Easy Action

Last updated
Easy Action
EasyAction.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 27, 1970 (1970-03-27)
Recorded1969–1970
StudioSunwest Studios, Hollywood [1]
Genre
Length34:13
Label Straight
Producer David Briggs
Alice Cooper chronology
Pretties for You
(1969)
Easy Action
(1970)
Love It to Death
(1971)

Easy Action is the second studio album by the American rock band Alice Cooper, released by Straight Records in March 1970. The title comes from a line from one of the band's favorite films, the musical West Side Story . As with Pretties for You , the band's debut from the previous year, Easy Action was neither a commercial nor critical success. Singles include "Shoe Salesman" and "Return of the Spiders".

Contents

Drummer Neal Smith later said of the record producer David Briggs, "David hated our music and us. I recall the term that he used, referring to our music, was 'Psychedelic Shit'. I think Easy Action sounded too dry, more like a TV or radio commercial and he did not help with song arrangement or positive input in any way." [7] None of Easy Action’s songs have ever been performed live by Cooper since the tour in support of their third album Love It to Death ; [8] in fact, only "Return of the Spiders" was performed on the tour for that album.

A small number of early U.S. copies were pressed on the blue Bizarre Records label. These copies carry the same catalog number WS-1845 and album cover as the regular Straight Records release.

Though perhaps seen as being an overlooked work in terms of later releases, Easy Action tracks "Mr. & Misdemeanor" and "Refrigerator Heaven" were both later included in the well-received compilation album The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper . "Refrigerator Heaven" was also included in the Warner Bros. compilation album Zapped, which showcased acts signed or produced by Frank Zappa. The closing track "Lay Down And Die, Goodbye", which was originally written and recorded as a single B-side by the band when it was called Nazz, begins with a sample of Tom Smothers saying "You are the only censor; if you don't like what I'm saying, you have a choice: you can turn me off". This is followed by an instrumental jam and finishes with the chorus from the demo. (The last part of the song is listed on the Science Fiction album as "I've Written Home to Mother", while the instrumental jam section is listed as "For Alice" or "An Instrumental".

Production

According to Alice Cooper's band manager, Shep Gordon, the band's record label wouldn't use the production tapes from producer David Briggs. Instead, the label opted to use the band's rehearsal tapes in the final cut of the album. [9]

Cooper and Dunaway were fond of the musical film West Side Story , and quotes from the film appear in the song "Still No Air" ("got a rocket in your pocket", "when you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way); another quote gives the album its title. [10]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Christgau's Record Guide C [11]

The album appeared in 1970 with a cover on which the band poses turned away from the camera, their uncovered backs exposed except where covered with their long hair. A radio commercial that accompanied the album's release touted the band as "unisex, raw, together, and violent—just like you, fellow American". [10]

The staff of Rolling Stone did not like the album, stating that "there's nothing nearly that interesting" and that "the pretty stuff sounds like something Walt Disney had the good sense to leave in the can". [12] Robert Christgau, in The Village Voice, rated it a C, explaining that it has very few of the "pseudo-decadent and -psychedelic charms" shown on Pretties for You, along with "tuneless singing, tuneless playing, tuneless tunes, and pseudo-musique concrete". [13]

The music showed little of the hard rock the band became famous for; the songs on its first two albums are more reminiscent of the pop-rock and psychedelia of bands such as mid-1960s the Who and Jefferson Airplane. They failed to find an audience and sold poorly. The group moved to the Detroit area (Pontiac, Mich.), and with the next album, Love It to Death , producer Bob Ezrin had them strip down their sound and simplify the songwriting; the album and its first single, "I'm Eighteen" were the first in a string of big successes. [14]

Legacy

AllMusic's Joe Viglione feels that the album "might be the perfect picture of an evolving Alice Cooper Group". And that it "gives evidence that Cooper has more of a voice than he got credit for". He concludes by saying: "That this band could run the gamut from [Frank] Zappa to [David] Bowie, and perhaps inspired both, makes Easy Action a good study and entertaining record." [5]

Track listing

All songs written by Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith.

