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Special Forces


Possible one of Alice's least loved albums, 'Special Forces' still has something to offer to anyone willing to take the time to let it get under their skin. 'Who Do You Think We Are' is probably the only thing on offer approaching a classic, but 'You're A Movie' is prime Alice humour and the cover of Love's 'Seven and Seven Is' is pretty cool. Unfortunately the remake of 'Generation Lanslide' is rather pointless and elsewhere good ideas seem to be rather lacking.


August 1981

  1. Who Do You Think We Are (Cooper, Hitchings) [4:21]
  2. Seven and Seven Is (Arthur Lee) [2:41]
  3. Prettiest Cop On the Block (Cooper, Johnstone, Mandel) [3:13]
  4. Don't Talk Old To Me (Cooper, Johnstone, Mandel) [2:54]
  5. Generation Landslide '81 ('Live') (Cooper, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith, Buxton) [3:50]
  6. Skeletons In the Closet (Cooper, Hitchings) [3:42]
  7. You Want It, You Got It (Cooper, Scott, Krampf, Steele, Kaz) [3:15]
  8. You Look Good In Rags (Cooper, Hitchings) [3:35]
  9. You're A Movie (Cooper, Hitchings) [3:37]
  10. Vicious Rumours (Cooper, Hitchings, Scott, Pinera) [3:43]

iTunes

Musicians

Sleeve Notes

Produced by Richard Podolor

Engineered by Bill Cooper

Recorded at American Recording Company, Studio City

Mixed by Richard Podolor and Bill Cooper

Executive Producer Shep Gordon

Art Direction: Alice Cooper and Richard Seireeni

Photography: Eric Blum

Alice Portrait: Jonathan Exley

The Album

The new verse in 'Generation Landslide' was written in the studio while recording 'Special Forces'. AC had been toying with the idea of a remake for awhile - that just wound up being the one. I'm proud to say that I wrote the phrase "No one gives an oink..." God, I'm weird.
(Renfield, June 1995)

Where did GL '81 LIVE come from? As the song had never been played live until the 'Special Forces' tour.
Oops-BUSTED. Oh, well. That's show biz. But then again - when and where would have this been done live? Answer-never. Sorry to shatter any illusions.
(Renfield, June 1995

A working title for 'Special Forces' was 'Skeletons In The Closet'.

The "clicking" sounds in "You Look Good In Rags" were the action of a rifle.
(Renfield, March 1996)

"Look at you over there ripping the sawdust from my teddy bear" was listed on the back cover of the original LP, but wasn`t featured on the album. It has now appeared on the Boxset

'...Teddy Bear' was recorded only in "demo" form. AC intended to do it for the album. Production was running late and WB had to have all the credits and song list for the record so '...Teddy Bear' was included and printed on the cover--in the mean time, AC decided '...Teddy Bear' didn't fit (soundwise) on the album (he was right) so it was pulled. The demo version will be on the box set whenever that comes out.
(RenfieldAC, June 1995)

To me, and I think Alice would concur, 'Special Forces' was basically 'Flush the Fashion Part 2' - more extreme than 'Flush' though. The early 80's was a weird time cuz rock was DEAD - everything was new wave. Alice had been doing Alice for ten years - a long time considering the short life time expectancy for anyone in rock'n'roll.. I think he figured it was time to try to do SOMETHING a little different. Musically, it was partly due to writing with different people.
(Renfield, June 1995)

There are rumours of heavy drug use around this time which were finally confirmed in the documentary 'Super Duper Alice Cooper'.

A single of (No More) Love At Your Convenience / Generation Landslide '81 (WB K 17914) was listed to be released in February `82 but was withdrawn before being made.

The 'Special Forces' tour was in the UK in Feb 82. For some strange reason, Warner Bros. thought they would hype Alice's tour in the UK by re-releasing the worst song that was ever recorded in the history of the world. Thankfully, it was stopped and '7+7 Is' was released.
(Renfield, June 1995)

Count Floyd, mentioned in the `Thanks To` section of the sleeve, was the legendary host of "Monster Chiller Horror Theatre" on SCTV (Second City Television, a late 1970s-early 1980s sketch comedy show from Canada). Portrayed by Joe Flaherty, Count Floyd dressed as a cheap Count Dracula, and howled profusely while showing clips of the upcoming horror movie (all of which were in 3-D and featured "Dr. Tongue" as the archvillan). Some of the movie titles included: Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Meat and Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Stewardesses. None were even remotely scary (as Count Floyd usually admitted), and the 3-D effect was achieved by the actors leaning into and away from the camera several times. It was a great parody of local horror movie hosts and old horror movies.

