Disclaimer: The information in the timelines on this site has been researched and put together by myself and Andy Michael, with additional input by Kurt Scheinpflug, Jon Lansley and many others who have provided little updates here and there. We have used many, many sources including newspapers, interviews, first person recollections, tour itineraries, posters, books etc. but have in some cases still had to try and deduce certain events and dates from these sources. There are certainly errors here (and always will be), and many shows, especially early ones, are missing so we welcome any further information/evidence, however small, gratefully.
Please do not simply copy and paste information onto other sites. While the information is here for all to use freely, there are sites that are simply copying pages in part or in whole, word for word, without any credit or link being made to the original source. This site has taken many many years and a lot of hard work to put together and I'd appreciate a credit/link back here at the very least. Thank you.
TIMELINE: Part 1: From The Beginning
Dec 9th '46 Dennis Dale Dunaway born Creswell, Oregon
Sept 23rd '47 Neal Smith born, Akron, Ohio (Moved to Phoenix in '63)
Nov. 10th '47 Glen Buxton born, Akron, Ohio
Feb 4th '48 Vincent Damon Furnier born, Detroit, MI
Me, Alice: "I was born Vincent Damon Furnier in a hospital they call the "Butcher's Palace" in Detroit and I was lucky I made it out of there because a lot of people didn't. They didn't do such a bad job on me, except that I was born with eczema, and infantile asthma."
Named after Uncle Vince and Damon Runyon.
March 16th '48 Michael Owen Bruce born, Arizona
By late '48/early '49 Furniers' had moved to L.A. and back to Detroit in an unsuccessful attempt to help Alice's asthma.
'51 Furniers' moved to Phoenix for a couple of years, again partly in an attempt to help Alice's asthma. The Dunaways move to Phoenix from Oregon.
Me Alice: "They sent us home penniless after a year or so, and we braved it out in Detroit again for five years"
A very young Vincent Furnier
Fall '53 Furniers' to Detroit for "three winters"
Alice attends Havenhurst Elementary School.
Ether has various jobs including Cab driving and used car salesman.
Spring/Summer '58 Furniers' moved to L.A. Living presumably temporarily, in Uncle Lonson's front room. - Father works at Jet Propulsion Lab
A Young Vincent Furnier
Feb '61 The Buxtons move to Phoenix from Akron, Ohio. Glen attends 8th Grade at Glendale Elementary School
April '61 Ether Moroni Furnier ordained (Me, Alice)
May '61 Furniers' move to Phoenix, to a 'little trailer camp' and Ether begins working with the Apache Indians at the St. Carlos mission which he helped establish..
July 4th '61 Vince gets ill. A couple of days later he's rushed to hospital with peritonitis from a burst appendix. He claims to have then spent a year in bed watching TV!
"I was only ninety-eight pounds and had spent a year and a half hunched over in bed, which left a curvature of my spine and shoulders which could have put the hunchback of Notre Dame to shame."(Me Alice)
The curvature he mentions is still sometimes noticable when Alice is offstage. You can't see it at all when he is onstage.
Summer '61 The Buxtons moved to 39th Ave and Orangewood in Glendale and Glen, with Dennis, start at Cortez High School in the fall. Neal Smith starts at Camelback High.
Nov '61 Vince move to house on Campbell Ave, Phoenix,AZ
Spring '62 - Vince recovers enough to start at Squaw Peak Elementary School. He later also attends Madison No 2.
Ether gets new job working on the space program at an electronics factory. This allows the family to move to a three bedroomed house in Coral Gables, Phoenix.
July 4th '62 Vince returns to hospital where they reopen his appendix scar to find that he has lesions on his intestines. The two operations leave a Y shaped scar which he later tells everybody is a shark bite!
|Dennis Dunaway, Glen Buxton, John Speer and John Tatum at Cortez 1962|
Fall '62 Vince starts at Cortez High School, Glendale. He lettered in track for four years and especially cross country distance running.
He excelled at running in school and was a member of the track team. He was so good that he reputably broke the 26 mile marathon record for Phoenix The story goes that on completion of the race, he promptly fell over and broke his nose, an injury that explains his distinctive face.
(Cortez Message Board)
This is actually not completely acurate. Dennis was the record holder not Alice, and John Speer came in second. Alice DID break his nose, but it was when he got home from the race. He fainted, and broke it on the bathtub.
There are various mentions of coach Emmett Smith helping out the band in the early days. In an article on his retirement in the Arizona Republic July 19th 1991 Smith recalled he and Vince had a close relationship, and that The Earwigs used to rehearse in his house. In 1966 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo experimental surgury with a 50/50 chance of survival. After the operation he spent a long time recovering, and he recalls Vince sending him a letter every day with words of encouragement, funny comments, and cartoons. "He may be wild and everything up on that stage, but as far as I'm concerned I'll always appriciate what he did for me."
Vince was member of Cross Country Team Division II Champions as were John Speer and Dennis Dunaway.
|Vince Furnier as part of the Cortez track team.||Dennis Dunaway at
Cortez High School, 1962
John (Jim?) Speer also?
|John Speer, Dennis Dunaway and Vince Furnier (with Coach Emmett Smith) with 1964 Trophy (Cortez yearbook)|
Fall '63 Vince and Glen start working on the Cortez Tip Sheet. Glen is the photographer, Vince has his own column called "(Get) Out Of My Hair" which he sometimes writes under the name of 'Muscles McNasel'. The two become close friends.
|Two examples of Vince Furnier's 'Get Out Of My Hair'||Dec. 4th 1964
Two articles from the Cortez Tip Sheet.
One by Dennis and one by Vince.
The Earwigs - Furnier, Buxton, Dunaway, Speer, Tatum
Earwigs Bio from 1965 says they were formed in March 1964. One name referred to as a 'manager of the Earwigs' was Nick Sataslow:
"Nick was a friend of Glen's, and a real smart a*s. He would crack us all up, and any involvement he may have had to get a gig for us would have been merely a humorous gesture to include him, or this happened without my actually knowing about it, as I was not overly concerned with those details at that point."
(John Tatum, January 2009)
"We saw this guy [Sataslow] riding down the street on a bicycle one day so we yelled at him and asked him if he'd like to be out manager. By the next day, he had a bunch of jobs lined up for us."
(Dennis Dunaway, Cortez High School Newspaper article 1964)
Spring 1964 Lettermen Talent Show, Cortez High School, Phoenix, AZ
The Earwigs playing the Cortez Cafeteria at the first Letterman show
[Confirmed by DD. First time DD and Vince step on stage)
Dennis, Vince, Wheeler (hidden), Speer and Buxton
(Tatum out of shot?)
From 'Me, Alice':
"In the fall of my junior year I got shafted with the job of organizing the Letterman's talent show. My biggest problem was that nobody had any talent. Nobody even deluded themselves. I put up signs all over the school and all I found was a freshman who wanted to do magic tricks. I called a meeting in the locker room before a track meet one day and asked for suggestions.
"All right," I said, clapping my hands together to get their attention, "who wants to do what in the talent show?"
"Let's put Dunaway in a dress and have him sing 'I Enjoy Being a Girl,'" John Speer said. John Speer loved to torture Dennis Dunaway. Speer was a senior, a tall well-built eighteen-year-old with a good Midwestern face. He was a scene queen. He had to be the center of attraction and everything had to be his way, which he usually achieved because he was long-winded and determined not to fail. He brayed at people, donkeylike, insistent.
Dennis Dunaway was exactly the opposite and Speer hated him because of it. Dennis was my height and almost as skinny, with deep set, moist brown eyes. Speer was frantic and impulsive, Dennis lethargic and good-natured, like a farmer in Iowa. He had the slowest heartbeat on the team, a good advantage for a runner, but he was so very retiring sometimes we didn't think he could have had more than two heartbeats a day. His placidness drove John Speer nuts, but all of Speer's venom just splattered on Dennis' impenetrable hide.
"C'mon. How about if we all sing?" I said. We had been making up parodies of Beatle songs as we ran around the track: "We beat you, yeah, yeah, yeah," or "Last night I ran three laps for my coach." But nobody was listening to me. John Speer was hovering over Dennis Dunaway like the Angel of Death, trying to get him angry. I stepped between them and Speer pushed me aside.
"Listen, Dunaway, I want to make a deal with you. Whoever wins this meet doesn't say one word to the loser. I know it's going to be a big deal if I beat you, but I won't say nothing to you if I win, and if I lose you don't say nothing to me."
Dennis just sat there nodding, and I forgot about the talent show until after the meet. John Speer beat Dennis. At the last minute he took over in an incredible sprint. When they got back to the lockers Speer was screaming, "Ha! What's the matter with Dunaway? Didn't win the meet, did you? Huh, old slow poke?"
Dennis couldn't have cared less. As he was getting dressed, he said to me, "You want somebody to sing with you? I'll do it." Speer was at his side instantly "Sing what? Track songs? Is that what you're gonna do? Make it look like you're the big track stars? Not without me, buddy. I represent the track team around here."
That's how it started. I convinced Glen Buxton, who already played guitar, to join Dennis and John, and along with the track coach, Emmet Smith, we formed the Earwigs. An earwig is a water scorpion. If you step on one, it releases a terrible stink, and if one gets in your ear it'll chew right through the ear drum, get into your brain, and drive you crazy.
The night of the Letterman's talent show we got dressed up in our track suits and long Dynel wigs. Save for Glen, none of us knew how to play any instruments, so we faked it. We all stood on the stage in the cafeteria/auditorium, singing Beatle parodies feeling like idiots. During the last number we arranged for three girls to rush on stage and scream, "Earwigs! Earwigs!"
We caused an uproar in the school, mostly because we were so bad, but I loved the sudden attention. Everybody was talking about it. People complimented me the next day for having the guts to do it, and girls started talking to me who never before would have anything to do with the skinny guy with the big nose from the track team. It stimulated my entertaining chemicals like never before. I got hooked on the limelight. That's why I went into rock and roll. For fame and sex. I wanted more and more from that night on. To this day coach Emmet Smith hasn't forgiven himself for letting me taste that moment.
There were TWO Lettermen Shows! Despite what 'Me, Alice' says at this first show it seems the Earwigs featured Vince, Glen, Dennis and John Tatum along with a drummer called Phil Wheeler. They couldn't play (GB and Tatum excepted) and were awful, apparently coming in last. They basically mimed to a tape of Beatles songs. After the show "Phil left, to be replaced by John Speer".
"It was sponsored by the Cortez High Lettermen's Club. John Speer, Vince and I were members of Track and Cross Country. A fellow Letterman, Phil Wheeler, played a snare drum but insisted he wasn't in the Earwigs. He wasn't as desperate to impress the girls." - DD.
Various band names were considered including "Husky Babies Sandwich" and "Joe Banana and The Bunch (The band with a-peal)"
A newspaper clipping about the Earwigs (not this show) denotes it must have been pre Oct. 16 as by then had improved enough to play proper shows.
"The actual date of origin would have to come from one of the original members. You are right about them forming before October of 1964 because there is a date on the paper. Upper left hand corner to the left of the Lettermen's Talent Show the newspaper clipping shows a date of Friday, October 16, 1964 so we know it was before that. When the Night Riders played for a Cortez dance kids in the crowd would raise their fist and yell "Earwigs To Eternity!" That's also how John Speer signed my 'Me & GB' book".
