by Patrick BRZEZINSKI
with the help of Janice Buxton, Jeff Jatras and Serge Nadeau
Photos: Jeff Jatras & Janice Buxton
Translation: Caroline Stephenson
“… I reamain (sic) the rebel…”
Extract from a letter addressed to Michael Bruce, dated October 17th 1997
Time flies and as incredible as it may seem, it was over ten years ago that Glen Buxton died prematurely. Struck by pneumonia complications, a monument of rock faded away in his 50th year on the 19th October 1997 at Clarion Hospital, Iowa.
It is high time we paid tribute to one whose prodigious contribution allowed a bunch of students originally only playing music to impress the girls of Cortez High School in Phoenix, AZ, to become one of the biggest groups in the world of rock in the ’70’s: the Alice Cooper Group.
THE BIRTH OF A REBEL
Glen Buxton was born on the 10th November 1947 in Akron, Ohio. He lived with his parents Jerry and Tom and his elder brother Ken and they enjoyed a peaceful childhood in the little tranquil midwest town. Their modest background encouraged them to appreciate simple things in life, moments they generally spent together as a family. At the age of 4, he was surprised when his parents announced the forthcoming arrival of a new member in the family: his sister Janice. His position as the smallest one in the family changed and he became a big brother to this little sister who he now needed to care for. A real bond soon united the younger siblings. Glen grews up and showed a rebellious nature- he got into trouble at school but his teachers quickly forgave him as he had a heart of gold.
Like every child in pursuit of their identity, he looked for role models in the world of film stars. One of them particularly fascinated him: James Dean, the archetypal rebel, who soon became young Glen’s icon. James Dean embodied the unease of that young generation, smoking cigarettes, driving fast cars, generally challenging the taboos dictated by society at the time.
Glen also found his bearings in music. It is at that time that jazz was slowly receding and being replaced by a new style much more in keeping with Glen’s way of life: rock and roll. This new sound went hand in hand with a new attitude- it pushed back the limits of conformism and explored new musical paths where no-one has ever ventured before. And, on top of that, Elvis Presley admitted that James Dean has had a strong influence on him too.
If the world of cinema was way out of bounds for this country child, music was a reachable path instead. Glen understood that it was for him an unexpected means to express himself, to externalize and materialize his inner feelings thanks to a musical object which others would be receptive to. He was therefore full of expectations when he asked his parents for a guitar for his eleventh birthday. They would agree to it, provided he took music lessons.
“He wanted to play a song for my mom one night. He played it, and she asked him what it was. He told her the title- ‘Daisy’ or ‘Bicycle Built for Two,’ which was a well known song- but mom didn’t recognize it because his timing was so off! ” – Janice Buxton (from e-mail dated 04-19-2007)
HIS YEARS AT CORTEZ HIGH
In February 1961, his father, who was working for Goodyear Aerospace, was given two choices : move to Germany or Phoenix, AZ. Since the whole family always lived in Akron, the move came as a shock, so it was understandable that Tom chose Phoenix over Europe. The Buxton family pacedk their bags and unpacked them temporarily in a rented house in Glendale, while they waited for the construction of their new home to be finished a few blocks away. Life got organized and as Janice took trumpet lessons while Glen was carrying on with his guitar.
In 1963, Glen’s parents enrolled him at Cortez High School in Phoenix. He turned into an adolescent as he changed his haircut, adopting James Dean’s look, and discovered girls. In order to seduce the most beautiful members of the opposite sex, he joined the school magazine, the Tip Sheet, becoming their photographer. This was a good way to approach girls with an obvious and flattering excuse- offering them their fifteen minutes of fame. Among these wannabe journalists, he met Dennis Dunaway and Vince Furnier, an editor better known under the pseudonym ‘Muscles McNasal.’ The two of them, both art buffs, met as they were running for the long distance team at the school.
