What’s that musty smell? Ah yes, it’s emanating from the veritable feast of vintage collectables housed in the Pop Culture Schlock archive. For your delectation today I take you back to the Christmas of 1979; a seminal decade of music about to come to an end and give way to the dawn of a more brash, more brazen ten year period…

 

If you were a good, music-loving boy or girl in 1979 and had a.) done well in school, and; b.) not scratched your big brother’s vinyl, then there was a good chance that you’d find the Rock On! Annual 1980 nestled under the Christmas tree in your modest living room.

 

“The Rock What Annual?” I hear you exclaim, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at your lack of knowledge on this subject because, truth be told, Rock On! magazine was a short-lived, oft-forgotten publication… if you’d ever heard of it at all.

 

Rock On! magazine debuted with an issue cover-dated May 1978. Debbie Harry featured on its cover and the mag – costing a whole 25p – promised a healthy mix of punk, new wave, heavy metal, and prog rock. It kept its promise too as, over the course of seven eclectic issues, Rock On! dished out features and photo spreads on a dizzying cadre of top musical combos; from Status Quo to Sham 69, The Clash to KISS, Rush to The Rezillos. Meat Loaf graced a cover, Ozzy, too, until Issue 7, with Jimmy Pursey as its cover star, and cover-dated November 1978, when Rock On! disappeared from newsagent shelves. The editorial in that final issue wrote of the outrage of cutting off such a desirable publication in its prime but, if anything, Rock On! was a victim of its own blurring of genre lines: readers seemingly wanting specialist publications dedicated to singular strands of the rock ‘n’ roll world rather than this ambitious crossover style.

 

That final editorial, though, did offer some hope for the future; stating that it was the last Rock On! “in its present form”. Fast forward to around a year later and, in the Autumn of 1979, the true final piece of the Rock On! jigsaw arrived in shops and catalogues to complete the punk ‘n’ prog rocking picture.

With a scorching hot live photo of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on the cover, Rock On! Annual 1980 (price – £2.00) may well have been jostling for attention on the shelves alongside big-hitting television and film spin-off annuals, but it certainly looked the most badass. It was, the cover screamed, packed with pictures, facts, and quizzes on your favourite rock bands. It did not disappoint.

 

The heady mix of photo spreads and more in-depth features on select bands really did make Rock On! stand out from its competitors, and this annual amps that angle right up to eleven. The first photo spread was a “Tribute to Vocal Power!!!” (yes, with three exclamation marks) and featured cool live action shots of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, Cherie Currie, Pete Townsend, Willy DeVille, Graham Parker, Joan Jett, and Mick Jagger. A good start, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next up, a photo diary detailing a “hard band” going “soft” as The Stranglers met their devoted fans, followed by a quartet of stinging live shots of “the band the critics love to hate”, Status Quo. Rock On!’s attitude to those Quo critics could be “summed up in two fingers” readers were informed.

 

With barely a pause for breath, a six-page A-Z of Heavy Metal feature detailed the prime acts in the genre, from AC/DC to, erm, Wishbone Ash. A-W, then. A few curious names in this run-down, too: Prism, Quartz, and Mahogany Rush rubbing shoulders with the expected likes of Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and, a firm favourite on the turntable at RPM HQ, Uriah Heep. A “Heads Down Heavy Metal Quiz” followed: a select question being “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was a double live album for which heavy metal superstars?”

 

A Ten Years of Genesis feature followed, the first in a series of in-depth essays by John Tobler. His similar two-page spread on the history of Queen followed, as did those dedicated to Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, Rush, and KISS. The latter, subtitled “Kings of Shock Rock”, wrote of “the forty foot columns of fire that emit from Gene Simmons’ mouth” and, c’mon, if you were eight years old at Xmas 1979 you had every excuse for then falling head over platform heels in love with the idea of the hottest band in the world.

There was a Rock On! reggae report, a fashion guide of sorts where the Quo’s Rick Parfitt spoke of his love of jeans and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers of his love of raincoats (!), a Hi-Fi buying guide, a feature on sound engineers, a top DJ article covering John Peel and Anne Nightingale, plus one-page specials on Peter Gabriel and Ken Hensley of the Heep.