(Skip Ladd, August 1998)
Dennis (at GBMW2001) mentions they had another drummer before Speer for about three weeks
"They were talking about the early days, early as in Earwigs, and Dennis said that they had another drummer before John Speer. Before Michael & Neal joined. His name: Phil Wheeler. He was only with them for about 3 weeks, and Dennis says that the only other person who could confirm this is Alice himself."
However John Tatum also confirms this:
"Yes, I was absolutely with them from day 1. Buxton and I had been jamming in his garage for a while, and we were both plugged in to his amplifier. He actually originally spoke to Vince and Dennis about getting together for the talent show (Letterman's Club).The exact lineup for the talent show included another drummer (Phil something?? ) he was a great drummer, but opted to not continue with the group, then we got Speer."
Michael Bruce(NMMNG) says that Dennis, Vince, Glen and John Speer decide to form a 'proper' band after the first Lettermen. He goes on to say "Originally called The Earwigs, they teamed up with John Tatum and changed their name to The Spiders"
This is incorrect as Tatum was there all along and it was Speer who joined later.
From 'Me Alice':
Oct 1964 Cortez High Paper dated 16th Oct. 1964 reports Earwigs playing shows during lunch hours at school. (Also reports the band will be playing at the upcoming 'Pit and The Pendulum' dance on Oct 23rd.)
|Vince Furnier circa 1964||Glen, Vince and John Speer
Oct 23rd 1964 'Pit And The Pendulum' Dance, Cortez High School, Phoenix, AZ
"The Earwigs are playing our first full night of music at the Cortez High School "Pit and The Pendulum" Dance. John Speer is drumming, John Tatum and Glen Buxton are playing guitar, Vince is singing and playing tambourine and harmonica and I'm playing bass. We have giant spider webs and a guillotine and feel like we're on top of the world."
(Dennis Dunaway, 2014)
Nov 7th 1964 Ukranian Hall, Phoenix, AZ - Arizona Republic 23rd October article states The Earwigs and 'the Fair Ladies' will provide the entertainment for a "Bunny Hop" held by the St. Vincent de Paul’s Men’s and Women’s Council.
|Arizona Republic 23rd October 1964|
Nov. 25th 1964 Vince, Dennis and John Speer take part in the Division Cross country Meet at Glendale High School
Early 1965 Lisa Hawks Sweet Sixteen Party, Phoenix, AZ - First paying gig (first gig in Me Alice)
Jan 14th 1965 Vince breaks his nose while running during track.
Jan 26th 1965 Earwigs arrive for a talent show at Washington Grade School but get date wrong
In an interview from 1967 Dennis says they turned up for a gig two weeks early and set up their gear during someone's Little League meeting.
Feb 9th 1965 Talent show at Washington Grad School.
(Mar 30th 1965 Talent show at Janice Buxton's school - Earwigs not allowed to play?)
|Phoenix Track Results mentioning Speer and Dunaway.|
April 30th 1965 Sears Dance Talent Competition, Chris-town Mall, Phoenix, AZ. The Earwigs came first. Dennis still has the trophy.
From "Chris-Town Retrospective": "I played a few battle of the bands against the Tubes and Alice Cooper in 1964 in The Court of Fountains. They had live music on the weekends. The bands would battle, and the one that won would get paid and play the next three weekends. Then another battle. Phoenix was great back then, it's all concrete now. D.D."
The Mall housed The Fox Theatre where Walace And Ladmo performed their "Wallace 'n Ladmo Saturday Morning Show." and also featured both a Kresge store AND a Woolworths store ("Cause they look just like humans at Kresges and Woolworths" - Generation Landslide).
|The Earwings at Chris-Town Mall|
|Original running order
for the Sears dance contest
|The Earwigs in Phoenix 1965|
Spring 1965 Glen and Dennis graduate from Cortex High School.
May 1st 1965 Neal Smith and the Laser Beats are featured in the Phoenix Gazette [image]
May 7th 1965 The Earwigs come second in Talent show, AZ
Likely to be the 2nd Cortez Lettermen show. The band were playing better now. The added year of practice gave them second place. Speer gets a shaving cream pie in the face.
(1965?) The Dunes on Glendale, AZ.)
June 1965 Several Battle Of the Bands, Phoenix, AZ (see ??-64 Chris-Town Mall above)
Neal's band Surf Tones poss. on one bill (Me Alice) Other bands around at the time included The Trolls(feat. Michael Bruce) and the XLS (Who partly went on to become The Tubes)
June 1st 1965 Vilage Inn Pizza/Pub, Phoenix, AZ
"They had a gig playing for four hours in a pizza parlor for all they pizza they could eat only to end up with one small pizza to share" - "We were still the Earwigs at the time" (DD interviews)
The Earwigs also get to perform on the TV show 'Wallace and Ladmo'(Possibly called 'It's Wallace' on one of the occasions which was shown on KPHO). Also on the show was Wayne Newton. They play the show again later as The Spiders.
"I remember Glen and band all sitting around and talking about themselves, and how they happened upon the name "The Earwigs"...which cracked up "Wallace".Vince did most of the talking and explained to the TV audience "EXACTLY" what a earwig was and looked like etc...to more chuckles "
(Rob, co-founder of the Wallace and Ladmo club, May 2002)
Aug 2nd 1965 Neal Smith and the Laser Beats play a show at 'Rhoads' store on East Camelback. [Advert]
Sept 1965 Laser Beats win "Clash of the Combos" organised by local radio station KRUX [Arizona Republic 18th September]
Unknown date - Stage 7 on 7th St., This club was run on Saturdays by Jack Curtis in the same building that would house The VIP. It closed in 1965 presumably to be replaced by The VIP.
The Spiders 1 - Furnier, Buxton, Dunaway, Speer, Tatum
Jack Curtis claims to have suggested they change the name to The Spiders as it was more commercial.
The Spiders used to performed behind (or in front) of a spiders' web.
"We had auditioned for Jack Curtis
(Phoenix promoter) and we thought he didn't like us after many weeks
went by, but later I went back to the teen club and spoke to him and
he said he was looking everywhere for us, and that he wanted to hire
us. He was the person that changed the name to "The Spiders", and he
set up the first concerts. We even played the first concert at the
opening of the Coliseum in Phoenix. I was actually sharing the sameguitar amp with Glen Buxton and Jack bought me my first guitar
amp and my first car, a 56 chevy."
(John Tatum, January 2008)
Sept. 1965 VIP Lounge, (part of the Phoenix Jaycees Building), 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ
Band get regular/every weekend gigs for $500 a weekend (Me, Alice). Presumable meet Jack Curtis, who owned the VIP.
Sept 4th 1965 VIP club, Jaycees, Phoenix (Spiders support The Yardbirds - billboard shown in Behind The Music)
"I remember that we had to go get Jeff Beck a Vox Superbeatle amp, and he actually kicked out the bottom speaker (right through the grill covering) and put the mic down on that speaker. We were blown away when he did that."
(John Tatum, February 2008)
The Spiders played the VIP many weekends. One eyewitness says they were there virtually every weekend until 1968 however they moved to LA in March 1967 so this may be an exaggeration. Certainly they played there a great deal.
Sept 1965 'Why Don't You Love Me' (by The Blackwells)/'Hitchhike (by Marvin Gaye)' single released (Mascott 112)
Other possible shows at The Red Dog Au Go Go in Scottsdale and Merriweathers in Paradise Valley, AZ
Oct 1965 The Spiders audition for the Phoenix Star Theaters forthcoming production of 'Bye Bye Birdie' [Scotsdale Progress 28th October]
Nov 30th 1965 Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ - The Spiders have been said to have opened this show for The Rolling Stones, and by doing so were the first band ever to play the venue which had only opened on November 3rd. However it isn't true, although the whole band were in audience, as was everyone else in Phoenix!
Dec 11th 1965 Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ - Also playing were Neal Smith's Laser Beats.
Arizona Republic, December 4th 1965:
"Next Saturday will be Teen-Age Day at the Phoenix Art Museum, as rock 'n' roll, pop art and the Beatle set will take over the newly reopened museum at 1625 N. Central. From 1 to 5 p.m., the museum's intercom will pipe Beatle background music to teen-agers touring the gallery. TOURS WILL be conducted at 20-minute intervals. While waiting teens can dance to two bands, the 'Laser Beats,' and 'The Spiders.'"
|Top: The Laser Beats with Neal Smith (left)
Bottom: The Laser Beats in San Pedro
|Above and below: Neal with The Nightriders|
Dec 17th 1965 Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ (w/ The Byrds) - AZ Republic Decemer 17th 1965: "The Byrds, whose recordings of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" reached the No. 1 position in national popularity, will appear at a dance and show tonight at Memorial Coliseum. Also appearing will be four Phoenix combos with the affair running from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Proceeds from the Byrds appearance will benefit the Phoenix Jaycees."
Eyewitnesses report of the Spiders playing with The Byrds at the Phoenix Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Dennis Dunaway confirms there were three shows with the Byrds in Arizona. John Tatum mentions the first was at the VIP club, and the second was the Coliseum. Dennis later confirmed the third was at the The Sunset Bowlerama in Tucson, AZ.
In 'Snakes, Guillotines" Dennis says "We were to do three nights opening for The Byrds at the VIP, then were to accompany them down to Tucson, and then back to the Phoenix Coliseum". MOst of that fits what we have but that makes FIVE Byrds shows! However he says "were" so did they all happen?
Strangely no Byrds info site seems to make any mention of Arizona shows... One site does show a random Phoenix show in February 1967, but this could be incorrect and relate to a 1966 show.
Note: We have long had these shows in February 1966, but it now seems more likely to be December 1965.
|The Spiders first tour, opening for the Byrds at the VIP. (Dennis Dunaway, February 2013)|
January 10th-22nd 1966 Phoenix Star Theatre, Phoenix, AZ - Jan Murray road show of Bye Bye Birdie - Spiders provide Music having rehearsed for three weeks before the show. [Arizona Republic Preview 9th January] [Arizona Republic Review 11th January] [Scottsdale Progress Review 12th January]
Alice suspended from Cortez for long hair the second time on the opening night. He was suspended until after the show finished when he had his hair cut. In 'Snakes, Guillotines' Dennis mentions that after each performance the band headed down to the VIP and played there as well!
|Arizona Republic Advert||Front cover of the 'Bye Bye Birdie' Programme.|
Mar 26th 1966 Neal Smith and the Laser Beats provide the music for a "backwards dance" at Scottsdale High [Arizona Republic 26th March]
May 1966 - In a May 25th letter to a fan Alice states he's just got home after being "kicked out again for log hair". His current address seems to be 3230 West Port Royal Lane, Phoenix, AZ. Note: There is also a "Port Royale Lane", with an "e", in Phoenix. The two roads are around 9 miles apart.
Letter mentions they will be in Tucson in "a few weeks" to record new song 'Don't Blow Your Mind' written by Vince and Dennis.
The letter also notes the Spiders just came first in a local "Countdown USA Battle Of The Bands" event. Unfortunatly the first part of the competion name is illegable, could be "Del" something. Winning means the band get to go to LA for the next stage of the competition, but we have nothing to show if they did or not.
