Alice C:0:0per vs. M:0tley Cr:ue? 2 Genz u.v. Sh:0ck~Glam!

[5 images x jh0st copyright protected 2015 Xarrier Infrastarwerx Recordingz in co0peration w/]
Show review for a gig I did not see? Xarrier always leads the way into the absurd of avant-not heard! Actually former Serpent’s Exile and current Gryflet guest-vocalist jh0st was gifted a ticket to the futuristic, modern & contemporary concert venue the Barclay Center (which he wanted to see independently anyway as his main career as architecture teacher means he actually knows an epic design) to see AC & MC. Which to me is epic as when we did Exile I was wishing he had been to more super loud, theatrical and over the top heavy metal shows so he could understand the mix was 1. in yr face guitars 2. in yr face drums 3. vocals and bass in equal measure. The RIFF must reign supreme. And the only way to feel it is to be pummeled by many thousands of watts PA system, with extensive palm muted guitars and triggered/sampled double bass drums. Plus it’s just fantastic that by singing in Serpent’s Exile this heavy music “corruption” seems to be a gift that keeps giving. He surely will end up wearing patch covered denim vests & hair down to his spiked belt when he teaches his next seminar! By his singing roles in Serpent’s Exile as well as Gryflet by illumination of full lunar Eves, yet with a ‘day gig’ as professor of infra~design, jh0st is now like a Rock’n’Roll Bruce Wayne. . .or is he a heavy-metal Batman!?!
I can relate: when younger I was working at a classical & jazz only music store frequented by the (both nearby within walking distance) conservatory students and symphony hall patrons. I was playing in a retro-70’s glampunk band at the time and had left my keys at practice. The singer came in to my job to give them to me and he was wearing a horizontal striped b+w shirt, blue velvet smoking jacket, studded belt, shiny patent leather pointy toe creepers, pegleg jeans and w/ his dyed black hair looked like some nightmarish corssbreed of Dave Vanian, Lux Interior & Link Wray. I looked at him, then I looked at the super clean-cut customers and realized “was my life was polarized to an extreme” beyond my own comprehension? I was making a living selling music to 1 polarity of the spectrum then by night playing music onstage that would make their skin crawl; at the same time my other friends’ crowd was cheering and paying us for rocking that very same sound & look!
No 1 in ‘Alice Cooper’ now wrote the majority of the songs they play except the singer Vincent Furnier. It was originally the Alice Cooper Group where all the songs were written by  Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway and by mid 70s they broke up. Both Alice and separately the band tried and failed w/o each other. A dozen years later Alice w/ the 1st of a series of replacement bands started his successful phase of a solo career. Funny thing about the music biz is by that time a generation rollovers occurred and the new fans didn’t care the whole band who wrote the songs got shafted! The funnier thing is that Alice knew the staging, stageshow and his ability as 1 of the top 10 frontmen in the history of Rock’n’F’n’Roll could sell the show indefinitely which clearly has lasted decades to prove it. This is the 2cd time I almost went to a AC gig the other was at an outdoor amphitheater on a summer tour 15 years ago. 
Ending up skipping the show as I was starting a new job in the morning and had moved to a new state to do that. . .so didn’t want the chance of being late the 1st day! I can not write anything about the original Alice Cooper Group other than they are 1 of the great contributions to humanity and everything any critic or modern kool-kid says good about them is true. The only old heads from the 70s I met who actually saw the original lineup band has that rare stunned (burn out?!) expression when trying to explain how amazing they were in person usually reserved for those who saw Jimi or Duane in their prime  Especially as all the now well known ACG stunts they did onstage were introduced throughout the tours and in a pre-internet age. The element of surprise aka “shock rock” was def there enabling the band to completely hypnotize & mesmerize the fans. As well as thrill, scare and make them laugh; as Alice’s friend Groucho Marx might say(a fan of the band, as was Salvador Dali) “…now THAT’s entertainment!”. If the current band is good that’s great, they can turn on new generations to the power & majesty of the early 70’s Alice Cooper Group’s masterworks.
