Break Up

The original Alice Cooper, the band (Alice Cooper, Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway) ceased to exist after the South America '74 tour. The reasons for the split have been debated for years among fans and the full truth will probably never be known. It`s been said that the Band members didn`t want to do the theatrics any more (something denied by Neal and Dennis especially). It`s been suggested that Shep wanted to deal only with Alice so as to split the money only two ways. It`s been suggested that Alice didn`t want to return to the band and face Glen Buxton`s health problems (and his own). It's even been said that Alice "fired" the band which is completely untrue (he couldn`t, they were equal partners). Whatever the reasons (and all these could have been a factor) it's unlikely that it was a cut-and-dried reason.

Below are various comments and quotes about the split for consideration.

...Alice eventually reneged on an agreement to do a farewell tour after his 'Welcome To My Nightmare' album?

I would say that the word reneged is a bit overboard. The band never really broke up, they just never got back together again. In a Rolling Stone interview, Shep said something to the effect that he could see the band getting back after the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' tour for some big festival shows or something. By the time the success of 'Welcome To My Nightmare' happened, there was really no reason to do it. It's not like they had an agreement in writing or anything.

There was musical frustration, too, around Glen (Buxton).

Glen was very burnt out. Too much drugs and drinking. It has been mentioned here before that Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter and Mick Mashbir often were the actual guitar players on a lot of the stuff - particularly on the last 2 albums.
(Renfield, December 1996)

I know that the Glen factor was a major part of the band falling apart. I know that Alice always felt a close affinity to Glen. I think it was quite clear to the group that it was going to be difficult to carry on with Glen in the band. Glen certainly was a key figure in the group.
(Renfield March 1998)

He [Michael Bruce] basically says that Shep Gordon was the instigator of the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' album and the prevention of any reunion.

Well, of course he's going to say that. Who else is he going to blame? Certainly not himself. Here are some facts. Not a "take" on what happened. Michael and Neal were not interested in pursuing the theatrical aspect of Alice Cooper (something they still deny). Michael and Neal went off to record solo albums. Alice in turn, rather than sitting around on his hands, figured that he would do one if they were doing one. 'Welcome To My Nightmare' was a major success. The musicians on the album, while maybe not as charming as the original band, were something fresh and professional at the time for Alice to work with. Glen had become inoperative. The 'Billion Dollar Baby' book had been published. 'Muscle of Love' was a disappointment.

Around 1981 Alice talked to Mike Bruce on the phone, discussed something (a reunion), talked to the other guys and went to Bob Ezrin about a reunion and he turned them down, saying he would have nothing to do with it because they (the band) can't play!

There is some truth to that. Bob Ezrin is certainly entitled to his own opinion. Is he not????? Notice that Bob didn't do the 'Muscle Of Love' album. Read between the lines.

It seem that the other members of the band have been sending Alice stuff to listen to for a while now (there some for the new album)

This is true. Alice has no problem in covering any of the songs if they are appropriate for the album that he is doing at the time.
(Renfield, December 1996)

It's not like Alice refuses to comment on the topic. I made very sure that the topic was brought up and answered in 'Prime Cuts'. A lot of people seem to want a nice, tidy simple answer to the breakup of the band. I don't think there is one. A band breaking up is not much different from a divorce. It is possible that a couple divorces due to one single reason such as infidelity. More often than not, it is because of many different reasons.
(Renfield, March 1997)

In his book, Michael Bruce had this to say:

He wanted to use his time off after the "Muscle of Love" tour ended to record a solo album. He only wanted it as a spare time "clear my head" project. Dennis and Neal felt that if solo projects were done then the group probably wouldn't get back together. Shep Gordon was saying to Michael that if Alice goes solo he may not come back. Also it became known around this time that Alice Cooper "the group" did not have an employment agreement with Vince Furnier aka "Alice Cooper the singer" and thus could not force Alice to return to the band. In the end Michael couldn't blame Alice. After the huge success of "Welcome to my Nightmare" (the album and tour) why should he want to return to the band?
(Sickthing, November 1997)

Warner Bros. was broached with having Alice record a song for the box set with all of the members of the original band including Michael Bruce. Alice agreed to do it. Warner Bros. passed on the idea.
(Renfield, March 1997)

With or without Bruce's memories and observations, the chances of a reunion of the original Alice Cooper band that had such phenomenal success in the first half of the '70s are slight, to say the least. "About as much as me moving this hotel to the left about four feet," chuckles Cooper. "The funny thing is, I like everybody in the band, everybody likes everybody. I don't have anything against Mike Bruce. I don't have anything against [guitarist] Glen [Buxton]. [Drummer] Neal Smith and [bassist] Dennis [Dunaway] and I are the best of friends. It's just that putting the band together would not be like putting Kiss together. Kiss had a whole different thing. [With] our band there were problems that were almost insurmountable musically. I haven't seen Mike Bruce in a long, long time but I'm sure we'd have a good laugh."
(Allstar Online, September 1997)

I just finished reading B$ I said to Ren."I can't believe I was on the same tour", meaning so much goes on, that you can't see everything that goes on.
Bob Greene was given admittance to the inner circle so, I'd say it was a fair accounting of the mood and reactions and egos of the band at the time. Because he was there everyday, people forgot he was writing a book. He never took notes or used a tape recorder in front of anyone so no one was guarded in their comments or actions.
What they needed was a break from each other to re-group.. The book exposed their raw nerves..with a little time they could/might have healed. They took a break, and during that time AC released his solo album and decided to leave the group.. To be fair, Mike Bruce's album was never really released,( well it was, but it was never promoted) so it posed no threat to the future of the ACG. As far as solo projects...I think that Kiss learned a lesson from the ACG ( not the first or last!!!)..they did solo albums so they wouldn't break up (at that time). As far as the book goes, I tell people that "If they want to know why bands break up at the height of their success, to read B$B." Sad, but true.......
(Mick Mashbir, December 1998)