The first Alice Cooper record has grown to be my favorite over many years of listening. The inventiveness and sheer musicality of this record is unparalleled. It was an extremely exciting time of their creative life: they were stoked to work with Zappa, had a bunch of well rehearsed & bizarre tunes under their belts, and were poised to take over the world. The result was a record that is one of the most urgent and honest documents of a creative musical collective that you could ever hear. I love it to this day and hear more in it every time I listen to it.
To my knowledge, the band stopped performing material from this record right around 1970 ( the last set list I can find with PFY material is Chicago Underground, Warren, Michigan, 23 July 1970 which had Levity Ball and Fields of Regret still in the set; but also had I'm Eighteen, heralding a big change for the band ).
I have always wanted to hear this material live. Imagining the opening chords of Fields of Regret exploding at concert volumes, hearing Levity Ball in high fidelity without track bleed, experiencing the open improv sections of songs like Sing Low Sweet Cheerio take off in a live setting... these are moments I try to conjure while listening to the Pretties For You record, as well as live shows and demos from this era.
But even imagination has its limits, so I figured if it means that much to me to hear this stuff live, I better be the one to do it.
I am grateful to John Zorn for offering me a week long residency at The Stone, NYC from Nov 3-8, 2015. For one of the twelve shows I'm preparing, I decided to put a band together to perform Pretties live.
Praise and gratitude to the extraordinary musicians who've agreed to take this trip with me. I've worked with guitarist Nick Oddy in a number of settings, and his creative and open relationship to his instrument is exactly the kind of approach that will bring life to Michael Bruce's parts. Paul Bertolino knows the Alice vocal legacy inside and out, often performing Ezrin-era ACG with his own tribute band My Stars. And Paul sounds incredible on this early stuff... he's the perfect guy for the gig! Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Adam Minkoff is truly a musician's musician, as comfortable singing Captain Beefheart covers, as he is performing his own arrangement of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for expanded rock band, or touring with the popular Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine. Max Johnson is a master band leader, composer, improviser, and bassist. Citing Dennis Dunaway as one of his main influences, he is a natural fit for this project. Drummer Glenn Johnson, best known for his work with Detroit rock band Leisure Class, quite literally grew up on this stuff, and will bring that heritage to this material.
Thanks to Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway for their generous time and support for this project. Thanks to them we have these wonderfully strange lyrics thoroughly vetted. They also offered details on equipment and misc gear during this era of the band, as well as sharing a few choice stories here and there that help bring the project to life in our minds.
This band is *sick*. I cannot wait to hear Pretties for You live.
Nick Didkovsky, March 18, 2015, NYC