- Name: Glen Edward Buxton, "The Blonde Bomber"
- Instruments: Guitars.
- Born: November 10th 1947
- Joined: Founder Member of Alice Cooper
- Left: Glen passed away on October 19th 1997.
- Alice Cooper Tours: Every show until 1974.
- Alice Cooper Albums: 'Pretties For You' - 'Muscle Of Love'.
The official site and facebook page are maintained by Glen's sister Janice and her husband Bob Davison on behalf of the Buxton family. Glenbuxton.com is NOT owned by the Buxton family and is being purposely held against their wishes.
Glen Buxton, 1972.
Glen Buxton was born on November 10th, 1947 in Akron, Ohio and moved to Phoenix, AZ with his family, including sister Janice and brother Ken, in 1961. In Phoenix he attended Cortez High School where he worked as the staff photographer for the school newspaper the 'Cortez Tip Sheet'. This brought him into contact with Vince Furnier and Dennis Dunaway who also worked on the paper, and in 1964 the trio formed 'The Earwigs' along with John Tatum and Phil Wheeler, to perform at the annual school Lettermans dance. Glen was initially brought in as he was the only person they knew who could actually play an instrument. From an interview with Glen's sister Janice in 1997:
I was reading 'Me Alice' and it said that Glen was the only one who knew how to play when they started out.
This is TRUE! Glen was the only one who could read music. He taught Dennis enough chords to get by for the first and famous letterman's talent show.
Do you know how old he was, when he started to play?
Glen started playing guitar when he was about 12. I know he took lessons while we were still living in Akron. He quit for a while and then started lessons again after we moved out to Phoenix.
Also, who was his biggest musical influence?
I would have to say Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Jeff Beck etc.
Are there any other musicians in your family?
I took trumpet lessons from the time I was in third grade until about sixth grade. I played in the Cortez marching and symphonic bands all through high school. My oldest brother Ken plays the recorder. He has always been a big jazz freak. He started out liking the Kingston Trio, etc. My mother is probably the funniest musician in the family. She lived through the great Depression and will tell anyone who will listen about the cardboard she had to put in her shoes. She plays the ukelele and the spoons.
After that first show the young band decided, with John Speer replacing Wheeler, to become a more serious group and began learning to play properly with Glen instructing Dennis Dunaway during his first steps on bass guitar. The band changed their name first to 'The Spiders' and then 'The Nazz' moving to Los Angeles to become big time rock stars and eventually settling on the name 'Alice Cooper'.
Buxton played on all the original band albums co-writing many of the classics including 'School's Out' that was built on a riff Glen used to jam on during rehearsals. He was known as the rebel of the group, the hard drinking, chain smoking street fighter with a style of his own.
"He had an almost compulsive appeal for WC Fields and used his quotes as often as possible. He had an innate sense of humour and loved playing with words a-la Slip Mahoney(Bowery Boys). "That dimunendo is most staccato." He loved the movie West Side Story. That should be obvious from the references in the Alice Cooper music. He loved Jim Morrison, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Les Paul, Brian Wilson, The Beatles, and many others.
He liked watching boxing and was honoured and overcome with wonder when he was able to meet 'Ali - the Greatest.', and he loved photography, explosives (large firecrackers), guns, switchblades, astronomy, building models, antiques, Betty Boop, Wallace and Ladmo, old cars, old movies, cartoons, Mad magazine, trivia, and his favourite pastime of all, watching old television shows. He loved Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, etc. One of his very favourite newer shows was The Wonder Years. He also liked Beavis and Butthead.
Glen kept journals and he would write down quotes from shows that intrigued him or ones he thought were funny. Then he would play with them until they became his own. He put his own twists and turns on them. One I found in a journal was, "If my brain was lard, it wouldn't grease a very big pan."
Glen Buxton told me a story about how he and Jim Morrison . They had been drinking all night long and Jim's manager called to remind Jim he was supposed to be doing a photo shoot early that same morning. Glen went along with him to the photo shoot and they were both hung over bad, and Jim didn't even have a shirt to wear for the shot. Glen was wearing a purple balloon sleeved shirt at the time so he gave it to Jim Morrison for the photo shoot. If you look at the album cover of Jim Morrison in the field ['Waiting For The Sun'], that's Glen Buxton's shirt. Also shows you that Glen was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed help.
(Janice Buxton, 1997)
Glen Buxton, on stage in 1972.