There seem to have been similar events in other cities. In San Bernadino, CA the event took place at the Municiple Auditiorium on Thursday and Friday April 7th and 8th with 25 bands playing each day between 6pm and midnight. (San Bernadino Times April 2nd, also refers to it as the "Inland Empire" eliminations. "Inland Empire" is a region of Southern California. They also report the winners go to a international finals in LA so sounds like the same event.). Another event took place March 25th at Redlands Armoury, San Bernadino.
"Charles Royal, director, who comes from London, said 50 groups will be selected to enter the Los Angeles National Grand Finals in May. Winners at Los Angeles, numbering 20 groups, will be taken on a world tour, including London, Liverpool, Hamburg, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Sydney and Tokyo. The winners will also participate in the "first world teen movie spectacular," according to Royal. Because of the large number of entries in the preliminaries, Royal has arranged an Inland Empire semifinals for April 9 and a finals for April 16, both to be held in the Commercial Building at the National Orange Show. Tomorrow's contest, with Liverpool's John Ravencroft as emcee, is open to spectators."
Charles Royal (and family members) appears to have been a bit player in the late 60s scene who ran a underground paper and promoted various "battle of the band" type shows. There is the suggestion the winners seldom received their prizes. There's some info here.
Summer 1966 - Tatum Leaves ("We were devastated when you left" - Dennis Dunaway), Michael Bruce arrives (from The Wildflowers) being the only applicant to an advertisement (and because he had a van!).
"I later quit the band to join with Bill Spooner who later founded the
"Tubes", and Michael Bruce was the rhythm guitar player for Bill.
Bill replaced Michael Bruce with me, and Michael then joined the"Spiders" who later became 'Alice Cooper'."
(John Tatum, January 2008)
"After the Byrds Shows is when I wanted to be in a band that had 3 part harmony. I was so impressed by the Byrds and this is when I quit the Spiders and joined a band that was amazing, but this band only stayed together for 3 months and the Spiders had Mike B by then and I was out. Oops my bad."
(John Tatum, March 2013)
"John Tatum was out, and these friends of mine, Joel and Mark Rumerfield said, “Hey, they’re auditioning guitar players why don’t you go down?” So, I drove down there, and I had this Willies jeep, got up there and did everything like The Yardbirds’ rave ups and all that stuff. I was a good rhythm guitar player but, I had this van that I could carry gear in, and guess what? I was in the band but they never really said, “You’re in the band,” they just said, 'We’ve got a gig, come get the gear.' So, that’s how it started."
(Michael Bruce, 2011)
"We advertised for another guitarist and expected hundreds of calls, but only one person contacted us. His name was Michael Bruce, and he had been in a Beatle band called the Trolls. The Trolls were called a Beatle band because at the time nobody was playing original music. We were all "copy" bands. The Spiders were the best copy band for the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds material; the Trolls played great Beatle music. The only problem with Mike Bruce was his image. Michael was short and broad-beamed. What could have been a finely layered body of muscles was always just beyond that in the realm of beefiness. But he moved and thought with his groin, and although not a pretty boy, he was handsome because he believed in himself physically.
Michael, for instance, is the type of guy who touches himself a lot. Not an obvious jock scratch like you might see watching the NFL on TV. Michael's hands would gracefully fall to his crotch or a nipple and hover there. You never knew if he just rested his hands in funny places or he was actually coddling his balls.
He has, to his credit, nice blue eyes, and because we had no choice, we hired him. John Tatum sold him a dirty pair of pants he had worn on stage for five dollars, and Mike let his hair grow long."
John Tatum is living somewhere in California and has been for many years. He was in a band called "Avenue" about 10-15 years ago.
(Sickthing Mike, November 1997)
Spiders still playing covers. Tracks played in the early years included 'Lil' Red Rooster' (Glen plays slide guitar), 'Love that Dirty Water', ' Hey Mona!', ' Midnight Hour', 'Louie Louie', 'Route 66', 'Stormy Monday', '19th Nervous Breakdown', 'I'm a Man', 'Smokestack Lightning', 'As Tears Go By' and 'Love Potion Number 9'.
The Spiders 2 - Furnier, Buxton, Dunaway, Bruce, Speer
|The Spiders at the VIP club 1966|
|The Spider's Grotto at the VIP|
Article dated 1966 from Vince states "Spiders will play Texas, Oklahoma, California, New Mexico"
Summer 1966 Alice leaves Cortez. It seems that the band moved to Tucson duing the summer of 1966. There are a lot of unknown dates at clubs in Tucson, and in the Glen Buxton fan letter dated October 11th he mentions spending the summer in Tucson, and missing it now he's back in Phoenix for school.
?? 1966 North High, Phoenix, AZ - Letterman's Club Battle of the Bands show
July 2nd or 9th 1966 Yuma High School, Yuma, AZ “Last Saturday there was dance with a live band from Phoenix, 'The Spiders.' - Yuma Daily Sun, July 10
Summer 1966 Don't Blow Your Mind/No Price Tag recorded in Tucson.
Would 'Don't Blow Your Mind' be the first Spiders original song?
Skip Ladd(2002): "This Mike guy said he worked for a while with Foster Casey down in Tucson, Arizona. There was a recording studio called Santa Cruz Records that changed their name to Copperstate Recording Company. He said Foster Casey was wondering what to do with all these master tapes of the Spiders he had. Foster Casey said he didn't know if the Spiders wanted them to release them or not, so he hasn't. So if any of the guys were wondering where those tapes went to, Foster Casey has them at Copperstate."
Aug 11th 1966 Tucson, AZ, Thrift City- Newpaper article reports the band opened for The Animals and the Young Rascals. The event was held in an empty department store on E. Speedway in Tucson. [Tucson Daily News 12th Aug on Speedway] - Glen Buxton Fan letter dated August 9th also mentions Glen is looking forward to this show.
- Monterey Ice Rink, Tucson (DD Book pg 52 mentions they had played here more then once. Glen Buxton fan letter refers to a show there, which would make it sometime between August and early October 1966) This venue was also known as the VIP, Tucson beginning in 1967 after Jack Curtis took over part of the building. More info on the club here.
Aug 19th 1966 The band are featured in the KFIF Boss News
Aug 21st 1966 Tucson, AZ, Thrift City on Speedway (w/ The Yardbirds) (JimmyPage.com confirms the The Yardbirds played this date. What is the source of Spiders playing this show?)
Were The Spiders in town to record single?
Aug 26th 1966 AZ Republic August 27th has an article about the "Star Spangled Parachute Test' which featured "The Spyders, a Phoenix Band" but don't name the venue.
Sept 2nd 1966 National Guard Armory, Casa Grande, AZ (w/ The P-Nut Butters, The Mark II's, The Superbs, Shindig Band and Jerry Wallace) - Casa Grande Dispatch advert.
Sept 1966 Don't Blow Your Mind/No Price Tag (Santa Cruz SCR 10.003) released
"We went to Tucson the summer of 1966 and recorded another single for Jack Curtis called "Don't Blow Your Mind," which we wrote.
Recording wasn't an easy chore for us. We had no idea of what we were doing. There wasn't even a producer around, just us and the engineer. See we played our parts in unison and came up with a version of the song that sounded like we were all stuffed into a phone booth.
Jack Curtis got them to play it on KFIF in Tucson and the station received hundreds of phone calls requesting the song, most of them placed long distance from Phoenix by our families. The first time I heard myself on the radio I was washing my car in the driveway of our house. I couldn't believe it was me. It was familiar but foreign, like meeting a twin. After the first adrenaline rush I got very nonplused about it. Whenever the song would play on the radio I'd switch to another station as if I hadn't heard it. "Don't Blow Your Mind" became the number three song on the KFIF play list."
"The Spiders, local college students well known to the Valley, have just released their second single, "Don't Blow Your Mind" after a recording session in Tucson. Recall they're the group that appeared in the Phoenix Star Theatre production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" last spring with Jan Murray."
(Arizona Republic, October 23rd 1966)
Sept. 1966 Vince enters Glendale Community College as an Art major. He drops out in spring 1967 as more gigs start to come their way. At Glendale they met Mike Allen (who roadied for the band for the next four years), Dick Philips aka Dick Christian (who became their unofficial manager) and Charlie Carnel (also ex-Cortez, who would do the lights for the next five years and actual become an equal member of the band with an equal share of money).
Sept. 1966 5th Estate, Scottsdale, AZ. - The Glen Buxton fan letter of October 11th suggests they played this club around September 1966, and confirms they are aso regularly playing the VIP.
"We've played at the 5th estate a couple of times in last few weeks. It's really keen. The guy that owns the place really digs us. He wants to play there steady. He also wants to send us to the Hullaballoo club in LA NEAT!!! but we can't decide whether we should stay at the VIP or go to 5th Estate. I think we should go to 5th Estate because the guy that wants us is a millionaire ad he also knows far more about the record business."
October 1st 1966 Gallup, New Mexico - Mentioned in Glen Buxton fan letter dated Oct 11th 1966 - "We played in Gallop New Mexico last Saturday. God, 300 miles away! then we had to drive back Sunday and play at JD's poop." - Likely refering to Oct 1st. as in the second part of the letter he mentions he is writing more on the monday... suggesting the rest was written the previous week.
October 2nd 1966 JD's, Scottsdale, AZ - See date above.
October 9th 1966 CYO Dance, Phoenix. "We played at a CYO dance last night. It was neat. There were about 25 kids there. That's pretty good for a church, They had a summer sale before the dance and sold all kinds of neat junk." - Glen Buxton fan letter. Text was written on Monday Oct 10th and post dated 11th.
CYO could be "Catholic Youth Organisation" based on the fact it was at a church.
Oct. 14th 1966 VIP Club, Phoenix, AZ - Mentioned in Glen Buxton fan letter dated Oct 11th 1966 - "We are playing the VIP this Friday. We were going to play in Holbrook but it was cancelled. I'm glad to, it's 200 miles away. BAD." The letter also mentions they played the VIP for "10 months last year" which suggest they hadn't been playing the club for a while. He also mentions Curtis wanted them back to play on the following night, with no suggestion they didn't do so...
Letter also mentions offers to play a new club called Mr Lucky's, but nothing to say of they did or not play there. There is evidence they had country upstairs and rock downstairs. The club still exists but is under new management. They original venue closed in 2004.
Oct. 15th 1966 VIP Club, Phoenix, AZ.
- The Lunchroom at Brophy College Prep School, 4701 N. Central Ave, Phx.
This one definitly happened.
"YES it did happen, and I was there. The Catholic Boys High School!. Our boys with the pre-CBS Black face Super reverbs with 4 10" JBL D-110's (Often blown and reconed at Nutone speaker reconing on 24th street!) in each did not get a particularly warm response. They gigged well tho, and I enjoyed the show. "
(Chuck Warriner, October 2003)
- Saguaro High School (as Spiders and did lots of Stones covers)
- Around November 1966, opening for Sonny And Cher in Tuscon? Or before September 1965?
- Minus One (Coffee House), Tucson (mentioned in DD book pg 50)
?? VIP Club, Tucson supporting The Medallions (Mentioned by Alice on NWAC as being during the Spiders period)
Quote from Phoenix TV guide:
"By 5 Nov. 1966, Spiders had already opened for The Drifters, The Coasters, Dean of Jan And Dean, The Lovin' Spoonful, Bobby Fuller, The Hollies, Beau Brummels, The Mamas and The Papas, Peter And Gordon and a statewide tour with the Byrds"
Most of these shows were likely at the VIP club in Phoenix.