 

A photo spread of Ian Dury swimming (just your seven shots) padded out the pages, but not before an impressive photo set of live Black Sabbath shots appeared, a Star Cars article featuring Steve Jones, Meat Loaf, Midge Ure, and, ominously, Cozy Powell, a “Cult Heroes” feature detailing the likes of Iggy Pop, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty, and Bruce Spingsteen, and a “Sex ‘n’ Girls ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” spread featuring Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Golden, Poly Styrene, Stevie Nicks, and Rachel Sweet.

 

A “That Was The Year That Was” feature dedicated to 1978 was an obvious leftover from the previous year’s magazine and makes for entertaining if a little sombre reading amongst the other genuinely funny articles. Rock On! was a cool magazine, with its tongue firmly in its cheek and its love of a broad range of music at the forefront of any thinking. Your Uber Rocks, your RPMs are all subconscious descendants of Rock On! magazine.

No annual is complete, however, without a pull-out poster section (even if no kid ever dared pull a poster out of an annual!), and Rock On! Annual 1980 does not disappoint in that department. There are pin-ups of the aforementioned Pursey, Rezillos, Dury, Harry, Clash, and Lynott, plus Bob Geldof, Paul Weller, Freddie Mercury, David Lee Roth, Jon Anderson, Elvis Costello, Paul Stanley, and the Buzzcocks. Great photos too.

 

The Rock On! Annual 1980 may well be an uncommon piece in the average music memorabilia collection, but it is certainly a worthy one. Copies turn up on the secondary market relatively cheaply and, yeah, you should pick one up if you get the chance. The Rock On! staff were most certainly music journalist mavericks, and we’ve all tried to go there, right? Search for this precious, rockin’ tome… or you might never know how Rick Parfitt’s aunt ironed his double denim.

 

Thanks for reading, and for the feedback on my first column on the debut Alice Cooper comic. I’ll be back next month with something suitably archaic that the rock ‘n’ roll world tried to forget. Search for Pop Culture Schlock 365 on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Kevin Michael “GG” Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29, 1956. One of the most divisive members of the punk rock community he courted controversy wherever and whenever he could.  Love him or loathe him he certainly left an impression on the punk rock scene in the 80s and early ’90s.  Passing away on this day back in 93 is possibly one of the least surprising things to have happened in punk rock.  Let’s face it GG was never going to grow old and after promising to take his own life on stage as part of his act many times he sort of quietly slid off his mortal coil in tragic circumstances. Playing his last ever show in NYC the club turned off the power after a couple of songs which caused Allin to trash what wasn’t already trashed and then roaming the street almost naked covered in blood and shit the performer ended up partying at a friends house where he took a lethal Heroin overdose and never woke up being pronounced the morning after by paramedics exactly where he laid down the night before.

I guess whilst it wasn’t a surprise to hear the news it’s still a shame to hear about anyone passing away under such tragic circumstances.  Allin was fairly prolific throughout his career and moving from his early more glam roots he passed through punk, hardcore and country as well as spoken words performances Allin was no slouch when it came to what he considered art.

Even in death, the Allin circus continued when he was laid to rest his open casket was videotaped and he can be seen wearing a jock strap accompanied by a bottle of booze whilst friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth. As the funeral ended, his brother Merle put a pair of headphones on Allin.  plugged them into a cassette player which had a copy of The Suicide Sessions on it.

The film ‘Hated’ features the footage of that final performance and chaos that went on after.  Sadly GG’s grave was frequently vandalised urinated on, cigarette butts left as well as feces and alcohol left by so-called fans, an act that was greatly discouraged by his mother Arleta. His tombstone has since been removed because of this.

Musically he was a Beatles fan and that was reflected in his early songs other bands that greatly influenced him were the likes of Alice Cooper, the Stooges and Kiss.  when he put the Jabbers together.

Allin became popular when ROIR released a cassette-only ‘Hated in the Nation’  containing tracks from the Jabbers, the Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. All unavailable elsewhere.  The tape also featured recordings with the likes of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. on lead guitar and  Mark Kramer on bass. The most famous person to work with GG would have to be none other than Dee Dee Ramone who toured with the band as part of the Murder Junkies.

