News & Views » Columns

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout


Unfortunately, Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout #221 has the last laugh.

Brian "Renfield" NelsonThe King of All VCRs (RIP) :: He may have handed out business cards which read "World's Biggest Alice Cooper Fan" and he may have parlayed that claim into a 29-year career as Alice Cooper's personal assistant, but for me, Brian Nelson's most impressive credit came in 1995 when a photograph of him — wearing a toque and holding a videocassette — appeared on page 385 of Howard Stern's autobiography, Miss America, alongside the official proclamation that Brian was "The King of All VCRs."

That's because Brian was an inveterate taper who watched far more television than his culture-vulture boss ever did — which is why it's a good thing that Alice toured so much; otherwise, between his TiVo and the Internet, Brian would never have seen the light of day again. Even so, he once asked me to videotape an episode of Survivor that was airing at the same time as a local Cooper concert. Unwilling to wait until the tour was over, Brian got someone from each city that Alice was playing in on a Thursday night to tape that week's episode so he could watch it later that evening after the show.

My first contact with Brian Nelson came when he unexpectedly phoned me at home one night in 1983 to personally thank me for a complimentary article I had written about Alice in CREEM. That generous gesture began a 26 year friendship — seven long years of which we spent working together on Alice's authorized biography for The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper box set that Brian was producing.

He was the best editor I ever had after Lester Bangs, and I told him that. Earlier this year, while I was co-writing the Stooges' upcoming authorized biography, I kept him in mind as I edited my words. When I recently e-mailed him about a phone call I'd received from Iggy, Brian immediately wrote back:

you don't have to make up shit to try and impress me.

you've met alice cooper. that's good enough.

Ha ha.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.