Was Trash A Fluke?

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Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by pitkin88 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:21 pm

I keep hearing a lot here about Constrictor ( 59 US 41 UK ) and the comeback but that album and RYFAY ( 73 US and 48 UK ) were pretty much commercial duds.Then along comes Trash ( US 20 and UK 2 ) along with his first hit single since the 70's.

So why was this such a big hit? Was it solely carried by Poison? Was Desmond Child the reason? Is it THE casual fan album?

Discuss.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by wind_up_toy » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:34 pm

I believe Alice has stated that many of the hit songs that he heard in the late 80's was connected to Desmond Child.

He wanted in and got the result he was looking for.
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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by recoop » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:51 pm

pitkin88 wrote: Re Trash

So why was this such a big hit? Was it solely carried by Poison? Was Desmond Child the reason? Is it THE casual fan album?

Discuss.
I think that the guest star list including Bon Jovi,Steven Tyler helped in US along with D Child. Think Poison carried the album a lot in the UK- it was of its time in its pop style whereas imo Constrictor/RYFAY maybe were seen as following a heavy metal style that had been around for a while. Poison got played a lot on UK radio (I couldn't believe the amount of plays at the time). Was it a fluke? No, almost the opposite pretty contrived for a hit. It's interesting that Hey Stoopid didn't really follow up the bubblegum pop of Trash. Trash had completed its chart mission and Alice was on the map again. And yes, it probably is THE casual fan album (although some long stay Alice fans like it as well)
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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by mr.barlow » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:55 pm

I think it was the case of a lot of market research and doing what was needed to reach that demographic. From what I understand. Trash was as much a business plan as an album. Everything about it from the album fonts(very generic and safe), to Alice appearance (he wore the same outfit that was on the album cover for all major appearances), to the videos (mildly risque mainstream 80s fare), etc. It was meticulously planned out based on market research and what they felt would get Alice back to the very top.

Desmond Child was the main hitmaker of the day and they were really trying to market Alice as a Bon Jovi type rock star---thus hire Desmond Child to co-write it. They watered Alice down to make him "safe" to appeal to the mainstream, suburban teenage hair metal fan of that period. It worked like a charm. But....

That's why it's a souless pile of pure corprate crap and the furthest thing from Alice Cooper.

Even the worst of the worst of Alice records still sound like an Alice record and most have flashes of brilliance. Trash had none of it. I will grant that Poison is a decent song but again--there was nothing really remotely original about it. Just another by the numbers cookie cutter hair metal crap song with a just as appalling awful video to go with it.

It sold in the millions and is loved by millions so who the hell cares what I think anyway---just my opinion.

I will add more later--the tea kettle is whistling...

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by recoop » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:00 pm

Whilst Mr Barlow makes his tea, I would add I still find Poison and Bed of Nails listenable
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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by pitkin88 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:46 pm

If we accept that it was very meticulously planned and executed it still doesn't really explain why an album of such sterile songs took such a firm hold. Did Child guarantee radio plays and MTV at that time. Could payola have been involved to make this a hit?

Also what was the game plan here. It doesn't seem to have been long term as oddly there was no follow up. Did Alice realize this was not the direction he wanted to continue in? Did Child not want to follow it up? It would appear that Alice was not keen on what he had done as the next album would be closer to the Kane stuff than the Child produced. Snakebite was certainly lyrically bankrupt as to fit in on Constrict Your Fist.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by recoop » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:58 pm

I think the association with Child, Bon J and Tyler were enough to ensure radio plays- why payola in this case? (bit too conspiracy theory for me if no evidence and I can't see there being any).

I think Trash recreated the Alice Cooper brand and then he could do his own thing for a while and sell a few multiples of following releases. "Constrict Your Fist" very funny. :)
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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by pitkin88 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:14 pm

recoop wrote:I think the association with Child, Bon J and Tyler were enough to ensure radio plays- why payola in this case? (bit too conspiracy theory for me if no evidence and I can't see there being any).