“Actually, we did have a guitar player, who really played while we mimicked. This kid, named Glen Buxton, dressed like the biggest juvenile delinquent in the school. We worked together on the school newspaper, the Cortez Tip Sheet. Glen was the photographe rand I had my own collumn, called ‘Get Out Of My Hair,’ which I wrote under the pen name Muscles McNazal. So I knew that Glen and another kid named John Tatum were in surf bands. These two guys were not athletes- they smoked cigarettes and fought. But they also played guitar. We talked them into playing in the background at the Variety Show.” – Alice Cooper (from Golf Monster book)
FROM EARWIGS TO ALICE COOPER GROUP
In America, this was the time when a wave of English groups arrived. First came the Beatles, then the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. Fascinated by the fresh styles from over the Atlantic, Dennis convinced Vince that they should learn music and compete in the writing club’s annual Talent Show at the school. They would dress up and play Beatles-type songs – another means to become the centre of interest for the feminine population generally fond of this type of music.
They called themselves the Nazz at the time.
They then asked Glen and John Tatum to join them, as they are the only ones who know how to play an instrument and they enrolled John Speer, one of their running buddies, in the band. Each found his place and adopted an instrument : Glen and John Tatum played guitar, of course, John Speer volunteered to be the drummer, Dennis was left with the bass as Vince fancied himself as the lead singer. With Glen’s precious help, they learned and rehearsed several Beatles songs for the occasion. But they needed to find a name, preferably the name of an insect, as a tribute to the Beatles, but not a friendly insect… and thus they become the Earwigs, in their interpretation, an insect who drives crazy those who let them enter their ears!
“Glen went with me to Montgomery Ward and we picked out this bass that was called an Airline bass. I’d go over to Glen’s house and we’d pick out the notes of our favorite songs. In the real early days, we’d listen to Chet Atkins and Les Paul because those were Glen’s favorites. My record player at home was so bad, when I first started playing bass, I couldn’t even pick out the bass notes. I couldn’t distinguish them from a guitar note. I’d go over to Glen’s and he’s the one that taught me the names of the notes and where they fell on the neck and how patterns were set up as well as how to tune and stuff like that.” – Dennis Dunaway (INK19 Interview, dated May 2004)
They performed last that night, in 12th position but amazingly, they finish second on the podium! This distinction was certainly not given to them on the strength of their amateur music ability but because of their showmanship. They became the stars of their school and made the headline of their own magazine.
“We realized it was getting serious when they started precticing in our garage every week. This was the time rock and roll was taking off and everyone wanted to play a guitar, so it seemed. We never objected to Glen bringing his friends home. They were always welcome in our home. We were always interested in whatever he was doing. We didn’t mind the amount of noise that was being created, in that we knew that the neighbors wouldn’t understand. They had to quit at nine P.M.. We would tell them to keep it down. It would start out fine but get louder as the practice went on. Sitting in he house, you could tell when the sound increased as the walls would start vibrating. It kept us running out, saying the same thing, ‘Turn it down !'” – Tom and Jerry Buxton (from Phoenix & GB book)
But I won’t give you a complete account of the saga that saw the young Earwigs morph into the Alice Cooper Group, or even how and for what reasons Michael Bruce and Neal Smith join them to replace John Speer and John Tatum, or how the name Alice Cooper was found, etc, etc…
Let’s just jump in time and stop eight years later, in 1972.
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES
By now, Alice Cooper Group have four albums in their stead. The title “I’m Eighteen” whose main riff was composed by Glen pushed them on to the American airwaves. However, they are still missing THE ONE song that would make them the symbol of an entire generation and will mark the history of rock for ever. The idea was to write a song that affected every adolescent- what is better than the happiness felt at the sound of a bell ringing to announce the end of school? Even if many of their hits were written by Michael Bruce, this time, Glen’s genius gets the upper hand. He gets his inspiration from the mocking sniggers of kids : ‘Na, Na, Naaaa, Na, Na, Naaaa, Na, Na.’ As soon as it came out, “School’s Out” made the Top 10 in the U.S.. It would even be Number One in the UK. It would become the cult title of the group, the one that still ends any Alice Cooper concert.
