SickthingsUK: Raise Your Fist And Yell

Hot on the heels of Alice's comeback album and tour he again walks a more heavy metal path with 'Raise Your Fist And Yell', but with a great deal more success then seen on 'Constrictor'. While the likes of 'Freedom' and 'Lock Me Up' aren't essential, from 'Prince Of Darkness' onwards there is a marked improvement as Alice and Kane Roberts create a musical splatter movie to great effect, showcasing just what the combination was capable of at its best. Once you get past the dreadful album cover this is all pretty good stuff, but little could have prepared anyone for what would happen next...


September 1987

Track listing

  1. Freedom (Cooper, Roberts)(4:10)
  2. Lock Me Up (Cooper, Roberts)(3:25)
  3. Give The Radio Back (Cooper, Roberts)(3:34)
  4. Step On You (Cooper, Roberts)(3:39)
  5. Not That Kind Of Love (Cooper, Roberts)(3:15)
  6. Prince Of Darkness (Cooper, Roberts)(5:10)
  7. Time To Kill (Cooper, Roberts)(3:38)
  8. Chop, Chop, Chop (Cooper, Roberts)(3:07)
  9. Gail (Cooper, Roberts, Winger)(2:30)
  10. Roses On White Lace (Cooper, Roberts)(4:28)

Musicians

  • Alice Cooper - Vocals
  • Kane Roberts - Guitar, Vocals
  • Kip Winger - Bass, Vocals, Keyboards on 'Gail'
  • Ken K. Mary - Drums
  • Paul Horrowitz (Paul Taylor) - Keyboards

Sleeve Notes

Produced, Recorded and mixed by Michael Wagener for Double Trouble Productions Inc.
Additional Engineering by Garth Richardson
Music Arranged by Kane Roberts and Alice Cooper
Direct Metal MAstering by Stephen Marcussen at Precision Lacquer, Los Angeles, CA
Album Cover and Design: David Hale Associates
Front Cver Illustration: Jim Warren
Back Cover illustration: Kevin L. Spinney
Inside Sleeve 'Alice Skull' illustration: Airic Brumitt

Album Notes - (Detailed release information)

While 'Constrictor' served it's purpose of alerting the world that Alice was back, 'Raise Your Fist And Yell' (Working title 'Summer Blood', which they should have kept!) consolidated his position as an active recording artists again. It was recorded at the end of the main 'Nightmare Returns' tour and by the final show at the Reading Festival Alice already had a tape of the album to show journalist. With minimal downtime he went back on the road to support the new album.


Alice, Kane, Garth Richardson and Michael Wagener recording 'Raise Your Fist And Yell', 1987

Recorded with the 'Nightmare Returns' touring band the albums songs refined what Alice and Kane Roberts had started on 'Constrictor' with the second side, beginning with 'Prince Of Darkness', far surpassing anything on the previous record. It was pure heavy metal but still quintessentially Alice. Ken Mary:

"Working with Alice was an honor, and also it made you a little nervous because what you were recording would of course be there forever. We actually had a tremendous amount of input into our parts. Michael Wagener was producing. He was really great to work with as well, and made the process a great deal of fun. I believe 'Raise Your Fist..' could certainly have done much better, and some of that had to do with the record label MCA, IMHO. They didn't have rock acts at the time, didn't understand Alice, and made a bit of a mess of the marketing of that record. Seriously, we were playing sold out coliseums everywhere. Was there any other act out in that era selling that well live that did not have huge album sales to match? Again, just my opinion, but it is interesting that Alice moves to a new label and then 'Trash' does extremely well".

Alice had always been a huge movie fan but in recent years he had seemingly become obsessed with slasher horror pictures like the 'Friday the 13th' and 'Nightmare On Elm Street' sagas which were hugely popular at the time. Alice's image was a natural fit and he proceeded to lay the fake blood on thick in interviews and promotional photos. The stage show for 'Raise Your Fist And Yell, while similar to the previous show, upped the gore to an unpresidented level with audiences at the front leaving the venue covered in the sticky red goo that spilled from the stage. Side two of the original vinyl album was the splatter movie made into music, and was the high point of his collaboration with Kane Roberts. Kane:

To me, that trilogy of songs on side two that we had written, “Chop, Chop, Chop”, “Gail” and “Roses on White Lace” really sum up or captures the mood we were in at that particular point in time.