" It was cool talking to [David] Crosby at the club, and I asked him if he minded being the rhythm guitar player and he responded that he was very content to not play lead, and as I was the rhythm for the Spiders, this gave me more enthusiasm to be the rhythm
and not the lead."
(John Tatum, February 2008)
- Some converted Church, AZ., in 1967
"The Church referred to below was also the site of very theatrical shows by Oat Willie and the Dream Band newly renamed the BEANS (Bill Spooner and company, soon to be the TUBES) This band included Ed Black (RIP) who later played with Linda Ronstadt, and Roger Steen (who on the same day along with me alone walked out of our draft physicals as free men!) who was the master of guitar in the TUBES."
(Chuck Warriner, October 2003)
Jan 25th 1967 Spiders write up in 'Tuscon American'
Feb 4th 1967 The VIP, Tuscon, AZ - AZ Republic article with Spiders spelt SpYders.
Feb 11th 1967 The VIP in Phoenix, AZ (w/ Next of Kin) [Arizona Republic February 11th]
“At the Phoenix VIP will be the Next of Kin and the Spiders. The motley-looking Spiders, who could be called Mothers of Invention by their appearance, are all college students who hustle for playing jobs on the weekends. In the group are Glendale Community College students Vince Furneir, 19, harmonica; Glen Buxton, 19, lead guitar; Dennis Dunaway, 20, bass guitar; John Speer, 19, drums; and Phoenix College student Mike Bruce, 18, rhythm guitar.”
(Feb 18th 1967 - Could the band have played the VIP today as well? They seem to have played one or other of the VIP clubs the previous two Saturdays and the following two. They couldn't do March 11th as they were booked elsewhere so played March 16th instead?)
Feb 25th 1967 The VIP in Phoenix, AZ (w/ The Bo Street Runners) [AZ Republic February 25th]
Spring 1967 Dick Christian heads to LA with posters and singles. Me, Alice says he didn't get very far but as they got their first LA show he might have managed something.
Mar 4th 1967 The VIP, Tucson, AZ (w/ Dearly Beloved) [AZ Republic March 4th]
Mar 11th 1967 Agricultural Building at the State Fair Grounds, Phoenix, AZ (w/ The Turtles, Bittersweets ad the Young Men) [AZ Republic March 11th]
Mar 12th 1967 The Spiders feature in an advert for the Arizona Music Center in the Arizona Republic.
Mar 16th 1967 VIP Club, Tucson
They played the VIP in Tucson, and Glen was ill. Skip Ladd was called to deputize for the show.
One night down at the V.I.P. club in Tucson Glen Buxton got sick and couldn't play, they needed someone right away so their manager called my manager and flew me into Tucson. Mike Allen was roadie for them at the time and he drove my equipment down in a van. The van beat the jet to Tucson! Cause you have to get to the airport early then wait around. Mike Allen had everything set up before I even walked in the V.I.P.! I knew a lot of their material but there were some foggy areas with breaks, but Dennis Dunaway would shout chord changes and breaks to my back, too cool! I played a song called Orange Blossom Special & Alice would stand just off to my left and vibe to me to play ever faster the kids loved it! Alice said I played it like "a derailed freight train from Hell! " I received a Western Union Telegram while on stage from my girlfriend Mad Wagner in Phoenix, her father had just died and she wanted me to come back to talk her through the night. Alice reminded me that I was playing an Orange guitar that night, think it was like a Gretch Nashville with the black pad in back, well Mike Bruce's guitar was the same model and color so we looked like we should be playing together too. Glen told me, "I'll never know how close I was to becoming a Cooper, our manager was just going to the phone and stopped. " Buxton & I used to hang out together, go see the Rolling Stones at ASU or Rick Derringer at some club in Tempe. Later I made a light show and used it for his local group Virgin.
(Skip Ladd, Band Friend, February 1998
March 18th 1967 Possible date of a show in Tuscon, AZ at Canyon Del Oro High School, in the cafeteria.
"..tagged along with the Spiders to a gig at a high school cafeteria once. It would have been just before [Neal] joined the band. There was a big promotion around the last time the Spiders were to play ever in Tucson. The Next week this "new hot band from Phoenix" showed up. The Nazz. I can't remember if you joined at that time or shortly afterwards. Anyway the night after the "last ever" performance by the Spiders they played again in Tucson, at Canyon Del Oro High School. In the cafeteria. "
(Facebook post to Neal Smith, 2011)
March 25th 1967 Concord Armory, Concord, CA (w/ Sir Douglas Quintet, Little Jimmie and the Goodtimers) - Possible a different "Spiders". Apparently "A local rock historian states that the Spiders were a local band that inspired members of the Tower of Power."
March 26th 1967 Festival, Elysium Park (Me, Alice says Griffith Park), Los Angeles, CA
Me, Alice: First time in LA-easter sunday (w/Iron Butterfly).
NOTE: On Easter Sunday, March 26th 1967 Iron Butterfly played a festival in *Elysium Park* in Los Angeles, not Griffiths Park, called the "Easter Sunday Love-In". The full bill is normally listed as "with The Daily Flash, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Clear Light, The Rainy Daze, The Factory, The Other Half, Flamin' Groovies, Steve Miller Blues Band, Sopwith Camel (canceled), West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, The Turtles, West Coast Branch, **The Nazz**, Grateful Dead, Kim Fowley, Smokestack Lightning, The Seventh Son, Firesign Theatre & New Generation, The Yerba Buena Blues Band". The mention of "The Nazz" is either not the same band (possible) or a mistake (also possible). Or it could suggest the band changed their name from The Spider's to The Nazz a few months earlier then we orignally thought.
The band meet Sgt. Garcia.
In the Spiders, they started getting more grungy and casual (like the Rolling Stones). It really wasn't until they went to Los Angeles that they started getting freaky. There is a very early picture of the Spiders in the Prime Cuts video.
(Renfield, March 1996)
Neal Smith on The Early Days and Movements:
"You have to remember that I came to California to stay with my buddies, "The Nazz" until I could find a band to join in LA. The first house that I lived in with the guys, was in Santa Monica, late summer of 1967. Then in September, the guys asked me to join the band. The next move we made, was to Topanga Canyon in the spring of 1968. The Topanga Canyon house is where we changed the name of the band to "Alice Cooper", and met Shep Gordon and Joe Greenberg. Then we moved to "Hollywood Hills". This home was owned by actor John Phillip Law, who I saw at the "Chiller Show" last year in NJ. And the last place that we lived in LA was for only two weeks, thank God! I will never forget the address it was 2001 Ivar Street. It was the worst location. I had a 2nd floor apartment, outside of my window was a view of oncoming traffic coming right at you and then curving away on the "Hollywood Freeway". There was no way a human being could ever sleep in that place. Then sometime in 1969 we left LA for good.
(Neal Smith, GBM Mailing List Interview, 14/11/99)
Michael Bruce On The Early Days and Movements:
"I believe the first house was ( I don't know the guys name ) but it was the guy we met in Griffith Park, and for $160.00 we sleep where ever we could, moved all his stuff, rehearsed, and stayed there for a couple months. Then it was back to Phoenix to regroup. Then we stayed at Doke Roberts, the guy that Dick was seeing, who was Tony Curtis' private secretary. All the neighbors were gay and took real good care of us. I believe the house was on Doheny off of Santa Monica Blvb. and Sunset. Next it was off to Topanga Canyon were we met Joe and Shep. I believe we moved to Beethoven Drive were we did our shows at Cheetah club and Sheri Cottle, I may have these to places confused, its all a blur. I think it was Observation Drive and the John Philip Law house then. It was off to Michigan and the farm I like to call 'Refrigerator Heaven'. Hope this adds to the confusion
.(Michael Bruce, November 1999)
March 28th 1967 Gazzarri's, Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA
April 7th 1967 The VIP, Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix VIP - Spiders and the two winners of the state hitbound contest held last night. Got to be a grove with the freaky Spiders who look like refugees from the L.A. love-in.
[AZ Republic, 8th April 1967)
(NOTE January-April 1967 Lucky 13, Albany, CA - Lots of references to The Spiders playing this venue every week but it is NOT the band that would become Alice Cooper)
May 1967 Gallup, NM - Unknown High School Prom - Me, Alice
Search for Gallup high school's list just 'Gallup High School' actually IN Gallup. There are others in surrounding area though.
May 1967 Albuquerque, NM prom at unknown high school - Me Alice
May 26th-27th 1967 Neal Smith now playing with The Holy Grail who are performing at the Phoenix AZ State Fair. [Arizona Republic 27th May Advert]
??/??/67 Riverside, CA - Me, Alice
??/??/67? The Spiders with Electro-loosened Mind Machine (Charlie Carnel's band - named after a lighting effect created by Charlie for Alice Cooper? (DD Book)
NAZZ 1 - Furnier, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Speer
The Yardbirds had a song called "The Nazz Are Blue." It comes from that. The Yardbirds may have gotten it from a Lord Buckley reference. I'd say it's safe to say that Todd Rungren got the Nazz band name the same way AC did. As far as I know, Todd's Nazz did not have a hit at the time but were getting known by that name so the guys figured it would be smart to change the name to Alice Cooper to be on the safe side before it was too late.
(Renfield, July 1995)
One early song was called 'Everything is Orange' which "...was a song about getting high, according to Michael Bruce. They used to play it when they were the Nazz. He doesn't remember what it turned out to be or if it was used on "Easy Action" or "Pretties for You". There was another song called "Travel Agent", and another called "Mr. Machine" (which turned into "Woman Machine") that they used to play back then, and also, "Animal Pajamas", which turns up on "Ladies Man" as "Science Fiction" (he thinks).
(Jeff Jatras, November 1997)
|Announcing "The Nazz"||The Nazz: Glen, Mike, John, Dennis, Vince (kneeling)|
1967 Wonder Who's Loving Her Now /Lay Down And Die Goodbye single (Very 001)
1967 moved to LA Staying in $6 a night cubicles at the Sunset Motor Inn(Me Alice)
?? 1967 Hullabaloo, Los Angeles (w/ Aretha Franklin) (DD Book pg 64) - Could be the same as show below.
1967 Los Angeles, CA Hullabaloo Club (two nights) - Me, Alice
Band meet Merry Cornwall, a booker for the Cheetah Club (?) after the second night, broke, and having to go home to Phoenix the next day.
The band stay with Sgt Garcia's front room in lower LA
"I was in a group called the Rainmakers; we had a week-long gig here, and after the second or third night, our guitar player got sick and couldn't do it. I had met Vincent Furnier outside the club here, and he was a real nice guy. At the last minute, I called up Vince, and his band the Nazz filled in for us. (Furnier and the Nazz would both later change their names to Alice Cooper.) The big break for them was, they met the booker of the Cheetah Club down in Venice, who fell in love with them, and that's where they took up residency, and then they met (manager) Shep Gordon."
(From 'Sunset Strip As Memory Lane" by S.L. Duff)
1967 third show at the Hullabaloo show where Dick Christian meets Bob Roberts. Roberts offers them his front room to stay in. Me, Alice states they stayed for three months.
