Биография группы "Billion Dollar Babies"

Billion Dollar Babies 1977 Battle Axe Американская группа Billion Dollar Babies была образована бывшими музыкантами первого состава ALICE COOPER: поющим гитаристом Майклом Брюсом (Michael Bruce), басистом Деннисом Дануэем (Dennis Dunaway) и барабанщиком Нилом Смитом (Neal Smith). После записи альбома "Muscle Of Love" (1974) г.) Элис Купер распустил свой ансамбль, решив стать сольным исполнителем. Брюс, Дануэй и Смит, наняв клавишника Боба Долина (Bob Dolin) и гитариста Майка Маркони (Mike Marconi), образовали группу, назвав её в честь своего наиболее широко разрекламированного альбома.

Записанный этим составом диск "Battle Axe" вышел в апреле 1977 года и по музыке мало чем отличался от ранних работ Купера. Это был тяжёлый и скоростной флэш-рок с вопящим вокалом, хаотичными риффами и долбящей ритм-секцией. Но вокалист Майкл Брюс, сочинявший лучшие хиты для Купера, на этот раз явно переборщил, и его мрачный, сардонический сюрреализм отпугнул подростковую аудиторию, хотя все стандартные образы были почерпнуты им из типично рок-н-ролльной мифологии. Примерно третью часть альбома занимает весьма невразумительная концептуальная композиция, названная обозревателями "истеричной гитарно-синтезаторной мелодрамой". С другой стороны, группа явно пыталась достичь коммерческого успеха такими пснями, как "Shine Your Love" и "Dance Me", но это только усилило дисбаланс. Пластинка продавалась из рук вон плохо, и BILLION DOLLAR BABIES попытались начать сначала, изменив название на FLYING TIGERS, но вскоре окончательно рассыпались.

В 1982 году Дануэй и Смит приняли участие в записи сольного проекта гитариста Дональда 'Бак Дхарма' Роузера (Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser) из группы BLUE OYSTER CULT, а Брюс, поработав с Бобом Сигером (Bob Seger), в 1983 году появился со своим сольным джаз-роковым альбомом, на котором ему аккомпанировал барабанщик Барри Брандт (Barry Brandt, экс-AMGEL).

Канадский выпуск альбома "Battle Axe" Billion Dollar Babies, 1977 год.

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", 1977, Canada, Polydor

"Battle Axe", 1977, Canada

Billion Dollar Babies, 1977, Канада

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", 1977, Канада, Polydor

The Billion Dollar Babies were the band put together by Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce in 1977 after it became clear that Alice wasn't going to return to the original band after 'Welcome To My Nightmare' was so successful.

1. Too Young (Bruce, Marconi, Smith)
2. Shine Your Love (Bruce, Marconi)
3. I Miss You (Bruce, Marconi, Smith)
4. Wasn't I The One (Bruce, Marconi)
5. Love Is Rather Blind (Bruce, Smith, Daye)
6. Rock And Roll Radio (Dunaway, Marconi, Smith, Jeffords, Douglas)
7. Dance With Me (Bruce, Marconi)
8. Rock Me Slowly (Bruce)
9. Ego Mania (Bruce, Dolin, Dunaway, Marconi, Smith)
10. Battle Axe (Bruce, Dolin, Dunaway)
11. (Sudden Death) (Dolin)
12. Winner ( Bruce, Dunaway)

Neal Smith - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Dennis Dunaway - Bass, Vocals
Michael Bruce - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Bob Dolin - Keyboards, Synths, Vocals
Mike Marconi - Guitar, Vocals

Produced By Lee DeCarlo and Billion Dollar Babies
Recorded at Record Plant, New York
Design and Illustration: Ernst Thormahlen
Photographs: Mark Platt

Billion Dollar Babies, Michael Bruce

Billion Dollar Babies, Neal Smith

Billion Dollar Babies, Dennis Dunaway

Billion Dollar Babies, Mike Marconi

Billion Dollar Babies, Bob Dolin

Billion Dollar Babies, внутренняя вкладка, часть 1

Billion Dollar Babies, внутренняя вкладка, часть 2

Billion Dollar Babies, внутренняя вкладка, часть 3

Billion Dollar Babies, конверт

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", 1977, Polydor

Американский выпуск альбома "Battle Axe" Billion Dollar Babies, 1977 год.

