Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

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Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Rock10 » Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:34 am

Why did he make a solo album in 1975, but then hardly did any music afterwards? He was the strongest writer in the band after Alice.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by pitkin88 » Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:59 am

Probably because it stunk and didn't come out until the early 80' s. Then Billion Dollar Babies flopped and left him out a lot of cash. He also had a divorce. With little cash coming in annually from Alice Cooper and no fan base there probably wasn't much incentive.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Si » Wed Jun 02, 2021 6:56 am

Rock10 wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:34 am
Why did he make a solo album in 1975, but then hardly did any music afterwards? He was the strongest writer in the band after Alice.
With respect to all concerned.. "the strongest writer AFTER Alice?"

While I'm sure Alice had input into everything, as they all did, he was NOT writing the vast majority of the music for the band. Without them and Ezrin Alice wouldn't have HAD any music to record.

To a degree 'strongest' is down to taste of course (the poppy songs verse the "epics"), but Mike was by far the most prolific writer in the band. That said, it did seem it needed the input from the rest to elevate his songs from decent to great. Compare his solo album to any ACG album and you can see that the band's input is missed. They lack that spark that the band had together.

But as to your actually question, I would guess a failed solo (In My Own Way) album, followed by a failed band album (Battle Axe - which he took the lead on) AND the disintegration of both ACG and B$B, probably hit him hardest of all.
When you're in a major band you start to feel invincible, with everyone telling you how great you are - and then it all came tumbling down.
When no one seems to want to hear your songs, why bother? It's likely he would have struggled to get a decent solo record deal as well, as the general public only "knew" Alice.

All that is a massive hit to your ego, after years of being at the top, especially when you see your old writing partner still selling out football stadiums... playing YOUR songs!

And of course Neal, Glen and Dennis (who arguably WAS the strongest writer) were in the same boat. Glen had seemingly had enough and bailed on music anyway, but neither Dennis or Neal managed to do much publicly for a long time afterwards (and even today everything is self-produced). They were back to playing clubs with Neals' Flying Tigers which, while they were having fun, were hardly setting the record business alight (most people didn't even know that band existed at the time). Where was the Tigers new album? Didn't happen... likely for the same reasons.

The sad fact is no one outside the die hard ACG fans knew who they were, and they couldn't effectively use the band name any more with another "Alice Cooper" already out there and established. They were back to square one with little name recognition - and without the "lightning in a bottle" that was the original band chemistry.

True, Alice didn't have that chemistry either, but what he did have was Ezrin, Wagner and Hunter - who were "lightning in a different way - and most importantly the name which was a HUGE difference. To the general public there was no separation between MOL and WTMN. It was just a continuation.

Without that the rest were basically back to square one, and how many bands are there out there that never get that big break? Millions - and often that isn't down to whether they are any good, but simply that no one is interested enough in that one band over all the others, and willing to throw large amounts of money at them to make them a success.

Without the band Mike just didn't have the spark .. and eventually just gave up.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Railwayman » Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:39 am

Excellent post Si. It does seem that 'whole' was greater than the sum of its parts

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Ted Sallis » Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:31 pm

Railwayman wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:39 am
Excellent post Si. It does seem that 'whole' was greater than the sum of its parts
I agree; excellent post. To add a couple of things: MB stated in his book that he couldn't get a record deal to release his solo album in the U.S.; apparently he did get a record deal in (then) West Germany, but they weren't going to release the album until/unless Michael obtained a U.S. deal.

Also, in his own book Dennis stated that although he likes Mike's solo album, he had higher expectations for it and suggests that if MB had 'sobered up and gotten some rest' before making the album he might have been more focused on it.

Just a couple of additional points which kind of expand on Si's explanation.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by mr.barlow » Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:50 pm

Incredible post Si! Sums it all up perfectly!

The only thing I would add is that is has to be a hard pill to swallow for Michael, knowing it was his ego and his idea for a solo album that brought it all crashing down, including his career.

I think once Alice got a taste of working without drama and egos, and the disaster that Glen turned out to be---it was a no brainer to stay solo.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Si » Wed Jun 02, 2021 4:34 pm

mr.barlow wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:50 pm
The only thing I would add is that is has to be a hard pill to swallow for Michael, knowing it was his ego and his idea for a solo album that brought it all crashing down, including his career.
Honestly, I doubt he sees it that way.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by mr.barlow » Wed Jun 02, 2021 4:50 pm

I know. he didn't see it then and still doesn't see it now.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Rock10 » Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:10 pm

My point is that he caused Alice to go solo. There have been smaller labels for hard rock and metal artists since the mid 1990s that he could have been signed to. I said that Alice was the strongest writer, because of the Billion Dollar Babies band album, which wasn't good. As far as the others, their solo music wasn't as good either, but they didn't write as many songs as Michael.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Ted Sallis » Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:43 pm

Rock10 wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:10 pm
My point is that he caused Alice to go solo. There have been smaller labels for hard rock and metal artists since the mid 1990s that he could have been signed to. I said that Alice was the strongest writer, because of the Billion Dollar Babies band album, which wasn't good. As far as the others, their solo music wasn't as good either, but they didn't write as many songs as Michael.
Regarding MB having caused Alice to go solo: Dennis Dunaway has stated in his own Forum in this website that the 5 Members of the ACG had agreed to make another album together after Michael had gotten his solo album 'out of his system'. What happened instead is that Alice secretly legally changed his name to the band's name and negotiated a record deal with the Alice Cooper name that no longer included all five people that shared and spent decades building that name.

