me who to vote for is like asking the guy who makes your pizza who to vote for."
I don't know. He sounds pretty sensible. Maybe we should consult him about who to vote for. Back in 2004, we got a glimpse of his political opinion:
Alice Cooper, a shock rocker back in the old days and now a fan of President Bush, says rock stars who've jumped on the John Kerry bandwagon -- Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen among them -- are treasonous morons.

"To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock-and-roll, because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics," the 56-year-old [said]....

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal." (We think he meant watching C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," or maybe he meant perusing the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, but either way you get the idea.)

"Besides, when I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."
Back to "Eighteen." Why is there only one "t" in the word "eighteen"? Why have I never noticed that before? Anyway, I kind of doubt that I bought this 45. I think it's probably my brother's. He's three years younger than I am, and he liked a lot of things that I and my friends looked down on -- notably Grand Funk Railroad (they were an American band) and Emerson Lake & Palmer (yikes, that is one retro website). Looking for some links about Alice Cooper the first thing I hit in Google is my own old post. At some point in a blogger's life, searching for something in Google is like wracking your own brain for memories, except that it's easier, and you can cut and paste:
[I]t's pretty random that I even went to see Alice Cooper at all. It was a long, long time ago, by the way. It was back when "I'm Eighteen" was a hit (1971). I'm not even sure if "School's Out" was out yet (1972). It was the summer of either 1971 or 1972, in an obscure part of southern New Jersey, and my younger brother wanted to go to the concert. Even though I thought it was embarrassing to go to an Alice Cooper concert--people my age (20 at the time) considered him a joke--I loved the single "I'm Eighteen," so I went. There was an elaborate stage show, which I can't remember anything about. I do remember, I think, that at one point he stripped off a layer of his costume and had on a skin-tight gold lamé body suit, and that was the sort of thing that just wasn't done at the time by anybody my friends would respect. In fact, I remember Iggy Stooge performing on campus (at the University of Michigan) in 1969 or 1970 and everyone shaking their heads and expressing pity for this late-stage has-been who was taking off his shirt, writhing on the ground, and suddenly stooping to the pathetic ploy of renaming himself Iggy Pop. How astounded we would have been if we could have known that 35 years later these two would still be around and would be respected and that Iggy would still look good with his shirt off.

...One of the reasons we thought Alice Cooper was a joke was because he was seen as a Frank Zappa side project, a Zappa prank. The album I listened to every day back then was "The Mothers Live at the Fillmore East," which includes some comical references to Alice Cooper:
Well, it gets me so hot
I could scream
ALICE COOPER, ALICE COOPER! WAAAAH!
ALICE COOPER, ALICE COOPER! WAAAAH!
You can read all the lyrics here. [Not for the faint-hearted.] I still love that album! People who love the song "Happy Together" but don't know "Live at the Fillmore East" are missing a key perspective.
Sorry about calling the song "I'm Eighteen." It's just "Eighteen," you can clearly see from the record label. Anyway, I'm embarrassed that I was embarrassed to go see Alice Cooper back then.

51 comments:

George said...

Captain Beefheart vocals on "Peaches en Regalia"

Gotta love 'em....

P. Froward said...

You mean "Happy Together" by Volman and Kaylan's other band? Is anybody going to get that? Anybody not alarmingly lame, I mean.


"Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night..."

HA!


Anyhow, off topic: There's a sidebar ad for the Legislative Drafter's Deskbook, "An essential tool for anyone who drafts legislation."

If there are enough legislation-drafters that you can make money printing books for them, that's too many by a couple orders of magnitude. It's time we abolished the bag limit on those fiends.

Ann Althouse said...

Froward: Are you saying "Happy Together" by the Turtles isn't a great single? It's one of the greatest singles ever made. I love the great bubblegum singles of the 60s. I'm always excited when something like "Sugar, Sugar" or "I Think We're Alone Now" comes on the 60s channel on the satellite radio.

DBrooks said...

I don't even know where to start. Like you, I was embarrassed to see Alice Cooper back in the early 70s, but I did. I have to admit I always liked his Love it to Death album--Ballad of Dwight Frye was my favorite. I actually met Alice Cooper several years ago on a golf course in Nebraska, of all places. He was very nice to my group, and seemed quite down-to-earth. I loved his comments about rock stars and politics, and certainly wish other rockers felt the same.