“Glen wrote the riff to ‘School’s Out’ while we were in Detroit. We all sat down and jammed together with that riff. Neal worked up his drum part. We knew the riff that Glen had come up with was special. That riff made it happen.” – guitarist/songwriter Rockin’ Reggie Vincent (from Me & GB book)
The group was at its peak. Never-ending tours took them to all four corners of the world. All of their concerts were sold out, their albums sold like hot cakes, money came rolling in. They rode the wave and the world was their oyster. They even made the cover of the famous magazine Forbes who described them as representing the American dream. The Billion Dollar Babies Tour, landing in 27 countries, marks the height of their fame. With no less than 55 dates in three months, the tour made nearly $5,000,000. Their concert in Sao Paulo in front of 158,000 fans put them in the Guiness Book of World Records for the biggest ever indoor concert.
“The B$B promo pic was an early morning shoot in London, after a night on the town, and me listening to Cindy’s sewing machine rattling all through the night, the band met at David Bailey’s loft studio. Getting a million dollars in American cash was extremely difficult. It arrived with a couple of Bobbies who had no guns. There was a lot more money than we imagined so we stacked a portion of it in front of us and eventually ended up throwing it around the room for effect. When the photo session was over, we had to wait while all the money was counted. Hours later, the Bobbies said twenty dollars was missing. Nobody fessed up until Glen finally pulled a bill out of his pocket so the Bobbies would allow us to go back to the hotel to sleep. Later, Neal said he saw Glen snatch the bill but everyone knew who took it all along. He didn’t need the money, he was just being Glen.” – Dennis Dunaway (from e-mail dated April 2007)
Unfortunately, money and success all too often brings their share of troubles. GB, as he is affectionately nicknamed by Rockin’ Reggie Vincent, is the first to realize that he was losing his grip on the future of the group.
THE END OF THE COOPERS
GB was a committed character and the force that drove him was always music. He not only played rockbut he lived for it. On his own, he was the ideological incarnation of the group: simple, direct, provocateur, with a sharp sense of humour, outrageously rebellious… The list of adjectives to describe him is far too long to be exhaustive. Deep inside himself however, GB remained the same golden-hearted adolescent he was in Akron.
The Alice Cooper Group however had become the caricature of what it fought originally. The initial aim of the group was to send the public, in a provocative way, an image of a society corrupted by money, violence and sex. But, with time, it turned into a search for strategic ways to make more money. GB understood that long before anybody else, but probably because of his personality as a peace keeper, because he didn’t want to throw oil on the fire, he kept it to himself. Glen liked drinking, a lot, but he wasn’t an alcoholic. He could, from one day to the next, restrain himself for long periods of time without feeling the craving. He drank because he liked the image of himself as a rock star with a bottle in his hand. Suffering with all his being and having to bear in silence the sight of the group tearing itself apart, he sought refuge in the bottle, not really in order to forget… but mainly to destroy himself.
Many people thought his attitude was irresponsible, lacking in maturity. They even reproached him for being the source of quarrels within the group. But GB had already given up hope- he knew the point of no return had been reached and that all was finished. His escape in alcohol wasn’t the cause for that but its unhappy consequence. His despair was such that he never even bothered to respond to these remarks: what for… ?
The members of the group separated in 1974- Alice to one side, Michael, Dennis and Neal on another and The Blond Bomber took an altogether other direction.
HOME, SWEET HOME!
So, Glen stepped out to enjoy peaceful days at his house in Greenwich, CT with his girlfriend of the time, Suzie Aarons. Litterally sickened by the musical industry, he simply refused Michael, Dennis and Neal’s offer to join their newly formed band The Billion Dollar Babies. GB has had enough of constantly being on the road and just wanted, for a while, to benefit from the fruits of his labour amidst his loved ones.
