The four surviving members of the original Alice Cooper lineup recently reunited for an in-store performance at a Dallas record store. The gig coincided with a book signing for bassist Dennis Dunaway’s new memoir, Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!: My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group, at Texas music outpost Good Records. It found singer Cooper, Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith playing a short set of their early Seventies hits like “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out.” Cooper’s solo guitarist, Ryan Roxie, filled in for late original member Glen Buxton. We’re premiering official, high-quality video of the band playing a gritty version of “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”
Cooper’s appearance was a surprise to the audience. “There are no accidents,” he tells Rolling Stone. “We were playing a show in Dallas and had a night off the same night Dennis, Neal and Mike were doing a signing down the street. The guys were doing a small show to promote Dennis’ new book. Of course, I was going to be there! We are all still close and I want to play with the original guys any chance I get!”
“Actually, it goes back to the night before that,” Dunaway counters. “We talked Alice into doing a surprise performance. He came through a secret entrance and so we got up and did a song and then Alice walked out and everybody was blown away, of course. The following night, Alice’s show at the big arena there was him opening on the bill with Mötley Crüe, and Alice invited us up to do the encore, which was cool. We had a blast. You know we are all friends. We always have been friends, despite a lot of the reasons that people wouldn’t remain friends. We are all ready and willing to get together when the opportunity arises.”
The original Alice Cooper group played together from the mid Sixties through 1975, when the singer launched a solo career with the same name and released the album Welcome to My Nightmare. Dunaway’s book, which he wrote with Rolling Stone contributor Chris Hodenfield, contained some of the bassist’s wildest recollections of touring with the group, from meting Salvador Dalí to how the group began working with a boa constrictor.
Cooper, the singer, has been busy as of late with a new supergroup side project, Hollywood Vampires. The band, whose core lineup features the vocalist, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, put out a star-studded album of cover songs this year — including a version of “School’s Out” with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson on vocals — and played a few gigs. The project is a tribute of sorts to Cooper’s old drinking club, which consisted of John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon, among others, and as such, he’s called the record a tribute to his “dead drunk friends.” “I think it came out with a good sense of humor,” Cooper told Rolling Stone in September. “It wasn’t morbid, I don’t think. ‘My dead drunk friends,’ they would have laughed at that. It was their sense of humor.”
Video by Steven Gaddis