Re. MB signing with a smaller label, I think - but don't know for certain - that Michael may have been looking to sign with a bigger label. As for Alice being the 'strongest writer' due to the Battle Axe album not being good, I consider that album to be far superior to anything Alice has done on his own. I agree that the solo material from the other ACG Members - including Michael - wasn't as good as the LITD to BDB (or MOL) output from the Group, nor was any of the solo material as good as the Battle Axe album either (in my view).

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by cooperrocks » Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:36 am

I thought the Battle Axe album was decent but Alice has a ton of solo albums (most) that I prefer by a long shot. I will say that I think Dennis Dunaway's Bones From the Yard is outstanding.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by mr.barlow » Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:47 am

Ted Sallis wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:43 pm
Rock10 wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:10 pm
My point is that he caused Alice to go solo. There have been smaller labels for hard rock and metal artists since the mid 1990s that he could have been signed to. I said that Alice was the strongest writer, because of the Billion Dollar Babies band album, which wasn't good. As far as the others, their solo music wasn't as good either, but they didn't write as many songs as Michael.
Regarding MB having caused Alice to go solo: Dennis Dunaway has stated in his own Forum in this website that the 5 Members of the ACG had agreed to make another album together after Michael had gotten his solo album 'out of his system'. What happened instead is that Alice secretly legally changed his name to the band's name and negotiated a record deal with the Alice Cooper name that no longer included all five people that shared and spent decades building that name.

Re. MB signing with a smaller label, I think - but don't know for certain - that Michael may have been looking to sign with a bigger label. As for Alice being the 'strongest writer' due to the Battle Axe album not being good, I consider that album to be far superior to anything Alice has done on his own. I agree that the solo material from the other ACG Members - including Michael - wasn't as good as the LITD to BDB (or MOL) output from the Group, nor was any of the solo material as good as the Battle Axe album either (in my view).

Ted
It's my opinion that Alice was well served by leaving all that drama behind and going out on his own. You had all of the ego, Glen and his demons and being absent in the studio since School's Out, and the changing music scene as well. Add in all of the substance abuse by ALL involved and like some relationships go---had run it's course.

It seems that the passage of time has proved that Alice made the right choice as he is now an American icon. Also, finding a multi-million dollar Warhol in your garage is icing on the cake at this point in his life!

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Ted Sallis » Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:46 pm

mr.barlow wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:47 am
It's my opinion that Alice was well served by leaving all that drama behind and going out on his own. You had all of the ego, Glen and his demons and being absent in the studio since School's Out, and the changing music scene as well. Add in all of the substance abuse by ALL involved and like some relationships go---had run it's course.

It seems that the passage of time has proved that Alice made the right choice as he is now an American icon. Also, finding a multi-million dollar Warhol in your garage is icing on the cake at this point in his life!
I agree that in taking the Alice Cooper name for himself, Alice likely preserved the longevity of the name by leaving the 'drama' behind and assuming full control (with Shep). This way he was able to resume working with Bob Ezrin as the producer in the studio and - as has been suggested elsewhere - explore more deeply the Alice Cooper character by making albums like WTMN and FTI.

Alice is still a viable recording and touring entity to this day (even though his popularity has waned), which is commendable. I just think that the quality of the music took a big dive once the ACG were no longer.

Ted

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by pitkin88 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:17 pm

Apart from WTMN I much prefer Battle Axe to Alice's solo albums up to FTF.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by pitkin88 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm

I find it very strange that both Michael and Neal decided to finance their own albums without a label pending. Neals decision was just bizarre as he hired Jack Douglas and The New York Philharmonic! I'm guessing that didn't come cheap. Also he didn't have enough songs for a full album!! No surprise it stayed in his basement for years.

I'm not sure if Michael at least used his own studio which would make sense and keep costs low.

After the failure of these two albums it beggars belief they sunk so much into the Billion Dollar Babies tour ( 4 shows! ) remixing Battle Axe etc.

Mike's album is the worst of the two with no direction and very bland generic songs. So disappointed when I got this in the early 80's.

Platinum God though very spotty had the title track which is really good and very eerie towards the end. Would have worked very well as a band epic.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Rock10 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:20 pm

Michael's music was too lite.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by mr.barlow » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:06 am

pitkin88 wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm
I find it very strange that both Michael and Neal decided to finance their own albums without a label pending. Neals decision was just bizarre as he hired Jack Douglas and The New York Philharmonic! I'm guessing that didn't come cheap. Also he didn't have enough songs for a full album!! No surprise it stayed in his basement for years.

