Man, the fuckin’ ‘70s… It’s no secret or surprise that teen magazines’ content started to skew a bit more adult in that decade, mirroring significantly more permissive times, but I was floored by the August, 1974 issue of SPEC, a sometimes quarterly, sometimes bimonthly, typically more pin-up heavy special publication of 16 Magazine. While 16 tended to keep details of teenybopper stars’ sexual lives obscured in favor of probing questions into Bobby Sherman’s favorite (sorry—FAVE, always fave) color or David Cassidy’s fave dessert, SPEC offered up a Grand Funk “Be Our Groupie” contest, a ridiculous shirtless crotch-shot centerfold of Rick Springfield, and an advice column addressing how to touch a guy if you want to turn him on, fittingly written by a gentleman named “Rod.”
And as if to prove that clickbait is nothing new, here’s what ultimately grabbed me:
OK, I was curious what I’d need to do to marry an Osmond, too…
It speaks volumes about values dissonance over the decades that that could be printed at all, let alone on the COVER of a magazine, let alone the cover of a magazine for junior high and high school girls. And not even JUST on the cover:
Sooooooo I’m still confused—is Alice Cooper or is he not a fag? We’ll have to refer to the ridiculous interview to find out:
SPEC: People say all kinds of things about you.
Alice: I know, I know.
SPEC: So what’s the story, Alice? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you bisexual? Which?
Alice: Oh, I’m straight. I’m attracted only to members of the opposite sex—girls, that is.
SPEC: But you have a girl’s name, you wear all that make-up. Don’t you expect people to get the impression that you’re not straight?
Alice: Well, I have a girl’s name, but that’s kind of a goof. And lots of men who perform wear make-up—that’s a theatrical tradition, it has nothing to do with sexuality. And I do not attempt to look like a girl, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not a transvestite—I don’t imitate women. Did you ever see a woman who looked the way I do? If one did, she’d really get called a weirdo!
SPEC: Nevertheless, we get all these letters saying “Alice s a fag!” I’m sure you get them too. How do you account for that?
Alice: To some extent, I must admit, we do encourage that impression. But I’m not a “fag”—you know I don’t like using that word because it’s insulting to gay people.
SPEC: What impression do you encourage?
Alice: Oh, you know, bizarre, kinky, neither-here-nor-there. But I never went out of my way to lead people to believe that I was actually homosexual. After all, make-up and costumes have nothing to do with homosexuality—the only pertinent behavior is whether or not you’re attracted to people of your own sex.
SPEC: I understand you’ve been criticized by people in the gay liberation movement for exploiting homosexuality and making fun of it.
Alice: I’m sorry they feel that way, but there are a lot of gay people who don’t mind what I do also. It’s all in fun, and it’s certainly not meant to be malicious in any way whatsoever.
SPEC: Don’t you think a lot of your fans want to believe that you’re gay?
Alice: Yes, I know they do. Isn’t it curious? They’ll read this interview, and they’ll say “Bull! We know he’s queer!” Nothing I could say or do could convince them that I’m not.
SPEC: Why do you think that is?
Alice: I figure it probably makes these kids feel far-out to think that they can dig a performer who’s supposedly gay. I think it’s groovy of them.
SPEC: Would you admit it if you were homosexual?
Alice: Of course, and I wouldn’t just admit it, as if it were something you’re supposed to conceal. I’d just be it. I’d be natural about it, and I don’t see where it would be very much different for me, except I’d be making it with men instead of women.
SPEC: Aren’t you even just a little bit bisexual?
Alice: You mean do I mostly like girls, but do I like boys sometimes? No, I only like girls, but if I could have chosen my own sexuality, I think I might have chosen to be bisexual.
SPEC: Why is that?
Alice: It would give me twice as many people to pick from!
SPEC: Do you really mean that?
Alice: Sure—I think in the future everyone will be bisexual. And everything would be so much simpler then—you’d just make love with anyone you liked, and it wouldn’t matter what sex they were, and maybe it also wouldn’t matter what color they were, or what age, or anything, except that you liked them.
That’s a way better chat than you were expecting, no? Me too. I’ve conducted a fair few interviews and I can’t imagine in a million years bluntly asking someone if he or she is gay, and Cooper handled that all really well—especially for 1974. It goes on for a bit longer, with a lot of silly, if period-appropriate, shockrocker gobbledygook about pansexuality as a panacea for social ills blah blah blah. What’s transcribed above is the worthy stuff.
Here’s some more rare ‘74 vintage Alice—a mimed version of the Billion Dollar Babies cut “Sick Things,” from a short-lived TV mystery series called The Snoop Sisters. They were actually NAMED “Snoop” AND they were snoops, you guys. Why did that not last?