Sammy’s taking a trip to Pheonix to visit Mr. Alice Cooper! Alice has mellowed out a bit since his heyday as the Godfather of Shock Rock, but make no mistake, this guy lived the rockstar life and then some! How did he grow from Arizona unknown to worldwide rock icon? We’ve got the scoop!
On February 4, 1948, Vincent Damon Furnier was born in Detroit, Michigan before his family relocated to Arizona. In high school, Vincent formed a band with classmates Glen Buxton (guitar), Michael Bruce (guitar, keyboards), Dennis Dunaway (bass), and Neal Smith (drums). The band started out as the Earwigs, but several name changes later (including the Spiders and Nazz) the band found themselves with the name Alice Cooper, supposedly after a witch doctor spirit spoke to the lead singer through a Ouija board.
The group played extensively in the local Arizona bar scene, and when they had exhausted that avenue, the group moved to Los Angeles where the guys attracted the attention of some notable figures. Two New Yorkers, Shep Gordon and Joe Greenberg, became Alice Cooper’s managers. Soon after, Frank Zappa signed the band to his Straight Records label. By this time, Vincent had adopted the band’s name as his own and was spearheading the group’s theatrical live performances. In 1969 they released their debut album, Pretties For You. Their second album, Easy Action followed one year later, but it wasn’t until their third album Love It to Death that the band reached critical acclaim. Their onstage theatrics, including fake guillotines, electric chairs, infant dolls, and boa constrictors helped cement their place in rock history.
Alice Cooper split from his bandmates in 1974 and took the name with him. His first solo albums, Welcome to My Nightmare and Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, were huge commercial successes, and his live shows were monstrous spectacles to behold. However, a crippling alcoholism was taking hold of Alice. After many years of excessive drinking, he beat his addiction and supplemented it with a new one: golfing! Since then, he’s released many more albums, including a Greatest Hits album. He’s appeared in movies (ever heard of Wayne’s World?), reunited with his former bandmates, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Mr. Cooper still tours regularly as his onstage persona, but this time round he’s completely sober. He owns a sports pub, Cooperstown, that he frequents often for impromptu performances. He also has a successful syndicated radio program, Nights With Alice Cooper. But when he’s not doing any of that, you can usually find him on the golf course!
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Alice’s nightmarish vision can still be felt today! What’s your favorite Alice Cooper song? Let us know in the comments below!
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