It wasn’t until the mid ’80s that he began to spiral out of control as his commercial career failed to take off he took full advantage of his underground personal and the myths began to appear (remember kids this is pre-internet) Allin was already making record designed to offend and provoke and he certainly achieved that with titles and collaborations to cause outrage (which they certainly did) the subject matter was attacking gay people, promoting drug use and his fascination with serial killers like Gacy led him to go visit the guy in prison. Live he couldn’t finish a set either because the fans stopped it or the police and/or venue interrupted him for his behavior. 

There was nothing big or clever about his behavior from the mid-’80s as he tried to stir up a hornet’s nest at every opportunity by saying repulsive comments about women, children, and boasting of his antics.  The music had long since stopped being relevant and instead he’d turned into a parody of himself and covered in ones own blood and poop began to fade into history and be a figure of fun that people would poke fun at and goad on to carry out his threat of killing himself on stage. In 91 he recorded with Antiseen what he described as his best album that most closely connected with himself.

If you’ve never heard him or fancy seeing what all the fuss was about then I suggest you check out ‘Hated’ it sure is an extreme ride and one you won’t forget in a hurry. I hope finally after such a chaotic life GG found his peace and afterlife and he can finally rest in peace.

you can pick up his records on the net but this company Aggronautix make a whole bunch of GG related collectibles as well as other bands and iconic figures in punk you really should check them out.

 

Also passing on this day back in ’81 a guy named Robert “Bob” Davis better known as Chuck Wagon from the punk band the Dickies. Chuck was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitars, keyboards and Saxophone. He will be best remembered for their iconic debut record  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’.  He also returned to the band to record its follow up ‘Dawn Of The Dickies’ as well as playing a few tracks on the third album which came out after his untimely suicide. suffering from depression after the breakup of his relationship Wagon returned after a show with the band and shot himself with a rifle this was 1981 and he was only twenty Five years young.  Rest in peace Bob.

 

Finally today former Gun Club guitarist Rob Graves also known as Rob Ritter.  Rob died of a Heroin Overdose on this day in ’90.  Rob played with the Gun Club, 45 Grave as well as a bunch of other lesser known bands like The Bags and. Graves played on Gun Clubs early 80s ‘Fires Of Love’ and ‘Miami’ as well as 45 Grave ‘Sleep In Safety’. Gun Club will always be remembered as the vehicle used by Jeffrey Lee Pierce but 45 Graves were part of the art Goth Rock scene with their striking images and this outlandish video for ‘Party Time’.  Its believed that Hole and Courtney Love dedicated ‘Pretty On The Inside’ to Rob when it came out.

 

 

Thanks for checking out my little corner of the Internet again. There really are no rules or expectations of what I am going to do here. Immediately after completing my first one though, this piece started writing itself in my head. It’s also shifted back and forth a bit during that time. The Wildhearts recently released their latest studio album ‘Renaissance Men,’ and it is quite simply a monster of an album. It is a serious album of the year contender with its 10 mostly compact songs reminding us of those albums of yesterday that did not waste time and placed an emphasis on all killer, no filler. That album served as the inspiration for the topic here- the stigma of mental illness.

 

Completing the first half of the album, ‘Diagnosis’ finds the band making a powerful statement that cannot be heard enough. The album has been on constant rotation, and that song kept nudging me to emphasize it for anyone that carries a mental health diagnosis with them. Coincidentally, I also saw a study by Record Union which indicated 73% of independent musicians suffered from some form of mental illness (https://www.the73percent.com/). I do not believe this is by any means a new phenomenon, but there has thankfully been much more awareness raised now. Unfortunately, there continues to be a stigma attached to mental illness that needs to be destroyed. People are NEVER a diagnosis. I do not care if it is a physical health condition or a medical health condition. Labels have genuine consequences.

