Alice Cooper Biography
Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and duelling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be “The Godfather of Shock Rock”. He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.
Originating in Phoenix, Arizona, in the late 1960s after he moved from Detroit, Michigan, “Alice Cooper” was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band released its first album in 1969 but broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” from their third studio album Love It to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single “School’s Out” in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies.
Furnier adopted the band’s name as his own name in the 1970s and began a solo career with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. In 2011, he released Welcome 2 My Nightmare, his 19th album as a solo artist and 26th album in total. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Expanding from his Detroit rock roots, Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, including art rock, hard rock, heavy metal, new wave, glam metal, pop rock, experimental rock, and industrial rock.
Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage, with The Rolling Stone Album Guide calling him the world’s most “beloved heavy metal entertainer”. He is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and has been described as the artist who “first introduced horror imagery to rock’n’roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre”. Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur, and, since 2004, a popular radio DJ with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper.
Rob Zombie, former front man of White Zombie, claims his first “metal moment” was seeing Alice Cooper on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Zombie has also claimed to have been heavily influenced by Cooper’s costumes.
In a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan stated, “I think Alice Cooper is an overlooked songwriter”.
In the foreword to Alice Cooper’s CD retrospective box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper, John Lydon of The Sex Pistols pronounced Killer as the greatest rock album of all time, and in 2002 Lydon presented his own tribute program to Cooper on BBC radio. Lydon told the BBC that “I know the words to every Alice Cooper song. The fact is, if you can call what I have a musical career, it all started with me miming to I’m Eighteen on a jukebox”.
- Arena, Birmingham – November 14, 2017
- Bloodstock Festival – August 12, 2012
- NIA, Birmingham – October 27, 2011
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