It sounds like the plot of a film: A veteran rock and roll band reunites for one night only inside a record store.
But this is no Hollywood invention. Chris Penn, co-founder of beloved Dallas institution Good Records, pulled off a stunning reunion in Oct. 2015 when he convinced Alice Cooper, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaaway and Neal Smith — the core members of the original Alice Cooper band — to reunite for their first gig together in four years, and the longest performance they’d played since the Ford administration.
“For me personally, it was like seeing the almighty Wizard of Oz, complete with the flames and the booming voice,” photographer Mark Bowman recounted for ultimateclassicrock.com in November 2016. “I could not believe or take my eyes off what I was taking in. … It revived my faith in the most elusive of goals in the genre – true magic, musical chemistry and perceptible mystery created in the spirit of rock and roll.”
For those not fortunate enough to be among the 200 individuals inside Good Records seven years ago, Penn had the forethought to make sure the once-in-a-lifetime event was thoroughly documented. A nine-track version of Good Records’ series “Live from the Astroturf” featuring Cooper and his bandmates will be released on Sept. 30, along with an hour-long documentary, directed by Steve Gaddis. (The documentary will also air on KERA this fall.)
“I still can’t believe any of this happened,” Penn writes in the album’s liner notes. “I have made some lifelong friends in the process of celebrating my all-time favorite band.”
The celebration continues this weekend. On Saturday at the Kessler Theater, the documentary “Alice Cooper: Live from the Astroturf” will screen, followed by a Q&A, moderated by Robert Wilonsky, with Penn, Gaddis, and additional guests.
The Mumbles will perform “Love It To Death” and the night will climax with a “Homage Nation” performance featuring North Texas bands — American Werewolf Academy, Sub-Sahara, Clifffs and Tripping Daisy, among others — delivering their takes on Alice Cooper classics.
“This release is the culmination of seven-plus years,” Penn writes in the liner notes. “A true labor of love for all involved. I hope you enjoy the film and expanded reissue of the music. I wonder what is next?”
Homage Nation: The Music of Alice Cooper at the Kessler Theater, Dallas. 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Tickets are $20.
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.