Before the original members of the Alice Cooper Group took the stage together earlier this month for a surprise reunion at Good Records, it had been 40 years since they played together. So when some high quality footage of the performance appeared on Rolling Stone's website last week, the whole world was able to see Dallas at the center of a cool piece of rock 'n' roll history. And now it seems that documentation may reflect something bigger than a one-off show in the works.
Steve Gaddis, a local with plenty of experience on film and TV shoots, captured the evening. His cameras rolled before and during the show, hopefully meaning a documentary of the event is very possible. “Some stars have to align to make it happen,” Gaddis says. “However, after reviewing the footage shot over the evening, there is enough material here for a feature, and I think we have an interesting angle — a story to tell that wouldn't be just a live performance or another Super Duper Alice Cooper.”
Sam Dunn’s Super Duper Alice Cooper touched on the beginnings of the Alice Cooper Group’s formation but focused more on how Alice Cooper the band became Alice Cooper the solo artist. For this possible documentary, it could be much more about the life and times of the band, as remembered by bassist Dennis Dunaway in his recently published memoir Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, the book signing that was the catalyst for the reunion show.
Good Records co-owner Chris Penn was largely responsible for making the event happen, including asking Gaddis to film it. “Initially he approached me to compile video footage of the original lineup as eye candy while people were waiting in line for the signing,” Gaddis says. “As things progressed and it looked like the performance was going to happen, he asked me to shoot it. We had a crew of eight. As far as the book signing, performance and convincing Alice to join, that was all Chris.”
Penn says it was easy to get the former Vince Furnier to reunite with the surviving bandmates, including Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Burton. “They are still friends and I got them to all be in the same city at the same time, but the moon, stars and planets did all have to align for it to come to fruition,” he says, downplaying his role. “It all happened because of Dennis and his wonderful book.”
Lots of effort was put into replicating a stage show on the level of the original Alice Cooper Group shows, from balloons spelling out the band’s name to the gear used. Local drummer Guyton Sanders was asked months ago if he could help provide equipment, especially for Smith’s drum set up. “I looked through my kits to see what fit the best [with] his preferences,” Sanders says. “Neal chose the stainless steel Ludwigs which not only looked closest to his mirrorball kit he used — and still owns — but has a nice beautiful sound to them.”
Those in attendance for the eight-song set were treated to a version of Alice Cooper no longer seen today. Cooper joked with the crowd between songs and kept things light and loose. The following night, when Cooper opened for Mötley Crüe at the American Airlines Center, he was joined by Dunaway, Smith and Bruce once again. But that performance was more of a special encore instead of a stand-alone set. The few hundred people at Good Records the night before saw something that might never be seen again.
Deals would need to be worked out and there is much more work to be done on the documentary, but things do look promising. “We have some interviews shot plus the Q&A that Robert Wilonsky hosted,” Gaddis says. “There will be more interviews shot to round it out, but I can’t say who at this point.”
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