Chuck Klosterman, one of the Dakota's finest music writers, gave an interview to Esquire where he said, "There's a lot of great Alice Cooper songs, but not 'School's Out.' That one's too overt. It's sort of an Alice Cooper song for people who don't like Alice Cooper. The Alice Cooper songs you want to listen to are 'Cold Ethyl' and 'Under My Wheels.'"
As a native-born Phoenician who grew up in Southern California, I've always liked Coop, even when I grew out of my heavy metal early high school phase and traded my Danzig and Metallica albums for John Coltrane and the Buzzcocks.
He seemed to "get" it. Especially in light of the then-popular Marilyn Manson, who took himself so seriously that you kind of felt sorry for him. His was always destined to be a short ride. That his music wasn't any good made his future as obvious as lights on a Christmas tree.
Anyway, my uncle owned Love It To Death and Killer, and those unaware of Alice except for "School's Out" might be surprised at how good those early records are. According to his autobio, after two banal exercises in psychedelia (as was the style of the time), producer Bob Ezrin pretty much broke the band down and, like a Phoenix, what rose from the ashes was a collective that understood volume is not the same thing as power.
So yes, Chuck is absolutely right that "Under My Wheels" is a better song than "School's Out." So is "Desperado," "Black Juju," "Dead Babies," and, well, again, those first two albums after Ezrin's remake/remodel sessions are worth actually paying money for.
But, "Cold Ethyl?" That I'd never heard.
It's on Welcome To My Nightmare, which I did not own until a couple of weeks ago.
As a song, he's right: it's awesome. But, better yet, it perfectly captures why Alice is so awesome. Spoiler alert for the tamer readers: It's about necrophilia. Yes, and it's put over with just the right touch of a wink that while it will creep you out, it won't be with the feeling that he's wallowing in the subject matter with a desperate, "mommy didn't hold me enough" shtick. I mean, really, it's about necrophilia.
Like I said, he gets it.