SickthingsUK: Lace And Whiskey

'Lace and Whiskey' is an album many fans love to hate, though why is a bit of a mystery. Sure, it isn't up there with the real classics, but most of the material is still great stuff. Okay, the cover of 'Ubangi Stomp' is dreadful, and a lot of people don't like the disco element that was sneaking in on 'Love At Your Convenience' and 'Damned If You Do', but elsewhere the title track and 'It's Hot Tonight' are great rockers and 'My God' and 'King Of The Silver Screen' are both classics. Maybe not essential but still well worth getting.


April 29th 1977

Track listing

  1. It's Hot Tonight (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(3:20)
  2. Lace And Whiskey (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(3:15)
  3. Road Rats (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(4:54)
  4. Damned If You Do (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(3:13)
  5. You And Me (Cooper, Wagner)(5:11)
  6. King of the Silver Screen (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(5.35)
  7. Ubangi Stomp (Chas Underwood)(2:12)
  8. (No More) Love At Your Convenience (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(3:49)
  9. I Never Wrote Those Songs (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(4:34)
  10. My God (McCarthy, Carroll)(5:42)

Musicians (a.k.a. The Hollywood Vampires)

The credits on the album cover are a little vague (for example did Ezrin and Chirowski really play on every track as suggested?), but this is a best guess based on the information provided:

It's Hot Tonight
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Lace And Whiskey
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Tony Levin
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Road Rats
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Prakash John
Drums: Jim Gordon
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Damned If You Do
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Tony Levin
Drums: Jim Gordon
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Piano: Al Kooper
You And Me
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
King Of The Silver Screen
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Ubangi Stomp
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Tony Levin
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
(No More) Love At Your Convenience
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Backing Vocals: Julia Tillman, Lorna Willard, Venetta Fields
I Never Wrote Those Songs
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Allan Schwartzberg
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski
Piano: Al MacMillan
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
My God
Guitars: Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter
Bass: Bob Babbitt
Drums: Jim Gordon
Keyboards: Jozef Chirowski, Bob Ezrin
Percussion, Vocals: Jim Maelan
Backing Vocals: Douglas Neslund and the California Boys' Choir

Sleeve Notes

Produced By Bob Ezrin
Recorded at:

  • Soundstage Toronto
  • Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
  • The Record Plant East, New York
  • RCA Studios, Holywood
  • Producers Workshop, Los Angeles

Arranged by Bob Ezrin and Al Macmillan
Mixed at Producers Workshop, Los Angeles
Alcoholic Adviser: Joe Gannon
Design by Richard Seireeni/Rod Dyer
Photography: Richard Seireeni
Alice Portraits by Terry O'Neil
Ernie Watts - Tenor Sax and Clarinet
"And, of course, Alice Cooper as Vanna White.'cause I'm the queen of the silver screen."

Album Notes - (Detailed release information)

There's little doubt the lack of a tour in 1976, and the publicity that automatically generated, hurt Alice. The fact that the album wasn't exactly what old fans wanted to hear didn't help either. But 'I Never Cry' had been a sizable hit which kept things ticking over, and the year off should have given Alice the time to rest and recharge after years on the album/tour cycle. Instead he used teh time being seen at parties and slowly drinking himself to death.

When 'Lace And Whiskey' arrived it was a new Alice, almost unrecognisable image that had scared parents and delighted teens the world over. Tired of the old image he created a new character to play - Inspector Maurice Escargot. During the preview year Alice had talked about creating a new show combining comedy and rock, and this was it. Based on Peter Sellar's Inspector Clouseau from the 'Pink Panther' movies Escargot was supposed to allow Alice to escape the old image but it didn't work. For one, the music of the album bore no real connection to the theme beyond the cover, and two, he still returned to the old make-up and costume at concerts, with only a short section featuring the new image.

Stylistically the album was all over the place. It started off well enough with the triple hit of 'It's Hot Tonight', 'Lace And Whiskey', and 'Road Rats', but 'Damned If You Do' was not what anyone wanted from Alice, a country rock boogie with disco overtones. 'You and Me', the new ballad, followed and was the obvious single after 'I Never Cry' and 'Only Women Bleed' had been hits. 'King Of The Silver Screen' pulled things back in epic style before the terrible 'Umbangi Stomp' ruined any credibility Alice still had as a hard rocker, and '(No More) Love At Your Convenience' buried it stone dead. To this day it's often mentioned as the worst song Alice ever recorded. Even Alice hates it. 'I Never Wrote Those Songs', yet another ballad that on face value appears to be Alice disowning his own past, and 'My God', an epic that doesn't quite make it, round off what many today name as the lowest point in his career.

But really the album isn't as bad as many make it out to be. Sure 'Umbagi Stomp' is awful and should be wiped from history, but 'Damned If You Do' and '(No More) Love At Your Convenience' aren't really as bad as people make them out to be, and the rest of the album was solid hollywood period Alice. In fact many songs were written, and backing tracks recorded, during the 'Goes To Hell' sessions. This partially accounts for the crossover in session musicians although Ezrin often used the same people on his projects.