An integral part of the original Alice Cooper band, Glen seemed to find it difficult to deal with the growing fame and all that went with it. As time went on his drinking started to get out of hand and in 1973 while recording for the 'Billion Dollar Babies' album in London Glen was rushed to hospital. On his return home to Phoenix Glen is extremely ill and checks into the Maryvale hospital to discover his pancreas has been destroyed by his alcohol consumption and he's told to stop drinking or die. Friends have said that he was never the same after his brush with death. He became more withdrawn, and while he continued to appear on stage with the band his overall interest was waning. According to Alice and Michael Bruce he was also having drug issues which certainly didn't help the situation.
When Glen went into the hospital [in '73] he had emergency surgery... the doctor who cut open his stomach told Glen, "I was disgusted." It is medically impossible for someone to live without a pancreas... all they could do was clean him up and administer antibiotics, which they did, for several days. He was told not to drink alcohol...which he didn't...for a while! When he started the 'Billion Dollar Babies' tour, he was very weak, naturally... and the tour was a killer... we still have the schedule that was tacked onto our refrigerator. They toured and toured and toured... a gruelling task for even a healthy individual.
The one thing I'll never forget is the amount of mail and people who were always at the hospital! Tons and tons of people! The hospital had never experienced anything like this before... tons of flowers... tons of games and things for Glen to do while he was there...it took us forever to clean up his room when it was time to go home!
My boyfriend at the time, David Lively, even wrote a play called "The Hospital... all about Glen and riding down the hallway on the IV thingy... I think I have a copy of it somewhere...
(Janice, June 1998)
"Glen was kind of my best friend, and I just watched him disintegrate. I couldn't get him to concentrate. All of us talked to him about his drinking and drug use, but we just could not pull him out. Glen would say, “Yeah, yeah, you’re right, you’re right,” but he couldn't stop. He only felt comfortable when he was getting away with something. Everybody else knew that we had a career to protect, so we faked it as long as we could. We put other guitar players in there, and we did things like that, but we sure didn't want Glen not to be in it, because everybody loved Glen. He was our Keith Richards."
When 'Billion Dollar Babies' was finally released Glen was barely on it, although he continued to be credited. The same was true of follow up 'Muscle Of Love'. On tour his playing was sometimes erratic, and Mick Mashbir was brought in, ostensibly to add an extra dimension to the live sound, but also to help cover for Glen. It's been said that on many occasions Glen was missing from the live sound mix, his amps turned down, and Mashbir played is parts. While there is likely some truth to this on officially released live recordings from the 1973 tour three guitars are clearly heard, so it's clear Glen was having both good and bad nights. In Bob Greene's book about the tour 'Billion Dollar Baby' he paints a rather sad portrait of Glen, alone in his hotel room night after night. It's clear that by 1973 Glen's mind was elsewhere and the fame and fortune he and the band had worked so hard for was no longer what he wanted.
(Mick Mashbir, June 1998)
Glens' Billion Dollar Babies Sunburst Gibson
After the original band played their final show in Brazil in 1974 Glen vanished into the rain forests with his girlfriend Susan for some weeks before finally returning to his Connecticut home to watch TV and play with his video equipment.
While it would be wrong to suggest Glen was the cause of the bands breakup it's likely he was a major part of it. He was a founder member of the band and they were all close friends. No one wanted to sack Glen from his own band, but they also couldn't continue to hide the fact he was becoming dysfunctional. Everyone tried to talk to him about his addictions but apparently he made few attempts to change his ways. It's possible that in the end Alice, who had his own drinking problems, just couldn't face dealing with it all anymore and stepped away from the situation to go solo.
There was also the problem of Glen finding his place in the band. They had come a long way from 'Pretties For You' and the new sound was slick and multilayered. Glen, never the most technical guitarist, struggled to find a place for his style of playing which was far more experimental and expressive. His playing was unique, he played by feel, and sticking to set arrangements and notes wasn't really his style. This must have been frustrating and further drove a wedge between him and the rest of the band, especially in the studio, which would explain his absence from the later albums.
One quote from Neal Smith really brings how how bad things had become with Glen in the band.
Glen Buxton with 'The Dead Boys', CBGB's 1978.