As for The Mothers Live at the Fillmore East, my friends and I loved Frank Zappa, and we used to laugh ourselves silly listening to that album-----The Vanilla Fudge and a mud-sh-sh-shark, we wouldn't let just anybody spew..., we want a guy from a group who's got a big single in the charts, Flo and Eddie singing Happy Together, and the incomparable Peaches en Regalia--oh, the memories.

Alarmingly lame? I think not. Ha.

Cedarford said...

I remember the "Billion Dollar Babies" album. And my sister getting suspended from schol after OD'ing on quaadudes at a Alice concert.

One great song that was "out of character" was Omly Women Bleed....though at that point with his reputation with religious leaders, I imagine he got a thrill thinking of their faces going pale imagining what THAT title might signify as a theme....

Heard it this summer on a station that does songs other than in the "Classic 200 70s Hits" retread formula...

As for Cooper - preachers son, wholly different than his stage persona, serves as a church speaker and has done Sunday school, which is...out..forever!!

P. Froward said...

"Sugar Sugar" is truly great.

I wasn't saying the Turtles were lame (though they're not my preferred flavor of bubblegum), nor even Zappa (which he is, but I wasn't saying that). I was saying that people who see "Happy Together" mentioned in the context of Zappa, and immediately recognize the connection, probably need to get out more. Certainly if they're of my generation, too young to have been there, they've really got no excuse. That's all.


cedarford: Mickey Spillane seems to have been a non-smoking, teetotalling Jehovah's Witness.

Ann Althouse said...

Froward: I disagree. I think it's a basic point of pop culture literacy to know the Zappa-Turtles connection.

J. Peden said...

Has the Left come up with any semblance of an anti-war song as popular as Freda Payne's "Bring The Boys Home" of the Vietnam era?

Fathers are pleading
Lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying

Send our sons back home
Tell 'em about it

You marched them away, yes you did now, on ships and planes
To this senseless war, facing death in vain

Bring the Boys home
Bring 'em back alive
Bring the Boys home
Bring 'em back alive
Bring the Boys home
Bring 'em back alive...

Can't you see a march across the sky
All the soldiers that have died
Trying to get home
Can't you see them trying to get home
Trying to get home
They're trying to get home

Cease your fire - tell 'em 'bout it - on the battlefield
Enough men have already been wounded and killed...

Mothers, fathers, and lovers, can't you see them

Trying to get home.
Can't you see them trying to get home

Trying to get home

Trying to get home..."

I first started hearing songs about the Vietnam War in 1962, with "Your Love Belongs to Me", actually Diana Ross' first [kind of] hit, as one of the Supremes: "Soldier of mine, gone to a far away land, serving your Country on some far off sand...."

And with the "Valadiers", "Greetings", "this is Uncle Sam, I want to take you to a far off land, I need-a you....There's the right way, the wrong way, and there's my way, you do it my way...."

Iraq is Vietnam, eh?

Maxine Weiss said...

Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive) "Welcome To my Nightmare", "Bad Company, till the day I Die"...

Charming.

Who else?

Peace, Maxine

nedludd said...

I think it's a basic point of pop culture literacy to know the Zappa-Turtles connection.

If your a boomer.

I feel know more obligation to know obscurities of my parent's generation than they felt the need to know who was second trombone for Kay Kyser and his College of Musical Knowledge.

BTW, I loved all the boomers a few years ago when Britney Spears revealed in an interview that she didn't know who Yoko was. For God's sake, the Beatles were her grandparents music. Why would she know the second wife of a guy who died before she was born. Name me Al Jolson's wife, you're looking at the same time distance between Briney and the Beatles and the Beatles and Jolson.

JazzBass said...

so are we hip for digging on latax solar beef then? (great post, Ann.)

As in the case of Happy Together(and eleanor), Eighteen is a great single, which by definition is timeless and has a lot of appeal beyond the teeny bopper years. Cooper's points are great. Asking an entertainer for policy advice is like asking a golf pro for a haircut, unless it's Oscar Levant that we're talking about.

