Show Business: Schlock Rock's Godzilla

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BY any musical standard, the Alice Cooper rock group is more shouting than something to shout about. Yet the teeny-boppers cannot seem to get enough these days of Alice Cooper (the name of both the leader and the group) The group's current twelve-week US tour will probably gross more than $4.5 million before it winds up next week end in New York's Madison Square Garden. Alice Cooper LPs like Killer, Love It To Death and School's Out have each sold more than $1,000,000 worth of copies. The most recent, Billion Dollar Babies, is already a $2,000,000 baby after only four months. Leading department stores round the nation are now stocking the Alice Cooper line of unisex cosmetics: Alice's Whiplash mascara will soon be followed by perfume rouge, deodorant and "Take a Bath with Alice" bubble bath.

Alice Cooper is Vincent Furnier actually a fairly square preacher's son who delights in home cooking and wearing Levi's, but onstage as Alice he is the king, queen, unicorn and Godzilla of schlock rock. His show is a grotesquerie of sick sex, gory violence and ear-splitting cacophony. Last week at the San Diego Sports Arena and the week before at the Los Angeles Forum the scene was the same. The lights dimmed and the crowd (size: 12,000 to 22,000; age: 15 to 25) was allowed to roar for a full five minutes before Alice appeared in a Mephistophelean puff of smoke. What followed was certified proof of the Alice Cooper boast: "What we do is make sure that if some kid pays $6 to see a show he's not just going to see some guy playing a guitar. He is going to see something he'll never forget "

Few ever do. When the smoke cleared away, there was Alice in tattered long Johns and thigh-high leopard-pattern boots. Black mascara, applied generously for a skull-like effect, ringed Alice's eyes.

His long, stringy black hair looked like a mop that had been left out overnight to dry. The four other members of the band wore white satin. Behind the group tucked away in dark corners of the 8½-ton portable stage or in the wings, was a staggering $150,000 array of props—including an operating table, a 9½-ft mummy with light-up eyes, assorted swords and switchblades.

As blinding strobe lights flashed Alice strutted around the stage like Tiny Tim impersonating the Marquis de Sade. He stabbed a life-sized doll that drew a loud roar of approval. Then Alice allowed his pet boa constrictor to slither down his body and protrude its head between his legs. More roars.

As the master of Now Grand Guignol, Alice finally came to the climax of the evening: an execution. After slaughtering a dozen or so mannequins and being overcome in a fake fistfight Alice stepped forward to pay for his crimes. Out rolled a guillotine, and Alice's ugly little head was ceremoniously placed to the block. The snare drum rolled, the audience hushed, down came the blade and Alice's head seemed to drop away.

Alice then rose from the dead navel exposed, in black sequined trousers white tail coat and black top hat He threw Alice Cooper posters to the audience and kissed a pretty girl in the front row. As a special treat for the Los Angeles fans, Alice escorted Richard M. Dixon—a Nixon look-alike—to a point at stage center where he could be pummeled by the members of the band.

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