As I mentioned in last month’s column, “Welcome to My Nightmare” and “Escape” were literally the beginning and end, respectively, of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare, and they were tracked with a different rhythm section. The core band for the rest of the album was pretty much the same group that toured with Lou Reed in 1973, and recorded the live albums Rock n Roll Animal (1974) and Lou Reed Live (1975): Dick Wagner and myself on guitars, Prakash John on bass, and Pentti “Whitey” Glan on drums. The only exception was that keyboardist Ray Colcord was on the Reed tours, but Joey Chirowsky was the keyboard player on Nightmare. Ray co-produced Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings (1975) with Jack Douglas, and later became a very successful film and TV composer. Ray passed away earlier this year, and I miss him. He was a terrific, funny, and intelligent guy.
Joey was formerly with the Canadian band Crowbar, and he was an amazing player—just check out his awesome clavinet solo on the title track. He also made us feel guilty, because he would come into the studio one hour before downbeat every single day and practice.
Even though we were hired as session guys for the album, we felt like a band. It was a really smart move on [producer] Bob Ezrin’s part to bring us in, because we already knew each other, and, more importantly, we knew how to play well with each other. So even though we were learning the songs on the floor as we were recording them, everything felt tight. I think that comes across on the album. We sound like a band, as opposed to a bunch of session guys. I was really excited to begin the sessions, because I knew there would be some really cool musical things happening. I think the rest of the guys felt pretty much the same.
I didn’t know then—nor do I know much today—about what happened to the Alice Cooper Group. I was friends with all of those guys, and they are still my friends today. I loved that band. However, I learned early on to keep my nose into the music and nowhere else. All I did know was that I was going to be a part of Alice Cooper’s first solo album, and because I had been such a fan, I was really eager to get started.
Stay tuned, boys and girls—next month we dive into recording the album.