Cooper's contribution and influence is seldom given any serious discussion but there'd be no King of the artsy fartsy David Bowie without Alice. Edgy subject matter, great musicianship, showmanship and professionalism are all part and parcel of Alice Cooper, the group and the guy. I'd be embarrased to not have liked those killer songs but then again, I like American bands. :)

nedludd said...

I feel know more obligation...

I actually do know the difference between "know" and "no", I just can't type unless I am wearing a very professional Ann Taylor outfit.

(How can you not repect my knowledge, I'm wearing Ann friking Taylor for chrissakes! Ann Taylor! You can't get this in every podunk town in America, only about 95% of the have an Ann Taylor outlet! Respect my Ann Taylorness, dammit!)

Maxine Weiss said...

Ann Taylor?

You mean Liz Claiborne.

Peace, Maxine

Joan said...

Our new kittens are named Alice and Cooper.

What can I say? We have tremendous respect for the man, even if I have only the barest familiarity with his music. "Eighteen" is one of the songs I do know, and it's great.

Elizabeth said...

I loved Alice Cooper when I was 12. The head chopping truly frightened me. I really believed that maybe, just maybe, it could go wrong and that would be terrible.

I find his political logic a bit sneaky and not so sensible at all: "those other guys are treasonous morons--traitors to rock--for telling you who they support for president. They're so dumb. I support Bush, by the way." So he's a treasonous moron, too.

Rob said...

Supposedly "Mirage" is the melody of "I Think We're Alone Now" played backward. I like both songs. Tommy James, music recycler.

Great, slightly better than 1910 Fruitgum Company/Ohio Express bubblegum:
1. "Hurray for Hazel" and "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe
2. "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" by Lou Christie
3. "Western Union" by The Five Americans
4. "My Baby Loves Lovin" by White Plains
5. "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes" by Edison Lighthouse

I really enjoy the music of that era, but the mass produced hits by the writers/producers Kasenetz and Katz (Goody Goody Gumdrops, Down and Lulu's, 1,2,3 Red Light, etc, etc...) are fun in small doses but are a little hard to take as a steady diet. I will listen to "Mirage", "I Think We're Alone Now"(Very racy for the time, Ha!)and "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" any day.

As to Alice Cooper, he has a great sense of humor, and in the context of his comments he definitely included himself as one of the "morons". A great Alice Cooper song, "No More Mr. Nice Guy" opens as follows:
I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing
Till they got a hold of me
I opened doors for little old ladies
I helped the blind to see
I got no friends 'cause they read the papers
They can't be seen with me
And I'm gettin' real shot down
And I'm feelin' mean

Pretty funny.

P. Froward said...

Elizabeth,

Sure, he did just call himself a moron, didn't he? That doesn't make everything he says coherent, necessarily, other than in the sense that, yep, he sure is a moron! And rightly so. It's rock'n'roll, after all.


Ann,

As Ned Ludd says, the Zappa-Turtles connection may be a basic point of pop-cultural literacy for boomers, but not for anybody born since. For anybody much under age 50, it's pop-culture trivia. The Turtles were ephemeral by nature, and Zappa's reputation hasn't held up all that well with younger generations. I'll get mine soon enough. Do kids these days have any clue who the Cars were, or Missing Persons? "Spirit of Radio"? "How Soon Is Now"? What the hell do they teach 'em in school these days...

Rob said...

J. Peden's comment reminds me: Can anyone here explain to me what the HECK is going on in the great Freda Payne hit "Band of Gold"? It has puzzled me for years. "Love me, like you tried before..." Did this guy need one of those drugs advertised every three minutes on ESPN? Or are we talking about a rape attempt? Does anybody know? I know, does anybody (really)care?

Derve said...

Is the George who posts here your younger brother? He sounds conservative, but has some interesting links.

Also: did you anticipate the outraged response those weekend posts generated, or were you surprised by the ongoing and heated reaction, even though you've been targeted by lefty bloggers before? (not that targeted is a good word-- besieged?)

*Just delete if it's offensive to ask these questions here.

J. Peden said...

Rob, I have no idea what Freda is talking about, unless it's intentionally ambiguous so as to resemble the confused reality of our minds?