I think Trash recreated the Alice Cooper brand and then he could do his own thing for a while and sell a few multiples of following releases. "Constrict Your Fist" very funny. :)

I doubt Alice was getting a lot of radio play prior to Trash and wondered if palms might have been greased to get someone who hadn't had a hit in a decade back in the charts. We all know Shep had done some dubious things in the past.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by mr.barlow » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:20 am

pitkin88 wrote:
recoop wrote:I think the association with Child, Bon J and Tyler were enough to ensure radio plays- why payola in this case? (bit too conspiracy theory for me if no evidence and I can't see there being any).

I think Trash recreated the Alice Cooper brand and then he could do his own thing for a while and sell a few multiples of following releases. "Constrict Your Fist" very funny. :)

I doubt Alice was getting a lot of radio play prior to Trash and wondered if palms might have been greased to get someone who hadn't had a hit in a decade back in the charts. We all know Shep had done some dubious things in the past.
I think it was more of a case of good planning, marketing, etc. Desmond Child is what sold the album to radio, MTV etc. His name was the gold standard of that era. Also, Epic records gave Alice a big budget and promised to pour lots of money into backing the album. Once they got going and were hearing the results of the collaboration they knew they had a sure-fire hit on their hands. Also, I think Shep had a very good relationship with someone high up at Epic at that time which also helped.

It was perfect timing for all involved and as much as I hate Trash I understand why it was made and have no problems with Alice cashing in at that time.

Alice and Shep has spent the previous few years reestablishing Alice as a trustworthy artist worthy of getting a big deal and getting him back to the very top.

This was not an easy task-it was several years of very hard work, rebuilding relationships and establishing new ones and incredible financial risk for both Alice and Shep. In the case of Alice--it was all on the line in 1986--everything came down to that tour. EVERYTHING!

The business plan used with Trash was very similar to that used with the original band and it's culmination with Billion Dollar Babies. In fact I think they followed that script pretty close but just made adjustments for the times. In the course of three albums Alice went from a shock rocker --blood and guts--and everything else to a mainstream multi-million selling hair metal rocker. This was the plan--to take advantage of the styles and trends of the times.

A similar change was tried back with Lace & Whiskey and we all know how that worked out. Shep and Alice learned from that disaster and knew the limitations they had when it came to changing the character. The hair metal Alice was not too far of a stretch from classic Alice and then they worked the classic character into the live show for the Trash tour----in a very original way. That was a great idea!

So it's my opinion that the disaster that was Escargot and L&W ended up helping with the overall success of Trash.


Now as far as following up Trash with a copycat album---well Alice cashed in right before hair metal was trounced by Nirvana and grunge. He got in at the tail end of it and then it all came to a halt. The trends were changing. He was smart to change directions with Hey Stoopid and it started him going back to being the real Alice. They knew it was time to change again--mainly due to the changing musical trends.

He eventually ended up back to where he should be with The Last Temptation. I only wished that he had collaborated more with Chris Cornell as I think they could have come up with a great full album of material.

At any rate--I've babbled enough and cut it short for now. Once I reload the gas bag I'll offer more comments. There you go--you've all been given fair warning :)

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by Toronto Bob » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:20 am

More or less I agree with the "better marketing" idea and the professional song writers + guest appearances definitely helps the marketing. I don't think many acts have a chance on Musicians Cemetery of America records. Epic knew what they're doing. So I guess you could call it a fluke, but I think it's just a decent commercial sounding record with a well executed promotional campaign, and timing. Hair metal was still a viable commercial product, a year later and Trash makes the same impact as Hey Stoopid. Not a dud but not career reviving either.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by nurserozetta » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:33 am

I think the video clip for Poison had a hell of a lot to do with the success of the album , it was in high rotation and high demand . It kept the album in the spotlight for quite awhile .

