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Former Lee Warmer (DaDa, 1983)

“Former Lee Warmer” Lyrics:

In an upstairs room, under lock and key
It’s my brother, Former Lee
All the mops and brooms keep him company
Misconceived of the family

Former Lee Warmer pulls up the covers to hide in his wrinkled bed
No dreams go in; no dreams go out of the hole in his wrinkled head
Former Lee Warmer

When I hear him play in his twisted key
That’s the way he calls to me
On a silver tray, I keep the master key
In every way, he depends on me

Former Lee Warmer, an old smoking jacket – holes in his satin sleeves
Candlelit puddles, arthritic fingers, yellow-stained ivory keys
Huh………

In an upstairs room under lock and key
It’s my brother, Former Lee
And after all these years, I’ve never heard him speak
I wonder what he thinks of me

Former Lee Warmer peeks out the window when he feels really brave
Former Lee Warmer waves at his father out in the family grave

He’s flesh and blood to me
I, I love him brotherly
But, but I don’t want to be Former Lee…

Alice Cooper’s 8th solo album, DaDa, was released in 1983. The last of four albums referred to as the “blackout” albums, DaDa winds up being Alice’s final album for Warner Bros. Records. Interestingly enough, while the album wasn’t well-received, it did prove to be one of Cooper’s more notable records.

Many fans find this album endearing and intriguing both musically and cerebrally. Whatever opinion one might carry about the record’s artistry, music, and mindset, the listener can’t help but wonder what Alice and Co. thought as they recorded the tracks and how the studio sessions transpired.

“Writing and recording the songs for ‘DaDa’ was a time of inspired creativity and camaraderie among Alice, Bob (Ezrin), and me. The only thing that holds me back from saying that ‘DaDa’ was my favorite recording session is the cold Toronto weather. Not really my favorite recording session, but definitely my favorite Alice Cooper album. Esoteric ecstasy.” – Dick Wagner, former guitarist for Alice Cooper

As mentioned above, DaDa wound up being Alice’s last LP with Warner Bros. Records. It was recorded as a final obligation between him and the record company, and like Zipper Catches Skin, the previous album, there was little to no promotion for the LP.

Former Lee Warmer,” the third track on the album, is a deeper look at the relationship between Alice and his record label, Warner Bros. Records. According to Dick Wagner, the song was about “leaving the record label,” and the “imagery was about the evil old man (Warner Bros. Records) in the attic.

In an upstairs room, under lock and key
It’s my brother, Former Lee
All the mops and brooms keep him company
Misconceived of the family

Former Lee Warmer pulls up the covers to hide in his wrinkled bed
No dreams go in; no dreams go out of the hole in his wrinkled head
Former Lee Warmer

He’s flesh and blood to me
I, I love him brotherly
But, but I don’t want to be Former Lee…

On the surface, “Former Lee Warmer” is the tale of two brothers. One living life free to roam to and fro while the other is confined to the attic. Most likely, no one would even know he’s there, locked away, restricted to his miserable state.

As noted above, the song has a deeper meaning – a relational one between Alice and Warner Bros. Records. However, it also carries with it another connotation if we look closely.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24

There’s a war going on – not a physical fight, but a battle of ideas, emotions, moral integrity, and spirituality. It’s a struggle that stems within us and spills out into the rest of the world. It’s the conflict between our new self and the old, like the battle between our Creator and the world – Good vs. Evil.

We must learn to wage that war without contempt for ourselves or others around us. We must learn to forgive the old man (or woman) before the new man (or woman) can genuinely emerge.

As we become new creations, we must also remember our transformation is NOT unique. Anyone that calls Him Lord is enduring the same process.

“We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I, myself, who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7:14-25

Paul writes this passage about himself and his struggles, knowing humanity’s toil concerning sin and desire are shared. We all battle the same enemy (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul points out that self-determination isn’t enough – it leads to disappointment and despair (7:15). Paul found himself caught in sin without contemplation. Without the Spirit’s guidance and motivation, we are easily ensnared by evil – underestimating the power of sin.

Paul also clarifies that professing Christ as Lord (and offering Him your heart) doesn’t erase sin and temptation from a person’s life (7:22-25). However, we’ve been provided Righteousness by our Creator.

We are reborn through that moment of faith when we first believe in Him and are transformed anew, but becoming like Christ is a lifelong process. Paul describes spiritual growth as strenuous – a race or fight to the end (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7).

Through Christ’s Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit (placed within us), we are shown God’s provision. When we stumble, fail, and fall, His hands lovingly reach out to help us up.

Paul teaches us how strenuous the Christian experience is. The conflict between what we want to do and what we wind up doing. We become painfully aware of sin as we navigate life while trying our best to rely on Him and His Word.

During the times when sin’s appeal seems confusing or overwhelming, let us do our best to claim the freedom Christ has given us – to cling tightly to His Word, His Promises, and His Spirit. We are NOT alone in our struggles, and He wants nothing more than for us to turn to Him instead of wallowing in doubt, self-pity, or shame.

With all the above being stated, we must remember, it’s not about Religion but instead Relationship.

Religion keeps us focused on the law and sin. When our concentration is focused on Religion, we often worry more about the sins of others (and the world) while trying to mask our own. However, Relationship leads us to a different place.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Relationship keeps us focused on Christ and teaches us to adjust our mindset – away from ourselves and the deeds of others. Instead, we learn to see life through the eyes of Christ – noticing the darker areas and shining His Light in those places. Through Him, we find “the way of escape.

Wrapping up this week’s post, anyone that calls Him Lord struggles with the person they once were. However, as we learn to navigate transformation – embracing the new and shedding the old, may we learn to seek Him (and help from others) as we endure.

Learning to associate with the person we were and have now become isn’t easy, but through time and devotion, His Grace and Mercy afford us the chance to heal and grow in our faith. We should also learn to understand that our plight is no more or less severe than anyone else’s.

We’ve been called to lift each other in times of need (Galatians 6:2) and rejoice together, knowing His Love and Faithfulness will endure forever (Psalms 89). Understanding these things, we know that the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Whatever was “Former Lee” found in our past has no power in our present or future. If and when they “peek out the window” of our mind’s eye, let us remember to lovingly adjust our focus and place our strength in Christ while also affording others the same Mercy and Grace as well.

In conclusion, the DaDa LP is fascinating. Every song carries multiple meanings while providing us a journey through the conscious (and subconscious) minds of Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin, and Dick Wagner.

Perhaps some may look back at this time and care not to remember it. However, we see something inspiring and endearing about this moment – what the world and many others would see as the end was actually only the beginning.

Little did anyone know (maybe not even Alice) that a new creation was being formed. A miraculous event was yet to unfold. Ultimately, instead of Alice’s life forever being consumed in darkness, a Light was ready to be shown – the Light of Christ. For in our weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).

That’s it for this week. Be well and catch you next Friday.

In the meantime, Keep walkin’ in Faith and rockin’ with Alice!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?

If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:

"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

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