Using that idea as an excuse to talk about the wonderous Barbara Lewis, a somewhat similar example occurs in her song, "You're Pushing a Good Thing", complete with castinets, nice little drum rifs,and both male and female background singers:

From the beginning, you've been winning
I've been giving in, too

I'm at the point of no return, I'm burning
But it's time you learned a thing or two
You're pushin a good thing
You're pushin a good thing
You're pushin a good thing too far

It's like a slap across my face, you're cheating everyplace, disgracing me
Now everybody's talking 'bout it
They say I should walk right out on you
They see
You're pushin a good thing... too far

[Males]
You look so good when you're mad, come on and kiss me

[B]
Better listen good to what I'm saying
No more kissing 'til we stop playing games

[M]
Baby, I love you

[B]
If you did then don't you abuse me
Or you will lose me...."

Then she begs him seductively about four times to "keep on pushing", to end the song. [Check out her "Doesn't Anyone Want a Lover?" Her voice has me on the hook, though she has a bunch of "dogs", too.]

Otoh, the black males sometimes really lay it on the females doing them "wrong", and often leave: "you don't have to go. I'm going to pack my bags, down the road I go";"just yak a yak all the time. If you don't stop yaking, you're going to drive me out of my mind"; "she's a mean old woman, they shouldn't allow her on the street"; "if I had followed my right mind, then I wouldn't be here tonight, down on the killing floor" - with my best friend.

Ann Althouse said...

Froward: I don't even know what "Spirit of Radio" and "How Soon Is Now" are (though I might recognize the song if I heard it). Anyway, I think a lot of kids of boomers listened to the oldies music and liked it. I myself got the idea that oldies were good children's music one day when I found myself singing "Sitting in la la waiting for my ya ya." (Which sounds dirty to me now!) I deliberately bought cassettes of 50s stuff and branched into 60s. Maybe you think parents all play stuff that's recorded for children, but I played pop songs like "Hang on Sloopy" and they went over well.

Ann Althouse said...

Derve: "Is the George who posts here your younger brother? He sounds conservative, but has some interesting links."

I have no more information on that than you do.

"did you anticipate the outraged response those weekend posts generated, or were you surprised by the ongoing and heated reaction, even though you've been targeted by lefty bloggers before?"

I thought it would affect people, but I didn't really think about how far they'd go. I think they are trying to push me back, and now they know unleashing an entire hateful blog swarm has no effect on me. It's been delightfully empowering. And my traffic is now over 20,000 a day, double what it was a week ago. But that wasn't a plan. My only plan is to say what I have to say and to write it well.

MadisonMan said...

I'm afraid I'm a cultural illiterate, as I don't know of any connection between the Turtles and Mr. Zappa. I guess that and my blandness towards the Who says something.

In my defense, I know all the words to Sugar Sugar (who doesn't!?) and the connection between that song and the Cuff Links' Tracy.

Simon said...

Elizabeth said...
"I find [Cooper's] political logic a bit sneaky and not so sensible at all: "those other guys are treasonous morons--traitors to rock--for telling you who they support for president. They're so dumb. I support Bush, by the way." So he's a treasonous moron, too."

There is a clear difference between telling people to vote for a given candidate, and saying which candidate you support. Cooper is doing the latter, but criticizing others in his profession for doing the fomer. There would be nothing wrong with Jon Bon Jovi answering the question if asked in an interview whether he supported Bush or Kerry, but it is quite another matter to go out and campaign for him.

In any event, I think Cooper is wrong - I don't buy into the whole "shut up and sing" meme, which I think is largely motivated by a perception that people will accord some kind of weight to the views of celebrities, rather than any real hostility to the idea of a celebrity expressing a political view. I'm not sure what the normative case against people using their position to advocate causes they care passionately about might be; that they might lead their fans astray? Tell it to the Dixie Chicks, who told their fans what they thought of them, and were roundly told where they could go. When they cease to be a liberal cause celebre, watch for their album sales to vanish. The real issue is that if celebrities use their celebrity to promote causes, they have to be aware that they run the risk of standing or falling by whether their fans agree with their politics as well as liking their product. My wife won't buy Pearl Jam albums because of Eddie Vedder's views on abortion, and I have no doubt there were people who refused to buy Van Halen III because of Gary Cherone's. If Bon Jovi intend to give money to John Kerry, should I buy their album, knowing that I'm making a campaign contribution to the bad guys, or steal it by downloading it for free? (Of course, technically, Bon Jovi rendered that point moot by making their last album absolutely crap, and not even worth the bandwidth, let alone cash).