Occasionally, Dennis visited him and they jammed together like in the good old days. But the enthusiasm was not there and they ended up spending a lot more time chatting together rather than playing. His sister Janice came to spend the whole of the summer 1976 at his house, going along with him on his favourite outing: auctions. Glen loved browsing, looking for antics and always hoped to find that rare item missing from his collection. Time had found a new meaning for him. GB was happy to have returned to a quiet life, able to share precious moments with his family. He was savouring living like this, far away from the hustle and bustle of show business, its quarrels, its infernal rhythm punctuated by studio recordings, never-ending tours, never-the-same hotels, media appearances, answering the same questions always and forever.
At the end of the seventies, after his separation from Suzie, Glen re-discoverd a taste for music. He played occasionally in local bands, seeking pleasure from it rather than success. In 1985, he even went back on stage for a few concerts with a band originating from Phoenix. Once, when he was visiting his parents, brother and sister in Arizona where they still lived, Janice instigated an encounter with one of her friends, Michael Postel. They get on and gather together a few musicians and form Virgin, with, among others, an ex-boyfriend of Janice’s, a singer and trumpet player. But GB doesn’t like being in Phoenix. He said: “I keep dreaming about playing but I find it really hard to move from the dream towards reality.” In 1990, he decided to join his friend John Stevenson on his farm in Iowa to give him a hand. There he met and fell for Lorrie Miller. Six years later, he made an appearance on the album Lunar Musik by Ant-Bee and formed Buxton-Flynn with a friend from Minnesota. Always in the same spirit, the group is short-lived because an important event soon brings shambles into Glen’s tranquil life
Glen Buxton Part 2
by Patrick BRZEZINSKI
with the help of Janice Buxton, Jeff Jatras and Serge Nadeau
Photos: Jeff Jatras & Janice Buxton
Translation: Caroline Stephenson
TRIUMPH, TRAGEDY AND PEACE, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF…
Who better than my friend Jeff Jatras, in those days manager of Michael Bruce and today the instigator of the Alice Cooper Band reunion, to tell us about the last days of Glen Buxton. The next lines are yours, Jeff:
In early 1997, Michael Bruce moved to Houston, Texas under contract with Torn Ticket Productions. On the heels of his new book, No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Inside Story of the Alice Cooper Group, and with the emergence of the Internet, Michael was reaching out to fans who’d wondered over the last twenty years what had happened to the original members of the Alice Cooper Band. Internet groups brought new interest in the members, and Michael’s new website at michaelbruce.com offered fans their first glimpse in decades of the members as they reemerged from years of being out of the spotlight. By October 1997, arrangements were made for a reunion with Glen, Michael, and Neal, their first time together since 1974. Though Dennis Dunaway would not make the trip (because of health problems), and Alice and Michael were currently not on the best of terms, the reunion in Houston was still a watershed for fans of the original Cooper band, and many came across the country for the events. The Coopers arrived on October 3 with, among other goals, to record a new song or two as well as a reworked version of “I’m Eighteen.”
Neal Smith flew in first along with Richie Scarlet, a talented guitarist and producer. Richie, who played lead guitar with Ace Frehley and Sebastian Bach, was currently playing bass for Leslie West in the legendary band Mountain. As a big fan of the original Cooper band, Richie was the perfect choice to play bass for the Coopers. After leaving Neal and Michael at my home, Richie picked up Glen at the airport. “Hi, faggot,” grinned Neal to Glen on seeing his old comrade in arms come through the front door. The mood was relaxed and cheery as the Coopers spent the evening catching up on the previous twenty years and looking forward to a busy ten days of rehearsing, recording, radio appearances, and live events.
