MOJO Time Machine: Alice Cooper auditions the new snake | Time Machine

June 13, 1977

It was a gloriously sunny Sunday at the Anaheim stadium in California, and the huge speaker towers had been set up in preparation for the opening concert of Alice Cooper’s King Of The Silver Screen tour, a 13-date tour across North America to promote the shock rocker. recent album, produced by Bob Ezrin, Whiskey And Lace.

At 1:00 p.m. the doors were opened and the first of 50,000 spectators began to fill the arena to see a show that also included Sha Na Na, Nazareth, The Tubes and The Kinks. Cooper boasted a vibrant band, with former Lou Reed stalwarts Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter handling the guitar duties. In the middle of the crowd, someone had a radio playing Alice’s hit single, You And Me, super sweet and full of harmony. Everything and everyone seemed to be in place – except for Julius Squeezer.

Julius the boa constrictor killed by a rat

Julius was, or rather had been, Alice’s boa constrictor, an enveloping star of many shows. But, a few days earlier, on June 5, Julius had been bitten by his breakfast. Given a live rat to devour, the banquet boa had been mistaken, and that rat managed to bite Julius, killing the slippery stone on the stage.

Alice Cooper was appalled at the turn of events, “It was a bit like being bitten by your Wheaties”, he reflected. Not that Julius was the first Snake to be cast as a co-star. A boa constrictor named Kachina had become a fan-favorite rock reptile as early as 1972, when she became the cover girl for the album Alice’s Killer. Then there was Chichita, who somehow escaped down the toilet and made her plea for freedom through the New York sewer system. She was replaced by Yvonne, a 12-foot-long boa who strayed into a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee. “I put her in the tub overnight because she loved swimming, but by morning she had gone to the bathroom,” Alice recalled. “She finally emerged two weeks later in another bathroom, having survived sewer rats in the plumbing.” The occupant of the room Yvonne surfaced in was Charley Pride, the country music star whose career was sparked in 1966 by the hit Snakes Crawl At Midnight. Apt.

“She survived the sewer rats in the plumbing.”

Alice Cooper

But with time running out before the Anaheim concert in 1977, Julius Squeezer had to be replaced. As a result, a public audition for a new performance snake was scheduled for June 13. It took place at the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City, California, where a panel of judges including Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman of Flo and Eddie were given their choice of an array of forty legless elongated reptiles, plumped for quality star cleared by a Boa named Angel.

And so it was that Angel played her part in a show documented by the television movie Alice Cooper And Friends, and then finally crossed the 49th parallel, where on June 23 The Montreal Gazette published the title Alice Cooper’s Snake Can ‘t Enter Canada. “Alice Cooper is to appear in Vancouver without her co-star, Angel, as she is a snake without a country,” the story explains. “Cooper only acquired the services of Angel, a 9-foot boa constrictor, last week, but was banned from taking him across the border for a concert in Vancouver,” Shep Gordon said. , the manager of Cooper. Canadian officials demanded documentation “showing Angel’s country of origin and background, and in the short time available, we were unable to trace the reptile’s roots,” Gordon said. Cooper will continue with “homegrown talent – whatever the snake mongers of Canada can provide” – while Angel’s legal owner, Ghandi Newman, 7, of Los Angeles, asks his congressman to declare the American snake by virtue of his participation. of the Newman family.

Whatever troubles followed Alice and her various rockin’ reptiles, her choice of unlikely stage companions ultimately paid off. On December 15, 2010, it was announced that Cooper and his former band would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held on March 14, 2011 where Cooper was inducted by fellow horror rocker Rob Zombie. Alice showed up to the event wearing a fake blood-splattered shirt and had a live albino Burmese python wrapped around her neck. Looking around the audience, he saw more than a few anxious faces as he took to the podium to explain, “We’ve always been a hard rock band. We just decorated it a little differently.