And besides: the door swings both ways. It is had to imagine a more devastating blow to the Kerry campaign than for Ashton Kutcher to come out in support of it.

David Manus said...

I have that single, but its a hand me down. The B-side is "Body" as I remember.

B-sides hold an especial charm for me because I had a very limited number of records as a kid, most hand me downs from my aunts and uncles, and the A side was usually familiar, even if 10 years or more old, but he B-sides were wonderfully odd and unknown, like orphan songs, but that made me love them all the more.

"Is it my Body
Or someone I might be?"

George said...

Am I the "George" being referred to above?

Me, with my references to Captain Beefheart...conservative?

Me? Our host's younger brother?!?

Sadly, I think that at this time—for reasons of national security—my true identity must remain concealed from the American public.

Thank you for your understanding.

God bless.

Fenrisulven said...

Simon:I'm not sure what the normative case against people using their position to advocate causes they care passionately about might be; that they might lead their fans astray?

Its that they bank their celebrity status for political causes. We empowered them with a platform because they are entertaining. To abuse that platfrom to proslytize is dishonest.

Icepick said...

Froward, do you know there's a Missing Persons-FrankZappa link? And that this leads to a Duran Duran-Frank Zappa link? THAT would be pertinent to your (our) generation.

And Dale Bozzio? Daaaaammmmmmnnnnn! I still haven't gotten over her....

My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
The words are audible but I have my doubts
That you realize what has been said
You look at me as if you're in a daze
It's like the feeling at the end of the page
when you realize you don't know what you just read

What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it's no use talkin at all

Fenrisulven said...

Ann: I don't even know what "Spirit of Radio" [is]

RUSH. One of the top 5 influences in my life. I cut my philosphical & political teeth on them. And you'd find "Spirit of Radio" especially relevant in light of recent events [radio -> net]:

---

Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Plays the song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

Off on your way, hit the open road
There is magic at your fingers
For the Spirit ever lingers
Undemanding contact in your happy solitude

[Chorus:]
Invisible airwaves crackle with life
Bright antennae bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free

All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open hearted
Not so coldly charted
It's really just a question of your honesty, yeah
Your honesty
One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity

Derve said...

Me, with my references to Captain Beefheart...conservative?

Must be thinking of the George who participated in other threads.

*say hi to Laura for me!

SteveR said...

I always love hearing Happy Together (also Cherish by the Associations)

Alice was fine with my generation (class of '75), now days School's Out is so overplayed in comparison to his other work that you forget how good songs like Under My Wheels and Be My Lover are.

me said...

My fav alice cooper song was Be My Lover. A friend had the Frank Zappa Live At Fillmore. Only he bought it as a bootleg in some Asian country. Because the original cover was white, the bootlegger overcame this wasted space by putting the picture of a mother on the cover. The new cover actually was Zappaesque in its own way.

Simon said...

George said...
"Sadly, I think that at this time—for reasons of national security—my true identity must remain concealed from the American public. Thank you for your understanding."

Welcome to Althouse, Mr. President! ;)

Fenrisulven said...
"Simon:'I'm not sure what the normative case against people using their position to advocate causes they care passionately about might be; that they might lead their fans astray?' Its that they bank their celebrity status for political causes. We empowered them with a platform because they are entertaining. To abuse that platfrom to proslytize is dishonest."

I don't see it as abusing the platform. If you build an internet, I will use it to proselytize causes I see as being important. You may choose to listen to me or ignore me. The same is true when Willie Nelson goes on a tirade against Bush: you may choose to listen to him or not. In point of fact, if you don't agree with the things he says, you can participate in removing his platform, by refusing to buy his records. I don't agree with George Clooney's political views, so I don't have to give him a platform - I don't listen to what he has to say, I don't take him any more seriously by virtue of the fact that he is an actor (I'm bemused why anyone would), and I can choose not to watch his movies if I really want to get seriously about it. If he has a platform with me, it's only on the terms I give it to him.

Personally, I always preferred my prog rock Yes-flavored rather than Rush-flavored.

Simon said...

Oh, I forgot to say, my favorite Alice song is Welcome to my Nightmare, and while the intro to How Soon is Now is unforgettable, it would be a lot better if it didn't carry the dread anticipation of Morrissey imminently starting to sing.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fenrisulven said...

