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Susan Foreman 22nd November 2020 06:45 PM

Meanwhile, in Bizzaroland...

Toronto children’s music duo Splash ‘N Boots collaborate with Alice Cooper / The Toronto Star

"It turns out that hard hearted Alice isn’t so hard hearted after all.

How else can you explain hard rock legend Alice Cooper singing on the title track of children’s entertainer duo Splash ‘N Boots’ latest album “Heart Parade,” out Nov. 20?

Two words: Bob Ezrin.

The Toronto-born-and-sometimes-based production legend (Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, Peter Gabriel’s eponymous debut and Lou Reed’s “Berlin” to name a few) has been in shock rock king Cooper’s corner since 1971’s “Love It To Death” and has helped him enjoy some of his biggest successes, including the 1975 Cooper gem “Welcome To My Nightmare.”

It turns out that Taes Leavitt – Boots – met Ezrin through business partner and ex-Prairie Oyster manager Alan Kates while on vacation in The Bahamas.

Kates and Leavitt met each other at a restaurant there, and before long Kates agreed to manage the duo, which includes Nick Adams a.k.a. Splash.

And the Cooper connection?

Canadian kids entertainers Splash 'N Boots have a surprise for their audience on their new album "Heart Parade," out November 20: a duet with the king of shock rock, Alice Cooper.

“It’s Alan’s fault,” Ezrin jokes over the line from his Nashville home. “At a point he contacted me about what Splash ‘N Boots were doing and I fell in love with the two of them. They’re Torontonians, they’re great people and they’re doing really good work for children, so there’s all good reasons for wanting to support them and see them succeed. We’ve been involved with them for about a year.

“I think it was Nick who said, ‘Do you think we could ever get Alice Cooper to sing on the album?’ And I said, ‘I’m quite sure he would be happy to do so because he’s not-so-quietly and unashamedly a guy who is all about kids. He has his own Solid Rock Foundation in Arizona where kids from Phoenix can come to a large facility where they can learn to play music, learn to dance and learn to paint, making it possible for them to find themselves through the arts.”

Coincidentally, Ezrin was working on the vocals for the new Cooper album “Detroit Stories” when he received the request.

Using an idea borrowed from Cooper’s 1973 hit “Hello, Hooray,” Adams and company dashed the song off overnight.

Ezrin said Cooper took to the song immediately.

“It sounded very ‘Cooperish,’” recalls Ezrin, who also mixed the track for the album. “He and I kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Well, this is pretty good.’ I said to him, why don’t we try having you sing on it and he was very happy to do so. He got it really quickly – and it sounds good. And there you go – that’s ‘Heart Parade.’”

Nick Adams still finds the whole episode “surreal.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Adams. “I was thinking about watching ‘Wayne’s World’ and all of that stuff comes flying into my head as a teenage Nick. And I just couldn’t believe that now Alice’s voice is being sent to us from Arizona on the song we just wrote for Alice Cooper and he said yes.

“We’re like, ‘what?’ How did this happen?’ So, it was pretty magical.”

Adams jests that the duo may be looking to hit up Ezrin to involve some of his other connections for future projects.

“We’re looking at Bob to hook us up with Pink Floyd, KISS…who else has he worked with?” Adams jokes. “We couldn’t be more stoked.”

The blue-and-yellow-garbed duo, known for songs like “Big Yellow Boot,” “Charlie the Dog,” “Keys” and appearances before millions on Treehouse TV, Disney Jr. Canada, Kidoodle.TV and their own YouTube Channel, are also stoked that “Heart Parade” is their 13th album and a worthy follow-up to 2019’s Juno Award-winning “You, Me and the Sea.”

It’s also their first album to feature multiple guests, ranging from Cooper and homegrown country stars Brett Kissel and Johnny Reid to singer Jill Barber and The Strumbellas’ Simon Ward to Peter Katz and iskwë.

