GB21 by glambone

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Alice Cooper/Dennis Dunaway - Snakes Guillotines Electric Chairs!

Seems like I read these autobios one after the other these days.  Some blur together, some end up being quite forgettable.  My expectation of Snakes Guillotines Electric Chairs! the book from Alice Cooper original bass player Dennis Dunaway was “here’s a guy who probably has some great stories to tell.”  Maybe because his time away from the group allowed for a more genuine reflection.  The book certainly delivers. 
He paints tales of high school in the early 60’s, and how Vince Furnier’s ability to adlib a story and garner attention was set in motion right from the start.  Asking fellow student Glen Buxton to play guitar in the school talent show, thus becoming the Earwigs.
What’s most compelling is their time spent in L.A., those early years of rubbing shoulders with everyone from The Doors to Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin to Hendrix.  Can you imagine?  One gets the sense of being there in the moment of when new music and bands were coming up, and the excitement of the pursuit of it all.
Dennis tells vivid memories of this.   My favorite is when they befriended the GTO’s, which he refers to as “this group of rock n roll wenches,” one of whom was Miss Pamela, later to become Des Barres.  The GTO’s lived in the basement of Frank Zappa’s which Alice plainly asks one of them if she can get Frank to give them a record deal.  And how the whole band shows up at his house one morning, storms in, sets up gear right in front of his bedroom door and begins their onslaught.  To which Zappa somewhat amused asks to get his coffee first.
The making of all the classic records and how the songs came to be is relived in fine detail here, as is the tours and how they would become one of the biggest bands in the world.  And then how it would all unravel, with the name Alice Cooper solely being identified as one man instead of one group, making it easier to push the guys out of their own band.  These stories and more keep the reader’s interest high.  It’s an entertaining read from start to finish.  A book about love and loss, triumph, and ultimately friendships that never die.