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Me, Alice (1976, Putnam SBN: 399-11535-8)
Me, Alice is a very hard-to-find autobiography released in 1976. It was only available in the USA and only in hardback format and is today one of the most collectable Alice Cooper items out there. Up until the release of Golf Monster in 2007 (see below), this was the only such publication on Alice Cooper the man.
Although it's stated as being an autobiography, it's actually more of a hybrid autobiography-come-biography. The reason for this is that Alice's story is told by author Steven Gaines rather than Alice himself. Gaines had spent a long time researching Alice's past and also a considerable amount of time with Alice in the years leading up to its release.
So why is Alice known not to like the book that much?
Well, firstly, there's a less than glowing introduction by his own father Ether Moroni Furnier. In it he clearly expresses his regret at the path that his son has chosen in life and his hope that he may one day become a "servant of God". The honesty of his comments, whilst hard-hitting, are extremely powerful and give the reader the impression that this will be a warts-and-all tale. In reality, Alice is understood to have had an excellent relationship with his father and the fact that it was allowed to be included probably reflects this (e.g. he felt comfortable enough for it to be included). Either that or it served as a good means to attract the casual browser into a purchase (e.g. even his dad thought he was a bad person).
The other reason why Alice isn't to keen on this book is that, in his opinion, it's not very accurate. Ironically, it is likely that he is to blame for much of this as many of the accounts that he provided Gaines were either fabricated, distorted by the impacts of alcohol or true, but regrettably so.
Regardless of this, this book forms an important part of Alice's past and will have been read as fact by the majority. Also, Alice has made a career of ellaborating tales and us fans have learned to not believe everything he says and to instead treat it as a form of entertainment.
I found this copy on eBay from an extremely pleasant English-based seller. She was selling the book on behalf of her father but was also a big Alice fan herself (Alice apparantly featured heavily in her university dissertation on 'theatricality and performance in rock and metal music', with this book being a key source of information). During our discussions over the purchase she was kind enough to provide the following information on the book from her father:
I had been to see Alice Cooper, for the first time, on the Special Forces tour in 1982, at the Hammersmith Odeon. My friend Mike knew I was a big fan and he ran a book and record shop; his book dealer had recently come back from a trip to San Francisco. Amongst other things he had brought back a copy of Me, Alice. And that is how I became the owner of the book.
It's great to own this book and I love the fact it's not in mint condition. It has a well-loved feel to it which, whether Alice likes it or not, speaks volumes for the high regard that fans hold this book in.
The Illustrated Guide To Alice Cooper (1999, Collector's Guide Publishing Inc. 781896 522463)
The Illustrated Guide To Alice Cooper 10th Anniversary Edition (2009, Collector's Guide Publishing Inc. 781894 959933)
Golf Monster First Edition Hardback Book (2007, Crown Publishers ISBN 978-0-307-38265-8)
Following the limited release of Me, Alice in 1976, it took over 30 years for another autobiography to appear. Golf Monster is co-authored by brothers Keith and Kent Zimmerman and provides an unusual mix of Alice's life story interwoven with his 12 personal tips for becoming a proficient golfer (maybe as good as the man himself?).
This is a first edition hardback (featuring a textured dust cover) and is hand-signed by Alice on the first page.
Golf Monster Audio CD (2007, Random House Audio RHCD 2121)
In addition to the paper-based version of Golf Monster, an abridged 4-hour audio version was released on both MP3 and CD format. The unique selling point of this version is that the story is narrated by Alice himself, this makes for compelling listening as we hear it from the horse's mouth (so to speak).
The CD version comes in card box and features a foldable case inside containing 4 discs. The back of the box features a brief description of the book and a short biography on Alice and Keith and Kent Zimmerman.
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group, Standard Edition (2015, Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 978-1-250-04808-0)
'Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group' was released in 2015 and is a personal account of the original group by founding member / bassist Dennis Dunnaway (with support from entertainment journalist Chris Hodenfield).
This first edition comes in hardback format and features a nice picture of the band, complete with snake, on the front cover. A hot pink theme runs throughout the dust sleeve.
In the centre of the book are a number of excellent photos of the group during their late-60's-early-70's hey day.
Read my review of this book here.
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group, Strand Books Signed Edition (2015, Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 978-1-250-04808-0)
This 'Strand Signed Edition' is exactly the same as the standard edition (above) only that it features a small sticker on the front and is personally signed by Dennis on the inside. Other than that, the only other difference is that this came with a simple Strand Books bookmark (pictured below).
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group, Paperback Editiond (2017, Omnibus Press ISBN 978-1-78305-993-5)
This paperback version of Snakes! was printed in 2017 and was purchased at the book signing event at the Crypt Of The Wizard record store in Bethnal Green, London on Friday 17th November 2017.
It is signed by Dennis Dunaway, Cindy Dunaway Smith and superfan Paul Brenton (who provided several cherished photos for the book).
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! MP3 CD Audiobook (2016, Audible Studios 9781536610376)
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! was subject to an MP3 CD Audiobook release in 2016 and features Dennis narrating an unabridged version of the story. This means 11 hours of quality time with the man himself and hearing it from his own mouth helps to add some addiitonal context to proceedings. Well worth hunting down a copy!
I have since managed to get the front cover signed by Dennis Dunaway himself!
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, Promotional Tote Bag (2015)
This cool promotional tote bag festures the following items:
> A pair of pink of pink panties, which are a nod to those that accompanied the School's Out LP;
> A sick bag complete with 'Warning' instructions sticker;
> A 'Certificate Of Birth' signed by Dennis Dunaway;
> A book report notepad;
> A photo of Dennis Dunaway;
> A pink 'Snakes' pencil; and
> A Hollywood Bowl replica ticket bookmark.
Some of the earlier versions of this tote bag also included a 'Snakes' plectrum and candy stick, but sadly this one does not.
Michael Bruce, No More Mr Nice Guy Box Set
2018, Gonzo Multimedia
No More Mr Nice Guy, The Inside Story Of The Alice Cooper Group was an anthology by Michael Bruce and musician Billy James that was originally released in 1996. Although featuring nine fairly short Chapters, it provided another perspective on the rise, decline and aftermath of the Alice Cooper Group from one of its original members. Also included were a collection of rare / never-before-seen photos and images taken from Michael's personal archive. This made it a must-have release for Alice Cooper Group fans.
In 2018, this excellent box-set was released via the Pledge Music crowdfunding programme, offering fans a 2nd chance to obtain the book plus a range of added goodies. Limited to just 250, individually numbered, units and provided in a cool black box with purple interior, the full contents were as follows:
> A paperback copy of No More Mr Nice Guy;
> A CD containing an interview conducted between Billy James and Michael Bruce in 1996 that formed the basis of the written material in the book;
> A numbered certificate signed by Michael Bruce (mine is #204); and
> A poster and prints reproducing classic Alice Cooper promotional material.
Overall, this set is really good and well worth having (even if you have the original book). The only downsides are that (a) the book is not a hardback edition and (b) the quality of some of the images printed in both the book and the promotional material are rather ropey. Still, this shouldn't put you off buying this set set (if you can find it).