RO – Special Birthday Edition ALICE COOPER and DAVID CARRON
Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier on February 4, 1948. He is a pioneer of theatrical shock metal with a macabre stage show designed to shock. Cooper is credited with being the artist who “first introduced horror imagery to rock’n’roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre”.
Orginally, Alice Cooper was the name of the of the band. It was Furnier on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton, lead guitarist, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar and drummer Neal Smith. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Alice Cooper band rocked the seventies with songs still popular today, like the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” from the album Love It to Death, and “School’s Out” released in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies. Furnier went on with his solo career adopting the band’s name, Alice Cooper, as his own name.
In the 80’s Alice switched gears, keeping up with changing music styles with “Flush the Fashion”, produced by Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. It had a New Wave musical sound that challenged fans and yielded the US Top 40 hit “(We’re All) Clones”. That song was written by Pittsfield’s own David Carron.
In 1964, David formed his first rock band, The Marksmen with David Carron, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, David Grover, lead guitar and harmony, Rick Fetridge on Bass, and Mark Knight on drums. The Marksmen were a very popular local band in the Berkshires. In 1966 they recorded “Roses are Red” and “Cause I’m Sure” written by Joe Torre. The Marksmen played The Lighthouse and clubs throughout the Northeast.
In the 70’s, David joined Mick Valenti to form the band The Quarry. With David Carron’s rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Mike Fury playing lead, Dan Velika on bass and Mick Valenti on drums, this band played clubs from New York to Boston. Managed by Barry Hollister, they played The Filmore East and West, The Electric Circus, Electric Factory in Philadelphia and then on to become the house band on the free stage at “Woodstock“. The Quarry went on to the Texas International Pop Festival performing on the main stage with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.
Later, David Carron and David Grover formed Shenandoah with Terry Hall and Dan Velika. They toured New England and began recording at Shaggy Dog Studios in Stockbridge, MA. Arlo Guthrie heard them play at an outdoor concert and asked them to back him up on the road. They began to tour with Arlo in 1974. In November 1976, David left the group and began solo work.
At this time, he reunited with his teenage love, Wendy Barrier. During the early 70’s Wendy, a clothing designer, had met Minnie Riperton, and the two became very close. Later when David and Wendy travelled to LA, they spent a month with Minnie. Being Minnie’s guest in Beverly Hills would gift them with experiences and a roll of good fortune that smiled on them until David’s untimely death in 1985.
While in California, David was introduced to John Weider of the Animals who had written the hits “Sky Pilot”, “San Franciscan Nights” and “When I Was Young”. The two clicked immediately and began jamming. Soon they began collaborating and songwriting. John Weider was a also classical violinist, and together with Carron, made some great recordings. Their demo, sent to Ron Stone of Lookout Management, received a favorable response. They put the band Galaxy together to perform their music live. Galaxy later became Gulliver. Gulliver was signed to Columbia records to make their first album on Columbia’s new spin off label Outlook records with Elliot Roberts, manager of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Petty and others.
John Baruck became their manager and the band recorded “Ridin the Wind” at Larabee Studios. The album was completed in June and on July 10th Ken Perry did a test pressing at Capitol Records. It was released in January of 1978 and by Februray it was ‘Pick of the Week’ in Record World. That March, it was in Billboard’s Southwest Breakout. By April, “The Wonder of it All” was chosen as the single off the album and in May the tour of the Southwest began. Gulliver was received very well.
David disbanded Gulliver in August of 1979 to stay home with family and write music. Through the connections with Minnie Riperton, Wendy’s clothing designs had become very popular in the rock world. When she brought clothes backstage to show Kiki Dee, she met Davey Johnstone. He loved the clothes as well and made an appointment to visit her home. There he met David Carron and the two and began jamming in the garage. Davey & David enjoyed much playing together and even recorded two songs at Dee Murray’s studio in the Hollywood Hills. In November, Steve Scorfina, previously of Pavlov’s Dog, and Tommy Nickerson joined together with David to record songs in the garage. “Clones, We’re all ” was one of those songs. Davey heard David play Clones on the floor in Wendy and David’s living room Sherman Oaks CA. At this time, Davey was playing guitar with Alice Cooper on his “Flush the Fashion” album. He took the song to Alice and Alice flipped over it, so did Roy Thomas Baker. Alice chose Clones to be the single off the album.
David agreed to let Alice do the song. “Clones” was picked as the Cashbox single and upon release, it came in with a bullet at 17 in Billboard Magazine.
Alice Cooper performing CLONES, live. “NO MORE MR. NICE GUY TOUR” at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ (August 21, 2011).
The tour continues into 2012. Alice Tour Dates.
During the 80’s David Carron began solo work, song writing, and recording. He joined a group called Hip Pocket which soon changed some band members became Blindate. They played clubs in New England including Martha’s Vinyard, New York, and at the first Artabout in Berkshire County. During this time on the East Coast, David accepted his first major role in Jesus Christ Superstar at The Berkshire Public Theater in Pittsfield, under the direction of Frank Bessell. This production was performed at The Egg in Albany on Easter Sunday. It was a very special show and David was a natural as Jesus, a gentle, spiritual man.
In 1982, Blindate began writing and recording songs. David did some songwriting with John Zarvis who played lead guitar. Ray Tart played bass and Jimmy Harte played drums and added high background vocals. What a nice blend of musicians, music and friends. Blindate went on to record videos, play at Trax in NYC, branch out to perform in Boston, Nantucket, Long Island and all over the Northeast. In 1983 David recorded his first manufactured video “Morning Light”. David teamed up with long time friend Lee Everett and Rick Fetridge and worked long hours in Lee’s studio to create the footage for the next video. “Long nights, but full of laughter and fun.”
In 1984, David co-wrote a song with Jay Fruet called “Something Happens”. They recorded it at Derek Studios with Greg Steele and took video footage of the live recording for the next video. Jay and David also collaborated together on “Don’t Hold On”.
David remained writing and singing solo for the next year.
A year later, in 1985, David Carron died after suffering a brain aneurysm . It was a phenominal loss to friends and the music world. In 2005, Wendy Carron staged a memorial concert featuring members of Shenandoah, David Grover and Terry Hall, and Rick Fetridge of the Marksmen. Blindate with original members John Zarvis, Jimmy Harte, and Paul Zarvis brought down the house with their performance of Clones featuring Jimmy Harte on vocals.
Some of the areas most talented musicians, including Robbie Baier, Michael Haynes, Bobby Sweet and Adam Rothberg, PIMP, Hypnology, and others, all influenced by David Carron, performed his songs in tribute.
Clones was also recorded and performed by Smashing Pumpkins who featured it on their album Rarities and B-Sides.
Happy Birthday Alice and David, Feb 4th & 5th !!
Posted on February 4, 2012, in RockOn Faculty, RockOn News, RockTalk and tagged Alice Cooper, Blindate, Clones, David Carron, Jay Fruet, Roy Thomas Baker, Smashing Pumpkins. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.