The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

How You Gonna See Me Now

with 2 comments

One of my older brothers, Robert, was a pretty big influence on me musically in my pre-teen years.  He was the one who got me into KISS, Priest, RUSH, Uriah Heep, The Stones, The Who and thankfully Alice Cooper.

Now, I’m not the biggest Cooper fan in the world even though I own pretty much everything up to and including Constrictor.  But some of his albums are very special to me…especially From The Inside.  This seems to be one that alot of Cooper fans love to hate.  For me it’s brilliant.  Sure it got slick production and had songwriting credits from Bernie Taupin (Elton John) and guitar work from Steve Lukather (Toto).  Philip Bailey even adds a cameo falsetto on the album albeit uncredited.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s I spun this album a lot.  I know every lick and sound on this album by heart.  I can recite it in my sleep.  When we lived on the farm, Thomas would come over from time to time and hang out and we’d spin this one.  I remember he especially liked the closing track “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)’.

There’s not a stinker on here.  As a kid I didn’t get some of the references on this album like this from “Nurse Rosetta”:

I’m suddenly twice my size
My pants are all wet inside

C’mon.  I was under 12 years old, I had no clue.  haha.

In case you didn’t know and have been living under a rock, this is a concept album about living in a mental institution.  Sure, a bit cliche for Cooper but it worked.  I really like “Millie and Billie”, “For Veronica’s Sake” and especially “Jackknife Johnny”, “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “The Quiet Room”.  Cooper really displays the sadness and depression of the characters in these songs. 

And of course when I spin this on CD now, it really takes me back to those days in the late 70s and early 80s…far simpler times.  I mean really, what worries did I have when I was 10 or 11?  Not too many.  Mostly just worried about my brother and the trouble he was getting into.  That really did take a toll on me at a young age.  I looked up to him a lot and watched him go down some pretty bad paths.  Unfortunately I couldn’t help him although I wanted to.  I felt it was my job.  But there was nothing I could do, especially being 6 years younger than him.  I was his bratty little brother and with the things he was getting into, we weren’t as close as we were when we were both younger.

I will say that even today I am surprised that he’s still alive.  I had to learn at a young age that I couldn’t live his life for him…a life lesson for me.  A difficult lesson when it’s about someone that you love and looked up to.

So again, when I listen to this album and think about the time when I first heard it (I was 8 and he was 14), those were good times…sunny days…but really the beginnings of some dark years ahead.

2 Responses

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  1. That’s an awesome story man. I love records that tie into a particular era in your life. So much so that hearing it zooms you back to that time and place in technicolor panorama.

    My “cool” Uncle turned me on to Alice Cooper. The one who drove in demolition derbies, smoked pot, and rode motorcycles. He’s still my cool Uncle even now. Takes me dirtbiking and fishing and stuff. He used to tell me stories about how him and his buddies would pull up to the Boathouse in a BOAT to catch a show. Alice Cooper was one of those shows. I especially love his earlier stuff, AND his radio show. I was listening to it one night and he had his original band members in the studio with him and they were talking about old times. Back when they used to live in Topanga Canyon and buying strawberry wine from the Canyon Country Store before recording sessions. That little store is still there but, man Topanga Canyon is really the last place on earth I’d picture Alice! That was like the hippie-canyon near Malibu where Neil Young & Gram Parsons lived and everyone rode around on horses! Still wonderful to hear them reminisce about the old days and a time when the music business was vastly different. I pulled into the driveway and just sat there listening until that episode was over.

    K.

    March 27, 2009 at 8:22 am

  2. I’ve always appreciated Alice for his satirical spin on the world. I think it was a pretty big gamble for him to put out From the Inside since it focused on his own personal issues, and it stands the test of time. He’s one of those artists that defines a category of music, a trait I seem to gravitate towards. I dig how albums “bring you back” to a place in time in life. Something I honestly believe is lost in the digital age. I’ve enjoyed reading thru your posts, even the metal ones LOL
    Ray

    Rayford

    April 14, 2009 at 9:45 am


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