Motley Crue is an odd duck for sure. Despised by cool underground indie-punk and hipster rockers everywhere, and worshipped by the Midwest unexposed to anything weirder crowd, they actually fall in neither category of expectation. In fact MC were a ‘concept’ band well beyond any of their supposed contemporaries in the so-called LA hairmetal scene. Because w/ exception of fellow 1st gen spandex wearers Quiet Riot (who preceded them) and Van Halen (who preceded QR), Crue were the only LA glaMetal band w/ sonic cojones. Their 1st album in ’81 Too Fast For Love was an actual independent label (run/owned by the band) release. This genuine DIY document was later remixed for re-release when they got picked up by Elektra the next year. What made them different from all the dozens of groups who copped the big hair look & big hooks “p0p-metal” sound not to mention the big drums production is that not 1 of the copycats had a concept underpinning the look or attitude.
The concept I have figured out that bassist Nikki Sixx who really founded the group when he left his earlier band London wanting to do something similar with mucho more aggro, is to Re:imagine a 70’s glam band (T Rex, Ziggy era Bowie, late Stooges, New York Dolls, and of course Alice Cooper!) as a metal group as opposed to a rock group. I remember hanging out w/ neighbor friends up at a lake cabin 1 summer and they had a Motley Crue poster. I had never seen anything like the leather & spikes (which they got from Judas Priest), the pentagrams (really only Venom and the actual DC legends Pentagram had used that symbol earlier in music and neither were mass market bands) the garish bright red/pink/silver & black/gold type color schemes, or even the umlauts (later immortalized by Spinal Tap though clearly stolen from M:ot:orhead). When put all together and leering at the lens in promo shots it was pretty shocking looking in very early 80s, before blackmetal or GWAR would try to “out-devil” or gross-out the next level of theater~metal. 
They didn’t rewrite the book on music either, basically if anything they seem to have made a career of “what if KISS wasn’t such a lumbering, Spinal Tap-esque riff machine? What if KISS could play effortlessly at upper-mid tempos, was pretty tight in timing and had mega super production… but kept the focus on stadium sing along riffs?”. KISS clearly was the group they wanted to run against, with alightly less focus on the show and more on the songs, tho the split in KISS case is prolly 65% show and 35% songs whereas Crue is the reverse of that. Still, the 35% show is 30% more spectacle then most bands, and although Vince Neil can not sing to save his (or Razzles, sorry had to go there) life, he too (like Alice), is a natural born frontman and could probably sell sand in the desert. Lucky for him it’s not hard to sell the power trio behind him, they kick 10x harder then every single other LA glaMetal “wannaband”. It breaks down like this: Nikki Sixx deserves the most credit cause he was the dude with the massive ego (which is saying a lot when you’re in a band w/ Tommy Lee?!?) who just would not accept anything other than MC being the biggest hardrock band of the 80s, which they ended up being. It was he who had the grand concept of a glam band that played & looked metal, or a scare the PMRC hybrid glam & heavy metal crossover image. He had a vision; telling V.Neil and the rest of them wear this KISS meets Alice Cooper stage makeup, these Venom meets Judas Priest clothes. Almost like a bassist as manger or producer, also w/ the sound he heard in his head. . .Which was to be louder/faster rules, relative to the competition on Sunset Strip in context of the times.
Mick Mars is nobody’s fool either, and his fave guitarist is Hendrix; he plays vintage 60’s Strats w/ Kahler trem bridges installed and custom pickups thru racks of power amps driving walls of actually loaded w/ speakers cabs at SPL over 130dBs! He is the group’s primary ‘Riffmaestr0’. Tommy Lee is unique among drummers as he is the *Superstar* of the group. Despite his larger than life notorious persona, he actually does hit the kit hard and keep metronomic while still swinging time, an ability seemingly lost on most “pure” metal post-Bonham drummers. Bonzo never let driving the band get in the way of his syncopated groove, even when it was more implied then played. Aside from most of the raw self-produced 1st album, the song “Shout At the Devil”, and parts of their sonically and big-hooks penultimate Crue statement Dr. Feelgood LP, I cant say they are favorite songwriters or players. Still no 1 can take away from them they got noticed in a sea of a zillion bands when they had pyro, racks of stage lights, dancing strippers and a kick ass Rock’n’F’n’Roll band. And they did all of the above on low>no budgets when they still were playing small clubs! No 1 can tell Nikki Sixx they didn’t earn the fame & fortune. Let’s put it this way: if you want to dis the Crue, you tell Nikki to his face. I’m sure not gonna criticize a man’s livelihood who 0Died {if he ain’t scared of the Grim Reaper, he ain’t afraid of you?} and come back to life several times, literally. You can bet that trick sure as hell ain’t gonna make Sixx a holy man!?!
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