'No More Mr Nice Guy: The Inside Story ...'
By: Michael Bruce with Billy James - Gonzo Multimedia, $16.99
Description: Written by Alice Cooper's guitarist and keyboard player, Michael Bruce, this is an anthology of the band that encapsulated the decadent spirit of the 1970s.
Verdict: Following the group on their journey from Arizona garage band to eventual rise to stardom, 'No More Mr Nice Guy: The inside story of the Alice Cooper Group' reveals the truth behind the drinking and the rock 'n' roll.
Indeed, this "true life" story includes the hangings, the executions, the ghoulish makeup, the egos and of course, the rock 'n' roll. Now revised and updated, it includes previously unseen photographs and memorabilia that all fans have to see.
Having now read this book front to back, I can honestly say that original Alice Cooper Group guitarist/songwriter Michael Bruce (along with the wonderful Billy James, of course) has not only laid his dirty tour washing out for all to see, but has also put them under a microscope and then proceeded to turn one massive spotlight on them at the same time!
Basically a 115 page anthology of the band that encapsulated the decadent spirit of the 1970s, it follows the group on their journey from Arizona garage band to eventual rise to stardom. Revealing the truth behind the drinking and the rock ‘n’ roll as it goes, it kicks off when Bruce first saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show (and got the urge to be a performer right there and then), and ends with him seriously considering/putting out there a 27-year anniversary tour of their infamous Billion Dollar Babies show.
In between is a true, and vast wealth of knowledge about his time in the Alice Cooper Group, and as much as it is all heralded as being "true life" stories, well, pardon me if I feel like some of it has been sprinkled with glitter at times!
Come one now, you read it and come out the other side not shaking your head at some of the antics that were undertaken and dealt out by these guys, let alone Bruce himself! I mean, seriously ... can they really all be "true life" tales, for if so, well, wow ... what a feckin' life this man, these men lived (and, for the most part, survived unscathed through!)
Revised and updated, as aforementioned, it now includes previously unseen photographs and memorabilia. In fact, about a quarter of the book is photographs, which is actually refreshing, as a lot of time, books like these can be two-thirds photos, and severely lacking in written substance.
“Its not often we get a chance to redo, remake or in this case re-release a book ... my book," Michael Bruce has acknowledged. "It is with much thought, great enjoyment, many thanks and heartfelt appreciation for family, friends and fans that I present the re-release of ‘No More Mr Nice Guy.’ A compilation of hilarious rock ‘n’ roll stories and life events that made me the man I am today.”
And so with Michael Bruce's words now having been heard, and the book having now been read, I can honestly say it is one of the best (re)reads of any book I've snuggled up with in a while.
Reading all these 'other-side-of-the-coin' views from Bruce, who, as I'm sure you all know by now, was a huge part of the Alice Cooper Group as a singer/songwriter, showcases just how instrumental in the creation of the group's biggest hits he truly was.
There were obviously some bitter feelings among some of the other group members, as related to their lead singer's popularity in the media, sure, but hearing things from Bruce such as when during a flight over to England, an old lady in the next seat to Alice passed away in her sleep, and you get this spine tingling feeling that Alice's reputation as an evil incarnation was well deserved!
Another insightful recollection is the creation of both 'Under My Wheels' and 'Be My Lover,' which were fascinating to read. The former was written when Leo Fenn came to work for the Group. The band were in Michigan for a week on a layover and Dennis was playing with this riff: "Telephone is ringing" stop, "you got me on the run" stop, etc. Those two then worked on that, whilst the latter was a song Bruce wrote about his girl at the time, Chip; the sister of their PR guy at the time.
There are other glorious stories, such as when Keith Moon came down to the Record Plant in 1974 when Bruce was recording his solo album (he had been invited to play on it by Dino Dinelli from The Rascals). He'd been so shit-faced drunk on two bottles of Napoleon brandy and yet still managed to play the drums for Bruce; albeit them completely out of sync with the song!
Not wishing to spoil this read by delving too deeply into the main crux of the book, of Bruce's stories, his tales recounted, just let it be known that 'No More Mr Nice Guy: The inside story of the Alice Cooper Group' was a thoroughly enjoyable (re)read. An informational source and one where we get a fresh opinion/viewpoint of what transpired within the group's creation and demise, it's a must have for all fans of the band/artist (old or new).
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