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NIGHT LIFE

The Slam Alice Story: A Tale of Funny Lyrics and Lots of Beer : Sendups of hit songs spice the intense, grungy and sort of melodic tunes turned out by the three suds-guzzling rockers.

January 20, 1994|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

I don't know what she did, but Alice must have done something to deserve all this.

First, there was Alice Cooper who turned out to be a very strange man. Then there was Alice Donut, a loud thrash band from the Bay Area. Then things got really gnarly with Alice In Chains from Seattle, and most recently, from Ventura, there's Slam Alice. The local version is about as serious as a one-star comedy when it comes to the whole rock 'n' roll thing.

First of all, they were named for a donkey named Alice. They don't get enough girls, even Alices, so they tend to concentrate on beer, of which they can consume vast quantities. They've had more than their fair share of Gigs From Hell, including one where someone threw a full bottle of beer at former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. At least no one got shot--that was another gig.

Slam Alice is Jack Rickman on guitar, Fred Dixon on bass, and the new guy is Chris Lytle on drums. Generally, you can't take these guys anywhere, but the Midnight Hour will have a go at it on Friday night.

Slam Alice plays intense, grungy yet melodic (sort of) songs with some very funny lyrics. Of course, they're so loud you probably couldn't understand the words anyway, so there's probably no need to take notes. They have songs about important stuff like Taco Bell or all those Winger/Warrant/Poison poser bands, "Deadly Spitting Cobras;" and they put that reptile into warp drive on a brutal rendition of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

Sitting around the band's practice site, the members, between scenes of those Bundys on the tube, talked about beer, music and more beer.

All right, so who's to blame for all this?

Dixon: He is. (Pointing at Rickman) We started about four years ago. I knew two chords; now I know three. We just got Chris a month ago because we needed a (woman) magnet; you know, a young, longhair hippie dude to attract some (women).

Lytle: Didn't work.

Dixon: Hey, you're on the bubble, dude.

Girls hate you guys?

Dixon: Yeah, we realize we're fat and we're never going to get any (women). You'll either dig our music or just laugh at us. We did have our first dancer the other night, though--some drunk guy.

Do you guys at least get free beer?

Dixon: Yeah, we always get beer at least until they cut us off.

Rickman: Beer is better than money because when you have money, you just buy beer, anyway.

Dixon: Every musician says they can drink a lot of beer, but we have the bellies to prove it. We can outdrink all of them. We drink beer and dream about (women).

So what's up with this Ace Frehley incident?

Rickman: He was my idol and we were going to open for him at the Ventura Theatre.

Dixon: But he wouldn't talk to anybody--he was too good for us. Backstage, like two minutes before we were supposed to go on, Frehley goes running up the stairs and someone threw a beer bottle at him. Naturally, I denied it all the way. His manager said 'Bottom line: If they play, we don't.' So they kicked us out.

Rickman: Frehley was old. I hate his guts.

Do you remember the first Slam Alice gig?

Dixon: Yeah, it was in October '91 at Gorman State Park. We were up there riding motorcycles, and since we had all our stuff, we decided to play. It was pitch black, so we turned on some headlights and hooked up to a generator.

Rickman: We only knew four songs and we kept making up the lyrics and we played the same songs over and over. We probably couldn't do that again--too many rangers now.

Any other weird gigs?

Dixon: They're all weird. It seems like we always end up playing with Rooster Ra and everybody leaves before we come on.

Rickman: Well, there was that one gig in Ojai where my guitar got shot. We were playing at this party with Chris' other band, Reality Sandwich, when everyone started slamming. Next thing, a fight started, and when I heard gunfire, I left my guitar on stage and got the hell away from there. Somebody shot my guitar and I had to send it back to Kentucky to get a new neck. That one cost about $800.

So do you know more than four songs now?

Dixon: That we really know? Hmmm, I guess we have 40 or 50 songs. Jack writes them and I tell him if they suck or not.

Rickman: I hate everything he likes. There's not one tape in this whole house that I'd want to listen to. I just want to write good songs, learn to play them, then get a gig. Actually, I'm just doing this so I can get out of the house.

Your cover of "Puff the Magic Dragon" is hilarious. Any other classic songs you guys brutalize?

Dixon: Sure. We do "YMCA" and "My Girl," which becomes "My Beer."

And your "Sixteen Candles" song is not the doo-wop classic?

Dixon: No, that one's our Seattle rip-off song so we could get signed, but we gave up when we realized how fat we really were.

So how does a local band get signed?

Rickman: They don't.

Dixon: We've got a distribution deal with Noiseosaurus, which is this guy named Darren Kossinski from the East End who's gonna produce and market a tape for us. We met this guy at one of our gigs.

So you guys do have fans?

Dixon: We have a fan.

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