Saturday, June 9, 2012

Welcome to My Nightmare

Alice Cooper is everything that’s right about rock and roll.

It almost seems like he’s the hard-rock equivalent of Savoir Faire. Everywhere you look, if there’s a trend, odds are good that Alice Cooper was there first. Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie in particular owe a lot to him.

Really, truly? Tell me a story. I so love stories.

But, for a moment, let’s put aside his rock-awesomeness. Recently, there has been a lot of stir on Facebook and across blogs about shoddy and shady practices by some publishers, and that is what really sparked this blog entry.

For all the controversy and furor Alice Cooper has sparked, for every set of parents whose teeth he has set on edge, for every time a politician has called for his act to be banned somewhere (and that has happened a lot) there is a good deed hidden somewhere in A.C.’s wickedness.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Alice Cooper was something of a drinker. In an interview, he’s said he doesn’t remember much of writing, recording, or touring behind a couple of albums from 1982 and 1983. Recognizing he had a problem, he checked himself into a sanitarium and got off the sauce. Since then, he’s been something of a one-man outreach program for other rockers and metalheads, most notably for Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Who better to understand the rigors and stresses of the road than one of their own? In 2008, he received an award in recognition to his efforts to help his fellow musicians and showmen.

Another thing that sets him apart is the name, Alice Cooper. He was born Vincent Furnier, and the band name was Alice Cooper. After some time, he legally changed his name, and after going solo, has continued to pay an annual royalty to the band members to use the name commercially.


That’s right. Instead of waging legal, lawsuit war over the name (Pink Floyd) or just out and out screwing his former bandmates (Ozzy Osbourne) Alice Cooper did it the right way.

Which brings me to the current fracas. I’ve been reluctant to talk about it in anything but broad strokes, but I will say this much: don’t be that guy. That means you, up and coming writer, and it means you, small-press editor/owner whatever. There is a lot of opportunity in this business to do things in an underhanded way, and there are a lot of pitfalls for novice writers, and it’s a shame when the two intersect like they have recently.

Writers, do your homework. And read your emails and contracts. Publishers/editors, however easy it is to make changes and send them off without offering a proof, or to push an anthology through to meet a deadline, or to slip things into a contract that (how do I put this gently?) fuck the author, I implore you, don’t.

Be like Alice Cooper. Enrage the masses, scandalize the establishment, entertain the buyers, and watch out for your fellow writer/editors. Face paint is optional.

And that’s it, because the whole mess makes me sad. I had a lot I wanted to say about how inspired I am by Alice Cooper’s music and thematic albums and the way he’s changed with the times but still remained himself, but no. Thinking about all the business has depressed me.

Next week, I want to talk about Nikola Tesla.

-Thom Brannan

1 comment:

  1. The Coop has also been known to shoot 18 holes with Pat Boone, and lent his support to the insanely swinging IN A METAL MOOD album that got Pat in so much trouble a few years back.

    (Plus, his Office Depot commercial with daughter Sonora was flat out hilarious.)