Simon: I don't see it as abusing the platform. If you build an internet, I will use it to proselytize causes I see as being important.

And I see nothing wrong with that. The difference is you are not a celebrity. You are not engaging your audience under false pretenses. There's no bait-n-switch.

The same is true when Willie Nelson goes on a tirade against Bush: you may choose to listen to him or not.

The difference is Willie has a bigger megaphone than you or me, because his artistry reaches so many people. We love the man for his music, and he's attempting to translate that love into support for his politics.

In point of fact, if you don't agree with the things he says, you can participate in removing his platform, by refusing to buy his records. I don't agree with George Clooney's political views, so I don't have to give him a platform - I don't listen to what he has to say.

Agreed. I do the same. Not only because it turns me off, but because an actor who engages in poltics typecasts himself. I can no longer detach and enjoy Danny Glover b/c of the stupid political comments he has made. Same with Streisand.

I don't take him any more seriously by virtue of the fact that he is an actor (I'm bemused why anyone would),

Thats admirable, but rare. You would be surprised how many people are more "open" to that kind of proslytizing simply because they are fans of the artist's work. Do marketing execs seek out Sean Connery-types b/c they lend their attributes to commericals?

And I never got into Yes. Did I miss out?

The Jerk said...

We love the man for his music, and he's attempting to translate that love into support for his politics.

So what? He has an audience, and he's attempting to speak to that audience about things he feels are important. If the audience doesn't like it they don't have to listen. There's nothing at all dishonest about it.

I can no longer detach and enjoy Danny Glover b/c of the stupid political comments he has made. Same with Streisand.

A bit sad to be unable to enjoy art because you disagree with some opinions the artist has, doncha think? There's a lot more to the world than politics.

Simon said...

I never got into Yes until The Ladder - which, in retrospect, is not among their best work, but it is certainly a very good doorway that mixes the accessability of the 80s stuff with the musical style of the older stuff. I'm not a Yes nut, by any means, but I like a lot of their stuff a great deal.

The thing with the Willie Nelson point is that the only thing Nelson et al are doing is using your affection for their work to start a conversation which one might not otherwise be open to. Now, if they portray themselves as some kind of spokesman for their legions of fans, then certainly that is bait and switch; if they turn a concert you bought tickets for into a campaign rally for John Edwards, that is certainly bait and switch. But I'm not sure that simply having opinions and expressing them in fora which are more accessable to them by virtue of record sales is problematic. I don't see Willie Nelson's speech as any more offensive than that of the New York Times: Nelson only has a platform while people buy his albums, and the NYT only has a platform while people buy their paper. I don't have to support it, and they only have a platform if I choose to give them one. I can ignore the NYT's arguments and turn to the cartoons, just as much as I can open the CD tray and put in some Floyd instead.

So I don't agree with Cooper that the problem is celebrities talking politics - I think that, to the extent there is a problem, it's why someone would agree with someone's political argument because they happened to write "A Whiter Shade of Pale" or "Big Ten Inch Record."

Fenrisulven said...

A bit sad to be unable to enjoy art because you disagree with some opinions the artist has, doncha think?

Sad, but not by choice. And its beyond disagreeing with some opinions. Baldwin/Bassinger have made incredibly vile and ignorant public statements. Its difficult to disassociate those remarks from whatever character they are portraying and ruins the movie for me. Prob the same reason you see declining attendance at Dixie Chicks concerts. If there isn't such a relationship, then why is Gibson's career in jeapordy re the anti-semitic remarks he made?

Back to the marketing example: prominent actors are hired because they lend their character's attributes [strength, compassion, credibilty, coolness, etc] to the product. When they use that character to push a political agenda, its a peversion of their art.

I'll bet that if I get Bruce Willis to tour the campign trail with Bush, he's worth a bounce in the polls - not because of anything he says, but because people identify with the characters he's typcast in.

Simon said...

The Jerk said...
"A bit sad to be unable to enjoy art because you disagree with some opinions the artist has, doncha think?"

No, not at all. If Dominoes Pizza gives money to pro-life causes and you are adamantly pro-choice, isn't it unreasonable to get your take out pizza from someone other than Dom's? After the last election, a list came out of all the big corporations that gave money to Bush, and liberals were urged to boycott them.