 

‘You are not your diagnosís
You’re not that prescription in your hand
You are not your diagnosís
Simplified for them to understand’

(Ginger Wildheart, The Wildhearts, ‘Diagnosis’ from their latest album ‘Renaissance Men’)

 

I have worked in behavioral health for many years and have seen remarkable changes taking place within the field which are innovative and produce remarkable results. I remember the first time the clinic I where I worked brought a Peer Support Specialist (PSS) on board. We only had one, and there was some definite ignorance among the clinical team as for the first few days there was an unsaid belief that the PSS probably should not work with someone in crisis because it could cause the PSS to also go into crisis. I am very happy to report this belief was eradicated within about a week because we experienced the power of peer support. Clinically, we had failed to connect with the person, but this approach was remarkably powerful. In the not too distant past, I introduced a Peer Support Specialist to an inpatient psychiatric unit where the concept was entirely new.

 

“The stigma I experienced working in that facility has permeated through my recovery story. Before I reached wellness, people were telling me that my reality wasn’t true. Throughout my journey, having friends and loved one’s back away. Now in my profession as a Peer Specialist, being denied opportunities to help someone because it would “trigger a crisis” in myself according to their opinion. I am not my diagnosis. I am not my past. I am a person. My name is Jessi.”  Jessi Davis, MHPS RSPS Transition Age Youth Coordinator Via Hope

 

I have been fortunate that I worked in a system that celebrated strengths and meeting people where they are. It inspired a passion for me in my career to always try to do everything I can to make this world a better place. Some days are more successful than others. I have heard and seen horrific stories. I have heard and seen beautiful acts of love, empathy, support, resilience, and recovery.

 

I know that I never liked the task in school when I was asked to identify 3 strengths or things I liked about myself. I think it has become much easier with time, but I honestly do not know if it is because of the experiences I collected on my way to adulthood or some other reason. Parts of my adolescence were awful, and it didn’t change until I was well into my 20’s. I also know though I was extremely lucky and fortunate in many ways, especially in that I found coping mechanisms that worked for me. Music spoke to me and was my escape from the challenges I experienced. I also began writing in a journal, and, while they were initially song lyrics, my limitations in musical talent (having none) meant that these would become essentially poetry, even if that wasn’t what I wanted to call it due to preconceived stereotypes about my role in this world as a man and how we are trained to guard our feelings. My darkness I felt when I was younger had outlets-  healthy outlets.

 

Along the way in my career, I was presented with an exciting opportunity. Despite having no behavioral health diagnosis, I had the opportunity to attend a two week Peer Support Training class as part of my orientation for a job. Part of the training is the Peer Support Specialist being able to share their story in a way that inspires hope and resiliency. It was scheduled for about the middle of the training, and I felt uncomfortable with the idea of being in the class that day. I felt like I was an outsider and was betraying my classmates trust in some way. On the second or third day, I said something to one of my classmates during a break. This came out later that day in class, and our instructor told me he was sure I would have a story to share. Sure enough, I was annoyed that we only had 10 minutes to share as I felt it was not nearly enough time. While I have never experienced some of the things my classmates had, I had experienced similar emotions, similar moments in my life, and was moved by the stories I heard. Those two weeks have been extremely inspirational in my career. I have worked with others who have also received that training, and the power and energy these individuals radiate with afterward are contagious.

 

Turning this back to the song ‘Diagnosis’ and what inspired this, people are never just one thing. If you take 60 seconds and write down everything you are, I am sure you will have quite a list. It might start with father, son, husband, supervisor and then it gets really interesting as we drill down even deeper into what makes us who we are. To label someone as a disease takes away everything else they are. I have been fortunate to work with a CEO who frequently serves to remind others of this and has inspired significant changes in organizations across multiple States on this side of the pond with his approach. He also plays to people’s strengths and understands that you meet the person where they are in their reality, which can be quite challenging for some staff. Whatever the person is experiencing is what is real to them, if that is not validated, what reason does the person have to trust you?

 

If you watch the evening news, scroll Facebook or Twitter, pick up a newspaper after a horrific event, you will be hit hard with the power of stigma as people are quickly labeled or assumed to be (fill in the derogatory word that comes to your mind). What word was it for you? How did that become your conditioned response? Statistics over the years have demonstrated that individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.

