Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other original members of the Alice Cooper Group – Michael Bruce was the band’s guitarist, keyboard player and backing vocalist. In an exclusive interview by Nightwatcher for Nightwatcher’s House of Rock, Michael Bruce talks about his experiences as a member of the Alice Cooper Group (for the Zappa/Mother of Invention fan, though, one will find a lot of interesting historically relevant information – both in the interview, and on Michael Bruce’s website):
NHOR : By Neal’s estimation, the first two albums ‘Pretties For You’ and ‘Easy Action’ sold a combined total of approximately 16,000 copies when they first came out. What kept you guys going? A lot of bands would’ve said “That’s it” at that point. That shows a lot of perseverance….
MB : Really, what it was all about, we didn’t want to move home. Here we signed with Frank Zappa, and even though as far as the industry was concerned they were two failed albums, we were stars in our hometown when we came back. We got laid, and we got to play clubs, we were living the good life. When we went back to L.A., we were starving.(Laughs) Then when we met Shep and Joe, they really pulled it together, and it continued to the point where we realized we had to get out of L.A. because we had to go sort of cut our teeth, get out on the road, and develop our thing. That was after David Briggs and the second album. Just try to pay our dues so to speak on the real circuit. We weren’t just a local band anymore. We had to go out there and prove our stuff. That’s where you make it or break it. We managed to make it.The money we got from the ‘Great White Wonder’ that Shep funded us with, they went back to New York.
They hadn’t been back there, they got an apartment, started doing what they do, and they ended up living in Toronto, probably because people in New York wouldn’t have much to do with them. They were going to get a Canadian producer, because then they’d play our records on the radio there due to Canadian content. It didn’t have to be the greatest, but they’d play it because there’s a stipulation that they have to play a certain amount of Canadian music. So, we qualified, that’s another angle that Shep was working. When ‘Love It To Death’ came out, we must’ve had a $10,000 phone bill every month, calling “Hi, I’d like to hear that new “I’m Eighteen”, that Alice Cooper song.”(Laughs) We’re calling from Detroit to Canada, that’s long distance, but guess what? WCKW broke the song. That’s where it started. The rest is history.
Read the rest of the text of the Nightwatcher Interview, here.
Note: the above video of “I’m Eighteen” is from the Alice Cooper Group broadcast of Beat Club – a German music program that ran from September 1965 to December 1972 – of the group’s Hempstead New York ABC In Concert 1972 performance which caused quite a stir when first broadcast in the US.