In 1974 Alice, Michael Bruce, and Neal Smith all begun working on solo projects, and in 1977 Glen was invited to join the new 'Billion Dollar Babies' band for the 'Battle Axe' album but turned it down. Nothing else was heard from him until May 7th 1978 when he popped up with punk band 'The Dead Boys' at New York's legendary CBGB's club for a benefit gig for injured Dead Boy Johnny Blitz. Glen joined the band for a supercharged version of 'I'm Eighteen' which he announced as "a song I wrote". An audience recording of the show exists and while the sound is far from perfect Glen's distinctive lead sound can clearly be heard.
In 1979 he popped up again, this time joining ex-bandmates Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway at a 'Flying Tigers' show in Connecticut, and in 1980 he showed up at a party in New York for punk band 'Shrapnel' to jam on 'School's Out', but as the band started the song the "powers that be" started to turn off the power and lights. After the show Glen talked about his plans for new songs, inspired by the New York punk scene and written with his girlfriend Susan, and his plans for a come back, but he was realistic about his situation. In a rare interview with Rolling Stone he said:
By 1983 Glen seems to have cleaned up a great deal. He had returned to Phoenix and worked for Goodyear Aerospace as a solderer putting transistors onto boards and connecting them. He actually worked there at the same time as a certain Mr. Furnier (Alice's dad). He formed a new band called 'Virgin' who performed small shows around town playing new original songs and a few Cooper classics including 'Desperado', I'm Eighteen', 'Caught In A Dream' and 'No More Mr Nice Guy'. A 30 minute promotional film exists and shows Glen seemingly healthy and happy, his playing retaining his distinctive seventies sound. The band was completed by Michael Nitro on guitar, Fred Macrone on drums and Mike 'Postman' Postal on bass. The band recorded eight songs but they were never released.
Glen Buxton with 'Virgin' in 1983
Glen then disappeared again until the mid-90s. He'd moved to Clarion, Iowa, where in 1997 he paired up with Michael Flynn to perform small shows as 'Buxton/Flynn' around the area He was reported to be practicing guitar four to five hours a day ready to go into a local studio and record on April 25th.
With the advent of the internet in became easier for information to be found and while Glen never publicly embraced the digital age his sister Janice did post a few comments some updates and insights on her brother:
(Janice Buxton, February 1997)
The show Janice refers to was called 'Just Testing', a cable access show produced by Lonesome Roadie Productions. On various episodes Glen interviewed Steve Vai, Weird Al, and others. While it's great to see Glen out and about enjoying himself again it's clear from the footage that his previous rock and roll lifestyle has taken it's toll. One show features an interview with Glen at him home in Clarion, OH. He talks about his life, the early band days in Phoenix, his plans to marry his girlfriend Lori, and his hobbies and interests.
Glen Buxton at Area 51, October 10th 1997.
On October 10th 1997 Glen travelled to Houston, TX to reunite with his old band mates Michael Bruce and Neal Smith for a special show the Area 51 club in Houston. Unfortunately Dennis Dunaway was to unwell at the time to travel. They rehearsed briefly with Richie Scarlet on bass before appearing on a local radio show and playing an hour long set at the club. While Glen and Michael sounded a little rusty, to say the least, the show was a success and everyone concerned was glad they did it. Sadly it would be the last show Glen Buxton would ever play.
Glen Buxton 1947 - 1997 R.I.P.
The Official Press release:
Glen Buxton, 49, one of the founding members and the lead guitarist of the original Alice Cooper group, died of complications from pneumonia on Sunday, October 19, 1997 at at a hospital in Clarion, Iowa. Buxton was the co-writer of such rock n' roll classics as 'School's Out', 'I'm Eighteen', and 'Elected', and played lead guitar on seven albums by the Alice Cooper group including the chart-topping 'Billion Dollar Babies.'
Alice Cooper said, "I grew up with Glen, started the band with him, and he was one of my best friends. I think I laughed more with him than anyone else. He was an underrated and influential guitarist, a genuine rock n' roll rebel. Wherever he is now, I'm sure that there's a guitar, a cigarette, and a switchblade nearby."
How The News Broke:
Jeff Jatras, then manager of Michael Bruce, first posted the news through to the Sickthings mailing list on October 19th:
Brian Nelson, Alice Cooper's personal assistant replied shortly afterwards:
Glen had been very sick for a very long time. He would often tell me of his extremely bad health problems. He had been smoking and drinking since he was a teenager and had bouts with heroin over the years. I believe that I recently wrote here something to the effect that Glen lived a million lifetimes in the last 50 years in the true rock and roll life style. I am sorry that he is gone but glad that he is out of any misery or pain that he may have been in."