 

“Using longitudinal data of more than two million individuals and multiple independent variables, the Danish study found that individuals with mental illness are at 2.5 times higher risk of being subjected to any crime compared to the general population, and at even higher risk of being subjected to violent crimes.” Jeffrey Swanson PhD (https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/fixing-the-system/features-and-news/4007-research-weekly-violence-victimization-and-serious-mental-illness-)

 

While I am not writing this to dig out all of those reasons why that might happen, I believe addressing the stigma of mental illness can help serve as a catalyst for change. If people felt like they could discuss what they were feeling and experiencing without the negative responses and shame, I believe it would begin to make differences, even if the ripple of change is small. Several of them become larger and a wave can form with enough of them. It starts with each of us though. We interact with people on a constant basis in our lives. We do not know what most of them are experiencing or have gone through in the moments before we see them, earlier that day, earlier in their lives. We often get one snapshot of that person. In my worst moments, I would not want someone to take that as being all I am.

 

When I look at the artists whose lyrics have hit me in the heart and soul the hardest, it is the likes of Frank Turner, Ginger Wildheart, Tyla, and others who articulate so clearly many of the thoughts that have passed through my brain over the years. Many of their songs have become personal anthems that inspire me when I need them. They inspire resiliency and let me know my brain is not really that strange in those weak moments. Turner’s ‘Get Better’  Being a powerful anthem for many and a reminder that we can always get better as people as long as we are still breathing.

Thinking about this topic has also given me a reason to really take a look across several parts of my collection with various albums immediately coming to mind that has connections to this blog. If we travel back in time to 1978 when I was just a boy, Alice Cooper unleashed ‘From the Inside’ which was conceptually based around his stay in a psychiatric hospital of the time.

The ballad ‘How You Gonna See Me Now’ has always been one of my favorite Alice ballads, and I have really enjoyed the lyrical depth to it that became apparent as I got older. Titus Andronicus released ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ in 2015 and shared the story of someone dealing with symptoms related to bipolar disorder over the course of a rock-opera with the band releasing one segment of the story as a music video  that portrays someone receiving services in an institution.

Stand Atlantic released a music video for their song ‘Lavender Bones’  in 2018 which show their singer being treated the same as everyone else and being taught to think and act the same way. She breaks free from the authority in the video, and, to me, celebrates the character she is playing by showing all of the different sides to who she is as a person through all of the colors she uses in her painting (my interpretation).

Ginger Wildheart has been very open with the challenges he experiences and their impact on him. Between Twitter, his music, his charitable actions, and even negative incidents, he has let fans have a window into a world that would not have been seen decades earlier before the rise of social media. Ginger Wildheart has albums such as ‘Ghost in the Tanglewood’ and ‘The Pessimist’s Companion’ that really speak to the insecurities and dark emotions that we experience and provide catharsis. He has also addressed these experiences in specific songs over the years as well such as ‘The Order of the Dog’ and personal favorite ‘Drive.’ Ginger was recently on “Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon” with Alan Niven talking about their recent suicide attempts and mental health care. Here is a link to the show:

Wade Bowen is a red dirt singer/ songwriter based here in Texas who has a discography of amazing albums, and he has never backed away from singing about person topics that have affected both him and his family, such as his song about post-partum depression ‘Turn on the Lights.’ He recently released a piece on YouTube that addresses his own recent struggle with a physical illness as well as the suicide of his nephew who was also a member of their team. While Bowen and the team continue to process their grief, it serves as another reminder to eliminate the stigma that keeps this topic from being discussed. Here is a link to ‘Inconsistent Chaos.’

Another band that served me extremely well back in my late teens when I felt mentally exhausted and struggling was Suicidal Tendencies. I felt like Mike Muir was often tapping into my own brain with the likes of ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down,’  ‘Alone,’ ‘Can’t Stop,’ etc. His lyrics served as a kick in the butt while also tapping into human emotions that all of us feel at some point in time. They also helped provide another realization in that we need to like the person we are and be comfortable in our own skin. I feel like that goes back to my earlier example where I would struggle as a teen to identify my own strengths.

