SickthingsUK: Da Da

The early 80s weren't kind to Alice Cooper, but 'Da Da' is a minor classic. With Bob Ezrin and Dick Wagner back onboard Alice produced possibly his most cerebral album, which many fans rate amongst his best ever. Unfortunately Alice's substance abuse had reached dangerous levels and instead of touring the album, he headed into hospital to clean up (for good this time) so the album received virtually no publicity and no songs from it have ever been performed live, which is great shame.


September 28th(?) 1983

Track listing

  1. Da Da (Ezrin)(4:45)
  2. Enough's Enough (Cooper, Wagner, Shaw, Ezrin)(4:19)
  3. Former Lee Warmer (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(4:07)
  4. No Man's Land (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(3:51)
  5. Dyslexia (Cooper, Wagner, Shaw, Ezrin)(4:25)
  6. Scarlet and Sheba (Cooper, Wagner,Ezrin)(5:18)
  7. I Love America (Cooper, Wagner, Shaw, Ezrin)(3:50)
  8. Fresh Blood (Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin)(5:54)
  9. Pass The Gun Around (Cooper, Wagner)(5:46)

Musicians

  • Alice Cooper - Vocals, Synthesizer
  • Dick Wagner - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
  • Graham Shaw - OBX-8, Roland Jupiter, Vocals
  • Bob Ezrin - Fairlight, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Vocals
  • Richard Kolinka (of Telephone) - Drums on 3,6,9
  • John Anderson - Drums on 8
  • John Prakash - Bass on 8
  • Additional Vocals - Karen Hendricks, Lisa Dalbello
  • Sarah Ezrin (Bob Ezrin`s daughter)- Dada

Sleeve Notes

Produced by Bob Ezrin
Executive Producer: Shep Gordon
Recorded at Phase One Studios, Toronto and ESP Studios, Buttonville
Arranged by Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin
Album Design: Pacific Eye and Ear
Front Cover Art: Glen McKenzie
Calligraphy: Ingrid Haenke
Back Cover Photography: William Sandidge

Album Notes - (Detailed release information)

By 1983 Alice had hit rock bottom. His last album had flopped, he hadn't performed live since May 1982 and his hardcore drug habit was now life threatening. On top of that he relationship with his record company Warner Brothers was almost non-existant. They had barely promoted his last record and both were probably glad that there was only one more album on their contract. In a last ditch attempt to pull him back from the brink Shep Gordon called his old friend and mentor Bob Ezrin, along with his most reliable songwriting partner Dick Wagner, in the hope something could be salvaged.

Wagner probably wasn't keen at first. His experiences on the previous album 'Zipper Catches Skin' were less than enjoyable (he left for the album was completed) and he wasn't sure he wanted to get back in that situation again. On top of that, according to Wagner, Alice didn't really have any interest in writing and recording a new album.

Ezrin talked Wagner into going to Phoenix to get Alice motivated, and write new songs. Eventually and reluctantly Alice agreed and the pair started a schedule of writing a song during the morning and recording a demo in the afternoon. Eventually Alice was convinced to go to Toronto where the pair continued work. In his book 'Not Only Women Bleed' Wagner remembers:

"Writing and recording the songs for 'Da Da' was a time of inspired creativity and camaraderie among Alice, Bob and me. The only thing that holds me back from saying that 'Da Da' was my favourite recording session is the cold Toronto weather. Not really my favourite recording session, but definitly my favourite Alice Cooper album. Esoteric ecstasy."

A little more background info about the album sessions from John Jones in 1999:

I was a co-owner, along with Dee Long (of the band Klaatu) of ESP Studio in Buttonville. Alice was with us for over a month in the early 80's and he and I spent many hours together hoping Bob would stay busy in the studio rather than come out to the front of the old barn and tear Alice's head off for not having a lyric ready, that Bob liked. Many pages of very cool words were crumpled up and thrown in the bin...
It was an insane time with many many hours of grueling programming on the Fairlight CMI. When the record was delivered to Warner Brothers, they were not expecting them to record an album. They thought that Bob and Alice would just take the budget and that would contractually conclude the years of recording Alice did for the 'Formerly Warmer Bros.'"
Alice and Bob and Dick were our first real clients in ESP Studio. They gave us credibility in the Toronto music business as well as teaching us all a million lessons in music, recording and, especially Alice, life. I haven't seen him since 1983 or so. When I lived in England I tried to call him a number of times but never got through. In my career and in Dee's we never forget the role the three mad superstars played in our ever evolving musical lives!"

With no promotion at all the album unsurprising failed to chart in the US, although it did pop up at #93 in the UK for about a week. 'I Love America' was released as a single but that also vanished quickly.

Just after 'Da Da' was released Sheryl had had enough. She was scared, seeing her husband literally dying in front of her eyes, and felt helpless. She started divorce proceedings and moved with Calico to Chicago. Shep also threaten to wipe his hands of him. Alice found himself alone with a huge rock of cocaine and a gun. He'd hit bottom. He returned home to his family in Phoenix and was immediately admitted to hospital. When he came out he was finally clean and credits his religious beliefs and that of his family for his recovery. He called Sheryl in Chicago and she guardedly agreed to attempt a reconcilliation. It took another two years for Alice to fully recover and return to the stage and studio with 'Constritor'.

Much of the album was recorded using the new CMI Fairlight computer. For the most part, the drums are computer programs embellished with some live drumming.


Dali's original painting on which the 'Da Da' painting is based.

The album cover for 'Da Da' is based on part of a Salvador Dali painting called 'Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire'. The painting is an optical illusion which shows differing images depending on how you look at it. In the case of the 'Da Da' cover you have either two images of Alice-like figures sitting down, or an old mans head.

The 'Da Da' albums credits include "special thanks to Judge Joseph A Wapner". He was the judge on the 'Peoples Court' TV show and Alice was a huge fan of the show.

'I Love America' features several American expresions unfamiliar outside the country: 'The Pocket Fisherman' was a tiny fishing rod and reel that was designed to fit in your pocket. 'Crazy glue' is basically the same thing as 'Super Glue.' "I love the Beav and Wally, too!" is a reference to the American situation comedy 'Leave It To Beaver' which ran from 1957 to 1962.

'Former Lee Warmer' is a play on "formerly Warner' as in the record company Warner Brothers. Alice and Shep's relationship with Warners was by now almost non-existant and 'Da Da' was the last album they were contracted to deliver to them.

The old man pictured on the back cover of the album is actually just a stock photo of an old man that fitted the design. it's nobody in particular.

'Enough's Enough' features the line "Go buck and buck and make a buck" which has caused arguments for years on whether Alice actually says a different word.Brian Nelson, who was there commented on this in 1996:

"I think the lyrics on 'Enough's Enough' were performed and mixed in a very deliberate manner as to confuse the issue (a little Bob Ezrin trickery.). Something like what Prince did on the song "Erotic City." The words on the Prince song are "We could funk until the dawn" but boy, does it sound like something else. And that song was played on almost every Top 40 station in the country - there were a few that played an edited version because of the controversy. I seem to recall Alice specifying that the lyrics were "Buck and buck" and that's how they appeared on the lyrics sheet."

The words "Desolation Row" on the lyric for "Fresh Blood" are in a larger font then the rest of the lyrics. It's referring to the Bob Dylan song of the same name on his 'Highway 61 Revisited' album.

'Da Da' Live

As with the previous album there was no tour supporting 'Da Da' and no song form the album has ever been performed live in concert.