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School's Never Really Out for Alice Cooper

  04/15/13 05:26, by , Categories: Music News, BFMN Exclusive, Dan Grigor, Contest or Giveaway , Tags: alice cooper, dark matter, graphic novel, kickstarter, orianthi, todd moyer, tom sheppard, uncle alice presents

By Dan Grigor

When I first heard about this project I debated with myself for a while about running the press release or an article.

A) It is a Kickstarter project. I am inundated with folks who would like a little ink to help raise money.
B) It’s Alice friggin’ Cooper! Aside from just running the press release, could I come up with an angle no one else has done on Alice?

Since it is Alice Cooper I can get past A) because I think he’s doing it right. B) was a little more difficult…

I thought to myself… Oh! I know! I’ll start out with a catchy headline. Something like “School’s never really out for Alice Cooper.” Then I could rehash all the bizarre stage stuff and put in some pics of Alice in full makeup. Ok, let’s see what have other folks done… searching… reading… Damn. OK… What else could we do… Back to the basics I guess.

Click through to get to the guts of this story

Who: Alice Cooper
What: Uncle Alice Presents
When: Friday Apr 19, 1:09pm EDT.
Where: Kickstarter
Why: All funds will go to the creation, printing, and distribution of twelve comic books and a graphic novel, as well as reward fulfillment. That simple. All additional funds will go towards the creation of the television show, whether that means for the trailer, the pilot, or even more episodes (depending on how much we can raise)!

Photo by Moonshayde


First we need to know more stuff. Why Alice? Why now? Why Kickstarter?

Let’s start over. My personal relationship with Alice Cooper started when School’s Out came out. It happened the same year I decided to quit trying to go to school. I did not have a good school experience. I learned more by going to work and playing music than I would have in the school I was in. That summer School’s Out hit the radio. It also solidified Alice Cooper’s groundbreaking contribution to rock and roll, at least in my mind. In a way, it also helped me realize I had done the right thing: choosing music over a bad school, bad habits and no control. No more forcing myself to sit, bored out of my mind in night school to get a piece of paper that, at the time, meant nothing to me.

Photo, above, by Moonshayde, from
Alice Cooper’s Theatre of Death at Sonisphere 2010

I’m fascinated by this guy for a lot of reasons. I love good rock and roll and good music from my youth makes me smile. Glen Buxton, the original guitarist, was great.  He was voted one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone. I tore his stuff up to learn some of those licks. Alice has always surrounded himself with stellar musicians and his new line-up, including Orianthi on guitar, is no exception.

I’ve also been really impressed by the integrity and genuine entertainment value of the stage shows and the recordings. Always done well; even the ones Alice himself can’t remember making. Not my favorite genre, to be honest, but I am also fascinated by the marketing and the business side of the Alice Cooper machine. Why so popular? Happenstance? I think not. There is a quote that peeks inside the mind of a very young businessman finding his place in the world. A realization of a universal truth he could visualize and vocalize because he, too, was once a seven-year-old kid.

“A seven-year-old kid is pretty sure there’s something living in the closet and thinks that something is waiting for him under his bed,” Cooper says. “His toys are probably coming to life and trying to kill him. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s a good general approach for the album because we’ve all been kids and we’ve all had those nightmares’.”

This is what makes Alice Cooper tick, I think.  Somewhere between the age of 17 with the Earwigs and 24 when School’s Out was released as a single he had realized that he was on to something — finding those universal truths. He has answered the sort of lazy interviewer’s “Best 3 minutes of your life?” question with “There’s two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you’re just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning. I said, ‘If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it’s going to be so big’.”

That’s how his mind works. It isn’t about the money, or at least not just the money, he seeks the things that touch and perhaps frighten or excite us all. Isn’t that what good songwriting is all about? The fact that he has always been able to creatively visualize and present our dreams or nightmares on stage is why he is still on the road, still growing as an often misunderstood artist. He’s just a guy like you and me with arguably one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

Like most of us he is a devoted husband and father. He eats well and exercises, takes his vitamins and says his prayers. He enjoys golf and I understand he’s pretty good at it. He has always loved a good comic book and The Simpsons (he’s been on it, it is one of his favorite shows). He owns a business, has invested well and is enjoying the time with his kids while they are young. Being there: his primary job. His other job is all costumes and chaos.

At home, without the uniform, he’s busy learning more, reaping the reward of meeting fascinating, creative people. Making connections and collaborating with geniuses is one of the perks of being Alice.

Speaking of geniuses, this is a good place for a cut from the press release:
Dark Matter Publishing LLC, a transmedia company that specializes in the publication and transformation of comic, graphic, and young adult books into film and television, is launching a Kickstarter campaign for its brand-new property, Uncle Alice Presents.

Uncle Alice Presents is a shock-rock, genre-bending comic book series, graphic novel, and television pilot featuring the legendary Alice Cooper. Each issue tells a story of the grim and macabre seen through the eyes of Uncle Alice, the gatekeeper of the netherworld between heaven and hell. From paintings that seek revenge to mad scientists that crossbreed beach babes with fish, the things Uncle Alice will share are just plain creepy…like, they really creep him out.