Known Releases

Country

Format

Number

Date

Chart

Label

Notes

USA

LP

BSK 3581

8/81

125

Warner Bros(cream label)

 

USA

LP

BSK 3581

8/81

125

Warner Bros

Big promo stamp on cover

USA

Tape

BSK 3581

8/81

125

 

 

USA

8-Track

BSK 3581

8/81

125

 

 

USA

Tape

23855-4

 

 

Warner Bros

Double Play 2 On 1 reissue with `Flush The Fashion'

USA

CD

 

1/2010

 

Collector's Choice

2010 Reissue

UK

LP

K 56927

8/81

96

Warner Bros

 

UK

Tape

K 56927

8/81

96

Warner Bros

 

Argentina

LP

WEA 208995

8/81

 

Warner Bros

Titled "Fuerzas Especiles"

Argentina

LP

WEA 208995

8/81

 

Warner Bros (White Label)

Titled "Fuerzas Especiles"
Promo

Australia

LP

BSK-3581

8/81

76

Warner Bros

 

Australia

CD

WAR 9262302

12/90

 

Warner Bros

 

Brazil

LP

 

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

Canada

LP

XBS 3581

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

France

LP

WB 56927

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

Germany

LP

WB 56927

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

Germany

CD

WEA 926320-2

12/90

 

Warner Bros

 

Germany

Tape

WEA 926320-4

12/90

 

Warner Bros

 

Holland

LP

56927

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

Italy

LP

W 56927

8/81

 

Warner Bros

 

Japan

CD

WPCP 3498

9/97

 

Warner Bros

Forever Young reissue with Obi

Mexican

LP

LWB 6051

1981

 

Warner Bros

Cover has title in Mexican and English

Phillipines

LP

BSK 3581

?

 

?

 

The Tour

Lineup:

Setlist:

  • Intro-tape
  • Who Do You Think We Are
  • Model Citizen
  • Go To Hell
  • Guilty
  • I'm Eighteen
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Clones (We're All)
  • Under My Wheels
  • I Never Cry
  • Grim Facts
  • Pain
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Generation Landslide
  • Who Do You Think We Are reprise
  • Schools' Out

'Seven and Seven Is' was sometimes included in the show at the expense of either 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' or 'Grim Facts'.
In Europe, 'Seven and Seven Is' became part of the show and was played after 'I Never Cry'. In France, 'Guilty' and 'Grim Facts' were not played. During some shows, two verses of 'Vicious Rumours' were played in the middle of 'School's Out'. This was during Mike Pinera's guitar solo (he co-wrote the song and wanted to work it into the show; Alice would oblige by singing a few verses).

'Viscous Rumors' was written by Mike Pinera who was the lead guitar player on the SF tour. I think his plan was to get "Rumors" in the show even if he had to sneak it in while he was doing his guitar solo during 'School's Out'. I think it only happened a few times and Alice would join in and sing a little of the song just to play along.
(Renfield, July 1995)

I heard that some audiences didn't like the 'Special Forces' Alice and showed their displeasure by booing our hero. Is this true?

Absolutely not. Quite the opposite. The audiences were mostly the hard-core, devout fans that filled up the smaller venues. The 'Special Forces' tour sold-out 2 nights at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (30,000 total). Maybe the loudest audience I have ever witnessed.
(Renfield, May 1997)

Duane Hitchings left the tour half way through

He wanted to devote all of his time to song writing. Smart move; he's written a lot of hits and made a lot of $$ over the years.
(Renfield, July 1995)

During the European leg of the tour, Alice accidentally stabbed himself through the leg with a sword.

Alice Started the show hidden in a locker on stage:

...That locker was tiny. Alice stayed in his dressing room (which was on the tour bus parked outside the venue) for one hour before the show. Right before it was time for him to go onstage - he would come inside the venue-then the house lights would be shut off and the intro music started-then he went into the locker for his grand entrance-so he was in there for a few minutes.
(Renfield, June 1995)

The Show

The Special Forces show featured a pretty sparse stage setting. The SF banner hung at the back of the stage and all the musicians are up front and visible in a relatively compact space center back of the stage. The show opened with a long intro tape of the beginning of "Who Do You Think We are` At the start of the song Alice burst out of a cabinet stage right. The band are dressed in army fatigues with smeared make-up to match the theme of the show. "Who Do You.." goes straight into 'Model Citizen'.

'Go To Hell' featured the scantily clad whip girl (Sheryl Cooper) dancing across the stage before being confronted with Alice shaking his maracas. They grapple and Alice steals the whip, using on the writhing girl before she makes her escape stage right. Alice then finds a sword and proceeds to tease the guitarists with it. The Sword is a special prop that at the push of a button releases blood along the blade.

'Guilty' follows during which Alice sticks the sword into the stage floor (something he regretted at one show when he stuck it through his leg!). 'Eighteen' sees the appearance of the Crutch (for the first time?). It`s noticeable how up front the band are now. In contrast to previous shows that band members seem to have been given pretty much freedom to wander where ever they want as long as they do certain choreographed moves at the right time. It's during 'Eighteen' that the snake makes it's appearance.

'Cold Ethyl' features the Ethyl doll and moves into 'Only Women Bleed' in the now traditional way and is followed by 'No More Mr Nice Guy'. 'Clones' sees Alice reenacting the moves from the Paris Special, moving robotically as he intones the words before switching to being very floppy and flexible for the choruses. 'Under My Wheels' has Alice sitting on a trash can pretending to drive or answer a phone. It`s noticeable that many of the older songs seem to be performed in edited form, missing verses here and there. Alice remains seated for a gentle 'I never Cry' before they launch into '7 and 7 Is' with Alice shadow boxing and bouncing around the stage.

'Pain', 'Grim facts' and 'Billion Dollar Babies' all pass by without any particular theatrical additions before 'Generation Landslide' is performed for the first tour ever (the SF version being a studio cut despite the audience being added to it). From there it`s a run to the end with a reprise of the 'Who Do You Think We Are' theme before an extended encore of 'School's Out' featuring band introductions and Alice removing his make up, legging his hair down and declaring "Aren't you glad I didn't get it cut?"