Bob Roberts (Dick's boyfriend) house on Doheny off of Santa Monica Blvb. and Sunset (MB int.)
Bob Roberts lived just off Sunset Boulevard on Wetherlee Drive, Not far from the Whisky-A-Go-Go. (Me Alice)
Alice has his first beer (Me Alice)
June 1967 Week long residency at Gazzari's on Sunset Strip - Handbill exists
July 1967 Nazz shows with The Who, The Young Rascals, The McCoys and Ian Whitcomb.
A Press release calls this a "tour during the month of July" however its doubtful that The Nazz played many shows with The Who as no Who eye witness mentions them, and The Who only played one show in Califormia area this month on July 16th at Sacremento Memorial Auditorium.
Sunday in late summer 1967 The Cheetah Club, LA. The band audition for Sherry Cottle, the booker at the Cheetah (DD Book). Merry Cornwall offers to get them a place to stay and for the meantime they could stay in a 2 room apartment near the Hollywood Freeway. They lasted three days here before the police threw them out as Merry hadn't paid the rent for two months.
The band move into house on Venice Beach (4025 Beethoven Street.).(Me Alice) which had a garage they could rehearse in (DD Book pg 65).
They still haven't played a proper show at the Cheetah.(Me Alice)
Aug 22nd 1967 Cheetah Club, 1 Navy Street, Venice Beach, LA supporting Watts 103rd Rhythm Band - Could this be the first Cheetah show?
Aug 27th 1967 Cheetah Club, LA, CA supporting The Doors.
"The opening band for Sunday's matinee was listed as The Nazz — a new and upcoming band from back east, or so I originally thought, who I had never heard but knew by name through magazine blurbs. Yet when they took the stage something immediately seemed wrong and I was confused. The Nazz I knew from photos sported what in 1967 seemed like outdated moptop haircuts ala The Beatles. But this Nazz who were opening for The Doors looked completely different; they all had shoulder length hair and at least one of them was wearing what looked like a Sgt. Pepper-type outfit — overall much more hippie/bohemian and unruly than the comparatively tame and Beatles-looking Todd Rundren-led Nazz I'd read about. I pretty quickly made up my mind that this was a different band using the same name. Musically speaking, they were pretty raucous and animated but seemed generic and derivative, at least to my young ears who really just wanted to hear The Doors. "
(Michael Kelley, A Tale From The Cheetah)
Sept 1st-2nd 1967 Cheetah Club, LA, CA (w/ Buffalo Springfield, The Watts 103rd Street Rythm Band) (Poster extists) - AZ Republic 9th September reports "the Spiders are in Los Angeles where they closed the Cheetah on Sunday. They're trying to gt on an Eastern tour with Donovan" which would have been the 3rd September. Poss extra show?)
Late Summer 1967 Neal Smith has already arrived in LA(in April), with an aim to joining a band. He moves in with the Nazz in Santa Monica. (MB book also mentions this)
Sept 23rd 1967 Phoenix State Fairgrounds, AZ (w/ Bobby Vee, Your Friends, Red White And Blues Band (later The Tubes), Super Fine Dandelion, motion, George Washington Bridge and Violet Wing) Sponsored by KRUX radio. - Advert in local newspaper listed as 'The Naz'.
Oct 27-29th 1967 Los Angeles, CA The Cheetah (w\ Crusade of Mandela) Ode-to-The-Great-Pumpkin-Ball (the Nazz become house band) - Me Alice
Early Nov 1967 Alice, Michael, Dennis and GB mention they met Pink Floyd (w/Barrett), who stay with the band during their first US tour. Dennis also says Shep Gordon booked the Floyd tour. Nick Mason also remembers the meeting. Dennis recalls playing an audition/rehearsal at the Cheetah (interview) or Gazzarri's (book) with just the Floyd in the audience listening.
Pink Floyd dates:
4th - Winterland, San Francisco, California (all scheduled U.S. appearances prior to this one were canceled)
5th - The Cheetah Club, Santa Monica, California (two shows) - John Speer apparently recalls the band "partying" with the Floyd after the Cheetah shows
9th - Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, California
10th - Winterland, San Francisco, California
11th - Winterland, San Francisco, California
So it would be likely they stayed with them from/around 5th Nov 1967 which is pretty much what we figured before.
MB book mentions Piper album so this would be it. Also mentions Sherry Cottle got them to play the Cheetah. MB mentions Alice playing after eating Hash Brownies and that Speer left directly after this so it all fits.
Vince dyes his hair blonde.
Nov. 17th-19th 1967 The Cheetah, LA (w/ Clearlight As The Nazz) - Advert
Dec 1967 Neal Smith replaces John Speer.
At the GBMW, John Speer said that he did not leave the band voluntarily at all, but he would not say any more than that. However in the DD book Dennis recalls Speer threatening to quit just minutes before they were going to fire him anyway.
"John Speer came to a show a couple of years ago and had a great time."
(Renfield, November 1997)
"I believe in the 'Me, Alice' book that it was Glen that really wanted Neal in the band. Neal auditioned against one other drummer. I think Alice thought Neal was a bit stuck up but knocked everyone out with his playing by walking in and doing a simple military styled drumming. "
(Renfield, October 1997)
"I always thought Neal Smith was a jerk. I first saw him as a Battle of the Bands in Phoenix when he was the drummer in a rival band, the Surf Tones. Every group in that particular Battle of the Bands agreed to pool their equipment so each band wouldn't have to reset the stage after each set and lose the attention of the parking lot audiences. Neal Smith was the only musician there who was against it. He made all the musicians disassemble their equipment so he could set his drum kit on risers. Then in the middle of a sixteen-minute version of "Wipe Out," he did a fourteen minute drum solo."
(Me Alice)(DD Book also tells this exact story)
Denis Dunaway, in his book (pg 67), relates the story of Neal joining the band. The Nazz apparantly went out into the Phoenix desert (they had returned home briefly) where they knew of a power outlet on a telephone pole (?!!?). John Speer didn't want to go but Neal did and so they went out and jammed in the desert. It went well and they repeated the senario more then once. Locals heard about it and started to show up to listen.
The Nazz were having problems with Speer already and on their return to LA Neal was an obvious replacement, as they already knew him and had played with him. AND he was already living in their house!
NAZZ 2 - Furnier, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith
Dec 1967 Possibility that band supported Janis Joplin (Big Brother And The Holding Company) at the Whiskey. She played 14-17 Dec and there are claims that they supported her at some stage. Having looked at dates, these seem a possibility. However Big Brother also played the Cheetah December 1st-3rd so also possible they opened (unbilled) there.
?? Somewhere around here Dennis recounts a story of the band auditioning at Mercury Recording Studios in Hollywood (DD book pg 71) and being offered a deal on the condition they fire Alice. They turn them down flat.
Dec 20-24th 1967 Cheetah, LA (w/ Chambers Bros) The Nazz (listed as special attraction), New Years Specials, Buffalo Springfield, Seeds)
Merry throws the band out of the house in Venice Beach. The band return to Phoenix and the Draft board.
?? Snoopy's Phoenix
?? Philippo's Oddessey, Phoenix
?? The Beau Brummel's Club, Phoenix
Jack Curtis opened this club in Dec 1967: "Teen Gazette" article from Saturday, Nov. 18, 1967, "the opening of Jack Curtis' new teen club Beau Brummel's was scheduled "for the end of this month." It was formerly the Wax Museum.
?? Encanto Park, Phoenix
Note: There was a series of "rock and roll" shows in the Band Shell in Encanto Park during March 1968 with lots of local reports of trouble and congestion (Sunday 3rd March) caused by the number of people attending. No mention of the names of the bands playing though.
Skip Ladd: "The Phoenix Love In's were sponsored by the Phoenix Parks & Recreations Department and were held at the Phoenix Bandshell in Encanto park. Neal Smith was the Master Of Ceremonies for a couple of them. "
Early in 1968 Alice accidentally shoots Neal in the ankle, thus allowing the last band member to escape the draft.
January 5th-7th 1968 The Mad Hatter, Scottsdale, AZ (w/ Twentieth Century Zoo, The Fold)
"Tonight, Tomorrow and Sunday night The Nazz, a former Phoenix group now playing at the Cheetah in Los Angeles, and two local groups, the Twentieth Century Zoo and the Fold, will play at the Mad Hatter grand opening."
(Scotsdale Progress article on 5th January about the opening of the club)
An eye witness claims The Nazz were getting $750 a night and that they played the night the club closed which was February 28th 1968 (due to breaking their licence - various reports in Scottsdale Daily Progress).
Late 1968 J.D.'s "in the Riverbottom" Scottsdale, AZ - The Riverbottom Room was the downstairs basement in J.Ds that housed the rock bands, while the upstairs had mainly country acts until mid 1968 when the booking policy changed to allow larger pop/rock acts to play upstairs. DD says Alice Cooper played upstairs. The club is closely associated with country singer Waylon Jennings (he did not own it).
Janice Buxton: "But I have that picture of Glen with the pink guitar. My dad took the picture when the boys came back from LA one time and played at JD's. It was a club owned by Waylon Jennings in Tempe, AZ. If I remember correctly"
A photo exists showing Alice Cooper on the JDs billboard. The venue was refubished in June 1968 and presumably the sign was updated as well signifying that the band played later in the year.
Feb 11th 1968 A photo of "hippie" Vince Furnier appears in the Arizona Republic, heading an article that doesn't mention him or the band at all!
?? Bortz Brothers Studios, Mill Ave. Tempe, AZ - There seems to be almost no info relating to this place so it may have had another name. There is a news report of the Bortz Brothers (Jack and Danny) looking to open a studios to help with affordable facilities for local bands, under the name 'East Wind Recording Company', but I can find little else.
"Great scene there with Mike Smith helping to make Mill Ave the cultural Epicenter of the Arizona scene. This was the first time I remember laying eyes on Neal Smith. BUT NOTE! They were calling themselves Alice Cooper there and then. It was big weird news and confused all of us. I think they were practising some of the 'Pretties for You' songs" (Chuck Warriner, October 2003)
Mar 11th 1968 The band return to LA (on the Thursday night before Good Friday) having spent two months scraping together the money to return. Neal's ankle is still in a cast. Alice had started wearing dresses over his jeans as they fitted him better on stage.(Me Alice)
They move into the ex-Chambers Brothers house on Crenshaw Boulevard with 'Long Gone Miles' for a month?? Some sources (and us) had this as late 1967 but DD Book places this MUCH later, after Beethoven Street, saying they moved from there to Topanga Canyon. As they went back to Phoenix for three months it seems to make more sense that they were kicked out of Beethoven street, went home for three months, and moved into the Chambers house upon their return to LA.
Michael Bruce Letter (Duels Stationary) Date unknown:
"We played Fri, Sat, + Sun. at the Flying Jib" which was in Redondo Beach, CA
Alice Cooper - Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith(w/ Christian, Carnel and Allen still working with them)
Early press flyers apparently describe the musicians as 'Glen Buxton- 'A Black Knight', 'Michael Bruce- 'A Street Poet', Dennis Dunaway- 'Artist Of The Courts' and Neal Smith as 'A Warrior King'. One Newspaper caption published just after the name change lists Fabian Buxton and Neal S. Myth as members, and Vince is now going as 'Alice Cooper' - Looks like they were trying out stage names.