For the record I think Bed of Nails and HOF are two of Alice's worst ever songs . I loved the snarl of the title track though I know a lot don't like that song.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by kevinuk81 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:53 am

What if Trash had been a failure? Would Alice have carried on as he did or tried a different musical route?
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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by mestreech » Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:57 pm

kevinuk81 wrote:What if Trash had been a failure? Would Alice have carried on as he did or tried a different musical route?
You have to ask Alice and Shep that.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by patrick » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:27 pm

it all comes down to personal taste imo.
( in another thread MOL is announced as one of the best hard rock ever .. )
It sure brought Alice back in the spotlights , even without the make-up (why they did that ? showing this was a different Alice ??)
you really wouldn't understand..

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by While Heaven Wept » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:12 pm

I don't really see the need to analyse the reason for it's success.

It's very simple..... let me explain....

1. He picked the BIGGEST producer/writer for chart metal/rock of his time
2. Poison was an expertly written song, absolutely perfect first single
3. The label invested lots of money into the marketing and recording
4. The production was flawless. Regardless of your personal tastes, it was absolutely spot on for the target market

I could list more reasons, but those should just about suffice.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by A_MichaelUK » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:28 pm

From pitkin88:
"Also what was the game plan here. It doesn't seem to have been long term as oddly there was no follow up."

I don't understand how you can genuinely think that. What do you think "Hey Stoopid" was?

> Did Alice realize this was not the direction he wanted to continue in?

Well, the two albums aren't that far apart in style, except "Hey Stoopid" has better arrangements than "Trash" and more textures but they're still of the same ilk. I think that as far as the songs go, "Trash" is a better album. "Hey Stoopid" needs to lose the two really bad songs but as far as how it sounds is concerned, that's the better album.

>It would appear that Alice was not keen on what he had done as the next album would be closer to the Kane stuff than the Child produced.

I totally disagree. I really don't remember "Hey Stoopid" being as heavy or sounding as 'big' as "Constrictor" or "Raise Your Fist And Yell."

>Snakebite was certainly lyrically bankrupt as to fit in on Constrict Your Fist.

In case you don't know, an album doesn't just consist of lyrics.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by A_MichaelUK » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:30 pm

From mr.barlow:
"well Alice cashed in right before hair metal was trounced by Nirvana and grunge. He got in at the tail end of it and then it all came to a halt."

Exactly and I spoke to someone from Epic about this exact thing. Apart from one hit single, the album could not compete once radio jumped onto the new trend.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by A_MichaelUK » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:31 pm

From Toronto Bob:
"I don't think many acts have a chance on Musicians Cemetery of America records. Epic knew what they're doing."

Exactly.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by A_MichaelUK » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:33 pm

From patrick:
"even without the make-up (why they did that ? showing this was a different Alice ??)"

Yes. It was just do something a bit different.

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Re: Was Trash A Fluke?

Post by The son of Don Quijote » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:31 pm

Many songs on Trash are constructed in a way that they feel like 3-4 minute choruses, at least to me, and the production absolutely nails it. It is far from being my favorite Alice Cooper album but it does have its merits. Poison is a super catchy first single. It grabs your attention instantly. If there was a real guide about How To Craft a Hit Single this would definitely be on it. Not many singles are as immediately memorable as Poison. One that comes to my mind is Lola by The Kinks. It is from the different era and has much more lyrical substance. But those two songs are to me at least the guide book examples of well chosen first singles.

Both songs also revived the commercial success of their makers. The two preceding Kinks albums and Part 1 Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround were of much higher quality than Alice's hair metal era music though.

Trash as an album lacks Alice's trademark horror and humor. There are some nuances though that separate it from being a complete Bon Jovi clone. Lyrics are quite consistently awful but I don't listen to this album to hear clever social commentary, morbid tales, prophetic or Apocalyptic visions or poetry. Music is a sum of many elements and when combined they evoke different kind of feelings by different listeners. It isn't just lyrics. There are riffs and melodies etc.

I like four songs on Trash: Poison, Hell Is Living Without You (by far the best song on the album lyrically), Spark In The Dark and Bed Of Nails(in my opinion this song has a darker tone). Title track and especially I'm Your Gun on the other hand are among absolute worst songs in Alice Cooper's whole career.

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