Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alice Cooper and... Alice Cooper

I have this really cool kid. She's funny, smart, adorable, and sometimes a bit too mature for her age (like 7 going on 30). Thankfully, she has inherited my taste in music. After all, she's been exposed to Bon Jovi and other rockers since her residence in the womb. Come to think of it, she was probably conceived to a Bon Jovi song... Anyway, there's none of that Hannah Montana crap in our house. High School Musical? Gag. The Jonas Brothers? "Mom, they're just BOYS," my kid says with a sneer and a roll of her eyes. "They don't know how to ROCK." (Note to Self: Start preparing Hub now for the fact that Daddy's Little Girl will probably be "With the Band" when she's in college...) Anyway, one of my daughter's favorite rockers of all time is Alice Cooper. She thinks Alice is absolutely HYSTERICAL. Now, before you cringe and think "Jeez, that Catte is one permissive Mom...", let me tell you how Kiddo discovered Alice Cooper. It was the Muppet Show. I'm a lifelong Muppet Groupie. I am head-over-heels in love with Kermit the Frog. So of course I have every season of The Muppet Show on DVD. When Kiddo was 5, I took great joy in introducing her to Kermit & Co. And I gotta admit, I breathed a sigh of relief that she was immediately hooked, since she was not a great fan of Sesame Street. (Can you imagine a preschooler who could care less about Elmo? That was her.) Slowly, patiently, I doled out Muppet Show episodes as special treats, watching her little face light up and hearing her delighted giggle as she watched "Pigs in Space" and "The Swedish Chef," and "Veterinarian's Hospital." We worked our way through the episodes in order, starting with the first season and advancing. I should have seen it coming, when somewhere around Episode 8 she remarked. "Mommy, Rowlf the Piano Playing Dog looks an awful lot like David Bryan." (Took me awhile to stop laughing at that, but damned if she isn't right!) Finally we arrived at Season Three, Episode 7, with guest star Alice Cooper, circa 1978. I was a little apprehensive about her reaction to Alice, even in family-friendly, fuzzy Muppet mode. After all, the guy does climb out of a coffin and dance around with Muppet ghosts while lip-synching "Welcome to My Nightmare."

She LOVED it. From that point on, it was all about Alice. She played that episode over and over, and begged to be allowed to listen to more of his music. I relented somewhat, allowing her to add "No More Mister Nice Guy," "House of Fire," and "Feed My Frankenstein" to her Alice playlist, which already included Muppet-friendly "Nightmare," "You and Me," and of course, "School's Out." Needless to say, most of the rest of Alice's catalog, along with music videos and footage of his stage shows, have remained off-limits. Since that time I've added a couple more songs with more mature lyrics to her playlist, along with a long discussion of what is and is not appropriate to be belted out at the top of her lungs on the school bus or in other public places. She has also expanded her list of favorite rockers to include Joan Jett, KISS, Lita Ford, Meat Loaf, and Slash, among others. And since HairNation is on A LOT in our house, she does hear some things that aren't exactly second-grade-friendly. Yeah, I'm still awaiting that phone call from the school: "Well, your daughter was singing some... um... inappropriate music on the playground... Yes, well, it was "Take me down, slow and easy..." (She likes Whitesnake, too). But I just can't find it in my heart to squash her enthusiastic discovery of power chords, screaming vocals, wailing guitar riffs, and heavy, thumping bass guitar. I remember how much I loved to sing when I was her age, and my heart just melts when I hear her in her room, singing away to Alice or Joan Jett or Bon Jovi. Blame it on the Love of Rock-n-Roll. Anyway, the thing that inspired this post was an article I stumbled upon yesterday. It's been out there for a few days, but I thought it was pretty darn funny. It's about Alice being quintessentially Alice, one of the nicest guys in Rock and Roll, trying to be all scary but not quite succeeding. Apparently last week the New York Post ran a story about some Good Samaritan out in Brooklyn who rescued a rare kestral (a type of hawk), then named it "Alice Cooper" because of its resemblance to said Rocker. Now, this is one cute, fluffy bird, and one not-really-cute, scary-ish character. But you can definitely see the resemblance. Alice is currently on tour in Australia, and when asked about his avian namesake, responded with tongue firmly in cheek: "First 'The Crow' stole my makeup, and now this kestrel has done it. This madness has got to stop, or I'm going to send my army of lawyers with everything they've got to go up against this bird. The bird has been trying to get a part in the show and will try anything to generate attention and get into our production.... the only one who wants him in the show is the snake."

And that's why I love Alice. Scary and sweet, all at once. Rock On, Dark One. As a treat, one of my favorites. Could have a little something to do with backing vocals by His Royal Hotness himself.... "If my love was like a lollipop, would you lick it?" Umm, yeah....

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