Mar 16th 1968 Santa Barbara, CA, Earl Warren Fairgrounds - The posters promoting the show were printed prior to the name change and still had the name as Nazz. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Blue Cheer also played. [Ticket]
"I actually have excellent documentation of when they became "Alice Cooper." I have a concert poster for a show in Santa Barbara, CA for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The opening act is listed as The Nazz. However, between the time the poster was printed and the time the concert began, the Nazz had decided to become Alice Cooper and were introduced for the first time at that show as such. I don't have the poster in front of me and as psycho as I am, cannot recall the exact date. I'll try to check it when I am in poster mode. "
(Renfield, July 1995)
Michael Bruce Letter (Duels Stationary):
"We are going to play at the Cheeta Wednesday and then leave after that and go to Phoenix. A promoter in Phx has given us charge of his club. I don't know if I told you that we changed the name of the group. Alice Cooper is the name. Vince has changed his name to Alice Cooper and ratted his hair up. The club in Phx is called Alice Cooper, after us, we run the club and give orders."
April 3rd 1968 The Cheetah, LA (MB Letter)
April 5th 1968 Alice Cooper's Club opens - The band played the opening night, and 'Teen Gazette' states they played the second night as well (w/ Thirst, Art Willy). [AZ Republic April 1968]
AZ Republic 5th April: "Alice Cooper, formerly known as the Nazz, who used to be called the Spiders, will be playing for the grand opening this weekend at Alice Cooper's, which used to be Beau Brummel's before owner Jack Curtis renamed the teen club"
There is a "Teen Gazette" article dated Saturday, April 6, 1968, that is headlined "New Club 'Alice Cooper' Meets Valley Teens". - "Alice Cooper loves you! You'll love Alice Cooper. The Valley's newest teen night club opened last night with Alice Cooper, formerly the Nazz, namesake of the club. Tonight, the second night of the club's grand opening weekend features Alice Cooper, Thirst and Art Willy. Alice Cooper's entire interior color scheme is done in Alice's favorite color -- pink. (Alice the group, that is.)
"The building, located at 5555 E. Van Buren was completely redecorated, including wood paneling on the walls and pink crepe-like material draped from the ceiling of the lobby.
With this combination, Alice Cooper is a sure winner."
"A free record hop will culminate the week at 8pm at Alice Cooper (formally Beau Brummel's) teen club, 5555 E. Van Buren. The Dance will feature four radio personalities and two local bands, Motion and The Bridge." - Arizona Republic April 13th 1968.
April 1968 Move into Topanga Canyon. Neal states they were in Topanga Canyon when they changed the name and met Shep/Joey(NS int.) however Me Alice states that the name change was just before, which makes sense going by the above info.
April 12th 1968 Los Angeles, CA No show The band is involved in a traffic accident and Vincent Furnier claims to have died and been reincarnated as Alice Cooper - An accident report exists and there was a photo in the Los Angeles Times!
Michael Bruce Letter(AC Headed Stationary):
"Did you get my letter telling you that we were going to play in Albque? We are going to be there on May 24 and maybe the 25th. Did you hear about our accident? We should be getting our new truck in about a week. This Sunday we are playing at the old Hullabuloo, which is now the Kaleidoscope on the Sunset Strip."
April 20th 1968 The band appear in Phoenix local alternative newspaper 'A Closer Look'
End April 1968 Kaleidoscope, Sunset Strip, LA - Michael Bruce Letter - A Sunday - possibly 21st (and not shown on adverts for Quicksilver Messenger Service that date?), or 28th or at a push even 5th May) - The Kaleidoscope had also been called The Hullabaloo.
May 1st '68 Los Angeles, CA The Cheetah
First Cheetah show after changing name according to (Kurt's) research.
??/??/68 Los Angeles, CA The Cheetah
Said to have opened for the Doors on numerous occasions however I can find no reference to The Doors playing The Cheetah after 1967. They did play the Kaleidoscope in March and April and again in July.
May 24th 1968 Albuquerque, NM (MB letter - states *maybe* 25th as well)
Sat. June 1st 1968 Lake Berryessa Bowl, Winters, CA - Band listed as "The Spiders" so could be a different band using the name now the guys have changed to "Alice Cooper", or the poster was made before they were told of the name change. Setlists.FM actually lists a setlist for this show but with no information as to where it could have come from as there are no known recordings or press mentioning the band.
June 24th 1968 Whiskey A Go Go, Hollywood, CA (opening for Ten Years After)
June 27th 1968 Los Angeles, Wrigley Field. (First day of a four-day festival called Phantasmagoria: A Community Effort. Frank Zappa was the MC for that first day. The gig is confirmed by a poster and ads before the fact and two reviews after the fact. Alice Cooper is mentioned only in the ads, not on the poster or in the reviews)
1968 Alice meets Miss Christine (first Zappa connection?) at Canter's Deli.
Me Alice: "Miss Christine was practically his social secretary, and after much begging and cajoling she promised me an audience with Frank. One night Miss Christine took me to a party and Zappa was there sitting on a sofa drinking wine, his mustache bigger than life"
July 12th 1968 Me Alice says that they auditioned in the basement (other sources say it was the car port) before Zappa saw them. This is also intimated in Prime Cuts and all the band members have talked about the audition at some point with only minor conflicts in memory.
Me Alice: "I asked if he would come hear us at the Cheetah, but he put me off saying he was too busy, but I didn't take no for an answer. As the party went on and he got drunker, I got more insistent. Finally he said, "All right. Come by in the morning and I'll listen. I suppose he meant we should bring a tape, or maybe he forgot the next day was Sunday. Miss Christine let us into his house at the break of dawn, and we set up our equipment and lights in his basement and started playing. Zappa came rushing downstairs, naked, holding his ears. "All right, all right," he shouted, his cock swinging back and forth as he shook his head, "I'll sign you! I'll sign you! Just stop playing!"
Zappa wasn't kidding. Just like that, out of the clear blue sky, he told us to come to his office on Monday and talk to his business manager, Herbie Cohen. Cohen offered us a six-thousand-dollar advance for our first three record albums to be released on Zappa's newly formed Straight-Bizarre label distributed by Warner Brothers"
Me Alice: Zappa was 'chomping at the bit' to sign the band but they stalled for two weeks until Shep and Joey could see them at the Brucemas gig.
A diary entry for 12th July by Zappa's PA Pauline Butcher suggests the date of the audition was July 12th:
"Lots of people at the house [The "party" Alice mentions in Me, Alice?]. Alice Cooper and crowd. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful walked in. PamZ nearly flipped. Frank agreed to audition Alice Cooper the next day, July 12th."
And here's the relevent passage from her book "Freak Out, My Life With Frank Zappa":
'At seven o’clock the next morning Christine shook my blanket to rouse me. ‘Should I go wake Frank do you think?’ Alice Cooper, who looked like an upside down mop, peered down at me too.
‘What now, are you mad?’
‘He told Alice to come at seven.’
‘Tonight! Right now he's sleeping. You’ll have to wait.’
And wait they did, until lunch time. They looked so hang-dog shifting around in the car-port where they’d set up their instruments that Frank, when he got up, agreed to hear them there and then, fully attired like Red Indians with painted faces, they thrashed out several numbers sounding not unlike the Mothers themselves. Every record company had turned them down and they were going nowhere fast. Frank, who was also not overly-impressed, said, ‘Okay, I’ll sign you.’ They were so ecstatic, they chucked their speakers like beach-balls into their old van. I believe that without Christine’s support they would have been shown the door."
Zappa artist Cal Schenkel took photos of the band lounging around on the car port which he posted to Facebook in 2014.
Mid July 68 Shep Gordon and Joe Greenberg enter Cindy Dunaway's men's boutique 'Inside Outside' on Santa Monica Blvd. (which she ran with Linda Lease) and finds out about the band.
According to Joe Greenberg: “The day I met Cindy she told me that her brother was in a band looking for a Manager. I Immediately told her that Shep and I were the West Coast Managers of “The Left Banke”. Cindy took that information to the band and the meeting was set!"
Three days later Shep and Joey Greenburg meet the band at the Landmark Hotel. Shep says "the next time you get a job, I want to see you".
Several different stories have been told over the years by Alice and Shep about how they first met including versions featuring Jimi Hendrix, but everyone else involved confirms the events above.
Mid July 1968 Shep and Joey officially become ACG managers AFTER Zappa offers a deal but before it's accepted.
PURE SPECULATION NOTES
Maybe Zappa offered the contract in mid July (after audition). Contracts were drawn up in September (by Herb Cohens Attorney brother Martin "Mutt" Cohen by the looks of it) but then they realised they needed parental signatures as the band were under age. This would take another few weeks to sort out (if attorneys work as fast as they do nowadays) which would get us to maybe End July 1968/beginning of Aug.
These new contracts would possibly be reasoned to be a formality as everyone was in approval, so MB refers to them having been signed by Zappa despite the full legal process not having been completed. In a letter(3) he says:
"You'll never guess what has happened. We signed a management contract with Alice Enterprises, they manage The Left Bank. There(sic) two, young, really cool guys from back east. You'll never believe this. We have signed with Frank Zappa, to Bizarre Productions o Warner Bros. Records. We are going on tour all over the west coast on the Left Bank tour. Later we will go back east. This is the break we've waited years for. We will be playing in Phx the weekend of the 29th"
This mention of the weekend of the 29th places the letter in June 1968 or Sept 1968 as the 29th is only at the weekend during that month in the time period we have. The fact that this was written by Michael at the time to his family means it's unlikely he'd get the date wrong. He's going home! New Information placing the Audition in July would suggest the letter is September.
The Left Banke were one of the bands MB(in book) and Alice (in Me ,Alice) say were already managed by Shep so for them to be on the tour would sound likely. Unfortunately I can't find one tour date for this band at all! In Dennis' book he suggests their claim was untrue.
Alive (Shep/Joey) are also the US representatives for Pink Floyd and West Coast reps for Left Banke and Blueberry Jam according to 1968 documentation (press release or letter) but this could be hype. Other sources including 'Supermench, the Legend of Shep Gordon' say Shep and Joey only managed Floyd for 9 days!
"It was very bizarre. We got them a show in Chicago at a place called The Kinetic Playground (Floyd played this venue on July 8th 1968). And when they got there the place had burned down. They never got paid. The owner had torched the place. They assumed I knew it had happened, and that was it. Nine days later we were fired."
(Shep Gordon, 2014)
July 14th 1968 Cheetah, Los Angeles (w/ Butterfield Blues Band, Chicago Transit Authority, Pacific Gas & Electric.)
LA Free Press review of the Bastille Day Bash:
"Inside the Cheetah, which has been stripped of most of that obnoxious sheet metal which made one feel like the inside of a garbage can (Bob Gibson just kept enough to help the strobe lights along), a series of groups also played. Black Pearl, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, the BFD Blues Band (is it this group which accidentally took the PG & E Fender amplifier?), and a show stopping group called 'Alice Cooper.'"
"People have been asking: When is it going to happen again? Well, we can't give definite dates yet but John Carpenter is already at work lining up groups for another Free Press sponsored free party at the Cheetah to be held in August close to Lenny Bruce's birthday. It's going to be called Brucemas!!"