As the Wildhearts served as the inspiration behind this blog, it seems fitting to close it with Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton  ‘Fuck You Brain’

 

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

Ghost Plays to Some Quarter-Million Fans on Leg One

of Metallica’s “WorldWired” European Stadium Tour

Manchester & London shows set for next week!

Ghost premieres a brand-new webizode, “Chapter 7:  New World Redro.”  This chapter first brings the viewer up to date with the Cardinal Copia-Papa Nihil-Sister Imperator storyline and then begins to lay the foundation for more backstory secrets yet to be revealed.  Check out “Chapter 7:  New World Redro”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVvAByIDtmk&feature=youtu.be

Ghost is spending the bulk of its summer as Special Guest on Metallica’s four-leg “WorldWired” European Stadium Tour.  Leg One saw Ghost playing to more than a quarter-million fans; Leg Two kicked off on June 8, and Legs Three and Four will take place July and August.  Ghost will perform at Heavy Montreal on July 27, and then kick off its North American “Ultimate Tour Named Death” headline arena tour on September 13.

As Forbes writer David Hochman put it in his review of Ghost at the Los Angeles Forum last November, “Equal parts horror church, headbanger’s ball and midnight Stockholm cabaret, a Ghost concert draws elements from opera, Gregorian chant, classic glam rock – Kiss, Alice Cooper and Bowie, come to mind…Imagine Iron Maiden or Blue Oyster Cult under a blast of liquid nitrogen, and you start to get the vibe.”

JUNE

13-20 Metallica’s WorldWired European Stadium Tour

18       Manchester Etihad Stadium

20       Twickenham Stadium

JULY

6-21   Metallica’s WorldWired European Stadium Tour

27      Heavy Montreal, Montreal QC

AUGUST

14-25 Metallica’s WorldWired European Stadium Tour

SEPTEMBER

13 – 30 “Ultimate Tour Named Death” North American Fall Dates

OCTOBER

1 – 26  “Ultimate Tour Named Death” North American Fall Dates

 

POP CULTURE SCHLOCK at RPM: Exhibit A – Alice Cooper’s 1st comic-book appearance

 

Step inside; walk this way; you and me, babe; hey, hey! Welcome, RPM-People, to the first irregular column dedicated to music-related items from the Pop Culture Schlock archive. Some will be cool, some will be curious, but all will be from a simpler time when music wasn’t just binary code on a smartphone stolen by some scally on a moped. So, pour yourself a Skol, slip into your Starsky cardigan, and wrap yourself in the warm embrace of nostalgia via a New York sanitarium by way of a Seventies newsagent.

 

Marvel Comics, before becoming responsible for almost every three hours you spend in the cinema, saw the late 1970s ripe for its own slice of the mass market appeal afforded to the rock stars of the day. Rather than living fast and dying young, your common or garden rock ‘n’ roll visage was more likely to be on the cover of a teen magazine or the panel of a game show than the front of a memorial service brochure.

 

After giving KISS its first appearances in issues 12 and 13 of its monthly Howard The Duck comic-book, Marvel rocked out no fewer than three times within the first five issues of its then-new title, Marvel Super Special, a 41-issue series of one-shots published between 1977 and 1986. KISS featured in the first (famously/supposedly donating blood to be used in the red ink) and fifth issues, The Beatles Story making up number 4. Now, any UK rock ‘n’ roll archivist with a shred of honesty who was in single figures age-wise when that first Holy Grail of a KISS comic came out will admit that it took until they were well versed in the art of mail order before they could add that piece of exquisite ephemera to their collection. Not so issue 50 of Marvel Premiere which hit spinner racks in the UK prior to its October 1979 cover-date…

Marvel Premiere was essentially a “try-out” comic; publishing a one-shot tale of a character to determine whether or not he/she/it could attract enough attention and/or revenue to launch their own regular title. After throwing around the idea of an Alice Cooper comic for a few years, Marvel finally took the plunge in 1979 with the special 50th issue of Marvel Premiere. That the legendary comic company did so with a storyline based around the Coop’s album from the previous year, ‘From The Inside’ (a concept record based on the then-troubled shock rocker’s time in a NY sanitarium where he was treated for alcoholism, with songs based around patients he met inside), remains bizarre to this day.

