'The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper' was the first career-spanning archive collection containing tracks from both the original band and Alice's solo albums. It took many years from conception to release and during that time was expanded from the originally planned three discs to four discs. The project was overseen by Alice's personal assistant and archivist Brian Nelson who ensured the set was more than just a big compilation of songs everyone had already heard. It features a wealth of rare tracks and alternative versions ranging from early sngles released as 'The Spiders' to 'Is Anyone Home?' from 'A Fistful Of Alice', the most recent recording at the time of release with only the first live album 'The Alice Cooper Show' omitted.
The main reason the set took so long to be released was simple record company politics. During the production years Warner Brothes simple stopped releasing ANY box sets so the project was frequently "on hold" awaiting the go-ahead to continue work. Any achive project like this which features material released on a variety of labels also takes time due to all the contracts and permissions involved. For example to feature a song originally released on a soundtrack, you needed permission from the films publishers, the soundtrack original record label, and any number of other entities before you are allowed to include it, all of whom also want probably want payment. That Brian succeeded in getting so much of this material on the box set is to be applauded.
This was the Rhino press release for the box:
"Debuting in 1969, Alice Cooper didn't take long to turn the music world upside down by wearing outrageous costumes and make-up, while performing loud, hard rock music framing witty, sharp-edged lyrics. Add to that his colossally horrific stage theatrics and an outrageous, rebellious persona, metal pioneer Alice Cooper (nee Vincent Furnier) defined shock-rock, and he hasn't retired his black eye-makeup yet. Longtime Cooper fans (not to mention the man himself) have been dying for this box set to see the light of day. Now, after more than five years underground, 'The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper' box set has finally been unearthed.
'The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper' stuffs 4 CDs full of 88 tracks from 21 albums released on various labels between 1969-1994, plus we've unleashed a slew of rare tracks, including early, pre-Alice Cooper (band) singles, imports, non-LP B-sides, live versions, unreleased album outtakes, and demos.
Includes Cooper's contributions to various movie soundtracks - such as 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'Flash Fearless Vs. The Zorg Women', and 'The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years' - as well as his duet with Rob Zombie from 1996's 'The X-Files' tribute album, 'Songs In The Key Of X'.
The Book includes and intro written by Johnny Rotten, liner notes by former Creem editor Jeffrey Morgan, and tributes from Iggy Pop, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Joey Ramone, Dick Clark, Boy George, Bono, Mike Myers, and Dana Carvey ("Wayne and Garth"), among others.
Super-deluxe 3-D, 6"x12" packaging - it's so bizarre, it'll drive you *insane*!
There are two main versions of the set. The first came in a large rectangular box with a 3D effect where Alice's face is seen through the door's window. Basically the window is clear plastic and the photograph of Alice is inside the box. Inside the four discs had seperate jewelcases and imple covers, and there was a paperback book including quotes, a biography and information about each track, including Alice's short comments.
Later Rhino released a smaller "book" style cover which included only the four CDs themselves and a condensed version of the book.
Of course as with any such set there are some curious omissions. For example 'Halo Of Flies', one of Alice Cooper's biggest songs, was not included simply because it was a long song everybody presumably already had. By omitting it they could include at least two if not three other songs.
Another song missing was 'Next, Next' from the film 'Sextette'. This was left off mainly because prodocer Brian Nelson didn't think it was good enough. However he unearthed 'No Time For Tears' which was recorded for the same film but never used. They also avoided live versions of songs
While most of the material had been released in some form before it is the previously unreleased material that is the main selling point. Things like 'Hard Rock Summer' had never really been heard before as while it did feature in the film 'Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives' only a few seconds are actually heard in the film. The bos set incldued the full recording. Another example would be 'Look at You Over There, Ripping the Sawdust from My Teddybear' which was demoed for the 'Special Forces' album but cut at the last minute and had never released anywhere else.
During the production of the box set Waner Brothers were approached with the idea of having a new song recorded by the original Alice Cooper band especially for the set. Everybody agreed to do it but unfortunatly Warner Prothers "passed" on the idea, presumably not wanting to spend the money it would cost for what was just an archive project. In hindslight their decision was espcieclly sad, as less than a year before the set was released Glen Buxton passed away, ensuring there could never be a full reunion of the five original band members again.
There was a promotional 16 track sampler CD released, as well as a short VHS compilation. The CD featured:
- I'm Eighteen
- Is It My Body
- Under My Wheels
- Be My Lover
- School's Out (single version)
- Elected (single version)
- Billion Dollar Babies
- No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Welcome To My Nightmare (single version)
- Only Women Bleed (single version)
- I Never Cry
- Clones (We're All)
- Feed My Frankenstein
- Hands Of Death (Spookshow 2000 Remix)
- Stolen Prayer
...and promotional video featured:
- Welcome To My Nightmare - Live (from the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' VHS and DVD)
- No More Mr. Nice Guy - Live (from the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' VHS and DVD)
- I'm Eighteen - Live (Original band live)
- Under My Wheels - Live (Original band live)
- Public Animal #9 - Live (Original band TV)
- Elected - (the full 1972 promo film)
- Feed My Frankenstein - (promo video)
- Poison - (promo video)
There was also an extremely rare (only 30 copies?) 22 track promo CD from Germany, distributed to select journalists and Radio stations only. The disc contains only the previously unreleased/rare material from the Box Set.