"Alice has been given the news."
"Glen Buxton-a true rock star."
A few days later on October 22nd he posted about the funeral:
Alice has already spoken to Janice and to Glen's fiancée, as well as Neal and Dennis.
In the end Alice never made the funeral. He took some flak on the internet over it, but after talking with the family he decided his appearance at the funeral, which was to be open to the public so fans could attend, would take attention away from Glen, the last thing he wanted to happen.
Michael, Neal and Dennis were of course there, along with other faces from Glen's life old and new.
A Letter from Janice Buxton Davison, Glen's sister:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have expressed words of condolence to me and the rest of the Buxton family. We are devastated by Glen's death. His part in our lives began many years before anyone else knew him as "GB".
Glen was always the comedian. He loved joking around and making plays on words, etc. He loved playing the guitar and being a part of the (Earwigs, Spiders, Nazz) Alice Cooper band. LOL!
His last two weeks in Houston meant so much to him. He had a ball playing with Neal and Mike again. He really appreciated how talented Richie Scarlet is. When I last spoke to him he raved about Richie Scarlet and how he could play any instrument.
He was looking forward to gigs in Albuquerque and Phoenix. After the Phoenix gig he was to come to my house in Bullhead City and be married to Lorrie. We had started to make the plans and they were firming up.
What a tragic loss, for Glen. Just as he was getting it together and feeling great about being a musician again, he was struck down. (I'll never understand why men don't go to the doctor when they should!)
Once again, thanks for all of your kind words and notes. We are trying to put together a booklet for our parents. I will include all the sickthingers' messages and mail sent to me privately.
The blond bomber is looking over your shoulder, I know he's looking over mine.
Janice Buxton Davison
"The ceremony was very nice. At the beginning when the coffin was rolled up to the front, they asked for a last round of applause, in which we were more than happy to oblige. The stories from the local friends were all about the guy they knew as Glen, not some rock star. Flowers came from all over, including from Alice, Brian 'Renfield" Nelson, Shep Gordon, Bob Ezrin, and relatives. Several flower arrangements were in the shape of, or included small, guitars. Michael, Neal, and Dennis were there as well as many friends and family. [Rockin'] Reggie Vincent spoke as well as local preachers, etc. The open casket before the ceremony was loaded with memorabilia including an Alice Cooper pin on his vest, photos, a few funny tidbits, etc. His guitar stood at the end of the casket. Everything was very touching! They played Stairway to Heaven at the end.
After the brief (it was chilly) grave side meeting, we all went to a pizza place where there was plenty of talk, photos, food, and beverages. I was surprised to see my own photos of recent weeks laid out on a table. I had emailed scans to Janice, who had them printed on glossy paper and they nearly looked like the real photos.
G.B.'s family was very touched by the large amount of feedback from this very list of folks, which was all printed out by Jeff Jatras and put in a bonded notebook. I also told Janice and Lorrie's about the personal feedback I also got from my small tribute page. Thank you all.
Although the circumstances were of course tragic, it was good to see all these people together. I'm sorry Alice couldn't make it also. Yes, we did sort of enjoy yourselves at the end... G.B. would want it that way! "
(Bryan Erickson, October 1997)
The First Tributes
Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser of Blue Oyster Cult had this to say of the ACG and Glen on the AOL B.O.C. bulletin board.
"Sorry to hear of Glen's death. I was just speaking to Neal Smith about a reunion he did in Texas with Glen and Mike Bruce recently, with Richie Scarlet filling in for Dennis. Said Glen was a bit rusty but still capable of rocking. BOC has always thought the original Alice band was as fine an example of American Rock as any of the greats. They were the biggest influence on our presentation and were peerless in their rockstar carriage. They are missed, and Glen, R.I.P."
Steve Vai later made the following statement:
I'm so sorry about Glen. I've known for some time now and it broke my heart when I heard the news. I didn't know him personally but his song writing had a very big impact on my life. When I was a young teenager, Alice Coopers music with the original band was my entire world. Glen's playing was so on the money. He knew how to play and write the most quintessential rock licks of the day. It didn't matter if I felt out of place at school or at home, I had his music and it carried me through some tough times. To this day if one of those songs comes on the radio I just can't carry on a conversation with anyone. My ear and my heart goes right to those songs.