 

To be fair, the album – housed in luxurious fold-out sleeve and playing as I type – was pretty upbeat, musically if not lyrically, no doubt courtesy of Cooper’s collaboration with Bernie Taupin. It was with that in mind, I guess, that Marvel deemed the content suitable for adaptation in comic-book form. Of course, as an eight-year-old kid I read it all in a blur, oblivious to its roots, simply joyous that I could actually find a comic that featured one of the coolest rockers to grace my turntable in a British newsagents. Reading through it now, four decades later, that sense of wonder remains, even though I now understand the serious ramifications of the original subject matter. That Marvel decided to go for a lighter-hearted tone (albeit with a wicked bite) more in keeping with the commercially-accepted theatrics of the album now means that critical re-evaluation doesn’t come with the wince that oft-accompanies the remembering of once-troubled celebrities.

 

With artwork by Tom Sutton and Terry Austin, who also provided the stunning cover art, and a script by Ed Hannigan (based on a plot by Alice, Jim Salicrup, and Roger Stern) the comic version of ‘From The Inside’ opens with Alice trying to escape from his sanitarium cell via the time-honoured tying together of bedsheets. Caught by Nurse Rozetta (yes, she of the album track – also joined in ink form by Jackknife Johnny and Millie and Billie from the record) Alice is thrown into The Quiet Room by Dr. Fingeroth. Here, the Coop recalls the unfortunate series of events that saw him stuck there on the inside looking out.

 

Y’see, Alice, his mind undergoing a meltdown whilst trying to survive the “high-powered lunacy of the showbiz world,” had checked into a clinic in an attempt to dry up and calm his nerves. As (bad) luck would have it, Alice was confused with an Alex Cooper – a “certified paranoid schizo with a radical tyre fetish!” – and locked away by mistake. As our hero is treated to electro-shock therapy, ice water baths, and a crude haircut, Alex Cooper is about to be elected governor!

 

With Veronica (his trusty snake here, yet a dog on the album track, ‘For Veronica’s Sake’) stripped from him and locked away herself, Alice has to negotiate bed straps, sedatives, muscle-bound orderlies, and a doctor seemingly more crazed than the inmates of his facility, in order to get his story believed. Spoiler alert: doesn’t happen!

With a legion of background cameos and in-jokes for lynx-eyed readers (featuring the likes of Popeye, the Incredible Hulk, and Donald Sutherland’s character from 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake), the comic is wildly entertaining, possibly more so than the album it is based on (‘From The Inside’ attracting much cooler critical acclaim than many of its long-playing predecessors), though that claim could well be down to my original childhood love for what was then the pinnacle of my fledgling comic buying.

 

“But what of the future?” asked the powers that be at Marvel Comics in 1979. “Should Alice be awarded his own regular Marvel title? Should we break him out of that Asylum and send him blasting through the Marvel Universe?” Well, it would be 1994 before Marvel featured Cooper again via a three-part, Neil Gaiman-penned comic series that tied-in with Alice’s 1994 album, ‘The Last Temptation’.

 

Dark Horse Comics would later reprint ‘The Last Temptation’ as a trade paperback, but Cooper’s comic book history doesn’t end there. 1990 saw Revolutionary Comics’ dubious Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics title (more on these chancers in a future article) feature an unofficial Alice Cooper history, with Bluewater Comics later picking up that company’s past monstrosities and lowbrow ethics. Much better was to follow in 2014 with an ongoing Alice Cooper comic book title from Dynamite Entertainment which lasted for six issues and was followed by ‘Alice Cooper vs. Chaos!’, another six-parter that saw the veteran shock rocker up against the denizens of Dynamite’s horror universe; including Evil Ernie, Chastity, and Purgatori. Oh yeah, also look out for the Coop in a Treehouse of Horror special Simpsons comic along with Rob Zombie, Gene Simmons… and Pat Boone.