Alice seems to confuse this show and the Lenny Bruce show, combining them in retelling the story. Shep also mentions he first saw Alice at Brucemas but we now have a date for that show and it's certain that Shep saw them before it. The description of this show points to this being the one.
Possibly first time Zappa saw them live as well (MB book).
Me Alice: Outside (the Cheetah) on the pier, Five big name bands including the Doors were playing to 10,000 people on the beach.
Me Alice implies that Zappa had already seen them before this show but could be referring to the basement audition.
July 23rd (poss. 22nd) 1968 Whisky-A-Go-Go, Hollywood, CA (w/ Frank Zappa - src:Michael Bruce letter) - advertised with two different dates in same issue of LA Free Press: 07/22 (Whisky ad), 07/23 (Mothers ad). Zappaphiles believe it to be the 23rd.
This is only time The Mothers appear to have been at the Whisky in the time period inferred (They did play a month earlier between June 28th and 30th) however Bruce says 'Gigs' plural so there may have either been two shows or more.) Going by the MB letter dated Aug 4th, Zappa recorded the bands performance. Zappa was famous for recording EVERYTHING.
'Levity Ball' ('Pretties For You') is credited as having been recorded live at the Cheetah club but it appears to my ears to be the same basic performance as 'Live at the Whisky'.
Alive press release 1968 says Whiskey recording was July 1968.
Aug 2nd or 3rd 1968 Lucky Lady, Phoenix, AZ - Band scheduled to play but cancel due to the Newport Festival. [AZ Republic Aug 2nd (announce playing tonight) and AZ Republic Aug 3rd (announce not playing due to Newport)]
Aug 3rd 1968 1st Annual Newport Pop Festival, Orange County Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa, CA (w/ Janis Joplin, The Animals, The Byrds, The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, Canned Heat, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Things to Come, Country Joe and the Fish, Illinois Speed Press, Sonny & Cher, Tiny Tim, the Byrds, Iron Butterfly, Eric Burdon & the Animals)(AC opened the festival) [Ticket] - The band was a late addition to the festival and so are not mentioned on the poster but are namechecked in the LA Times review (Aug 6th - "after a weak start by a group called Alice Cooper...") of the festival. They go on stage at 10AM. Three photos exist claimed to be from the show.
Aug 4th 1968 Michael Bruce Letter(AC Stationary)
"Yesterday we opened the Newport festival. We were the first group of about 30 groups that day. We talked to Frank Zappa last week at Sunset Sound and heard the tapes of the Whisky show. He said we'll be going into the studio at the end of Aug. and into Sept. Our album will break with the whole Bizarre prod. big push."
Fri Aug 9th 1968 Levity Ball at Fairground Exposition Hall, Phoenix, AZ (w/ Killing Floor, Red White and Blues Band (feat. Mick Mashbir), The George Washington Bridge. Lights by Loren Thompson) [Arizona Republic 9th August]
Skip Ladd: "Here was my invitation to the annual Levity Ball, but the band never played for it. "
Skip also reports that the band sent him a tape to play at the event. Could this be 'Live at The Whisky' or 'Levity Ball' from 'Pretties For You'?
A Statement was read out to apologise for their non-appearance.
Aug 18th 1968 Brucemas at the Cheetah, Venice Beach, Los Angeles (w/ Kaleidoscope (canceled), Dino Valente (canceled), The Sherwood Fields, Bluesberry Jam & The Gypsy Wizard (managed by Shep), Black Pearl, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Speed Press, Murray Roman (MC)).
The Aug 3rd 1968 issue of the LA Free Press has an advert for the show (the paper was the promoter), but it doesn't say who will be playing. There is then a review in the Aug 23rd 1968 issue and although it doesn't mention Alice Cooper specifically I think there's enough mentions of the show by the band members and Shep over the last 30 years that it's unlikely they didn't play it.
Where Shep first saw the band.
NOTE: Lenny Bruce was born 13th October 1925. He died in Aug 3rd 1966
Gig takes place on the old pier next to the Cheetah Ballroom with audience on the beach below AND inside the club, where Alice Cooper played. Video footage (not of Alice Cooper) exists and can be seen currently at YoVenice with some background info. Estimated 30,000 turned up for the show outdoor show.
Aug 1968 'Me, Alice' says they STILL haven't signed the Zappa contract but are due to do it the following week.
Sept 1968 'Pretties For You' scheduled to be recorded (MB Letter)
Sept 16th 1968 - MB Parental signed Contract acknowledged by State of Arizona, County of Maricopa signed by MB, mum and dad but NOT Cohen.
Could be that pic in MB book is a copy of the original made before Herb Cohen (Zappa man) signed it.
The document states that the approval of the 'minors contract' will be heard anytime after this date. Having read it through, it appears that this isn't the ACTUAL contract, but we can assume that the court hearing approved the contract as the deal went ahead.
A later contract states that the original Straight contract was agreed by the court on the 17th September 1968. It also infers that the original contract was for one album.
Sept 17th 1968 Barnes Field House, Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, AZ (w/ Blueberry Jam, Sound Inc) (Poster Exists) - Supposedly they played here as The Spiders as well.
Oct. 1968 Shep and the band move into John Philip Law's house in the Hollywood Hills on Observation Drive (MB int)(Me Alice, DD Book)
Alice's and the band's parents (possibly without MB parents as they had already signed on 16th Sept) come to the house to meet Shep and Joey. They signed the Contracts. (confirmed in DD book)
Poss. Oct 11th 1968 Philadelphia (w/ MC5 reportedly only 100 people in audience)
From MC5 timeline:
SUMMER ~ Following the rupture of the contract with Elektra: Danny Fields (Elektra Records) informs J.Sinclair that Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records) is interested in signing the MC-5 as of their disengagement with Elektra. Sinclair goes back to New York where he meets Fields and Wexler. They quickly find an arrangement which gives to the MC-5 the total control of their recording, production, plus a money advance. Sinclair returns to Ann Arbor in time to face trial with Fred Smith for the assault charges from Oakland County July 23, 1968. He is acquitted but spends the night in jail. The following day he flies to Philadelphia where the MC-5 play with Alice Cooper (100 people attending.)
The Trial appears to have ended on Oct 10th (Trial Transcripts).
(Oct 17th 1968 San Francisco International Pop Festival, Alameda County Fairground, Pleasanton, CA (w/ Chambers Bros, Canned Heat, Deep Purple, Grass Roots, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Loading Zone, The Womb, The Spiders) - Article in San Mateo Times October 23rd 1968 - Band haven't been called The Spiders for some time so probably not them.)
Nov 1st 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA (w/ Three Dog Night. Mint Tattoo)
Nov 2nd 1968 The Bank, Torrance, CA (w/ Pollution, Mint Tattoo)
Approx. around now, Alice meets Ashley Pandel at a party. Pandel was later Alice Cooper's publicist from around '71-'74.
Nov 1968 Denver, CO unknown Army Base billed as "Alice Cooper and the Hollywood Blondes.” and the first actual show Shep booked for the band. (Me, Alice) - (there seem to be about 4 military establishments in Denver to choose from)
Me, Alice: "Shep and Joey finally got us a job, which was a small miracle in its own way. They knew nothing at all about rock and roll. They were learning as they went along, and not quickly either. This first booking was at an army base in Denver. As much as Shep swears he did not get the idea out of Gypsy, he billed us as “Alice Cooper and the Hollywood Blondes.” He actually hired four topless go-go dancers from a strip joint to go out to Denver with us and dance on either side of the stage.
I couldn’t believe Shep and Joey would subject us to the kind of reaction we knew we’d provoke at an army base. We were seething. Shep thought the topless go-go dancers would balance out the show; if the army guys hated us they’d still have tits and ass to look at. I was so drunk when we got to Denver I couldn’t even stand straight. After two minutes of playing the army guys were on their feet shouting, “Stop it! You stink! Go Home!” and I yelled, “What do you want from me? What do you want from my life?” hanging on my microphone stand for support."
Winter 1968 (School was still in session) Buffalo, NY, S.U.N.Y. Ballroom
Quote from website:
"The first concert Bob took several friends and myself to see was Alice Cooper at a ballroom at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo for 75 cents." Unfortunatly the writer goes on to mention "raccoon markings around his eyes... Alice guillotined himself, waved his pet python around and for an encore poured chicken feathers on the audience." only the last of which was likely in 1968.
(Nov 8th 1968 Fullerton, CA California State (w/ Frank Zappa) The image below is a recreation done by artist Rick Griffin in 1972. Is there any other evidence that this show happened?)
Me, Alice - Alice mentions 'Pretties For You' being recorded in November (but gets the year wrong) and that it took a week.
Michael Bruce Letter:
"We are all just about finished with the album. It's will be a double fold-out with about 12 songs available in January. It is really strange to know that our record is going to be out. Bizarre expects to sell 100,000 on first release....we are playing at the Shrine on Dec. 5 & 6 with the mothers then three nights at the Whiskey. We'll probably be playing in Albque sometime after Jan."
Nov 26th 1968 Whiskey A Go Go, LA (w/ Procol Harum) (Advert)
Dec 6th 1968 Los Angeles, CA Shrine Exposition Hall (w/ Zappa and MOI, Wild Man Fisher, GTO's, and Ethiopia)
Dec 7th 1968 Los Angeles, CA Shrine Exposition Hall (w/ Zappa and MOI, Wild Man Fisher, GTO's, and Ethiopia)
A news/promo report states: "The band was introduced by Zappa (to the press) at a Bizarre Records concert in early December on the Shrine Auditorium in L.A."
Poss. 3 nights Dec 1968 (sometime after 7th) Whisky-a-Go-Go, Los Angeles, CA (or he could have been referring to the Zep shows)
Jan 2nd-5th 1969 Hollywood, CA Whiskey A Go Go (open for Led Zeppelin)
Neal talks about the finale being a song called Animal Pyjamas?
MB Book suggests they played a second week of shows with Buddy Miles headlining after Zeppelin went down with Hong Kong Flu
"According to Alice Cooper, the two unknown bands flipped a coin the first night to see who would go on first. Jimmy Page does not remember that specifically, but agreed that such decisions were often decided this casually between bands."
Jan 6th-8th 1969 Hollywood, CA Whiskey A Go Go (w/ Buddy Miles Express) - Buddy Miles Express replaced Zeppelin when a number of band members "got flu". Dennis Dunaway questions this explaination, suggesting Zeppelin didn't like following Alice Cooper with all their theatrics and feathers. (DD Book)
Jan 1969 Boulder, CO University of Boulder (Me Alice)
Jan 1969 Salt Lake City, UT (Me Alice)
Jan 1969 Cincinnati Black Dome (Me Alice)
"We played Salt Lake City for $700, The University of Boulder for $1,000, The Black Dome in Cincinnati for $1,250, and Vancouver, British Columbia, in March for $1,500, where we saw the first copy of Pretties For You with an Ed Beardsley painting on the cover sealed in plastic."
NOTE: They played the Black Dome, Salt Lake City, and the University of Denver, in May so its possible Me, Alice has its time frame wrong.
? Chandler, AZ (mention in MB book)
Late Jan. 1969 - Band Equipment stolen.
Michael Bruce Letter(AC Stationary):
"Hello, again, I meant to write sooner but we've had many things to do. Last night we got some new equipment for the amps that were stolen with our truck. We are getting some new clothes and some props that we'll be using on stage.