When I finally got to meet Glen I was glad to see he was a real sweetheart. It's frightening to meet your heroes sometimes because you never know how they are going to be but he was a warm soul. I'm glad the lord saw fit for him to leave us with so many treasures in his music.
The Glen Buxton Memorial Fund - The Beginnings
Glen Buxton's memorial in Clarion, Iowa.
While a few of us had the opportunity to pay our collective respects to Glen's family and friends in person, many did not and we have received many calls from fans asking if there is anything that we as a group could do to honour the memory of Glen. Having given it some thought and with the blessing of Lorrie, Glen's fiancée, and the Buxton family, we are initiating a campaign to raise funds exclusively from Glen's fans worldwide for the purpose of having a beautiful monument prepared for placement at Glen's grave site in 1998.
We are appealing to you to consider making a contribution as a symbolic gesture that will provide a lasting landmark to honour Glen.
While ideas are still in the early stages, all plans and ideas will be vetted and approved by Lorrie. All funds raised will be held in an account at First Citizens National Bank in Clarion, Iowa, and will be used entirely to honour Glen's memory. No contributed funds will be used for anything other than expenses directly incurred in the creation of this monument.
All contributions should be made directly to: 'Glen Buxton Memorial Fund'
Once a contribution is made, kindly send an email note so that a record may be kept.
While the summer of 1998 is still one cold and snowy winter away, it would be wonderful if we could organize a weekend event in Clarion, Iowa, when we could unveil the monument and celebrate the life of a rock 'n' roll legend... the incomparable Glen Buxton.
Thank you for your consideration.
Paul Brenton and Bill Risoli
The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekends
The Glen Buxton Weekends, organised by Paul Brenton and Janice Buxton, became a regular part of the Alice Cooper Calendar with four events taking place. Below are some reports from the gatherings. Rather then go for the bare facts of who was there, and what they did/played, I thought it better, in the spirit of the events, to where possible use reports from fans who were there, to give a better feel of the events and what they meant to people. Some reports are heavily edited to remove chitchat but I hope they still get across how cool these events are.
The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend I - Clarion, Iowa August 7th - 9th 1998
"The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend went ahead in August 1998 and was a great success. In attendance were Glen's Mother and Father, Brother, Sister, Michael Bruce, Neal Smith and John Speer (Original Earwigs/Nazz drummer) amongst others. The weekend featured a question and answer session, the unveiling of a new grave stone and climaxed with a performance of the Michael Bruce Group with Neal Smith guesting and various other guests joining in he fun. Dennis was unable to attend due to his continuing health problems:
"In answer to this question... I spoke to Dennis about ten days before the memorial. He was having problems with his back and in a lot of pain. His medications were giving him stomach problems. He said he couldn't even ride in a limo without having a great amount of pain... so riding in an aeroplane was almost out of the question. He had his plane ticket and was planning to come. I know he talked it over with Cindy and really made an effort to be there... but it was best for him to stay home and get better. At least I know he tried to be there..."
(Janice, August 1998)
To commemorate the event, a book, 'GB and Me' was produced which featured text and pictures by many people associated with GB over the years. Books were also made for all future events and event T-shirts were also available.
The monument was unveiled to show a 3' x 3' jet black granite square in a 'School's Out' desk design, with some obvious relevant changes: G.B.'s initials are above "+ L.M." to honour his love for Lorrie, his fiancée, a large book is in the centre and the open pages of the book read "Glen E. Buxton 1947 - 1997" and beneath the date the sheet music score for the opening riff of 'School's Out' laid out in note-to-note accuracy. Glen's friendship to Rockin' Reggie is noted by the initials "RR" in the Rolls Royce logo style. All of Glen's ACG bandmates are referenced as per the 'School's Out' cover. The back of the monument reads "Glen blessed this world with his gift of music."
The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend II - Phoenix Arizona October 22nd - 24th, 1999
A report by Bryan Erikson:
"Saturday morning and afternoon were filled with an interesting Q&A session which not only included Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway> and session guitarist Mick Mashbir, but also Jack Curtis who gave 'The Spiders' one of their first big breaks in Phoenix by making them the VIP Club house band. Jack told great stories about this time period. Eventually Rockin' Reggie Vincent and Michael Bruce also joined the panel.
Many of us split up into teams and played an ACG trivia game, heavy on GB's life. We had fun with it even though there was some unfair scoring which drew a lot of good-natured heat from the crowd.
