Sunday, May 06, 2007

Billion Dollar Babies
Battle Axe

In 1977, three of Alice Cooper's former sidemen recorded a little known album without the influential shock rocker and called themselves the Billion Dollar Babies. That year, ex-Cooper employees Mike Bruce (guitar, vocals), Dennis Dunaway (bass) and Neal Smith (drums) teamed up with keyboardist Bob Dolin and guitarist/ singer Mike Marconi and named themselves after Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies album of 1973, which was his biggest seller. Offering competent but unremarkable hard rock and arena rock that wasn't nearly as distinctive or as interesting as Cooper's own music, the Billion Dollar Babies recorded Battle Axe for Polydor in 1977.

The LP bombed commercially, and the Billion Dollar Babies never recorded a second album. Battle Axe has been out of print since the late 1970s and is unlikely to ever be reissued on CD.

Tracklisting: Too Young / Shine Your Love / I Miss You / Wasn't I The One / Love Is Rather Blind / Rock And Roll Radio / Dance With Me / Rock Me Slowly / Ego Mania / Battle Axe (Sudden Death) / Winner


bjimba said...

Thanks so much for this! I had this album back when it came out, and never thought I'd hear it again.

I have to say, though, that your comments don't give these guys enough credit. Don't forget that "Alice Cooper" was the name of a band before it was the name of a singer, and these guys (Mike Bruce in particular) are responsible for writing virtually all of the music on the classic Alice Cooper (the band) albums like "Billion Dollar Babies", "School's Out", and "Killer". Alice Cooper (the singer) mostly contributed lyrics.

Dismissively calling them Alice's "sidemen", or suggesting that they took their name from "his" album does them a disservice. Now, I'm not saying that "Battle Axe" was their finest hour. In fact, it convincingly demonstrates how important Alice was as a vocalist -- the singing on this album is, to be kind, mediocre. But old-time Coop fans remember what it was like when the band was together, and this album is a reminder of who was coming up with the riffs.

Dennis is *such" a good bassist. I see in Wikipedia that he put out an album last year -- I'll have to track that one down.

n8w8 said...

For the die hard Alice Cooper Group fans this album is a proof of who made the early AC sound. For those who just want to listen to a good rockalbum should pass this.

This could have been a great album if just they have had Bob Ezrin producing the album and, like you said, Bruce didn't do the vocals. Neals voice is much better.

I'll post the solo albums from Neal and Bruce later.