By Ray Shasho
“We’re not worthy, We’re not worthy”…Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar from Wayne's World
Alice Cooper is truly a pioneer of glam and heavy metal- rock and roll. In an interview with the East Valley Tribune in Phoenix Arizona, Alice’s hometown, Cooper said, Cooper procreated legendary fans like Peter Sellers, Groucho Marx, Mae West, Salvador Dali and Bob Dylan. He even helped shape the careers of Lady Gaga and Metallica.
"We brought theatrics to rock ‘n’ roll. We did it before Bowie; we did it before Kiss and before anybody. There was no show biz in rock ‘n’ roll before Alice Cooper. It was taboo and really looked down upon to call yourself showbiz. So when we came along, we went as far out on a limb as we possibly could. We did everything we could to annoy every parent in America, then backed it up with anthems that got played. We had 25 gold albums and sold 50 million records; it wasn’t a fluke."
The 63 year old rocker was the first to sell-out concerts by playing the role of a frightening fictitious character. Cooper stated in an interview that his Alice character was inspired by the film Barbarella. He said,
“When I saw Anita Pallenberg playing the Great Tyrant in that movie in 1968, wearing long black leather gloves with switchblades coming out of them, I thought, that’s what Alice should look like.”I remember being nervous, afraid, and excited while waiting for Alice Cooper to appear on stage in the early 70’s. I’d hear all those rumors of what he would do on stage. And I wasn’t so sure if I really wanted to see him decapitate himself with a guillotine. But once his electrifying band led by guitarist Glen Buxton started to rock- out- I became hypnotized into one of his twisted disciples.
Alice Cooper definitely turned rock concerts into a theatrical experience. Said Cooper...
"You just let your lower self go, and then it takes on all these aspects of the society-the city with horns blowing, the people yelling things at each other, and the all-in-all violence and chaos of the city. Put that on stage with music, and that’s what this is.”
Alice’s screams of rebellion were relentless in his single “I’m Eighteen” from the “Love It to Death” album , an anthem which reached number #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1971. The song epitomized the complicated transition of boy to man during adolescence.
Alice’s next rock and roll anthem “Schools Out” converted mild -mannered preteens into raving disobedient lunatics during their last week of school before the summer break. The song reached the Top 10 in the summer of 1972. It eventually made 21 on Billboard’s top 30 summer songs of all-time.
The “Billion Dollar Babies” album in 1973 became the band’s most successful album reaching number #1 in the US and UK. The album spawned the hits "Elected," "Hello Hooray," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
Wearing a top hat and cane, Alice hit the road again, but this time with his version of Broadway and the “Welcome to My Nightmare tour.” The concept album produced another Top 20 hit with “Only Women Bleed.”
In 1989 Cooper released the “Trash” album that featured another Top Ten hit “Poison”.
In 1991 Alice Cooper released the popular “Hey Stoopid.” The album featured guest appearances from Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Vinnie Moore, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and members of Motley Crue.
By 2010 Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie collaborated on the "Gruesome Twosome Tour.”
Alice and his longtime producer Bob Ezrin (Who worked with Pink Floyd, Kiss, Lou Reed, and Peter Gabriel to name just a few) are reported together again. Ezrin a partner with “Bigger Picture Group” will be working on a new album and elaborate stage show for an upcoming Alice Cooper tour.
Alice Cooper has been around since I can remember. And I’ll never forget those crazy grade school- rumors. “Hey Ray, Did you know that Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver is actually Alice Cooper?"
Tampa bay area golfers should watch out for some golfing tips from Alice Cooper, or shall we just call him by his real name for the score card, Vincent Damon Furnier. Alice started playing golf years ago to help overcome his addiction to alcohol. He has a two- handicap and tries to play the game at least six days a week. He’s competed in several Pro-Am competitions and hosts his own charity golf tournament in Phoenix each April.
He's written a book called “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict." http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Cooper-Golf-Monster-Becoming/dp/0307382656
In his hometown of Phoenix, Cooper raises about $150,000 each year for his Solid Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization to help inner city kids stay out of gangs and away from guns and drugs.
On March 14th, Alice Cooper and his original band with Mike Bruce, Glen Buxton, (Died in 1997) Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith will Get Elected! Alice’s graduating class will include Neil Diamond, Dr John, Darlene Love(The Blossoms and Crystals), Tom Waits, Jac Holzman, (Electra Records) Art Rupe,(Specialty Records) and Leon Russell.
And then “School’s Out”… but not forever!
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