During Feb 7th we are going to be in Denver with Iron Butterfly and Steve Miller. Then from there we are going to Aspen, Colo from the ninth to sixteenth, then back to the Whiskey (sic) with Blue Cheer. I hope we'll be coming to Albque in March or April. We have just signed with Creative Management Ass. who hand the "Cream" and "Jimi" and all the stars like Alice Cooper. They're sending us on a tour of twelve cities"
Feb 7th 1969 Denver, CO (w/Iron Butterfly, Steve Miller)(Bruce letter) - Going by Iron Butterfly Show dates it's unsure this happened. They were in St Louis, MO on the 6th and San Bernadino, CA the on the 8th. No mention of a show in Denver inbetween. It's possible Mike was wrong or the show was canceled, or that they did play in Denver today but not with the bands he mentions, They were almost certainly playing in the area during this period supported by the AZ Republic article below.
(Spring 1969 An eyewitness who worked on shows in Boulder, CO recalls Alice Cooper playing 'The Kingdom of Endor', an upstairs ballroom at 1111 Pearl St. and then at 'Tulagi's' in Boulder the following night. He recalls that it was 1967 but I believe that is a memory error as the weren't called 'Alice Cooper' at that time, and also he mentions Zephyr playing there a lot and they didn't form until 1969 (in Boulder). If he means 1969 then the dates fit in with what we already know. Me Alice mentions a show in January 1969 at the University of Colorado and the eye witness also relates how he worked with the University Student Union to put on entertainment at the Uni's 'Glen Miller Hall' so again it all fits better here then in 1967. We also have the suggestion of University of Colorado shows in May 1969 so could be there.)
Feb 9th-16th 1969 Aspen, CO (Bruce Letter) - [AZ Republic Feb 16th - "The Alice Cooper conglomeration has just wound up a two-week gig in Denver. Colo. Beginning tomorrow evening our boys will share a six-day billing with Blue Cheer at the Whiskey-a-go-go."]
(February various Canadian venues)
Feb 19th-23rd 1969 Whisky-A-Go-Go, Los Angeles There are adverts showing them playing with Blue Cheer and Linda Ronstadt over the same dates. The Michael Bruce letter and one advert suggests Blue Cheer while other adverts say with Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys. An advert in the LA Times also lists Ronstaadt and Alice Cooper on the 19th - 23rd. Another advert. headlined "Alice Cooper Is Not A Groupie", in the LA Free Press states Alice Cooper would be playing the Whisky between 18th and 24th February which would match Bruce's letter stating 6 nights.
MB Letter: "I hope we'll be coming to Albque in March or April. We have just signed with Creative Management Ass. who handle the "Cream" and "Jimi" and all the stars like Alice Cooper. They're sending us on a tour of twelve cities"
March 1st 1969 Disc magazine reports on an Alice Cooper Coming Out Party hosted by Zappa at the Whisky. [Disc March 1st 1969]
March 1969 Vancouver, BC ?
'Me, Alice' claims that this is where they first saw a copy of 'Pretties For You', but the boxset lists the release as June.
March 7th-8th 1969 Hayward, CA, Ides Hall (w/ Nimbus)
March 14th 1969 Orangethorpe, Buena Park, CA The White Room (w/ Stack, Red Moss Blues Band)
March 15th 1969 Fullerton, CA Cal State Fullerton (w/ Zappa and the Mothers, Stack, Red Moss Blues Band)
March 16th 1969 Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco - listed as possible on MC5 timeline. Free concert. (/ MC5, Boogie, Birth, Last Mile, Sons of Champlin) - Eywitness.
Mar 1969 Reflected/Living promo released (ST101)
Mar 17th 1969 - Thee Experience, Hollywood, CA - (w/ Slim Harpo, Pharaoh Sanders) - This was the night apparently the band wore the "clear plastic pants" which misted up in the heat.
March 21-22nd 1969 March - Eye-earn Try-Angle - Seaside, Monterey, CA (Tour itinerary)
March 27th-29th, 1969 – Thee Experience, LA (w/ Slim Harpo, Rockin’ Foo) - Advert
(Tour itinerary=listed on Gene Grams handwritten tour itinerary)
Mar 28th 1969 - Long Beach (Tour itinerary)
Mar 29th 1969 - Tucson, Arizona (Tour itinerary)
Mar 30th 1969 San Francisco, CA Avalon Ballroom (part of Rockarama w/ Pure Funk, Youngbloods, A.B.Sky, Initial Shock) - Recording exists (Listing in Berkley Barb March 28th 1969)
April 1st 1969 Monterey Fairgrounds - Monterey, CA (w/ Womb, Rideminders)
Mar 28th 1969 - April 6th 1969 Teen-Age Fair / Pop Expo 1969, Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA - Photos exist and band friend Monica Lauer was there and confirms the band definitly played, and she states her photos are marked as April.
(April 4-6th 1969 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco (Tour itinerary) -
There is an issue with these dates. There is very strong evidence that the Avalon Ballroom on these dates featured The Grateful Dead, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Aum (a local power rock trio). There is a poster showing this AND all three bands shows from the 6th were transmitted (and tapes still exist) on local radio KPFA-Berkeley as a live broadcast (one of the first?). There are also recordings from the 4th April and 5th April for the Dead and of the Buritto Brothers on the 6th. A poster also exists for the shows just showing the Flying Burrito Bros but no support is listed.
Unless Alice Cooper was an unbilled opening act it looks unlikely they played these shows.
There is also a suggestion that there were shows at the Fillmore West in San Francisco between 3rd and 6th April 1969 but those nights featured Procol Harum, Buddy Miles Express and Blues Image.
Did they play any of these shows?
(April 11th 1969 Stanford Univ, Stanford, CA (Tour itinerary) - There is no mention of this show in the Stanford Daily campus newspaper in the two weeks surrounding this show so seems unlikely it happened.)
April 12th 1969 Billboard reports that Zappa and Herb Cohen have formed Straight Records and that the first release will be a single by Alice Cooper "released in about two weeks" to be followed by an album 2 weeks after that.
April 18th 1969 Agrodome, Vancouver, British Columbia (Mothers of Invention, Guess Who)
Pop Scene: "Alice Cooper, (a group) however, proved to be little more interesting than sitting in on a jam session in an insane asylum. Light show excepted, these freaks pranced and skipped around the stage like the house band at a spastic reunion, playing with all the finesse of a kindergarten percussion group. The most interesting part of their act was trying to figure out if Alice Cooper was a girl, boy or neuter."
(Tour itinerary lists 18-19 April Eagle Ballroom, Seattle, WA)
April 19th 1969 Seattle, Seattle Centre Arena (w/ Mothers Of Invention, Guess Who) - According to the Seattle Daily Times April 18th the venue was moved to Eagles Auditorium.
April 25-26th 1969 - Paramount, Phoenix, Ariz.
May 4th 1969 the AZ Republic May 4th reports that the band have been in town working (see above) and will "share the billing with Bob Dylan in New York on July 5th" There is no evidence this happened.
May 2nd-3rd 1969 Kinetic Playground, Chicago, IL (Tour itinerary) Review exists - Bill Risoli)
(May 2nd-3rd May 1969- Old Mill - Salt Lake City, Utah (Tour itinerary)
May 7th 1969 Kelker Junction, Colorado Springs, CO, Concert Hall
May 8th 1969 University Of Denver Colorado (Tour itinerary)
May 9th-10th 1969 Denver, Colorado shows TBC (Tour itinerary)
May 16th-17th 1969 Black Dome - Cincinnati, Ohio (Tour itinerary, poster)
Michael Bruce Postcard:
"Well, here we are back east in Cincinnati... We've been to Canada, Denver, Phx, and next New York...Write to me c/o Shep Gordon 7097 Franklin, Ave, Hollywood. Don't fail or I'll come there directly after New York and Chicago."
"We couldn't find anywhere to live," he remembered. "This was back in 1968 and the band was basically thrown out of Los Angeles. We said, 'How about Cincinnati?' Now, picture how we must have looked like then. Somebody rented us a house down by the university."
But, Alice explains, the young rockers were scammed. The person who rented them the house didn't own it.
"All summer we fixed this house up. Fall comes and all the fraternity brothers show up. We had been rented a frat house and all these big frat guys show up and toss us out."
May 18th or 19th 1969 NYC (MB Postcard)
Tues May 20th 1969 Chicago, IL Kinetic Playground (Review in Chicago Daily News May 22nd.)
May 23rd 1969 Phoenix, AZ, Veteran's Memorial Coliseum (w/ Iron Butterfly. Zephyr (no show, replaced by..), Blues Image) Advert in Arizona Republic, Tour itinerary, [Ticket] (Photos of all bands exist)[AZ Republic May 17th 1969 article][AZ Republic May 24th Show Review]
May 1969... Arizona State Fairgrounds is where the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum is located. Alice Cooper opened the concert for Iron Butterfly.
Iron Butterfly was considered a very HEAVY band, remember this was before Led Zeppelin and around the time of the initial exposure to Black Sabbath. Many people have trivialized Iron Butterfly as being pop or bubblegum. If one is studying history, one does not see it unfold as it happened, but as it has been interpreted. Iron Butterfly displayed heavy like a 30 pound sledge striking a red hot anvil that night. They had to because they were following a wild,loudand animated Alice Cooper!
The band had gone from scruffy high school kids playing covers of the Rolling Stones and Kinks, to a professional outfitwith actual costumes and a real stage show.
Glen showed me a Gibson SG guitar and it had been repainted a wild candy apply turquoise. Further he broke up amirror andglued those reflective pieces to the guitar. This made it sparkle and shoot light like a disco ball. There was slight talk about him getting cuts from the sharp edges. On reflection I understand better now, just how innovative and forward thinking those friends of my youth were. This was long before GLAM. Let nobody say they were not smarter than the average bear. Personally, I think this hipness was a by product of years of exposure to Wallace and Ladmo. The Tubes were friends and contemporaries and alsoorganized elaborate and outrageous stage shows. Maybe it was something in the water from the Salt River,because this was not what every band was achieving in 1966-1970.
On a personal note, These guys were genuine and friendly. They treated everybody with humanity and respect. They were nice people. I am glad to have been there to know them and watch their rise from obscurity to the legends they are now. They took the risk and starved in L.A. as so many have done. They lived their dream. They deserve the immortality which they now own.
(Chuck "Tangerine" Warriner, August 2010)
Me Alice: Band arrive in New York on Memorial Weekend which appears to be the last weekend in May and it seems that in 1969 it would have been 30th May (which clashes with dates below). They stay at Allison Hotel in Greenwich Village where Glens' Pink Les Paul is stolen.
May 24th 1969 Alice Cooper mentioned in Billboard from a report in the Vancouver Province - "Sounds like the house band at a reunion of spastics... like sitting in on jam session in an insane asylum"
May 30th-31st 1969, 1st June 1969 Electric Theatre - Pittsburgh, Penn.(Tour itinerary)
Press release/Record World 31 May 1969 states:
"Alice Cooper, Straight Record's five-member, all-male group are set to begin a cross-country tour starting June 3rd and continuing until the beginning of July"
June 1969 Pretties For You released - [AZ Republic 25th May Review]