Bring Out Your Dead

Your humble Austin Music Minute hostess would like to take a moment to warn you that you’re about to read the ramblings and rants of an old geezer. First off, there’s the Python reference in the headline above, “Bring Out Your Dead.” However, yours truly thought that was appropriate because Alice Cooper‘s current tour is titled the Raise the Dead Tour. Secondly, make no mistake that Cooper is the pioneering figure in the world of what is usually referred to as “shock rock.” As it is, rock ‘n’ roll was already demonized from the start as something corrupting children with loud wailing and screaming, and references to partying, dancing and GASP – sex. Oh my! Have you seen that evil Elvis Presley?! We don’t want our children growing up to be like The Beatles!

You get the point.

Then along came Alice. He took the power, the sheer social force, of rock ‘n’ roll to the next level and simultaneously gave you nightmares by pulling you into his own nightmarish mind. His live stage shows were like no other at the time: Over-the-top horror and gore, and spectacular special effects on a grand scale. Why not bring a boa constrictor on stage? The constrictor may have been more frightened of the audience than the other way around, but it totally worked. Alice Cooper was playing sold-out arenas because his fans loved it and (figuratively) lapped up all the fake blood.

Cooper still reigns as the shock-rock emperor. True, there may be more outrageousness going on at some pop stars’ arena spectacles, or even at the most lurid and darkest black metal shows that would make you faint or run out screaming, but Cooper was there from the beginning. Perhaps he took his cue from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, but he went forward full force, pushing boundaries and making the folks who were bitching about singers like Elvis back in the day long for Presley’s return.

Now that the AMM’s sermon is over (ha ha), it would do you good to see Alice Cooper at his performance tonight at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Since it’s Cooper, it’s guaranteed to be a most memorable evening. He’s as fun, funny and eerie as ever, a timeless figure for lovers of rock and a taste for theatrical terror. Makes a great early Valentine’s present, if you’re into that sort of thing. This one comes highly recommended. Could you tell?

-Photography courtesy of the artist.

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