Debbie Howle of Dundalk showed up at the Towson Courthouse yesterday afternoon with her 9-year-old son and a pair of 20-year-old panties.
The sheer undergarment was wrapped around a copy of Alice Cooper's 1972 album "School's Out." Warner Bros. released the record that way, panties included, as an unexplained marketing gimmick, and Ms. Howle wanted to make sure Alice knew she still had them.
"Originals, original 'School's Out' panties," declared Ms. Howle, 30, also accompanied by her friend Cheryl Noel and Ms. Noel's two school-age children. "We brought our kids along to teach 'em right."
Said Ms. Noel, 32: "To teach 'em to rock and roll forever."
The mothers, who painted their kids' faces in black ghoul eye makeup like Alice, lined up in front of the courthouse with more than 1,500 other people for a lunchtime concert by the 43-year-old rock icon, who grabbed fame in the 1970s with driving hits like "I'm 18," "Under My Wheels," "School's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy." (He's moved on to movies of late, starring as Freddy Krueger's father in "Freddy's Dead," opening Friday.)
Mr. Cooper and his band, promoting their new album "Hey Stoopid" as the guest of WIYY-FM's free lunch concert series, played all of those songs yesterday, rocked loud and hard, and had courthouse office workers hanging out the windows shaking their heads.
Many young people in the crowd were obvious truants, and if the measure of effective rock and roll is its ability to seduce young people into doing silly things, then the dark-haired, leather-clad Alice still has it.
During his only ballad, a 16-year-old girl from Harford County unhinged her red and black paisley bra, slipped it out from under her black tank-top, and threw it at the singer. Alice used the garment to mop the sweat off of his lined face before the girl with the short brown hair got it back from a security guard.
Holding it to her face she cooed: "It smells like him."
No one asked the teen-ager, born years after Frank Zappa
discovered the former Vincent Furnier in a Detroit bar, how she knew what Alice Cooper smells like.
3' It didn't matter. He sounded great.