The other genius on this project is perhaps The Brain to Alice’s Pinky or maybe it’s the other way around. Poit!

He is two-time Emmy Award-winning writer, director, show runner, and Dark Matter partner Tom Sheppard (Pinky and the Brain, The High Fructose Adventures of the Annoying Orange).

Tom came up with the idea for Uncle Alice Presents when Alice appeared as a guest on the hit Cartoon Network series The High Fructose Adventures of the Annoying Orange, a show Tom co-created. No one in Rock is more qualified to be the next Elvira than Alice. However, unlike campy horror shows of the past, when this show gets made, count on Alice being involved in a so-very-Alice-Cooper kind of way.

I have a feeling this project won’t happen if it isn’t done right. If we can judge at all by the production value of every record, every stage show, every side project that he has been involved with so far, there will be an evolution of creativity. It will be fun to watch.

It begins with the right people. Enter former president of Dark Horse Entertainment Todd Moyer, who basically wrote the book on developing alternative and edgy comics into films.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to turn Uncle Alice Presents into a television series, which can be previewed through original branded video content, which will be released on YouTube over the course of the month. “But first,” Moyer concludes, “let’s get the comics made!”

To that end they have created an interesting opportunity for fans to interact as writers. This is the hidden gem in the Kickstarter campaign.

Back to the press release for a moment:

Dark Matter has been working on developing Uncle Alice Presents’ Kickstarter campaign for months, seeking out the best writers, artists and story lines for the project before launching. The company was initially hesitant to introduce such a huge project, but the recent successful VERONICA MARS Kickstarter has set their minds at ease. The campaign has set its goal at $200,000 to finance the series of twelve comic books, but if the Kickstarter reaches $500K, Dark Matter will also make the television pilot.

“Our goal is to bring our backers the greatest value for their pledges,” says company CEO Todd Moyer. “We’re asking as little as we possibly can to produce a large variety of original content. We’re also looking forward to giving backers the chance to be a part of the creative process by entering our story line creation contest.

“Dark Matter wants to make the campaign fun and interactive, which is why backers of $10 or more are allowed to submit a story idea to the creative team. At the end of the campaign, the creative team will choose 10 finalists for backers to vote on, and will make the winning idea into an issue of the comic book.

Writers! Did you catch that?!? For 10 bucks you can submit your story idea to arguably one of the most creatively cast creative teams in the history of the genre, led by Todd Moyer, Tom Sheppard and Alice Cooper, and have it voted on by devoted fans. The winning concept will be turned into an issue of the comic, written by Tom Sheppard, and the winner will receive a co-story credit on that issue.

Man! I got ideas! I wanna be in a comic book! That’s what’s different about this deal. You get to play. Wanna be in a comic book? Pledge $1000 and you’ll get drawn into the background. Other perks include the usual T-shirts and tickets and signed copies of the graphic novel and stuff.

Then there is this gem — Pledge $2,500 or more and here’s what you get:

Submit your film or television script for a critique and written notes from The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange co-creator Tom Sheppard and Dark Matter CEO/feature film producer Todd Moyer. Then, join them for a 45-minute coffee break and creative consultation. Travel not included. You will also receive a copy of the hardcover graphic novel, signed by Tom Sheppard and Alice Cooper, plus digital access to all twelve issues of the comic.

Let that sink in for a second. Do you realize what an opportunity that is? Read it again. That just might be the best 2500 bucks you ever invest in your carreer. Ya Think?

Some of the high-end perks are kinda cool too. For $7500 you can grab an Original 24″ x 36″ framed Uncle Alice oil painting by Greg Dubuque [UPDATE: that one’s gone] or, for $2,000, Alice will personalize your voicemail message or, if you like, you can play a round of golf with Cooper himself, “Experienced Players Only.” (I love that.)

See what I mean? They just sort of slide the “Submit a Script” thing there in the middle. That’s the deal here.

Even if you’re not a writer looking for his big break, this is how you do a Kickstarter. Offer real value and an opportunity to be involved in the creative process of the project. You get a say in what’s made and when. If you are a fan of the genre you should be involved with this somehow. Be a part of history. Be a part of an Alice Cooper Classic Comic Book. Be a part of the show. Because now, thanks to technology, you can, as Alice streches his sphere of influence into another medium, another generation, another whole world for Alice to play in.

I procrastinated so long there is now less than a week left in the initial Kickstarter Campaign. I have a feeling this week will bring out the rock stars (I’m talking to you, my friends) and Uncle Alice may call in some favors. I think he really wants to do this.

Click Here to Get Involved Now!

Still on the road with a great band, Alice Cooper
will be headlining June 30th on the Grounds Stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee!

Fabulous guitarist Orianthi has joined the undisputed King of Shock Rock. We caught her at NAMM a few years ago; click here for a treat.





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