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", 1977, USA, Polydor

"Battle Axe", 1977, США

Billion Dollar Babies, 1977, USA

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", 1977, США, Polydor

The Billion Dollar Babies Press Bio:

Billion Dollar Babies is the brainchild of Michael Bruce, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway, members all of the original Alice Cooper Group. If you were ever enrolled in Rock 'n Roll History 101, you'll remember that "Alice Cooper" was the name of the entire band, before it was taken as the nom de plume of the lead singer. And well it should have been the band's moniker, since Michael Bruce penned 81% of the vintage Cooper material and the Smith-Dunaway rhythm section not only formed a rock solid foundation, but caused severe palpitations of many an adolescent heart. Breaking through the barrier of superstardom in 1970 with the hit single "Eighteen" and the LP "Love It To Death," and continuing through 6 gold albums (3 platinum!), perpetual touring in the U.S.A., Europe, South America and any other locale which would have them- irreconcilable differences (aesthetic and otherwise) eventually took their toll.

Our three heroes could not all fit comfortably behind either an X or O on Hollywood Squares with the gentleman who adopted the group's name. They found themselves temporarily in the situation of being a band without portfolio and after catching their breaths for a brief spell, each one came up with the exact same prescription for their respective cases of the "Rockin' Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogie Flu."

The cure-all was the formation of Billion Dollar Babies- a band dedicated to their original goal, namely crisp, sure-footed, scorching, and catchy hard rock for teenagers of all ages. Neal Smith and Michael Bruce immediately plunged into their collective extended-adolescent thought streams and generated a wealth of material that had all who listened feel had surpassed their previous efforts.

The next step was completing the band- but that turned out to be no task at all. While touring back in 1973, Neal, Dennis, and Michael had seen an amazing young guitarist named Mike Marconi performing in Rochester. No other guitar player would be considered until they had a decision from this dark, angular, shaggy haired rock 'n roll whiz kid. Mike, Neal, Dennis, and manager, Leo Fenn went on a "search and recruit" mission to darkest Rochester, zeroed in their target, and came away with B$B's "strato-blasting" lead guitarist.

Finding a master of keyboards was a bit easier. Bob Dolin had been hired to play on the 1973 Cooper Group Tour and had impressed everyone. Accomplished on synthesizer and organ as well as piano, the classically trained Dolin joined up with the fledgling rock 'n roll crusaders and the Billion Dollar Babies were ready to dance in their rock 'n roll baby shoes.

"Battle Axe" represents the debut LP of the Babies. Not only is it the title of the album, but also of their sports spectacular stage show. The concept- if one can really apply that trite word- is basically the triumph of pure rock 'n roll over other musical forces seeking to weaken rock's grasp on the hearts and minds of teenagers. A sonorous fanfare commences, a futuristic fight ring rises out of the stage and a battle to the finish takes place between rival guitarists dressed in bold sci-fi rock-star regalia a la a space-age gladiator. "Born from the despair of MOR and Disco comes the ultimate in spectacular" riff to riff combat pitting the resurgent energy of rock against the cold and calculating wastelands of formula disco and other such enervating musical forms. Rock 'n roll triumphs and the audience is left to pronounce the fate of the vanquished. The Billion Dollar Babies rock 'n roll ammo consists of strong doses of solid rock songs as presented on Battle Axe: "Rock 'n Roll Radio," "Too Young," "Dance With Me," and all the other tracks are a salvo of well-executed melodic rock 'n roll that should keep the airwaves and concert halls pulsating through the rest of the seventies. The Billion Dollar Babies mean business! This infant is a killer!

