Saturday, September 29, 2007
Is It My Body?
What the hell good is rock & roll if it doesn't freak your parents out at least a little? When I was eleven or twelve, no one did it for me quite like Alice.
I remember Christmas of 1972 for one thing only. I'd convinced my mom to put the School's Out album under the tree for me. The sleeve was designed to open up like a school desk, and when I lifted the top, there was a pair of girls' panties stretched around the record. The room went silent. "Give those to your sister," my mother said calmly. I did, and we went on about our holiday morning as if nothing odd had just happened.
This 1971 clip of Is It My Body, from the truly extraordinary Love It To Death album, captures the band precisely midway between garage and glam rock, and there is so much to love about it I don't even know where to begin. Alice's flamboyant androgyny, for starters, and his ridiculous little strip tease down to black hose and a pink body stocking. The little thing he does with the shoe and the mike stand. I love that the whole band is wearing these silver lamé space suit thingies, and the way Alice tries his best to look sexy while he's trying to peel the thing off and over his big feet. And the hair. This band was definitely about the hair. Then there's the big finish, and the way he eyes the camera at the end, keeping in character, but just barely. Brilliant.
The clip below of an MTV-style treatment of Elected from the later Billion Dollar Babies isn't as funny, although it tries harder. It does, however, with its prescient chimpanzee and cash-filled wheelbarrow imagery, remind me of a certain President to come later.