The first evening was spent at the Hard Rock Cafe Houston. As the band walked through the front door, Neal noticed the “Alice Cooper” star displayed out front. Looking down at the star, Michael said it didn’t matter what people thought, that the star was not just for Alice, but for all of them. Glen got down on the ground and humped the star. Inside, the management at the Hard Rock proved to be kind hosts and many patrons brought Hard Rock menus up to their table for the band to sign.
Their first public appearance was as guests at a local record convention, signing photos and Alice Cooper albums. Fans, ecstatic to meet the Coopers, lined up to have their pictures taken with these rock legends. Glen repeatedly remarked how surprised he was to be so well remembered after all these years and how much he enjoyed signing for fans and having his picture taken. Lunch that day was at a Chinese restaurant and it’s true that that Glen sucked the eye out of a fish right off his plate. And Richie Scarlet, who hates seafood with a passion, was indeed sitting next to him just about jumped out of his skin and nearly got sick. Glen was larger than life both on and off the stage. During the convention, representatives of radio KLOL, at the time the largest rock station in Houston, offered to host an early morning simulcast to 400,000+ radio listeners, an event that occurred on October 10 at the Billy Blues club on the Stevens and Pruitt show. With the simulcast at Billy Blues and their recent decision to make a full appearance at Houston’s Area 51 club on October 12th, rehearsals took a turn toward the original material as the band hit the studio to work up the set.
As promotion for the show at Area 51, Torn Ticket arranged for what later came to be known as the “Bikes ‘N Babes” photo shoot. Michael had recently seen an Easy Rider CD compilation of classic rock songs and from there came the idea of a Cooper band photo shoot revolving around an All American motif of girls, motorcycles, and rock and roll. One of the girls was a beautiful seventeen year old model named Heidi Heidelberg. Against a backdrop large American flag, local photographer Dave Lovelace shot the session.
Glen, Michael, and Neal spent the next days rehearsing at Bundrick Studios. Songs like “Be My Lover” and “School’s Out” came together quickly, as if it had been perhaps only a week instead of twenty three years since the last time they’d played them together. However, since Michael had been performing live all year, and Glen had spent his time working up new material with the Buxton/Flynn band, Glen needed more rehearsal for the old tunes, and tension regarding the pace of rehearsal occasionally flared between Glen and Michael. In addition, both guitarists had, over the years, become used to playing some of the same licks. “That Michael Bruce, he always stepped on my leads! ” Glen complained before kicking an amp in frustration. Still, little marred the good vibes and the nights were spent reminiscing while watching TV and drinking beer. Glen liked to stay up late watching TV’s ‘Nickelodeon’ with its reruns of Leave It To Beaver and I Love Lucy. And just as Alice was once rumored to have been Beaver’s ‘Eddie Haskell,’ Glen had named Michael Bruce ‘Lumpy.’ It was Neal who seemed most aware of the special intimacy of the times and it was Neal and Laurie, my wife, who kept a watchful eye on Glen. Nearly 50, Glen Buxton had spent so many years abusing his body with various substances and alcohol, and though he kept up rehearsals and late night talk-a-thons, Glen’s delicate nature bordered on a frailty beyond his years. Glen made no bones about the fact that back in Iowa, he was a challenge to his doctors and that it took them years to understand his complex medical issues. So when, toward the end of the trip, Glen complained of a slight ache in his chest and it was suggested that he go to a local clinic, Glen refused, claiming instead that he would soon be back in Iowa and that it was pointless to have someone new and unfamiliar with his history start again from scratch. After that, as nothing else was said, everyone’s attention turned to their first live appearance since the Cooper days, the radio simulcast at Billy Blues.