Parts of 'Gail' where written for 'The Nightmare Returns' show and were originally included during 'I Love The Dead'. Kip Winger wrote the harpsicord parts to give it an old horror movie feel. 'Gail' also happens to be Sheryl Cooper's middle name. Elsewhere 'Freedom', the first and only single, was a rabble-rousing anthem aimed at the P.M.R.C., a group of Washington wives trying to tell people what they could and couldn't listen to. Alice:

"That whole song was totally written about them. I wrote it on the level of saying, look, anybody that starts out with a premise that all kids are created stupid… I can’t understand it, but that’s really what they say! They don’t understand that these kids grew up with the 'Friday the 13th' movies. They understand satire and they understand humour. They understand what Alice is about.”

'Lock Me up' actually featured the voice of Freddy Krueger himself, actor Robert Englund, tying the album even more closely to the horror movies.

Earlier in the year Alice had found time to work with director John Carpenter on a movie entitled 'Prince Of Darkness'. Capenter was a fan, and Alice jumped at the chance to play a possessed tramp, even getting the chance to use his mic stand stunt during the film, although this time it was a bicycle frame he rammed through his hapless victim. Kane was also filmed, but under heavy make-up and costuming it's hard to say for sure if he made the final movie. The song 'Prince Of Darkness' can be heard over the end credits. John Carpenter told Fangoria:

"We ended up together at Wrestlemania III in Detroit. He was part of the match between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and The Honkytonk Man. I was there as a loyal wrestling fan, which I've been for many years. One of my business partners, [co-executive producer] Shep Gordon, is Alice's manager, so I was able to get backstage passes. I hung out with Alice and the wrestlers. It was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. There was a big party afterwards, and we chatted and became friends. I had thought of Alice as being an outrageous heavy metal rock star, but he's really a normal, wonderful person. He's such a great guy that I decided to cast him."

'Raise Your Fist And Yell' reached #73 on the US Billboard charts, slightly lower then it's predecesor. It did better in the UK reaching #48.

'Raise Your Fist And Yell' Live

The 'Live In The Flesh' tour supporting 'Raise Your Fist...' was originally due to start in September 1987 but the few European dates announced were canceled until the following year. The tour actually began in mid-October with shows in California and included another Detroit show on Halloween. By December the shows were being opened by a unknown band called 'Guns'n'Roses'.

The new production shared many similarities with the previous tour. Most of the band remained with the exception of bassist Kip Winger who had left to form his own band 'Winger' and was replaced by Kane's 'Criminal Justice' bandmate, Steve Steele. The second guitarist was announced as 'Johnny Dime', but was in fact still Arthur Funaro who had played as 'Devlin 7' the previous tour. The reason for the pseudonyms has never been explained, but was probably just a bit of fun.


The Galows, 1988

The show opened with Alice breaking through a gravestone for 'Teenage Frankenstein' with a condenced version of the skit from the previous year, the monster just walking onto the stage rather then being build. Alice steals his head and taunts it up onto the platform stage right before pushing over. A disembodied voice says "ALice Cooper, you have been accused of mass metal crulty... think back to all the innocent minds you've destroyed... Alice Cooper.. How do you plead?" to which Alice snarls "Guilty".. and they head into 'No More Mr Nice Guy'. 'Billion Dollar Babies', 'Is It By Body'(replacing the previous years 'Be My Lover'), 'I'm Eighteen' (with rocket firing machine gun guitar AND rocket crutch!) and 'Go To Hell' (whip girl) followed before they headed into the new material.

'Prince Of Darkness' featured a demon/devil in white cloak which gets the mic stand treatment, although this time it doesn't actually kill him, so Alice and Kane torture the poor thing for a while before kicking him out of the way and Alice finishes him off with a sword. A short, fast instrumental interlude leads into 'Chop, Chop, Chop' with Alice stalking the stage, hatchet in hand naturally. From stage right a 'lady of the night' appears strutting her stuff across the stage while Alice stalks her, eventually sneaking up behind and slicing her throat. Amazingly she's still alive during 'Gail', crawling across the stage towards Alice, begging for help.. and then 'Roses On White Lace' explodes. Alice searches through the girls handbag and finds a white lace bridal veil, waving it around as he sings the song. He then heads offstage and Kane takes the front for the solo. Finally Alice reappears and finished the poor girl off with a dagger.

