An eye-popping peek into entertainment industry from the magnetic force who has worked with an impeccable roster of stars throughout his storied career.
In the course of his legendary career as a manager, agent, and producer, Shep Gordon has worked with, and befriended, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, from Alice Cooper to Bette Davis, Raquel Welch to Groucho Marx, Blondie to Jimi Hendrix, Sylvester Stallone to Salvador Dali, Luther Vandross to Teddy Pendergrass. He is also credited with inventing the “celebrity chef,” and has worked with Nobu Matsuhisa, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roger Vergé, and many others, including his holiness the Dalai Lama.
In this wonderfully engaging memoir, the charismatic entertainment legend recalls his life, from his humble beginnings as a “shy, no self-esteem, Jewish nebbisher kid with no ambition” in Oceanside, Long Island, to his unexpected rise as one of the most influential and respected personalities in show business, revered for his kindness, charisma—and fondness for a good time.
Gordon shares riotous anecdotes and outrageous accounts of his free-wheeling, globe-trotting experiences with some of the biggest celebrities of the past five decades, including his first meeting with Janice Joplin in 1968, when the raspy singer punched him in the face. Told with incomparable humor and heart, They Call Me Supermensch is a sincere, hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the worlds of music and entertainment from the consummate Hollywood insider.
Rock singer Alice Cooper performs, on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie. BEN TORRES/SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
Using every shock rock stage prompt and cavorting around the Verizon stage like a man half his age, legendary rocker Alice Cooper put on a vulgar display of power Wednesday night that spoke to the cathartic nature of heavy metal.
At 68, Cooper is in better health than a vast majority of his audience. Looking fit and vigorous, Cooper led his youthful backing band through his nightmarish lengthy back catalog. Beginning with “The Black Widow” (from 1975′s Welcome to My Nightmare), Cooper quickly transitioned into the well-worn riffing of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Under My Wheels.”
Cooper’s three guitarists embraced songs from four decades as if they had just learned them. Songs such as “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Long Way to Go,” and “Is It My Body” demonstrated just how much Cooper had influenced the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Marilyn Manson. Cooper’s brand of rock may have been shocking, but it was never unintelligent. Throughout the 70′s and into the early 80′s, Cooper deftly struck a vibe with adolescent males. Judging by the fist-pumping 40-, 50- and 60-year-old fans in attendance Wednesday evening, Cooper still maintains such a connection.
Always a snappy dresser, Cooper roamed the stage like a carnival barker in front of a high end tailor shop. He tossed out canes and brought out his signature anaconda and the crowd ate up every well-rehearsed move. He has always been an entertainer, even though his songs can stand on their own.
Midway through the show, Cooper and crew played deep cuts such as “Halo of Flies” and “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” songs that are as complex as they are powerful. With his cane in hand and his back to the audience, Cooper was the conductor of some bizarre, heavy metal symphony. By the time he got around to the expected finale of “I’m 18″ and “School’s Out,” Cooper had the audience in the palm of his leather-clad hands.
This was much more than a man simply coasting on his legacy. Sure, there were silly, remotely sexist ditties like “Woman of Mass Distraction,” but for the most part, Cooper and his band keep things tight and tantalizing. The tributes to David Bowie (“Suffragette City”) and Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister (“Ace of Spades”) were thoughtful and intense.
Encoring with “Elected” while poking fun at both major candidates, Cooper showed that his brand of rock could still be shocking, funny and immensely entertaining. Wednesday night’s performance was everything a great rock and roll concert should be.
By Darryl Smyers, Special Contributor
READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE – GUIDELIVE.COM
by: CLARE WELSH
Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
An icon of Goth opulence, Alice Cooper looked right at home in the Saenger, a theater whose chandeliers, filigree and lush curtains evoke the vampiric New Orleans of Anne Rice novels. That said, even the historic venue couldn’t quite contain Cooper’s shock rock. Half way through the show, his pyrotechnics set off the silent fire alarms, strobe lights that blended seamlessly into his abrasive live act.
Glam rock without theatrics is just rock. When I hear power chords shredded by a band with three guitars—and a double-guitar, and a bass, all keeping time to an eight-cymbal drum set–I want the show to match the music. I want ageless, fluffy hair. I want bedazzled vests. I want fog and fire. Though not strictly necessary, bubbles are appreciated, as are samurai swords, back-up dancers, puppets and props that look peeled from a sheet of flash tattoos: A silver dagger, a snake, a gas mask, a guillotine, a hundred-dollar bill. Pulling from a pink toy box painted with harlequins, Alice Cooper delivered all of these, and more.
Wearing his signature half-clown-half-corpse make-up, the front man acted as ringmaster to a cabinet of curiosities. Drama and satire were performed with sweeping, Shakespearean gestures. In Krewe du Vieux fashion, he offered a vaudeville parody of the 2016 election. Actors in Trump and Hillary masks wrestled for attention. Their antics were scored by Cooper’s encore of “Elected”, a song in which he pitches his own candidacy to the audience.
“Why Not Me?” he asked, pausing operatically.