Billy Blues show
The show was scheduled for 7:30AM, which meant the band needed to arrive by six. The night prior, Glen was so nervous that I expressed my concern that Glen might not be able to perform. Neal pointed out that in the history of the band Glen had never missed a show and that he was 100% reliable. So with little sleep from a pace revolving around long rehearsals, late nights, and feeling under the weather with a strange ache, Glen was up and ready at dawn and even seemed to grow in strength as show time approached. The Billy Blues club was already packed by fans who’d heard about the simulcast, and the band walked in to rousing cheers. The atmosphere was surreal with microphones, radio personalities, even Houston sports figures. Flyers for the show at Area 51 were laid out and many of these became instant collector’s items when signed by members of what was now billed as ‘Rock Legends from the original Alice Cooper band.’ And true to form as the “shock jocks” of Houston radio, the Stevens and Pruitt Show hosted a five-song ‘mini-show’ at Billy Blues that went off like clockwork from the opening leads of “Hello Hooray” to the finale of “School’s Out,” interlaced with interviews, topless girls picking raffle winners, contestants in drag for an Aerosmith transvestite contest, and lots of early morning beer. Afterward, most attendees stayed for a live rehearsal in preparation for Area 51.
Meanwhile, Glen already missed his fiancee, Lorrie Miller, back in Iowa. Glen and Lorrie were getting married in November, and Glen was looked forward to seeing her again. He wanted to bring her something back from Houston and ended up with a twin necklace heart set, the kind where the heart is broken in half, one side for him on a chain and the other chain for Lorrie. As he drove along, Glen sang “Sun Arise,” though changing the words to be about vampires, “Some arise, some don’t… Some arise, some don’t…” Glen was having a ball.
The night before the show at Area 51 the band went to see Aerosmith perform live at The Summit, an 18,000+ arena in Houston. Earlier that day, Aerosmith’s road manager, James Ayer, had heard the Coopers were in town and offered up front row seats to the show. Sometime during the evening, Glen had tripped on some stairs and twisted his ankle. Though not serious, it obviously hurt and for the rest of the evening Neal Smith served as Glen’s inseparable crutch. At one point, Glen looked around the sold out venue remarking, “This was our crowd once.” Many fans recognized the Coopers and were overjoyed to meet them.
Area 51 show
On October 12, 1997, ‘Rock Legends’ played their only full show. Earlier that day had come the announcement that country singer John Denver had died in a plane crash. Glen remarked that perhaps “today is a good day to die… but not for me.” As the band set up for the sound check, the crowd grew outside. The venue filled as the opening act, a local guitar slinger who called himself ‘Mr. Sinister’ warmed up the crowd. When the Coopers finally took the stage at first they just stood there smiling, looking out at their fans, drinking in the cheers and posing for pictures as flashbulbs popped around them. When the music started the crowd surged to the front of the stage. From “I’m Eighteen,” “Be My Lover,” “Desperado” and “School’s Out.” True to form, Glen on stage was cool as a cucumber, completely at home again in front of his audience as before, during, and after the show fans chanted “GB! GB! GB!” Glen and Michael, though having completely different styles, had always blended their respective sounds well, like oil and vinegar. This night was no exception as for the only time in all those years there they were, onstage, together again. Michael worked hard to cover some leads that Glen simply was not prepared to play on such short notice. They reversed themselves on “Desperado,” with Michael playing the lead. Glen asked for and was given a microphone to sing or talk to the audience. Being the first of what was sure to be many shows, this night was more of an experiment, an easing into a new groove, with no pressure and nothing set in stone. In addition to the rehearsed set, Michael added a spontaneous version of “Titanic Overture” and Neal Smith surprised everyone, launching into an incredible extended drum solo that stunned both audience and band during “Muscle Of Love.” Glen improvised a new lead on the song using his own signature style, creating yet another classic Michael Bruce/Glen Buxton counterpoint. Also, after the set list, the band played an unrehearsed “Hard Hearted Alice” and even covered the classic “Train Kept A Rollin’.” Later, Michael and Glen jammed on stage with members of the opening band and even some audience members as the music ran late into the night.
