Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Go ask Alice...

Before Alice Cooper the solo artist there was Alice Cooper the group...
A little bit earlier and with an almost identical line-up they were called the Nazz (pictured above) and before then the Spiders, complete with spider web and all!
The Spiders second 45 issued in 1966 is a fantastic slab of Garage-Punk with snotty vocals and crunching guitars. The Yardbirds were a great influence as witnessed also by a version of "I'm a man" that was never issued. I believe there's a whole lot of covers from this time that appeared on at least one bootleg...but I never heard it.
Back in 1964 in Phoenix Arizona, Vince Furnier on vocals, Glenn Buxton on lead guitar and Dennis Dunaway on bass, all three future Alice Cooper, formed the Earwigs that also included John Tatum on guitar and John Speer on drums.
It was this line-up that in Sept 1965, now known as The Spiders released their first 45:
Why don't you love me / Hitch Hike
The following Summer John Tatum left and the new Spiders would release the aforementioned second single, the fantastic "Don't blow your mind" / "No price tag".
Apparently the only guy that turned up for the vacant left by Tatum was Michael Bruce, previously of the Trolls and recently departed from the brilliant Wildflowers.
Here included are the Wildflowers two singles plus a great track that appeared about 10 years ago on the fantastic comp Legend City that focuses on Phoenix bands.
The Wildflowers almost sound British being influenced by the Beatles circa "Rain", especially on the cool "More than me".
I'm not entirely sure but I reckon both singles are from 1966, albeit the B-side of the first sounds like it could be is also, for me, the weakest track, the rest though is outstanding and the previously unissued "One more chance" a real find!
In 1967 the band became The Nazz, taking their name from the Yardbirds song "The Nazz are blue" and by the end of the year Neal Smith will replace John Speer on drums.
They will release only one single, whose fantastic B-side "Lay down and die" shows the band in full psychedelic mode with piercing eastern-like guitar.
They will also start working in the months to come at songs that eventually will appear on "Pretties for you", Alice Cooper debut album released in 1969.
Since somebody else in Philadelphia had the same idea about naming his band after the Yardbirds tune, early in 1968 the band will become Alice Cooper.

The Spiders
01 Why Don't You Love Me
02 Hitch hike
03 I'm Cryin (Live)
04 I'm A Man
05 Don't Blow Your Mind
06 No Price Tag
07 Don't Blow Your Mind (alternate)
The Wildflowers
08 A Man Like Myself
09 On A Day Like Today
10 More Than Me
11 Moving Along With The Sun
12 One More Chance
The Nazz
13 I Wonder Who's Loving Her Now
14 Lay Down Die Goodbye
15 Changing Arranging (Acetate)