Paul Brenton also had some great memorabilia created for the event and we bought some of that. Hopefully he will offer to sell us online what is leftover.
The planned trolley ride wasn't too great because we got started late and had to blow off most of the stops. Us on the early bus at least got to stop at Cortez High School, who had a marquee that welcomed the friends and family of GB 65 graduate.
There was a big crowd already at Cooper'stown at 6 PM. The world series was showing on the big screens. Eventually they announced that at the games end a private party got the area in front of the stage and others had to move elsewhere.
Mike Postel (formerly of GB's band Virgin) and his band 'Sustain' played early. Then after a somewhat lengthy quiet period, Paul came out to introduce Glen Buxton's 'Billion Dollar Babies'. The crowd started getting a huge rush from Paul's intro which was followed by Michael, Alice, Dennis and Neal walking on stage to a huge reception. Not a person sitting anywhere.
It put a lump in your throat, tingles on the top of your head, your fist into the air and a tear in the eye... partially sad in memory of GB and the same time tears of joy at the very sight of what was happening. You prayed that they would play every song that you could think of and it would never end. It was just an incredible moment in time and in rock and roll history.
More bands followed including Skip Ladd ripping on his fretless bass during his three piece band 'Grandma's New Wig' set, Scott Rowe and his 'Thrashers' tribute to Alice, Dennis Dunaway's nephew David's band 'Dementia', 'Masterfister' from Illinois, and a jam on Alice tunes with Michael Bruce returning to the stage along with drummers from both 'Dementia' and 'Thrashers' and the terrific brothers from Iceland Ingo and Silli. I taped at least one song by every band. Scott Rowe even did the feather pillow trick on the Cooper'stown stage. A GREAT time was had by all!Sunday night a lot of us were still hanging around. Michael worked up plans from his room to place calls and arrange a jam session. Several carloads of folks tagged along to see Michael, Dennis, and Neal play together at Mike Postel's band's small rehearsal room. They were joined there by Ingo Geirdal on guitar and a few random singers in the bunch. It was totally awesome to see them break into a unrehearsed 'Halo of Flies' because it sent Neal into the drum solo section which blew everyone away."
(Bryan Erikson, 26th October 1999)
The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend III - Hollywood, August 2nd - 4th 2001
Heavily edited highlights from an epic report by Nick Woodburn to give a first hand flavour of the event.
Friday 2nd August
"Straight after a shower and a change of clothes, I advanced to the top floor to reach the function room. A table to the left greeted us with a multitude of Glen Buxton badges. All with the names of the people who were due to attend. After finding mine and pinning it to my shirt, I set about checking out the stalls and looking around to see whom I may recognise, nobody seemed apparent at first. Two young girls were selling T-shirts and various memorabilia, the two girls turned out to be Dennis Dunaway's daughters, Chelsea and Renee.
Amongst the merchandise were memorial weekend folders, which contained various bits of information for the weekend, and passes for Saturday evening's events at the Whisky-a-Go-Go, these items were purchased and remain a very important part of my Alice Cooper collection. Just a little further along sat Dennis himself signing albums and Alice Cooper Group related items, effortlessly chatting to each and every person who requested his signature(s). Dennis came out with story after story, he was fascinating to listen to.
Eventually I bumped into Neal Smith, who recognised me from my name badge as being one of the people who had been communicating with him via E-mail just prior to making the trek across the Atlantic; Neal greeted me with an outstretched arm, and welcomed me to the US. I got him to sign my GBMW folder, which he obliged by writing "To Nick, thanks a Billion, Neal Smith".
On leaving Neal, I went back to my room and got myself a beer more suitable to my discerning palate. Approaching the function room again, I noticed a sign pointing towards the swimming pool and the outside drinking and dining area, to the left of me. Outside I ventured, for a bit of fresh air. Magnificent views of L.A. were there to be taken in; I realised that a scene from the movie 'Spinal Tap' had been shot here. I got chatting with a few people who were attending Glen's memorial, everyone I spoke to was extremely courteous and friendly. Despite traveling alone, I never felt lonely once, each every single individual seemed to welcome me with open arms, I became very much a part of a big group.
About to go back into the function, a little chap, who had just emerged from the pool, with brown curly hair and a beard, was introduced to me, as Joe. It was Joe Bouchard of 'Blue Oyster Cult' fame, now of 'Bouchard, Dunaway and Smith'. Almost straight away a friendly banter started between us. It began with me making apologies for not recognising him, even after having seen B.O.C. a couple of times in the past. I think I made up for it by saying that they were both excellent performances, and that I was too far away to see their faces properly. Joe was an incredible character.