The next morning, October 13, Glen was the first to leave, catching an early flight out of Hobby Airport. Everyone was in a great spirits, flush with success and anticipation as the ten days came to an end and the band went their separate ways. With these events under their belts after so many years apart, there was talk of plans to be made, plans that would include Dennis, and hopefully Alice. Everything was going so well.
Glen Edward Buxton died on the morning of October 19, 1997, one week after the show at Area 51. Earlier that night, his fiancée Lorrie Miller had come home to find Glen lying on the bed and had called an ambulance. Glen was rushed to the hospital but an infection from pneumonia had reached his heart and he was gone. As the news reached Alice, Michael, Neal, Dennis, and the fans who had reveled in attending and reading on the internet about the recent reunion, triumph turned to tragedy. From across the country, cards and flowers poured into Clarion as preparations were made to bury Glen. A few days later, the band met at the Iron Horse hotel in Clarion.
It was a cold October day. In fact, it had been cold all month and in hindsight, cold in Houston too. And now, here they were, together again so soon, this time saying their last goodbyes- Glen’s parents, his sister Janice and brother Ken and his Alice Cooper brothers Michael, Neal, and Dennis. Reggie Vinson was there too, and local friends Mike Flynn and Mike Stevenson, and so many others from across the country. In the church in Clarion, Glen lay in state in an open casket surrounded by flowers from all over the world. In the casket, Glen was wearing an Alice Cooper “screaming skull” pewter pin. In addition he was wearing his half of the “broken heart” chain he brought from Houston. Lorrie Miller wore the other half, her half. After the service, everyone gathered at a country club restaurant outside of Clarion and with the knowledge that barring something extraordinary they would not see each other again anytime soon. Addresses were exchanged, stories told about Glen and the days of the Alice Cooper band, the events of the last few weeks, how Glen had relished seeing his old friends and playing the music once again. And how much Glen was looking toward the future. Later that night at the Iron Horse, as the cold wind whipped across the flat Iowa plain, Michael Bruce commented about how it just felt wrong that Glen was still out there, alone in the night.
The seeds of the First Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend began as two long time friends, Paul Brenton and Bill Risoli, began a fundraising effort for Glen’s headstone. Donations from across the country paid for the stone. The unveiling occurred on the weekend of August 7-9, 1998 in Clarion. The new ‘Michael Bruce Group’ on tour arranged to be in the area in order to attend the weekend and play a show in Glen’s honor. Once again, family, fans, and friends came from across the country, this time in a celebration of life for, as Alice had called him, “a genuine rock and roll rebel.” In contrast to the funeral, the unveiling was held on a warm summer day. As Michael Bruce, Neal Smith, and original ‘Spiders’ drummer John Speer looked on, the cloth was lifted from the stone to reveal a spectacular marble rendition of the cover of “School’s Out ,” a masterpiece complete with the classic opening notes of the song etched on it, Glen’s best remembered legacy to music and one of the most well known riffs in rock and roll. And just as each band member had their initials carved into the desk on the original album, so were they carved in the stone along with the added initials “LR” for Lorrie Miller. Michael Bruce, admiring the stone turned to Heidi and remarked, “Hey, my name is on that tombstone.” Notwithstanding, everyone agreed it was a masterpiece.
That night at Slick Willie’s bar, the music of the Alice Cooper group blew the top off Clarion, Iowa. Torn Ticket premiered as yet unseen footage of Glen’s last performances along with live performances by the Michael Bruce Group, Neal Smith, Glen’s band mates from Iowa and Arizona and many others playing into the night. The party continued at the Iron Horse well into early morning, and in a special way, for the first time everyone who loved him were finally able to say goodbye in the way Glen would have wanted, not with sadness and regret, but with a big party in a little town called Clarion, where after so many years of turmoil Glen Buxton had finally found peace and come home.
Rather than go on and on, I wish to make you share an intimate moment with GB: the contents of a letter written to Michael Bruce on October 17th, 1997 and which never reached its addressee.