Filming the 'Lace And Whiskey' Promo clips, 1977.

Promotional clips for 'You And Me' and '(No More) Love At Your Convienence' were made showing Alice as Escargot in his P.I. office and featured Sheryl Cooper. They're great fun and the former helped 'You And Me' to #9 on the Billboard charts (only #44 in the UK), his biggest hit since 'School's Out' and not bettered until 1989 when 'Poison' took over the airways. The second single however seems to have vanished without trace (but reached #44 in the UK). The album continued the downward spiral started by 'Goes To Hell' only making it as far as #42 (#33 in the UK) meaning even 'Love It To Death' outsold it. It as also the first Alice Cooper album since the Zappa days not to go gold shortly after release.

There was a promotional paperback released designed exactly like the book on the album cover. Inside is a brief history of Cooper albums and then a list of the albums songs, with a small story behind each, and then a history of who`s who in gangland slayings. The rest of the book is a monthly planner for the year 1977. There was also a promotional pop-gun, a shotglass, and a bullet-ridden t-shirt. You can see some of the text from the book at the bottom of this page.

During the first leg of the tour Alice was obviously in poor shape. He was discribed as look bored during the old songs and often appeared drunk. At the end of 1977 Shep and Sheryl confronted him and convinced him to seek help. He checked into Cornell Medical Center in White Plains, New York and was reportedly there about 3 months (October To December). During his stay two important things happened. The first was he was allowed out for a short time to appear in the all star movie version of 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', sporting a moustache! The second was that he met many of the characters that later turned up on his next studio albumn 'From The Inside'.

On his release from hospital Alice was sober for the first time in years and set off on the second leg of the 'Lace And Whiskey' tour, this time dubbed the 'School's Out For Summer' tour, but with the same show as 1977.

The album was reissued as half of the 'A Man Called Alice' album. The other half was 'Muscle Of Love'.

According to Alice 'You And Me' was covered by Frank Sinatra at a show at the Hollywood Bowl but no one has yet found anything to support this.

The Songs 'Ubangi Stomp' was originally by Warren Smith. Legend has it the reason for the new version was that it was the first record Alice ever bought.

'Lace And Whiskey' Live


Alice and Sheryl on Stage in Detroit, 1977.

The tour promoting the album was dubbed 'The King Of The Silver Screen' tour and lasted nearly 2 years over two "legs". The first official show was in Anaheim in a huge stadium that held over 40,000 people which, at this stage of the game, was pretty ambitious for an Alice Cooper show. It was promoted heavily including live snake auditions in Century City, Los Angeles and TV appearances including a legendary appearance on 'The Tonight Show' with Johnny Carson, the Gong Show (during which he sang 'Going Out Of My Head' before being guillotined) and 'Dinah!', a daytime talk show where he paraded costumes from the show. The show was also filmed for a TV special called 'Alice Cooper and Friends'.

'Alice Cooper and Friends' is the best footage we have from the period it only shows around 25 minutes of the show, the rest being made up of footage of the opening acts. It also shows a very sick Alice who stumbles around the stage obviously drunk. The 1978 shows, after Alice had entered rehab and sobered up, were reportedly much better but sadly no professional footage exists.

The new stage was huge and decked out to resemble a giant TV screen. The show was split into three parts, separated by fake advertisments played on giant screens. The first section featured the Alice, without make up, running through a selection of older classic songs finishing with two ballads, 'You And Me' and 'Only Women Bleed'. The second began with 'Unfinished Sweet' and concluded with yet another ballad, 'I Never Cry', and the final segment had Alice appearing as Maurice Escargot for a trio of 'Lace And Whiskey' songs before closing with an encore or 'School's Out.

Andy Michael recalls more details:

The stage set was made out to resemble a giant TV screen, with the now famous screen firmly in place. A road rat would walk the stage, switch the TV on and flick the channels around. Alices' face fills the screen while the roadie tampers with a giant television plug. There are three Alices' running at the camera: Alice in leather, Alice in the straight jacket and Alice in top hat and tails. The real Alice jumps out of the screen and straight into 'Under My Wheels' as the noise of a telephone fills the air. Alice is wearing a ridiculous outfit of a clean white vest with red piping, while trousers and a red silk belt with a golden buckle with an engraving of two boxers on it. It all smacked of the 'rhinestones and sequins' outfits favoured by Elvis Presley in his Las Vegas days.
After 'Wheels' (the intro music to the show was, by the way, a fast version of 'King Of The Silver Screen') it was into 'Billion Dollar Babies'. Alice at this point is not wearing the familiar make-up, the idea being that the opening section of the show was to be straight and simple rock with no theatrical presentation involved. The band, as with the previous tour, are kept well in the background and are wearing overalls with 'Alice Cooper TV Service' on the back. 'I'm Eighteen' followed and it was during these early exchanges that critics claimed Alice looked bored and/or inept without lavish props. Alices' face then appears on the screen and says: "Alice Cooper is here for one thing tonight - good, clean fun." He reappears in a black leotard (sometimes with make-up, sometimes without) for 'Sick Things' and then 'Is It My Body' with Angel [the snake] making an appearence as the TV screen shows the action in greater detail for the unfortunates at the back of the auditorium.
Next up was 'Devil's Food', complete with spiders and web, and into 'Black Widow', this was followed by 'You And Me' with Alice crooning at the 'Cold Ethyl' rag doll. This went into 'Only Women' as the doll comes to life (you know the rest). There was then a break consisting of fake TV commercials which were hilarious yet tasteless parodies of the absurd ads shown on TV (these were written by Joshua White and Bill Martin) while the TV station the concert was supposed to represent was K.A.K.A.!! The ads dealt with 'ear odor', Electric suppositories, and a trailer for a movie about a family that ate their dog! These were all shown on the giant screen and when they were over, down came the screen, out came Alice with a giant toothbrush and into 'Unfinished Suite' while the dancers (Sheryl, Yuichi Sugiyama, both of whom danced with the 'Nightmare' tour, Clifford Allen and Casey Cole) dressed as giant teeth and did the usual choreography put together by Rob Iscove (as always the stage set was designed by Joe Gannon and Jim Newton). This led into 'Escape' with the screen in use again.

'Maurice Escargot' on stage with the infamous chickens in 1977.
'I Love The Dead' was next, with Alice prowling around the guillotine before being strapped into it by a Ron Voltz and down came the blade. This led to 'Go To Hell' as Alice battled with the Cyclops and into 'Wish You Were Here'. 'I Never Cry' came next, followed by more commercials. Then it was into the new material, 'It's Hot Tonight' with Alice dressed as Maurice and the dancers dressed as gangsters. 'Lace And Whiskey' came next as the dancers came back on as giant chickens carrying machine-guns!! This was obviously Alice allowing chickens to get their own back after the hard time he gave them in 1969! The finale was 'King Of The Silver Screen' with the screen showing Alice with various schoolgirls surrounded by chandeliers and suddenly, he jumps out of the screen and the stars and stripes appears, which then turns into footage from Vietnam as Alice remembers the audience of that era and that society which allowed Alice Cooper to make his breakthrough. The whole thing ends with the stage set exploding.

Shows on the first leg of the tour were recorded and released as 'The Alice Cooper Show' in late 1977.

As mentioned above the 'King Of The Silver Screen' tour featured one of the most notorious theatrical stunts Alice has ever done, amongst fans anyway. During 'Lace And Whiskey' the dancers appeared dressed in brightly coloured chicken costumes with machine guns. The idea was that the chickens finally got revenge on Alice for the 'Toronto '69' chicken killing. Many suggest it was the moment Alice 'jumped the shark' and became a parody of himself. I'll go on record here and completely disagree. I did and still do think it was a brilliant idea and hysterical to watch. I only wish there was MORE footage of the chickens and that I could have actually seen it in person!

Before the first official 1978 show the band performed a special closed dress rehearsal for press and competition winners in Buffalo, NY. This was Alice's first ever show completely sober, at least since the very early days. They flew the press in from all over the country to see Alice perform sober and to start hyping the 'From The Inside' album that was already in the works. About 200 people, including Brian Nelson, watched the show in an auditorium that held 17,000.

The second leg of the tour feature the same show but an almost completely different band although the reasons for the changes are unclear. When asked years later guitarist Steve Hunter had forgotten he wasn't on the second tour!

The Performers 1977

  • Alice Cooper - Vocals
  • Dick Wagner - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Steve Hunter - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Prakash John - Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Penti 'Whitey' Glan - Drums
  • Fred Mandel - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
  • Sheryl Cooper - Dancer
  • Yuichi Sugiyami - Dancer
  • Clifford Allen - Dancer
  • Casey Cole - Dancer
  • Ron Voltz - Executioner

The Performers 1978 - 'The Cornhuskers' band

  • Alice Cooper - Vocals
  • Jefferson Kewley - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Davey Johnson - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Dee Murray - Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Dennis Conway - Drums
  • Fred Mandel - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
  • Sheryl Cooper - Dancer
  • Yuichi Sugiyami(?) - Dancer
  • Clifford Allen (?) - Dancer
  • Casey Cole (?) - Dancer
  • Ron Voltz - Executioner

The Setlist

  1. Instrumental Intro
  2. Under My Wheels
  3. Billion Dollar Babies
  4. I'm Eighteen
  5. Sick Things
  6. Is It My Body
  7. Devil's Food-The Black Widow
  8. You and Me
  9. Only Women Bleed
  10. (Fake Commercials - Tape)
  11. Unfinished Sweet
  12. Escape
  13. I Love The Dead - Go To Hell - Wish You Were Here Medley
  14. I Never Cry
  15. (Fake Commercials - tape)
  16. It's Hot Tonight
  17. Lace and Whiskey
  18. King of the Silver Screen
  19. School's Out