1973, I was a wee child of 3, and already had an extensive list of favorite bands/singers. I have a picture of myself somewhere, it was Christmas 1973, and my gifts were a record player, and a stack of LPs. Even then, my tastes ran the gamut; my three favorite albums were Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies”, Donny Osmond’s “My Best To You” (there’s an interesting connection between those two, btw), and The Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today”, I was lucky enough to have an uncle with the original ‘butcher babies’ cover. Wait, “lucky”? I’m sure it was odd, even by today’s standards, but I was a toddler who also loved belting out “I Love the Dead”. In any case, this is my musical foundation. Over time, some material added cracked and crumbled, while others formed cornerstones, keystones, and massive transoms.
“Billion Dollar Babies” is a record I still refer back to often. Contrary to the schlocky, flat image some may have of Alice Cooper, you’d be hard pressed to find other music in the genre, today or yesterday, with such intricate arrangements. Go on, look. I’ll wait here.
The theatrics of his music and persona naturally draw me to the left of the dial. If a band has invented a demon god from space named “Boognish”, even better. You know Ween, yeah? A band whose music can’t be nailed down as the styles go from bluesy “Gabrielle” to trippy rock “Transdermal Celebration”, then high-fives every other genre during their toga party. Dean and Gene Ween finely crafted this entity that sadly no longer exists as a band, but school yourself, YouTube some of their live shows. Let’s face it, everyone benefits from some Ween. Yes, yes, even the crotchety old lady who throws mashed potatoes on your plate in the cafeteria. Trust me. Start yourself off with this, the ethereal “It’s Gonna Be Alright”. We’ll talk more, later, after you’ve pulled yourself off the cold ceramic floor.
In a weird twist of fate and music, I’ll be at my first Slayer show in two weeks. I have to mentally prepare, as I’m easily jostled and alarmed by everything. The propensity to reach for Ativan might be directly related. I hope my buddy knows CPR.
“God, I feel so strong.
I feel so strong.
I’m so strong.
I feel so strong.
God, I feel so strong,
I am so strong.”