They coaxed Sharon and Bram out of retirement to join them on “Hey Dum Diddley Dum” – the first song that Splash ‘N Boots ever sang together while attending Queen’s University in Kingston – and even have a track with the superstars of children’s entertainment, Australia’s The Wiggles.

If you refuse to settle for second hand news and think that your loved ones shouldn’t either, give them the gift of the Star.

In fact, Adams is something of an honorary Wiggle.

“We started connecting with The Wiggles a couple years back,” says Adams. “Just because of their relationship with Treehouse and we’re on Treehouse as well, so we opened for them at the Budweiser Stage. We became friends – I went on tour with them for a bit last year because Anthony – the Blue Wiggle – he had to potentially go home for a funeral, so I was kind of his understudy.

“So, over the years, we’ve gotten to know them. Over in Newfoundland last year, I got to co-write a song with Lucky – the Purple Wiggle – and that song made it onto their album.

“It’s been a great relationship and we often laugh about it because about 15 years ago, Taes and I bought tickets to the SkyDome and we – without children – went to the concert, sat in the back row and watched this sold-out show.

“Taes and Emma (the Yellow Wiggle) now have a great friendship so it’s really cool actually.”

Of course, Splash ‘N Boots miss performing live concerts – they’ve done over 5,000 of them in North America and as far away as Australia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Europe, but Leavitt is hoping to reconnect with audiences soon, especially children on the autism spectrum.

The duo has been spearheading their own Lucas’ Letters, a global pen pal program that connects children with autism and others of all ages and abilities – and Leavitt says they make special audience considerations for their shows.

“We found that we have a large audience of kids on the spectrum,” Leavitt explains.

“We were doing a lot of meet-and-greets with children and we started offering parents of kids on the spectrum meet-and-greets beforehand so we could make it a quieter environment. They don’t have to wait, and we could give them a little bit more time.

“From that, we’ve just gotten into spending time with these kids and finding ways to reconnect with them and supporting their families. It’s one of the really important mandates for us with the work that we do; being able to work with the community and provide all of the support we can for the families and for their children.

“We’ve done lots of outreach with them in classrooms and also at Queen’s Park, standing up for their funding and making sure, in any way that we can, we are there to support them.”

Leavitt says that when touring resumes, Splash N’ Boots will add a “sensory tour” element to their performances.

“We’ll create that space where the music is quieter,” she said. “We’ve done one at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, where it was a smaller room and everybody sat on mats on the floor and it was really an intimate, feeling performance and it was honestly one of our most favourite shows ever that we’ve done.

“Ultimately, if we do a show in the regular theatre and there’s another space available to be used, we’d like to do two shows a day – one set offered in more of a sensory capacity.

“I do think it’s so important. We do get parents saying a regular show is a bit too overwhelming, which is why we meet them beforehand.”

As for the album “Heart Parade,” there is one additional artist who is making her singing debut on “Great Day” – and Nick Adams said there’s a reason you may not recognize the name Rebecca Tesfagiorgis.

“That’s my fiancée,’” Adams explains. “One of our mandates is to give opportunities: it’s a gospel song and she has that exact voice. She only had her church choir experience, but man, she nailed it. It really wasn’t planned when we wrote the song, but she killed it.”"

SymbioticFunction 25th November 2020 03:12 PM

An Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare special edition dvd arrived today.

I have seen the concert many times over the years (frustratingly this version is an edited cut - for no discernible reason, a song is missing) but I have never seen the 1975 Nightmare television special with Vincent Price (hangs head in shame).

The Nightmare special was the big draw and for that reason, the dvd is well worth the 6.50 pounds that I paid for it. My wife and I will watch the 65 minute television special after my work shift tonight.

I happily own the guilty pleasure Monster Dog on Spanish blu-ray and am up for a bit more of Alice Cooper doing some acting (I'm assuming that he doesn't just sing songs in The Nightmare). :)

Susan Foreman 25th November 2020 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by SymbioticFunction (Post 640953)
An Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare special edition dvd arrived today.