 

It is Marvel Premiere issue 50 that will forever be the peak of comic-book Alice Cooper, however. With the guillotine of nostalgia cutting deep, that forty-year-old mass of paper, ink, and staples is a thing of beauty in a world turned ugly. As Millenials and Post-Millenials reminisce about their friggin’ iTunes playlists, us forever-cool-kids will always have stuff like Alice Cooper comics to read via torchlight under our covers at night, knotted bedsheets at the ready…

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Author: Gaz Tidey

 

ROCK’N’GROWL RECORDS, a division of ROCK’N’GROWL PROMOTION have announced, the addition of three more bands: RYAN ROXIE (Alice CooperPlanet Axe), BLACKMAYNE and PHONOMIK for the digital Rock/Metal Sampler ‘RAWKAHOLIC Volume 1‘, which will be released by end of June 2019.

The first three bands which were announced are SYTERIA (feat. Jackie Chambers of Girlschool in their ranks), AIRFORCE and DESOLATION ANGELS.

 

There are still last slots available and bands can send their songs and full info to promo@rockngrowl.com

#6 RYAN ROXIE (Alice CooperPlanet Axe) is a US vocalist/guitarist & songwriter, and best known as ALICE COOPER’S long-time lead guitarist and collaborator. Facebook

#5 BLACKMAYNE, is a NWOBHM band from the UK and was formed in the mid-80s. “Not as heavy as Tank nor as poppy as Terraplane, this solid five-piece was surely one of the overlooked gems of the movement, sparkling with sadly unfulfilled promise.” Garry Bushell Facebook

#4 PHONOMIK, is an upcoming rock/metal band from Denmark, which can be described as a mix between Metallica and Disturbed. The song for Rawkaholic Volume 1 was mixed and mastered by Jacob HansenFacebook

And 9 more bands still to come!

Rock’N’Growl Records is a record label founded in 2009 by Axel Wiesenauer based in Germany. They focus on the rock and metal genre. The label working also with their division Rock’N’Growl Promotion heavily in the fields of publicity, press, promotion and consulting. Stay Rock’N’Growl !

www.rockngrowl.com

RYAN ROXIE (Alice Cooper guitarist) has released a new lyric video & single for ‘God Put a Smile Upon Your Face‘. The song is taken from his new solo album, “Imagine Your Reality”, which was released on May 25 via Cargo Records UK. The video can be viewed below.

Coldplay song would not be the obvious tune to cover on a ‘guitar-driven’ rock record like Ryan Roxie’s Imagine Your Reality.  Roxie takes the melancholy mood of the Coldplay song and injects a punkish energy to it with layer upon layer of raw guitar tracks while still staying true to the song’s dark timbre. Complimented by a new enigmatic video shot on location in the Las Vegas Desert by Director/Cinematographer Denise Truscello with graphic lyric overlay by Gustav Kronfelt and additional editing by Jonny Vegas, God Put a Smile on Your Face will do to you just what the title suggests.

God Put a Smile Upon Your Face was produced by Kristoffer Follin at Purple Skull Studios in Stockholm, Sweden and is the 5th song released off of the ‘Imagine Your Reality‘ album.

Ryan Roxie – Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, who is best known as Alice Cooper’s longtime lead guitarist and collaborator, has also worked with Slash and Gilby Clarke and been a member of Classic Rock award-nominated band CASABLANCA.

Roxie began working with Alice Cooper in 1996. He was initially offered a ‘one year tour’ and 22 years later (with one leave of absence for family commitments) he’s become an integral part of the band.

In 2000 Roxie wrote and recorded on Slash’s Snakepit’s second album Ain’t Life Grand.

Ryan Roxie’s new music is currently being featured in the U.S. on Eddie Trunk’s Sirius/XM radio show, in the UK on Joe Elliot’s Planet Rock radio program and Rick Palin’s Firebrand radio. Roxie also appears on the ‘Nights with Alice Cooper‘ syndicated radio show as well as getting regular rotation on both Sweden’s Bandit Rock and Pirate Rock radio along with many other rock and alternative stations that are proudly supporting the return of ‘guitar-driven rock’.

www.facebook.com/realryanroxie

Buy single here