Billion Dollar Babies "Battle Axe", Polydor

Quotes:

группа Billion Dollar Babies в 1977 году "After Michael Bruce's (In My Own Way), Alice's (Welcome To My Nightmare) and my (Platinum God) solo projects the ACG was to reform and do a new album. Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and I got together in Connecticut and started writing new songs for a new ACG album, but it was never to happen. So we stayed together called ourselves "The Billion Dollar Babies", got a record deal and recorded "Battle Axe". We were professional and the band was very up and energetic for recording and touring. "Billion $ Babies/Battle Axe" went on tour, but we were having problems with management, and shortly thereafter we broke up. As far as the B$B/Battle Axe show, to my knowledge there is no video of that great show." (Neal Smith, November 1999)

The BDB's did do some touring in support of 'Battle Axe' but it was limited to small venues in the North East [about four shows]. Let's keep in mind that as much as we all love those guys - that album BOMBED. They did do a kind of theatrical show - at the end the two guitarists did a gladiator thing that was reminiscent of the movie "Rollerblade" and the stage was kind of a boxing ring motiff - Nothing that came even remotely close to Alice's productions. (Renfield, June 1995)

"There was also a screenplay written in 1977 for "Battle Axe". It was written by Leo Fenn (look him up in your Cooper research materials!). I don't know how many people ever knew that the concept was given a screenplay treatment, but I found this buried pretty deep. It may be the only one. It's about 21 pages bound in a blue folder. Leo Fenn was a member of the Cooper team back during the 'Love It To Death' days, booking, and reportedly doing his utmost to get the albums played on the radio. He's also Sherilyn Fenn's daddy if any of you know who she is. (Jeff Jatras, March 2000)

From The Sickboard:

This is too weird! I was just "surfin'" along and stumbled upon this discussion. I am glad to see that Michael Bruce is still in action! And in DALLAS yet, where I am. Get this -- believe it or not, in the late 80s I directed a Michael Bruce music video, which actually aired here and there -- the song, "TOO YOUNG," I guess from his first attempt at an album after breaking up with Alice Cooper? I'm not even sure. It was a situation where Bruce had done this album but couldn't appear in the video because of health problems. The producer dude needed somebody to make a video of the projected "hit," "TOO YOUNG" (which is very much like "I'M 18") but on NO BUDGET and WITHOUT MICHAEL BRUCE. For $5,000, my pals and I managed to make a... video... can't call it a GREAT video... that told a story about a young girl sneaking out at night and trying to act like she was old enough to drink. Or something like that. The producer made us attach this perverted ending wherein the young girl had a car wreck and died... WHO CAN EXPLAIN RECORD PRODUCER TYPES??!?!?

We mainly just tried to have lots of images of a cute gal partying and imagining ghostly rock stars serenading her and her parents smashing Michael Bruce records and throwing them into the fireplace -- real generic stuff I guess. Considering the budget, it's technically a pretty professional looking video. Conceptually, it's a lame attempt to make a video for a rock star without ever showing the rock star... go figure.

The "TOO YOUNG" video was produced by the company "TELEMUSIC" which was then run by a guy named Bob Stevens. Bob hired me to direct and/or edit and/or animate these various odball music video jobs. The fanciest one we were involved with was DEVO's "R.U. EXPERIENCED."

"TOO YOUNG" was the lowest budgeted of them.

(Rev. Ivan Stang, February 1998)

"I'm good friends with Mike Marconi; he lives in my town. He once told me that much of the reason why B$B failed was due to pressure from Shep Gordon, Alice's manager. He threatened both the band and their record label, Polydor, with all kinds of lawsuits if they continued as "Billion Dollar Babies". So the band had a new album out and no way to promote it... and they called it quits shortly thereafter. They did have an interesting stage show set up, though... for the "Battle Axe" song, they had a gladiator theme, with two dueling, robot-like characters (Mike Marconi and Mike Bruce in Power-Ranger suits!) and wielding axe-shaped guitars. Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway kept the suits; the axe/guitars were bought back by their builder. Oddly enough, Mike Marconi never had a copy of the B$B "Battle Axe" album; I made him a tape copy of mine (he autographed the cover for me!)." (unknown, June 2001).

Billion Dollar Babies, Battle Axe, 1977

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