Arriving back in the main room, I saw Glen's parents, his sister Janice and in the distance Michael Bruce, who was surrounded by a number people.
Saturday 3rd August - The Hyatt-afternoon.
This was the big day! After a lengthy stroll around the neighbourhood it was back to the top floor for question and answers with the major dignitaries in attendance. Being one of the first up there, I browsed at the many raffle prizes, every single item was well worth winning, with a first prize of one of Glen's guitars.
A row of tables were set out at the front of the room, with all the names of the people involved in the questions and answers. They were - Janice Glen's sister), Neal, Dennis, Michael and Joe Bouchard. (I can't think of anybody else, but I stand to be corrected.). All was set for the off, but Michael Bruce had not arrived! Things became delayed, put back, until sadly this part of the weekend had to be cancelled. During this waiting period it has to be said that Neal, Dennis and Joe, impressed me and quite a lot of other people, very much. Virtually all afternoon they sat at individual tables and signed albums, posters, you name it, nonstop! They showed immense dedication and loyalty to their fans. Thanks very much lads.
The Rainbow - late afternoon.
The Rainbow is considerably smaller than I had anticipated, but nonetheless an important and wonderful piece of rock'n'roll history. Upstairs it is very Cooperesque, the lair of the Hollywood Vampires is situated in here; this is the very place where Alice is filmed on the Prime Cuts video/DVD. To get into the lair you have to ascend a small flight of steps into a tiny area, which would barely hold ten people. However, nobody is allowed any sort of access whatsoever, you can only view from the outside.
As soon as the Buxton friends and family had finished dinner, an award was to be made to each of the diners, a commemorative plaque, presented by various people who were who were attending the Memorial Weekend. Paul Brenton started the ball rolling by making a short speech about Glen. Although we were all there to enjoy ourselves, it brought home to me what the event was really all about when I glanced round and saw Glen's dad comforting Glen's mother, who appeared quite moved by the occasion.
The Whisky-Go-Go - Evening.
This was the main event of the weekend, Overlooking a busy crossroads was the neon 'Whisky A-Go-Go' sign, and lit up underneath 'A TRIBUTE TO THE LEGENDARY GLEN BUXTON'. The Whisky was not as big inside as I had anticipated. First up on stage, I think, were 'Grandma's New Wig' [Featuring Skip Ladd, an old band friend], from Phoenix. They were followed by 'Last Romance', from Italy. Both bands played excellent memorable sets. Third up it was going to be 'Bouchard, Dunaway and Smith'; this is the band I wanted to see more than anything else. The atmosphere was generating to a point whereby, you just felt like you could walk on thin air.
BDS hit the stage, a riff echoed around the hall, I knew it, what was it? I just couldn't place it! Dennis's thundering bass riff then gave it all away. It was 'Don't Blow Your Mind'. It did literally blow your mind. Later on in the set the band were joined, up on stage, by Dennis's two daughters, doing some backing vocals. Included in the set was a superb version of the Blue Oyster Cult classic, 'Don't Fear the Reaper'. I really cannot wait to see this band again, at Crewe, England; later on the year. They really are one of the best bands I have seen in many years.
Shortly after the BDS set, somebody informed me that Michael Bruce had finally caught up with us, and was sat up in the balcony. Fortunately I had brought my memorial pack with me, amongst a few other things, so I could get them signed. When Michael hit the stage, he used two bands, his regular band and the band he used for his British tour ['Sadness Kills The Superman']. All in all it was a very similar set to the one played in Britain, but still excellent nonetheless. At the end of 'Second Coming', Michael actually got Monica Lauer up on stage, to do the child's vocal passage. Monica was the original child's voice, on the 'Love it to Death' album. Monica appeared to have immense difficulty in avoiding a fit of the giggles, during this short stint. It was good though!
As the evening progressed I became more and more absorbed into the intensity of the music, my body almost began to go out of control, this was one hell of an experience. I do not think I am speaking just for myself on that one either. Everybody appeared to be in total ecstasy. I really do wish more people could have witnessed this occasion, it was very special indeed. I concluded to myself that Glen had created a family, a family which had come together from all over the world, friendships were being established, friendships which are going to last a very long time. A small band of hard core Cooperites from around the globe had come together. (No disrespect to the good folks who couldn't make it.).
