The Papers

 

Printed in Scottish Sunday Post July 4th 2004

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Lady Macbeth is a
rock ‘n’ roll snake

By Steven Bowron

LADY MACBETH might have been bred in captivity, but the 12-foot boa constrictor has grown accustomed to the wild life of the rock and roll star.
The slithery reptile has been rubbing shoulders, quite literally, with legendary snake-charming hell-raiser, Alice Cooper.
The snake had a guest spot on the rock star’s 16-date European tour — draped fetchingly around his neck for one of the show’s highlight numbers, Sick Things.
Showbiz
The boa’s owner, Haddington-based staff nurse Bill Crowe, says her first entry into showbiz came six years ago.


Bill Crowe and Lady Macbeth who loves being draped round Alice Cooper’s neck.

“I’ve loved Alice Cooper since I was 14, and my interest in snakes seemed to develop in tandem,” explains Bill (47).
“I began e-mailing Alice websites in 1995 and became quite friendly with his personal assistant, Brian Nelson. It came out that I owned snakes and was secretary of the Scottish Herpetological Society, which specialised in reptiles and amphibians. In 1998 Brian asked me if I still had snakes because Alice was doing two shows in London and five in Europe.”
As luck would have it, despite once having a collection of eight, at that time Bill no longer kept snakes. He’d had to get them all re-homed because his new wife, Mary, didn’t like them!
Endangered
Through his contacts he obtained Lady Macbeth, who despite being a mere two feet at the time, joined the Alice Cooper show.
“The snake has seen more of Europe than I have,” jokes Bill. “She did nine shows for the Dragon Time tour in 2002 and three dates in London last year.
“I usually take her to London and she’s looked after by Brian Nelson. She’s not an endangered species and she’s always kept in a cage, so there’s no paperwork needed. 
“And she only appears for a verse and a chorus of one song, so she’s not over-taxed.”
When Alice’s team called giving just 10 days notice requesting Lady Macbeth’s services in Essen for the start of the tour, it raised a few eyebrows at Bill’s work.
He was set to start a new job, but had to explain to his bosses exactly why he suddenly needed to take his first week off as a holiday!
“They rallied round when they heard the reason. It was well worth it,” says Bill.
But it seems Mary still won’t have the slipperin’ and slidin’ rock ’n’ roll star in the house. Lady Macbeth’s usual habitat is at nearby Harelaw Stables, Longniddry.

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Printed in Edinburgh Evening News July 19th 2004

 

Snakes Alive - Alice's pet is Scottish


Rock legend Cooper’s boa constrictor hails from East Lothian

DUNCAN FORGAN

 
HE is world renowned for the use of snakes in his wild stage act.

Not so well known is the fact that the current reptile of choice for US rocker Alice Cooper’s live European show is a boa constrictor named Lady Macbeth, who lives in East Lothian.

The 12-foot long snake, whose owner Murray Bain hails from Longniddry, has been part of Cooper’s entourage on four European tours to date.

Travelling from venue to venue on Cooper’s tour bus in a custom-built heated container, Lady Macbeth has lapped up the adoration of audiences from Berlin to Barcelona while draped across the singer’s shoulders.

And she has only recently returned from yet another sojourn around the Continent, making her final appearance at the singer’s last European tour date at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on June 27. The snake’s star status as the focal point of the singer’s stage act is a dream come true for Haddington-based Alice Cooper superfan Bill Crowe.

Mr Crowe, 47, was secretary of the Scottish Herpetological Society between 1986 and 1996 and kept reptiles for many years before his wife Mary banned them from the family home.

A fan of Cooper since the 1960s, Mr Crowe finally met the star in 1997 at a record signing in the London branch of Tower Records.

While at the signing, he got talking to members of the singer’s management team and told them that he would be able to supply a snake for Cooper if one was ever required.

To his astonishment, the singer’s personal assistant, Brian Nelson, e-mailed him the following year to ask if the offer still stood.

Mr Crowe got in touch with Mr Bain, whom he knew from the Herpetological Society, and it was agreed that he would take Lady Macbeth to London for Cooper to take a look at.

The star approved and the snake’s ascent into Rock n’ Roll Valhalla was confirmed.

Mr Crowe, who runs a website devoted to the singer, has since become firm friends with his hero and was invited to join the musician’s crew on a date on the German leg of this year’s tour.

"It was absolutely amazing," he said. "I was invited over to Essen, with the snake, to meet up with the band on their return from Greece, stay for the show, and fly home the day after.

"I was collected from the hotel in London and taken to the band bus.

"I enjoyed air-conditioned plush leather upholstery and surround-sound DVD facilities all the way to Germany.

"When I finally got to the Sheraton hotel in Essen, I had the chance to hang out with Alice and the band. He was absolutely first class."

With Lady Macbeth now firmly ensconced as part of the Cooper team, Mr Crowe is still brimming with pride at the role he played in bringing the snake in contact with the star.

He said: "I have been an Alice Cooper maniac since I was about 14, so it would be a bit of an understatement to say that I am deeply honoured to have played even a minor part in his career.

"My passion for snakes has always run in parallel with my love of Alice Cooper and it has been absolutely mind-blowing to have been in such close proximity to Alice on so many occasions thanks to the Lady."

Known for his heavily made-up shock rock image, Cooper has been making records since the late 1960s.

Among his hits are the prototype punk anthems, Schools Out and Eighteen.

However, despite his status as a rock’n’roll wild man, Cooper is also a successful businessman and a keen, low-handicap golfer.

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Printed in East Lothian Courier

July 23 2004


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Published in Scottish Daily Star

July 20 2004


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