Of course, corporations are not artists, and buying products and services is different to buying art. So let's consider another example. If Eddie Vedder announces that all the profits from Pearl Jam's next album will go to abortion clinics, and you happen to believe that what abortion does is incredibly evil, can you not see that it is at least reasonable to say "I wouldn't donate money to abortion clinics because what they do is evil; I wouldn't give money to abortion clinics if they gave me a free CD with my donation, and ergo, I'm not going to buy Pearl Jam's album if it will constitute a de facto contribution to abortion clinics"? If you'll agree that's reasonable, then refusing to buy a Pearl Jam album because Eddie Vedder gives smaller amounts of they money he makes to liberal candidates and causes must also be reasonable, since it is only a difference of degree, not of kind.

Joe said...

I attended Zappa's the Live at the Fillmore concert. Memorable. John and Yoko came out and jammed for the encore. I was pretty disappointed that they did not make it onto the album. Though considering what they sang, I am not surprised: they covered Yoko and a microphone with a lawn-sized trash bag, and she yowled a song called "scumbag." True story.

The Frito Pundito said...

Re: School's Out. C'mon, songs about destroying school are ageless! We used to sing (at a very tender age):

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have beaten all the teachers, we have broken every rule...

I presume kids nowadays still sing that. Your enforced PC-ness deprives kids of one of their universal feelings.

Obligatory Disclaimer for the Clueless: I am NOT condoning blowing up schools. There is a big difference between singing about something and doing it folks.

BTW, madisonman, what IS the connection between Sugar Sugar and Tracy. Other than the fact that I owned both singles?

MadisonMan said...

The same guy sings both Sugar Sugar and Tracy.

Glory, glory Hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
Shot her in the attic
with a loaded automatic
His truth is marching on!

We were violent!

Rob said...

Ron Dante was the lead singer on both songs.

SteveR said...

Once Flo and Eddie stopped being happy together they became real mothers but they were just another band from LA

Finn Kristiansen said...

Some thoughts:

-Hasn't Alice Cooper been a born again Christian for some time now? He is currently planning to build a huge youth center on the Grand Canyon University campus, or something along those lines.

-Hate the word, "meme". Overused.

-I don't mind musicians/actors having opinions, but few are able to express those opinions without mixing them with arrogance. It's annoying being talked down to by people who have never graduated college (or read a book).

christopher uggen said...

too bad alice doesn't get his due these days. the songs were great radio-friendly stuff and i think they stand up pretty well. maybe he needed a couple really great side(wo)men to take the music up a notch. his bands often featured three guitarists who, combined, just couldn't stand up to the becks and pages and claptons and iommis of the era.

Revenant said...

Do kids these days have any clue who the Cars were, or Missing Persons? "Spirit of Radio"? "How Soon Is Now"?

Trust me, as long as there are depressed teenagers in the world, the kids will know "How Soon is Now".

Besides, it was the opening music for "Charmed" for eight years.

Hazy Dave said...

Just for the record, George, "Peaches en Regalia" is an instrumental tune. Captain Beefheart sang some tunes on a few other Zappa albums, but of course, he did not appear on the Fillmore East 1971 album.

The John & Yoko ("who dat?") encore was released on Lennon's Some Time In New York City double LP. Frank eventually included his own mix of the same material on the Playground Psychotics double CD (which contains lots of other Flo & Eddie era goodies, too). One bit is entitled "A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono." "The Mud Shark Interview" is among the dialogue field recordings included, as is a fine 30 minute version of "Billy The Mountain".

Both The Turtles and Alice Cooper probably deserve a bit more respect. Coincidentally, Flo & Eddie had a syndicated radio show for a while years ago, and Alice is now on the air five nights a week in almost 100 cities...

Hazy Dave said...

And, the single seems to be the only place the title is just "Eighteen". On the Love It To Death album (and subsequent Greatest Hits albums) it's always called "I'm Eighteen". A small thing that only people who read record labels would care about, I suppose. Minor differences in titles and artist names between singles and albums is not terribly uncommon.

Annette Chiddister-Woods said...

I have this 45 for sale, no sleeve. Anyone interested? twerpdog@gmail.com