I have seen the concert many times over the years (frustratingly this version is an edited cut - for no discernible reason, a song is missing) but I have never seen the 1975 Nightmare television special with Vincent Price (hangs head in shame).

The Nightmare special was the big draw and for that reason, the dvd is well worth the 6.50 pounds that I paid for it. My wife and I will watch the 65 minute television special after my work shift tonight.

I happily own the guilty pleasure Monster Dog on Spanish blu-ray and am up for a bit more of Alice Cooper doing some acting (I'm assuming that he doesn't just sing songs in The Nightmare). :)

Here's what I said about it, back in 2017 when it was first released


Originally Posted by Susan Foreman (Post 550077)
That's disappointing

I have just got a copy of the new 'Welcome To My Nightmare' DVD release. It's lucky it contains the television special because the actual concert seems to have taken a step backwards.


The picture doesn't seem as good as it did on the previous release, neither does it sound as loud. [As a comparison, I had the new release on volume 12, but that was much too loud for the original version, and I had to turn it down to 9 to get the same effect!]


Worse, however, is that it looks like the new version has been edited. Admittedly I have just been jumping thru it, but (although it is noted on the cover track listing) the song 'Department Of Youth' seems to be missing. There is the basic three-chord guitar riff (audio) over the visuals, but the song itself doesn't appear to be there

This is possibly confirmed by a quick check of the run times:
Original release - 83:41
New release - 78:53

This isn't the first time an Alice Cooper DVD release has been wrong. The cover to 'The Nightmare Returns' states that the disc has a run time of 170 mins, while it is actually closer to 75mins!

Presumably, most Alice fans already have a copy of the 'WTMN' concert, and the big draw on this version is the television special - I know it was for me! However, I don't think I'll be getting rid of the original release in the near future

Oh, it also comes with an 8 page booklet that contains information about the shows (expected), and also reproductions of the original ABC announcement about the television show and a letter from Vincent Price to 'Alice, Shep et al' and arachnophobes beware - the menu screen comes with animated spiders!

Susan Foreman 27th November 2020 02:17 PM

November 27th, 1971 - 49 years ago today, the 'Killer' album is released

Without doubt, one of the best albums released by the original group. 'Killer' is an essential purchase that is crammed with great songs

Justin101 27th November 2020 02:21 PM

Killer is my fav :D

Susan Foreman 29th November 2020 09:43 AM

Corona permitting, Alice has been announced as the headliner of the 'Monsters Of Rock Cruise: Operation Monster Beach', due to to take place between May 26th and 31st 2021 in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Tickets for the cruise / shows go on sale on December 1st at 2pm eastern time.

Demdike@Cult Labs 29th November 2020 12:50 PM

That sounds awesome. Watching Alice, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Great White, Bulletboys and co in the blistering heat on a ship.

I've always liked the idea of these cruise's but this one actually has the bands that suit the party atmos.

Susan Foreman 29th November 2020 03:10 PM


Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs (Post 641283)
That sounds awesome. Watching Alice, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Great White, Bulletboys and co in the blistering heat on a ship.

Part of me says 'yes', while the sober side of me says 'Alice should be heard in a cold, dank basement and not in the heat of the Caribbean sun'!

Susan Foreman 30th November 2020 06:00 PM

New interview with Calico

Alice Cooper's Daughter Calico Cooper Never Wanted to Join a Band / Ultimate Classic Rock

"Calico Cooper never intended on being in a band. She was just 18 years old when her father, Alice Cooper, asked her to come along for his Brutal Planet tour to design costumes and perform in the shows. She wound up loving life on the road with him so much that she stayed with the team for 11 years. Still, music wasn't something she saw herself doing for the long haul -- it was too close to home.

“I think part of me, psychologically, didn't want to acknowledge or even think about that as a career,” she tells UCR, “because that would mean a whole other box know, am I really gonna get compared for the rest of my life to my dad?”

