Pushing the envelope

Alice Cooper co-founder and Hall Of Fame inductee Dennis Dunaway answers your questions!

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Pushing the envelope

Post by Type-O » Sat Jul 02, 2022 8:55 pm

Hi Dennis,
Thank you very much for doing this, I've had a great time reading through your answers.

Everyone's aware that ACG pushed the limits with the stage show and so on, but I can feel at times that you did the same thing musically.

For instance there's a pretty heavy part in Halo Of Flies (I crossed the ocean...) and listening to live version of Eighteen there's usually a jam part toward the end that turns out very fast, reaching up towards 200 bpm (compared to Metallica's Hit The Lights that's around 160 bpm). How much did you try to push the envelope musically? And was there a certain member wanting to go heavier or faster?

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Re: Pushing the envelope

Post by Dreary » Sun Jul 03, 2022 5:06 am

By "pushing the limits" it sounds like you're referring to tempo and aggressive playing.

Whether we were rehearsing, performing live, or just talking about what we were going to do next, we were a highly energetic group. That energy came from all of us.
But it was up to Neal and I to hold the tempos down, but we were like thoroughbreds off to the races, especially when feeding off of the excitement of a live crowd.

During the Love It To Death and Killer sessions, on "tempo-mental" songs, Jack Richardson would pull in the reigns by beating one of Neal's drumsticks on an aluminum ashtray, which we would hear clanking loud and clear in our headphones. Sometimes it only took a couple of "run throughs" until Neal and I wouldn't settle in and wouldn't need it.
On other songs, like "Halo of Flies", we would let the tempo vary according to feel. The bass/drum duo section is quite peppy.

Some live recordings from those days are inaccurate because of varying speeds on cassette machines. But if it's in tune with A440, it's the band actually speeding up.

Playing more aggressively falls into the same explanation. If we were in an explosive mood, we played that way. But what worked on stage would pin the needles in the recording studio.
Luckily, we were surrounded by experts with great guidance and we were fast learners.

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