The rest of the evening was a collection of intriguing jam sessions, of classic Coop songs, between the varying performers of the gig. Quite a few people from the audience were going up on stage and performing their favourite Coop classic. Should I go up there? When does anybody get a chance to perform on stage with the likes of Dennis Dunaway in your backing band?
Sunday 4th August.
The Dunaways came into the hotel; Dennis came over and joined us. We got chatting about anything and everything. Michael Bruce stated in his book that everybody liked Dennis, it was very obvious why. Once again Dennis went into overdrive telling story after story. As the night progressed Mr and Mrs. Buxton, and Ken and Janice Buxton joined us. Once again many a tale was told. Ken told us of when Glen was employed at a golf club; his role was to water the greens after the close of play. One particular evening Glen had left it till after dark, Ken had to help him out. However difficulties were endured, since it was near impossible to find the outlets for the sprinklers at night. I am almost certain that Ken said Glen had been out drinking most of the day.
At the end of the evening we said all of our pleasantries, wished each other all the very best and retired to our individual rooms. Concluding a marvellous weekend.
The Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend IV - Cleveland August 1st - 3rd 2003
Edited highlights from a report by George Orlay, again to give a feel of the event
Friday Morning we went down to the hotel bar. Greeted and reacquainted ourselves with lots of folks, Mr. & Mrs. Buxton, Janice and Bob, Ken Buxton, Mike Postel and many family members, Michael Bruce, his drummer Joe Garbo, Neal and Rose Smith, Dennis, Cindy, Renee and Chelsea Dunaway, and on and on. Of special note was David of the Italian band [Last Romance] that played at the GBMW in LA.
The meet and greet started and the guys signed autographs for us all night long. BDS had their new live CD for sale and it rocks something awesome. It captures all of their energy and is very well recorded and produced. Neal had a shirt on the table that he was planning on wearing at the show the next night. He asked everyone to sign it for him. The Buxtons bought with them Glen's stage silver jumpsuit for display, amazing to look at. At one point, Paul gave a little speech and presented the Buxton's and Michael, Neal and Dennis with commemorative plaques. A very touching moment.
The next morning we wondered the record convention until 11:00am when Michael, Joe and Mike Postel hit the stage. They rocked through a great set including 'Be My Lover', 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' and 'Muscle Of Love'. After this was over, we had 2 & 1/5 hours to kill so we went into the 'Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame' to see the exhibit. Bonnie showed us were Alice was located (the mirrored hat - courtesy of Andrew Clark, The Snakebite hat, '80s guillotine, '80s decapitated head and the classic leopard boots from B$B - courtesy of Brian Nelson).
2:00pm and BDS hits the stage with a rockin' version on 'Schools Out', followed by 'Astronomy', 'Halo of Flies' and '(Don't Fear) The Reaper'. Pure magic as usual. Lots of pleased fans. But these were only the teaser sets, the real performances were to be seen later in the evening. After the set, we had a Q&A in the Hall's theatre. Good questions, good info.
We hailed a cab and went to the flats. The venue was a local watering hole where the locals were initially put off by the fact that we closed down the largest portion and took over their place. While I got a lot of nasty looks, every one I talked to was more than gratuitous and very interested in hearing what was going on.
'Poohah' were pretty good, then BDS hit the stage with a vengeance. Glen would have been proud of how hard Joe, Neal and Dennis played this gig. They kicked off with 'I Want Two', then into 'Caught in a Dream'. They wailed through a two plus hour set. Grand finale's were MC5's 'Kick out the Jams' (introduced by Neal in the signature fashion "Kick Out The Jams Mother F$#ckers!!!"), Iggy & The Stooges '1969' and then 'I'm Eighteen' (With Michael Bruce on Vocals) paying tribute to the Detroit scene the band lived through. The finale was 'Black Juju' that was just awesome with Dennis' vocal. I talked to Neal and Joe about the covers and they told me they rehearsed 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', but felt they got '1969' down better.
After BDS Michael took the stage with Joe Garbo and Mike Postel. He rocked the house and turned the stage over to Skip Ladd, Michael and Joe who just improvised. As Mike told me the next day "hey, did you like Led Zeps 'Heartbreaker'?" Pulled that one out of my ass! He evidently never played that before, could'a fooled me. It was a fantastic night that led to some partying in the hotel rooms until the wee hours of the morning.