Sunday, August 9, 2009

Identity Crisises

Submitted for your amusement: "Identity Crisises", one of the final great songs from Alice Cooper's baffling punk/new wave "lost years" (1979-1984), from the soundtrack to the low budget film Monster Dog. It's probably the closest he ever came to making a Cramps/Nick Cave/Billy Childish type of record.

Since this is from Alice's all-time lowest alcoholic on-the-skids period (reportedly he has zero memory of ever recording the Zipper Catches Skin album), I'm pretty sure he's playing all the instruments here, even the drums. Listen closely - whoever's drumming, I'm pretty sure they're not a drummer by trade. Sounds like me when I try to fake my way on drums, getting by on syncopation with the hi-hat. Also note there's an interlude that sounds like it was meant to have a guitar solo overdubbed onto it, but no one got around to it.

Presumably, there was no one else around to gently whisper in the Coop's ear, "psst.... it's crises, not crisises, darling."

The video itself is equally bewildering in its magnificent crappiness. I've never seen Monster Dog so I don't know if this was a video made to promote the soundtrack, or if this is actually direct from the film itself, as is. I have a sinking feeling it's the latter. Hoo boy. I need to see this movie.

His other song from the film, "See Me In The Mirror", takes a totally different tack. It's a synth-driven dirge that, like "Identity Crisises", sounds like it was recorded in one evening at home on a 4-track and mailed in. Alice is way ahead of his time here, looking like Johnny Depp in any number of Tim Burton films and sounding like a kinder gentler Marilyn Manson.

- - JSH

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