Side one
  1. "Mr. & Misdemeanor" – 3:05
  2. "Shoe Salesman" – 2:38
  3. "Still No Air" – 2:32
  4. "Below Your Means" – 6:41
Side two
  1. "Return of the Spiders" – 4:33
  2. "Laughing at Me" – 2:12
  3. "Refrigerator Heaven" – 1:54
  4. "Beautiful Flyaway" – 3:02
  5. "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye" – 7:36

Personnel

Alice Cooper band

with:

Related Research Articles

Alice Cooper American musician and actor

Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With a raspy voice and a stage show that features numerous props, including pyrotechnics, guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, reptiles, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock audiences.

<i>Were Only in It for the Money</i> 1968 studio album by the Mothers of Invention

We're Only in It for the Money is the third studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on March 4, 1968 by Verve Records. As with the band's first two efforts, it is a concept album, and satirizes left and right-wing politics, particularly the hippie subculture, as well as the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was conceived as part of a project called No Commercial Potential, which produced three other albums: Lumpy Gravy, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, and Uncle Meat.

<i>Billion Dollar Babies</i> 1973 studio album by Alice Cooper

Billion Dollar Babies is the sixth studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1973. The album became the best selling Alice Cooper record at the time of its release, hit number one on the album charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and went on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album has been retrospectively praised by such critics as Robert Christgau, Greg Prato of AllMusic, and Jason Thompson of PopMatters, but The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) gave the album only two and a half stars.

<i>Absolutely Free</i> Album by The Mothers of Invention

Absolutely Free is the second studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on May 26, 1967 by Verve Records. Much like their 1966 debut Freak Out!, the album is a display of complex musical composition with political and social satire. The band had been augmented since Freak Out! by the addition of woodwinds player Bunk Gardner, keyboardist Don Preston, rhythm guitarist Jim Fielder, and drummer Billy Mundi; Fielder quit the group before the album was released, and his name was removed from the album credits.

<i>Sheik Yerbouti</i> 1979 live album with studio elements by Frank Zappa

Sheik Yerbouti is a double album by Frank Zappa, first released in March 1979 as the first release on Zappa Records. It was later released on one CD. It is mostly made up of live material recorded in 1977 and 1978, with later overdubs in the studio.

Michael Bruce (musician) American rock musician

Michael Owen Bruce is an American rock musician, best known as a member of the rock band Alice Cooper.

<i>Just Another Band from L.A.</i> 1972 live album by The Mothers of Invention

Just Another Band from L.A. is a live album by The Mothers, released in 1972. It was recorded live on August 7, 1971 in Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. A notable inclusion on this album is "Billy the Mountain", Zappa's long, narrative parody of rock operas, which were gaining popularity at that time.

Dennis Dunaway is an American musician, best known as the original bass guitarist for the rock band Alice Cooper . He co-wrote some of the band's most notable songs, including "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out".

<i>Greatest Hits</i> (Alice Cooper album) 1974 greatest hits album by Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits is the only greatest hits album by American rock band Alice Cooper, and their last release as a band. Released in 1974, it features hit songs from five of the band's seven studio albums. It does not include any material from their first two albums, Pretties for You and Easy Action.

<i>Muscle of Love</i> 1973 studio album by Alice Cooper

Muscle of Love is the seventh and final studio album by rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1973.

<i>Lace and Whiskey</i> 1977 studio album by Alice Cooper

Lace and Whiskey is the third solo studio album by American singer Alice Cooper, released on April 29, 1977 by Warner Bros. Records.

<i>Bongo Fury</i> 1975 live album with studio elements by Frank Zappa and The Mothers with Captain Beefheart

Bongo Fury is a collaborative album by American artists Frank Zappa and the Mothers, with Captain Beefheart, released in October 1975. The live portions were recorded on May 20 and 21, 1975, at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Tracks 5, 6 and 9 are studio tracks recorded in January 1975 during the sessions which produced One Size Fits All (1975) and much of Studio Tan (1978).

<i>Love It to Death</i> 1971 studio album by Alice Cooper

Love It to Death is the third studio album by American rock group Alice Cooper, released in March 1971. It was the band's first commercially successful album and the first album that consolidated the band's aggressive hard-rocking sound. The album's best-known track, "I'm Eighteen", was released as a single to test the band's commercial viability before the album was recorded.