I'm not sure if Michael at least used his own studio which would make sense and keep costs low.

After the failure of these two albums it beggars belief they sunk so much into the Billion Dollar Babies tour ( 4 shows! ) remixing Battle Axe etc.

Mike's album is the worst of the two with no direction and very bland generic songs. So disappointed when I got this in the early 80's.

Platinum God though very spotty had the title track which is really good and very eerie towards the end. Would have worked very well as a band epic.
I'm guessing it was a case of runaway ego for both of them.
Also, what I find hard to fathom is that a label (even a small one) would not sign them even to a one-off deal. They were both part of one of the biggest acts in the world at the time and I would guess if even given the slightest promotion it could have been at least a break even for the label. Also, it could have landed them gigs with other acts at the time. To me--the biggest question I have is why none of them landed with established acts of the era.

If Neal didn't have a complete album, that explains it, which also makes me question the intellect of dumping one's own money into it.

Michael on the other hand thought he was a solid star when in reality he was just coming off a good run in part because he was surrounded by other massive talents and of course Ezrin. Time has proved him to be just a run-of-the-mill 1970s rock star. He learned a very expensive lesson in how an ego can make one delusional. It was his insistence on his solo album that basically led to the creation of WTMN so at least he deserves a big thank you for that!

As far as the promise that the band would get back together after the solo projects well what if Michael or Neal or both found success with their projects? I know it's pure speculation but would they have honored the promise if either of them were selling out stadiums on their own?

In my opinion it all comes down to one person---Bob Ezrin. Ezrin saw the future. Michael was stuck in the status quo.
The whole Alice Cooper formula needed to change. What was offensive and subversive in 1970 was no longer the same in 1974--especially when you are now in one of the biggest bands in the world with Top 40 hits. Also, the sailor suits was not the change needed. I LOVE the MOL album but with that being said it is basically a run of the mill album.

I often wonder if they brought in Wagner as a full time member on lead guitar if that would have given them the boost they needed--especially with writing. But I think Mike's ego would never allow it.

All in all---Alice made the right move. If he snuck around and "stole" the name--well as they say "it's not personal it's business" and rock and roll is ALL business. Alice understood and still understands that---I'm sure beaten into his head for the last fifty years by Shep.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by Rock10 » Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:15 am

I agree, but the original band should have reunited after "Goes to Hell".

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by pitkin88 » Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:09 am

A parallel to BDB's was SAHB ( without Alex ). Also in 77. They released an album called Fourplay and actually had a deal with SAHB's Mountain label. They also had a tour lined up and got some tv spots. A great press ad featured them in the studio with Alex, mouth taped up and bound, in the foreground. Harvey spoke their praises and offered some advice on the songs and production.I

If only Billion Dollar Babies had tried something similar. Maybe them holding Alice's severed head alongside the battle axe.

Mr Barlow makes a good point about if Mike had made it would be have come back. Who knows? Not a chance with that album which was so unCooper like. He obviously felt he could write in different styles but no one wanted what he served up.

I know he didn't like Wagner's stage presence and didn't particularly like Wagner's I Love The Dead. No idea if he felt threatened or maybe just didn't like a Johnny come lately to the party.

Glen should not have been featured on the covers for Billion Dollar Babies or Muscle Of Love. He played zero guitar. It's just dishonest. I think he even got an award for Mick Mashbirs brilliant solo on Slick Black Limousine. I couldn't live with myself. He probably should have been fired or placed on hiatus. To not bother to even try and learn the songs for the tour is pretty bad.

All said and done Id still like to hear a full reunion album and a limited ( at the very least ) tour. They deserve it.

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Re: Michael Bruce's solo album in 1975

Post by tuneylune » Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:37 am

Some good observations by all here...

In the late 90's, "the Igster" called Me to let Me know He had found IN MY OWN WAY and I was able to get my own copy the next day (at the Very missed Record and Tape Trader chain). Like Pitkin, I was also disappointed by IMOW and couldn't believe this was the same guy who had input into so many wonderful ACG songs. DD said in his book that He had higher expectations and I suppose many other who are fans did also. Loved BATTLE AXE, but as pointed out, only Die hard ACG fans would know who it was by , although having Alice's severed head on the jacket may have helped move some units.
All I've been able to find by Mike since are two live albums heavy on ACG material, although both sound good. Neal has done better with PLATINUM GOD and KILLSMITH projects (SEXUAL SAVIOR notwithstanding). I'm beginning to think that Dennis may have been the MVP as I find all His solo albums enjoyable, especially BONES FROM THE YARD.

What might have given us a couple more group albums would be to have taken time off after BDB tour. Release a Live album with a new song or two towards Xmas time getting back together in early 1974 for upcoming album, have Glen get his health and chops in order or be replaced (I think Mick Mashbir would have been the logical choice) and although Alice was the focal point, there should have been some press for the rest of the group. At least Band introductions during the show as Alice has been doing ever since the WTMN period onwards.

Of course, this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but I would sure have enjoyed more ACG releases.
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