'Only Women Bleed' is next as Alice croons to the dead girl who miraculously comes back to life again and stabs Alice! 'Devil's Food' leads into 'The Black Widow' with a giant spider appearing at the back of the stage to torment Alice. He tears off two it's legs and it's tail, killing it. 'Dead Babies' has Alice singing to a severed head hanging from a chain before a huge "mother" appears at the back of the stage. At the end of the song Alice turns and slices her head off with an axe, the torso spraying fake blood over the front 10 rows (almost exactly the way GWAR would later do it).

A new metalised version of 'Killer' followed and the gallows is wheeled onto the stage as Alice asks the audience "what did I do to deserve such a fate?". Masked ghouls lead Alice to the gallows with guitarist Funaro, in a priests costume, following reading from a book. Slowly they mount the scaffold and put Alice's head in the noose. "hang him, hang him" and Alice drops.. wind and rain effects filling the hall. The band go into a fast intrumental interlude before, of course, Alice returns in top hat and tails for 'School's Out'. 'New song 'Freedom', with flag and balloons, and 'Under My Wheels' form the encore.

The show got them into trouble,in the UK and Germany where the powers that be had seen reports of the violence and blood.

An outraged MP last night called for the a ban on shock rock star Alice Cooper after his first British gig at which young fans fainted, threw up and were splattered with buckets of blood. Outspoken Sheffield politician David Blunkett stormed: "I'm horrified by his behavior - it goes beyond the bounds of entertainment". He added: "It's an indication of the sick society we're moving into and something drastic should be done to protect young people from paying for this sort of obscenity". During the show there is a hanging sequence, a baby is torn apart, a mother sliced down the middle, and a beautiful girl has her throat cut. At the climax of the one-and-a-half hour performance young fans in the front rows are soaked by gallons of theatrical blood.
But 40 year old Alice is unrepentant "It's Nightmare In Elm Street put to music!" he said "It's a rollercoaster ride - a fast cheap thrill". White Hot Club photographer Joe Bangay, who saw the opening night says: "I saw kids faint. Alice has gone too far".

It should maybe be pointed out MP David Blunkett is blind! He couldn't possibly have seen any of the things he reported!

While the UK shows went ahead unaffected, in Germany it was a different. The UK reports were believed and when Alice arrived he was forced to drop certain sections of the show at some, but not all, the German shows. Kerrang magazine reported:

"Alice Cooper's recent tour of Germany was hit by censorship and protest about the content of his stage show. Following reports in the English tabloid press about girls fainting in horror at Alice's antics, he was forced to drop sections of the show that involved spearing baby dolls on his sword, axing a female mannequin, disemboweling a pregnant woman and splattering fake blood. Alice commented: "The most important thing was to play a show, even a censored one, for fans who've waited so long for me to return to Germany. I'm sorry that they didn`t get to see the entire show, but they seemed to enjoy each night just as much as if we hadn`t changed a thing."
Elsewhere in Europe, the full show was performed without incident, and the irony seems to be that the storm created in England that led to the ban was begun by a blind member of parliament!. Safely outside Germany, Cooper's parting shot was: "It's hard for an American to imagine anything as too violent for Germany".

The Wembley show has gone into Cooper legend as that was the night the gallows failed. Kerrang:

"Alice Cooper had a bad experience on the last night of his Wembley dates when the safety device failed on the gallows which Alice uses to perform on stage. A shaken and shocked Alice had to be cut free from the noose which had tightened around his neck and he suffered severe bruising on his neck as a result of the accident. Needless to say the man is such a professional that he continued with the full show despite his injury. "

'He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)' was played before 'Freedom in Sweden, as it had been a surprise hit the previous year.

Unfortunatly none of the 'Live In The Flesh' shows were professionally filmed. There are several poor quality audience recordings but the best footage by far is the rehearsal footage released as a bonus feature on the double DVD version of 'Prime Cuts' (A.K.A. 'The Alice Cooper Story'.

The Performers

  • Kane Roberts - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Johnny Dime (Arthur Funaro)- , Backing Vocals
  • Ken Mary - Drums
  • Steve Steele - Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Paul 'Horrors' Horowitz - Keyboards, Guitar
  • Additional performers - Karen Russell, Lisa Oakley

Setlist

  • Teenage Frankenstein
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Is It My Body
  • Eighteen
  • Go to Hell
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Chop Chop Chop
  • Gail
  • Roses on White Lace
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Devil's Food
  • The Black Widow
  • Dead Babies
  • Killer
  • School's Out
  • Freedom
  • Under My Wheels