<i>Schools Out</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Alice Cooper

School's Out is the fifth studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1972. Following on from the success of Killer, School's Out reached No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the Canadian RPM 100 Top Albums chart, holding the top position for four weeks. The single "School's Out" reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 3 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles Chart and went to No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

<i>Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)</i> 1978 studio album by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

Shiny Beast is the tenth studio album by American rock band Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, released in October 1978 by Warner Bros. Records. The album emerged from production difficulties surrounding Bat Chain Puller, an album Captain Beefheart recorded for DiscReet and Virgin Records in 1976. DiscReet co-founders Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa feuded over the production of the album, because Cohen funded the production with Zappa's royalty checks. Captain Beefheart recorded a new album titled Shiny Beast due to Zappa withholding the master tapes of the original Bat Chain Puller album.

<i>Pretties for You</i> 1969 studio album by Alice Cooper

Pretties for You is the debut studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released on June 25, 1969 by Straight Records. At this time, the name "Alice Cooper" referred to the band and not its lead singer Vincent Furnier. The album has a psychedelic flavor to it; the group had yet to develop the more concise hard rock sound that they would become famous for. Most of the tracks feature unusual time signatures and arrangements, jarring syncopation, expressive dynamics, sound effects, and an eclectic range of music influences. A few songs, such as "Levity Ball", show the influence of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, with whom the band hung out during the British group's U.S. tour. Alice Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton stated he could listen to Barrett's guitar playing for hours on end.

<i>Killer</i> (Alice Cooper album) 1971 studio album by Alice Cooper

Killer is the fourth studio album by the Alice Cooper band, released in November 1971. The album reached number 21 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and the two singles "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" made the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Im Eighteen 1970 single by Alice Cooper

"I'm Eighteen" is a song by rock band Alice Cooper, first released as a single in November 1970 backed with "Is It My Body". It was the band's first top-forty success—peaking at number 21—and convinced Warner Bros. that Alice Cooper had the commercial potential to release an album. The song and its B-side feature on the band's first major-label album Love It to Death (1971).

<i>School Days: The Early Recordings</i> 1973 compilation album by Alice Cooper

School Days: The Early Recordings is a compilation album by Alice Cooper, released in 1973. It contains the band's first two albums, Pretties for You and Easy Action. The original albums were released by Straight Records, but since Warner signed the band later on, they got the rights to re-release the material.

Alice Cooper (band) American rock band

Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith (drums). Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper and has had a solo career under that name since the band became inactive in 1975. The band was notorious for their elaborate, theatrical shock rock stage shows. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

References

  1. Eric Tessier. CAMION BLANC: ALICE COOPER Le parrain du Shock Rock. CAMION BLANC. p. 57. ISBN   978-2-35779-309-5.
  2. Peter Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock, Rough Guides, 2003, p. 224 ISBN   1-84353-105-4
  3. 1 2 Doyle Greene (17 February 2016). Rock, Counterculture and the Avant-Garde, 1966-1970: How the Beatles, Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground Defined an Era. McFarland. p. 125. ISBN   978-1-4766-2403-7.
  4. Peter Buckley (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 1777. ISBN   978-1-85828-457-6.
  5. 1 2 Viglione, Joe. Easy Action - Alice Cooper at AllMusic . Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  6. Cope, Julian (2012). Copendium: An Expedition into the Rock 'n' Roll Underworld. London: Fsber & Faber. pp. 91–92. ISBN   978-0-571 27034-7. As a rock‘n’roll group, Alice Cooper were always so much more than those first two horrible/brilliant LPs – and even they were genuine experimental rock of the Frankenstein kind. That is, they fell on their face at least seventy percent of the time, but struggled ever upward towards some Doorsian light at the end of the tunnel.
  7. Alice Cooper Tour Archive
  8. http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-758-shep-gordon
  9. 1 2 Reynolds 2016, p. 112.
  10. Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies . Ticknor & Fields. ISBN   089919026X . Retrieved February 23, 2019 via robertchristgau.com.
  11. Rolling Stone staff (April 16, 1970). "Easy Action by Alice Cooper". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  12. Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Alice Cooper". The Village Voice. Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  13. Reynolds 2016, p. 113.

Works cited