I was a huge Alice Cooper fan as a kid. The way he played with image was fascinating to me. He looked terrifying and was a Kids TV Icon. My Mum and Dad knew who he was, saw the blood, guillotines and corpse make up, and sort of smirked like ‘Oh, that Alice, what is he like, eh?’. He seemed to dance both sides of a media line others found impenetrable.
Iron Maiden were considered horrific and deafening, Motörhead were a very bad influence, but Alice… Well anyone who’d been on The Muppet Show couldn’t be bad now could they?
This song was on the first Alice album I got my hands on. I bought Killer for 50p from a flea market because side one had a gargantuan scratch across it. Side 2 played just fine though so I was made up that the first Alice Cooper track I got to play on repeat was this one.
You Drive Me Nervous occupies the same All American Hinterland as Meatloaf’s Paradise By The Dashboard Light and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Boys and Girls in shocking stockings and too much make up frolicking around in the shadows of the straight laced atomic era US of A.
The drum sound and dive bombing guitar give the song a glam era punch while Alice sneers ‘Well you, you seem so civilised, your Mummy’s tryin’ to run your life, Daddy’s tryin’ to pick your wife, oh no!’
Alice has spotted a kindred spirit in the listener. ‘Running around with all that hair, they just don’t like those rags you wear’. At the end of every rhyming couplet Glen Buxton abuses his tremolo arm some more, bending the riff up and down and all over like a spitfire in a dogfight.
As the song moves on, the narrative has runaway from home. ‘Out of state, thrown in jail, you ain’t got the bread to pay your bail’. There’s humour and a big dollop of theatre in most of Alice’s best work. You Drive Me Nervous is a spikier version of the formula than most of the hit singles. It’s very catchy though and will always be my go to Cooper Jam
We are (as they say) not worthy.
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