Music News

Alice in Revolver Land

Dear Ms. Cooper,
Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to listen to your still-young syndicated radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper, weeknights on KDKB-FM 93.3, broadcast from deep in your underground bunker in this "toxic wonderland" I like to call the 'Nix.

First, let me say that I, for one, am proud to have you representing the mature tastes of classic rockers in our barren desert on the airwaves in the dozen-plus cities your broadcast reaches -- it's heartening to know that when I'm barreling through Fargo, North Dakota, in the middle of the night, or shivering on the shores of Shell Lake, Wisconsin, I can tune in my radio and hear a little piece of home. And congratulations on your entry into the lucrative and underrated Utica, New York, market!

Your hand-picked selection of classic rock that rocks with your witty commentary on music and current events interspersed is exactly what's needed to warm those northern climes in the evening.

I must, however, register a complaint about some of your between-song banter. Recently you were speaking of your close friend, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, and you mentioned that his friends call him "Bob" -- "just don't call him House," you said, and then, as if we didn't get it -- "House Plant . . ."

You then issued a challenge for your listeners to come up with a better joke and call it in or e-mail you. I confess that a touch of stage fright prevented me from contributing on-air, but I offer you one here:

How many Alice Cooper fans does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Both of them.

I was also somewhat offended by your joke concerning the similarities between Mötley Crüe and the Cure -- you mentioned not only that their names are anagrams (excluding the "Motley," of course), but you chuckled that both bands feature members with long black hair and makeup. As a pillar of the transvestite community yourself, I would hope that you are capable of more sympathy for those still sorting out their gender issues.

I do commend you, though, on your choices of music for the program. Your own "Welcome to My Nightmare" matched with Guns n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" was a clever coupling, and, in an odd Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz coincidence, I was lighting a joint just as you dropped the needle on Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law." It was like you were reading my mind.

Your "Go Ask Alice" segment has become one of my favorite parts of the show, especially after the poignant discussion of Cyrinda Fox, now-deceased super-groupie of the '70s and ex-wife of Steven Tyler. I had no idea that she and Tyler used to visit you at your house in Beverly Hills back in "the day" -- just one of the many new things I learn about you every time I listen.

For instance, I never knew that Bob Dylan once said in Rolling Stone that you were his favorite lyricist of all time, as you mentioned on his 61st birthday last month. It must be comforting that even a folk artist like Dylan recognizes your genius.

It was touching to hear you discuss your friendship with the great drummer Keith Moon of the Who, and his tragic death from Antabuse and brandy, but I have to say that your incessant name-dropping of '70s rock stars encourages the idea that you're now over the hill and grasping for some modernist legitimacy -- which we both know is not true. I mean, just the other day I heard you praising the talents of the Darkness. It doesn't get more hip than that.

Over the course of listening to your nightly radio show, I came to a realization -- it's extraordinarily goddamn boring to sit around listening to a radio program at night, even one as clever as yours. I attempted to remedy the boredom with a bottle of Merlot one evening; when that didn't succeed, I turned on MTV with the sound muted. I was treated to a montage of bikinis and booty shaking courtesy of Lloyd Banks' video for "Warrior" while I listened to a Rogaine commercial on your program. A bit better, but not much.

I must tell you that your constant pleas for phone calls and e-mails doesn't help the boredom factor -- I would think that the original Mistress of the Night would be deluged with calls without begging for them . . . wait, I may be confusing you with Elvira. My apologies.

A bit of constructive criticism -- your show might be a little livelier if you considered partaking of crystal methamphetamine prior to going on-air. It may prevent you from sounding like a putz and making Meat Loaf jokes or discussing your affection for the television show 24, not to mention increasing your "street cred" with the legions of tweaker head-bangers here in the 'Nix. Or, if your marketing budget is large enough, you could offer free heroin to regular listeners.

Finally, let me say that, in case you should take offense at any of my constructive criticism, I give it with only the best of intentions. You and I are both well aware that you could buy and sell my ass into indentured servitude as a dishwasher at Cooper'stown if the urge ever hit you. Best of luck with the program, and we owe you immeasurable thanks just for having existed -- without you we may never have had Marilyn Manson to kick around.

Sincerely, Brendan Joel Kelley

E-mail [email protected] Alice in Revolver Land

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Brendan Joel Kelley