Even so, the wheels had already begun to turn without her even realizing. She hit it off with bassist Chuck Garric, who has spent time in Dio and L.A. Guns and had joined Alice’s band in 2003.

“There was an instant creative spark between us,” she said. “We'd stay up super late at night on the bus and just talk about everything.”

During their time off from Alice’s tours, Garric and others from the band would occasionally play bar shows in random cities. They'd frequently invite Calico up to the stage to sing a few numbers, for the hell of it. Garric insisted that she had some real talent, but she brushed it off -- it was just for fun. When Garric began piecing together his own brainchild of a band with guitarist Chris “Brother” Latham, he attempted to swing Calico’s opinion one last time, and asked her to sing backing vocals on some songs he and Latham were putting together.

“I had just gotten ankle surgery,” she recalled. “And my friend wheeled me into the studio and I was so high on painkillers. They just put the mic in. And he [Garric] handed me a bunch of lyrics and I was like, got it.”

Thus, the first Beasto Blanco record, Live Fast Die Loud, was born in 2013, which included a cover of Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein." When the band was rounded out with Jan LeGrow on bass (Garric had switched to guitar) and Sean Sellers on drums, Garric suggested they test out the waters with a low-stakes bar tour of Europe. This time, Calico knew something in her mind had changed.

"I was just like, I really don't want to be in a band," she said. "But then once we started doing what Beasto was doing, and I looked around at the other guys in the band, I was like, I really want to be in this band. This is it. This was made for me."

At each European venue they played, the positive reactions from the audiences grew and grew. They began to develop a signature image and sound -- part thunderous heavy metal concert, part gruesome nightmare. Calico, dressed in fishnets, chains, leather, and often wielding a weapon of some kind, captivates the crowd at the mic through her years of dance training.

“I couldn't take up an instrument if I wanted to during Beasto because I'm so busy with my body,” she said. “That's essentially my instrument.”

Like her dad, Calico treats her unhinged stage characters like just that: characters.

"I'm allowed to access that part of my brain for an hour and a half without any repercussions as long as I come off stage and I remember that I've got three dogs and that I didn't pay my gas bill yet."

Initially, the set lists included several Alice Cooper songs, something many audiences loved, but didn’t really excite the band members themselves.

"They were definitely our foundation of a fan base," she said. "So you've got to honor that I think. For the first two, three tours, we would end with 'School's Out,' we would do all that. But, with respect to my dad, I died a little inside. Because after I just did this whole show, and I felt so good about what I did, it kind of popped the balloon. Like, oh yeah, this isn't about you."

She and Garric agreed to stick to their own music moving forward. Now, after several years of shows, Beasto Blanco has gathered their own army of fans, and Alice is one of them. Calico often asks for his input on songs and invites him to see them play out. In 2016, Beasto Blanco performed at NAMM, with Alice in the audience.

“I think I dumped the tanks. I did everything that I could think to do,” she said. “And at the end, I came offstage, and there were all these cameras everywhere and they were taping him watching me, which I think is hysterical....they're like, ‘Alice, Alice, what did you think about Beasto Blanco?’ And he was so proud -- he was like a dad at a football game where his son’s the quarterback -- he put his arm around me and he's like, ‘I taught her everything she knows!’”

Beasto Blanco has maintained a hefty touring schedule, recently playing with groups like Megadeth and Alice's side project with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, Hollywood Vampires. They're now eagerly working on their fifth studio album. Garric typically scratches out lyrics and puts a loose production together to show Calico, who will implement some theatrics and try out different voices.

All this from a woman who had sworn up and down that being in a band long-term wasn’t for her.

“When something is for you, you can't run from it,” she said. “Even if the Beasto show is hot, and it's crowded and the sound system sucks and we're tired and I'm bruised up, I'm like, this is amazing. This is great. Every day of my life.”"

Susan Foreman 9th December 2020 09:36 PM

Another new single coming soon

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