It’s possible that Cooper was made for these mad times. For an artist whose career spans five decades, he’s maintained a well-oiled tour schedule. On average, he performs five days a week (for comparison, his contemporaries Guns N’ Roses perform three days a week; Aerosmith perform two). At first listen, his sound is squarely in the vein of biker rock, archetypal anthems for the 18 and angry—or the middle-age in crisis. It’s his live efforts that differentiate his influences. During the show, he presented tombstones emblazoned with the names of three musicians: Keith Moon of The Who, Lemmy Kilmister of Möterhead and David Bowie. Cooper’s respective covers of “Pinball Wizard”, “Ace of Spades” and “Suffragette City” revealed the English rock, metal, and glam spell that poofed the voodoo vocalist into being—in a rain of sparks and guitar picks, of course.
Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
In an age when getting recorded music is a faster, easier process than getting McDonalds, Alice Cooper makes a good case for the live experience. If you’d like to support his campaign, tour shirts printed with the phrase “Make America Sick Again” can be purchased for $45. It’s a steep price, but at least you know where your money’s going. Given his expertise behind a microphone—as well as his knowledge of American history, presented eloquently during his 1992 cameo in Wayne’s World–I’d say he has a chance.
Don’t forget to vote.
All photos by Jeffrey Dupuis.
Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
SOURCE – Soundcheck @ Tampa Bay Times
AUTHOR – Jay Cradling
Jay CridlinAlice Cooper performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Aug. 13, 2016. Photo by Jay Cridlin
The fine art of subtlety has never really suited Alice Cooper.
So if you were expecting him to close his sold-out concert Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall with anything other than an undead Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump making out at center stage, his band shredding away on his 1972 hit Elected, well, you just don’t know Alice.
“No real candidates were hurt during this production,” Cooper assured the screaming masses. “Don’t forget to vote.”
It was a gleeful, guileless display of rock theatricality, and may the devil love Cooper more for it. At 68 – the same age as Clinton – the original shock rocker remains a living, screaming doodle in a shop-class textbook, his voice and face frozen in the sneer your mama warned you not to make.
Holding court on a stage packed with haunted-house bric-a-brac and props from a monster-movie yard sale, Cooper commanded the house with his unshakable commitment to character. And nearly 50 years after “Alice Cooper” was born, what a character he remains.
Cooper is less likely these days to shock his fans than he is to leave ‘em laughing – his stage show has a lot in common with “Weird Al” Yankovic’s, and that’s by no means an insult – and it seems he’ll forever have an audience willing to it lap it off his leathers.
Like a pop star a third his age, Cooper whirled through costumes and set pieces all night, starting in a debonair cape and Beetlejuice suit for opener The Black Widow and shifting to a bloody surgeon’s coat for Feed My Frankenstein (which ended with a 12-foot monster storming the stage). He sang wrapped in a boa constrictor on Is It My Body and a straitjacket on Ballad of Dwight Fry, shook a saber lined with cash on Billion Dollar Babiesand danced with a floppy female corpse doll on Cold Ethyl. He was teased by a Harley Quinnefied ballerina on Only Women Bleed and beheaded with a guillotine on I Love the Dead.
These may be old tricks, relics from his ‘70s-lunchbox heyday, but he couldn’t pull them off if he wasn’t still so engaged in every moment, refusing to break character or even eye contact with fans. The costumes, the puppetry, the balloons and confetti and monster masks – it all may be a distraction, but there’s still no denying the dirty snake-rock thrills of Public Animal #9, Is It My Body or Poison. Cooper still sounded like the embodiment of adolescent angst when he bellowed I’m Eighteen, of anarchic rebellion when he roared School’s Out.
What really sells the show is the total commitment of his band. Rock-star styled within an inch of their lives, guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henriksen; bassist Chuck Garric and drummer Glenn Sobel were as animated and dedicated as Mr. Cooper himself, delivering a nonstop series of tsunami-force riffs and unheavenly backing vocals. Halo of Flies gave the night its moment of Trans-Siberian Orchestral grandiosity, with a conductor-like Cooper twirling a baton to twirl out squealing prog-rock solos from his string section. Strauss got a few shining moments in the spotlight, particularly on Woman of Mass Distraction, as she slithered around Cooper like a snake while shredding out solos in a pummeling finale.
While there was no sign of Johnny Depp or Joe Perry, the audience did get a taste of Cooper’s Hollywood Vampires side project later on, with a mini-set of covers honoring his late friends and peers – Keith Moon (the Who’s Pinball Wizard), Jimi Hendrix (Fire), David Bowie (Sufragette City) and, in a most rip-roaring fashion, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister (Ace of Spades).
There was even a bit of theatricality to this Vampires mini-set, which featured cartoonish tombstone props and narration (“You’re living on borrowed time, Alice. So what are you going to do, raise the dead?”).
But the crowd wouldn’t have it any other way. Give Cooper credit for leaning into the laughs instead of trying to shock us all again. If he actually went out there with anything other than Halloween hokey-pokey, it would reek of desperation and a total lack of self-awareness. It would kill the illusion of Alice Cooper, and nobody wants that.
So it’s no surprise that Cooper never endorsed Zombie Trump or Zombie Clinton when he ended the night with Elected. He instead wore a shirt promoting himself for president in 2016, running on the slogan, “Make America Sick Again.”
“Why not me?” he roared to the confetti-covered masses.
Yeah, why not Alice Cooper, the clown prince of darkness? As a nation in need of some lightness, we really could do a lot worse.
– Jay Cridlin