Bruce, Michael – No More Mr. Nice Guy (Book Review)

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Author: Bruce, Michael
Title: No More Mr. Nice Guy
Year: 2018
Publisher: Independent
Reviewed:  November 2018
Rating:  3/5
Reviewed by : JP

There has been a lot of activity in the Alice Cooper camp lately. There was a well-received album in 2017, a couple of big tours in Europe and North America, a new Double Live album and a new book celebrating the 50thof the icon.   I thought I’d take this opportunity to help celebrate the 50thanniversary of Alice Cooper with a trio of reviews; two books and the new Double live album.  Feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this mini-feature.

Back in 1996 Michael Bruce published his memoirs called NO MORE MR, NICE GUY.  That title went under my radar but apparently been reissued in 2000 and again in 2007 and it was announced last year (2017) that it was bring revised and reissued yet again, so this time I purchased it.

NO MORE MR NICE GUY is truly a budget / independent publication.  I’ll admit it doesn’t look great. The typeset is odd, there is tons of whitespace and it looks and feels like one of those ‘do it yourself’ publishing jobs.  However, as I’ve said before substance wins over style and this book still has some meat on it’s bones, but it’s pretty lean.    The paperback is quite short, at 128 pages and if you take out all the photos there is only about 70 pages of script.  As for the photos, they look like cheap, blurry black and white, photocopies, but the content of the photos very cool for old Alice Cooper fans.  The new epilogue is only about two pages long so if had bought this version as well as the original version, I’d be pretty annoyed that there was very little new content.

Aside from those disappointing components, this is a very interesting story.  There are now three of the four surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band who have written their autobiography, Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Alice himself.  Original guitarist Glen Buxton died over two decades ago and I’m not sure if drummer Neal Smith will ever write a book.

The script is easy to read and free-flowing as Bruce tells the tale. It sounds like he does have a few regrets.  Her spends some time discussing writing credits and explaining the facts (as he sees them) that he felt as one of the main song-writers he didn’t get enough credit in the early days. He did much of the work and the royalties and publishing etc got divided evenly. It is the age old story…in the early days of a band with friendship and camaraderie, it is ‘all for one and one for all’, but after a while when money starts rolling in, the guy who does all the work can get resentful about sharing those nice, fat pay-cheques four or five ways  with guys who maybe, didn’t do so much work.   He wasn’t bitter, but he stated his perspective fairly and even handedly.  To this day I don’t think anyone really has a handle on how the Alice Cooper Band evolved into Alice cooper the character and solo artist.

Bruce seems to be a bit of a classier guy, there is not too much sordid debauchery and roads tales, although I’m sure there were many tales to tell. The actually script is pretty short and the book winds up with a few brief updates of his various activities.

I’d like to see the NO MORE MR. NICE GUY book redone, properly, with the backing of a full publisher, better quality photos, perhaps a nice hard cover, a discography and so on. However the reality is that at age 70, Bruce is becoming a fading memory and the audience for a book about a guy in a band from 40 years ago is experiencing diminishing returns and appeal.   I thought the book was very interesting, but I also can appreciate there is a pretty limited audience, these days.  Die hard Alice Cooper fans will enjoy and appreciate this, other casual fans who maybe only know Alice from his comeback years  (CONSTRICTOR onwards) may want to pass.


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