As you probably know, once you come under
the influence of Alice Cooper, you might never be the same again.
This extraordinary rock legend-in-his-own time has continued
to successfully wreak havoc on the world with his sensational
records and stage shows, performing such rebellious anthem classics
as "I'm 18". "School's Out" and "Elected". Today more than ever
before, Alice Cooper remains the object of adulation by millions
Being Described as a legend in one's own time
is certainly a blatantly abused cliché, but no one has taken
a vivid imagination and invigorating stage show to the people
with as much controversy and success as Alice Cooper. Call him
master of shock rock, black humorist supreme, or simply one
of rock's greatest showmen, his mark has undeniably been left
on countless fans and performers alike.
A true innovator, the Coop was the very first
to open a "Pandora's Box" that unleashed all the descendants
that made up the shock rock and glam rock invasions that ensued.
Alice, like some demented pied piper, single handedly seduced
a whole generation with his skilful mix of rock and theatre.
Going for a radical theatrical approach with costumes and fog
machines (virtually inventing shock rock). Alice Cooper's debut
turned the music industry upside down with a non-conformist
attitude, an anomaly in an age of Peace and Love.
Alice, intending to "drive a stake through
a the heart of the Love Generation", played hard rock powered
by crunching riffs, blazing guitars, and lyrics that seemed
to connect directly to the dissatisfied teenage psyche. Influenced
by the musical attitudes and sounds of "The Stones", "The Who"
and "The Yardbirds", Alice started his first band in Phoenix,
and experimented with names like "The Earwigs", "Nazz", "Spiders"
before settling on "Alice Cooper". Aiming to out-shock the Stones,
Alice succeeded with a wit and humour few have been able to
"I always envisioned an innocent, sweet looking
girl named "Alice Cooper" hiding an axe behind her back, ready
at any moment to do some serious damage", Alice has said. "When
we first started out, we could clean out a place full of thousands
of people in a space of four songs. We were the first to wear
make-up and outrageous clothes, and the first to use theatrical
props and sets in our shows. We had all this negative energy,
and had to turn it around".
Alice's first big break came in meeting Frank
Zappa and Shep Gordon, who has been Alice's manager ever since
that first meeting. Zappa was impressed particularly with Alice's
unconventional theatrical approach to performing rock and roll.
Shep, on the other hand, after seeing Alice clear out a concert
hall in less than four songs, was convinced immediately that
the negative energy could be turned around in a big way.
"People wouldn't even stay in the same room
with him", recalled Shep. "One night half the audience walked
out, and I knew right then and there that I had something so
unique that it could become a household word".
Zappa's Straight Records label released Alice
Cooper's debut LP PRETTIES FOR YOU, followed a year later by
EASY ACTION. But it was the switch to Warner Brothers, and the
release of LOVE IT TO DEATH, which spawned the massive hit single
"I'm 18", that sent Alice Cooper well on his way to becoming
a household word. The KILLER album cover, picturing Alice on
the front cover hanging from a hangman's noose only served to
enhance and intensify his dangerous image.
From the very first gig to the evolution into
colossal concert tours, Alice achieved triumph after triumph.
"When "I'm 18" became such a big hit, suddenly we could afford
to do all the things we'd always wanted to do, it was like a
licence to thrill", recounted Alice. "SCHOOL'S OUT" became another
anthem, further cementing Alice's appeal internationally. To
this Day, you can't get through the month of june and the end
of another school year without hearing someone play that song.
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES in particular, like the name implied,
was the ultimate elevation of Alice Cooper from media manipulator
to media mogul, with an album and a tour that set records for
being the biggest of their time. More hits, including the single
"No More Mr. Nice Guy", and the album MUSCLE OF LOVE, continued
to flow, as the gold soon turned to platinum. The elaborate
concerts became a standard for others to be compared to. "There
was always a need for someone like me, with my sense of humour
and ability to handle a stage", said Alice, "I always thought
it was important to be original, and nobody's been more original
than me. I hit a nerve, a real deep nerve with everybody. It
must have been an important nerve, because people have bean
reacting to it from the beginning, and they are still reacting
to it now".
Live performing is where Alice has been the
most influential. Spectacular stage props, like the guillotine,
the electric chair, and the gallows have to this day never been
equalled, and the pioneering use of multi-level staging and
elaborate sets to the birth of the now-standard big rock stage
Alice has set his share of rock and roll trends,
especially on video tape. Even before there was an MTV, Alice's
"Elected" video was one of the very first actual story line,
non-live performing promotional video clips ever produced. And
his ABC Network television special of "WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE"
was essentially the first long-form video album and was among
the very first to be released to home video.
"Welcome To My Nightmare" was a breakthrough
show. Onstage, Alice portrayed the part of Steven, a disturbed
boy whose dreams are actually nightmares peopled by horrifying
characters. The concert tour was a sensational, full-scale theatrical
production that included, among other things, giant spiders,
a graveyard, and a cyclone.
As a stage performer, Alice has always been
conscious of the power he wields over an audience, saying "there're
certain tricks I do onstage, I think everybody coming to an
Alice Cooper concert knows basically what to expect, although
we always try to shock and surprise them with something".
Following "Nightmare", were a string of successful
albums including ALICE COOPER GOES TO HELL, THE ALICE COOPER
SHOW, LACE & WHISKY, FLUSH THE FASHION, and FROM THE INSIDE.
After a well deserved respite from the rigors
of the rock wars, Alice Cooper came back with a vengeance in
1986 with THE NIGHTMARE RETURNS, CONSTRICTOR, and RAISE YOUR
FIST AND YELL. Then in 1988, Alice signed with Epic Records
and hooked up with songwriter/producer Desmond Child (best known
for his work with Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, & Joan Jett). Said Alice,
"Every time I turned on my car radio, it was one of Desmond's
Attacking the making of the new record with
all the fervor and excitement of a first record, Alice and Desmond
successfully blended the Alice Cooper legacy with the fleshy
musicianship and the fluid songwriting of the nineties, hard-edged
In keeping with the style and theme of the
TRASH album, Alice put together yet another spectacular concert
tour, featuring many of the songs from the album as well as
an hour's worth of classic Alice material. An all new band was
put together and the line up was described as one of his best
Moving away from blood and gore of previous
albums and tours, TRASH and the "Alice Trashes The World" tour
explore the good, the absurd and the scary things about sexuality.
"This was the first time I was able to call somebody up and
say, hey, I've got a song that would be perfect for us to do
together", says Alice, explaining how Steven Tyler, Joe Perry,
Joey Kramer & Tom Hamilton (all of Aerosmith) plus both Jon
Bon Jovi and his guitarist Richie Sambora, plus former Alice
bassist Kip Winger all happened to end up on the album.
As regard trash, Alice says "Everybody relates
to trash. Kids get trashed by the cops, trashed at school, trashed
at home. We live in a highly pressured time. Living is harder,
sex is harder. It used to be that when you got into trouble
from sex you got a shot of penicillin - now you die! People
asked me what I thought the scariest thing in the nineties would
be and I came up with sex. It's a dangerous world and trash
is what it's all about".
TRASH, from the man who made it desirable,
Alice Cooper! It's not always pretty, it's not always nasty,
but it's always…unmistakably ALICE!
HEY STOOPID, THE LAST TEMPTATION, CLASSISKS
a best of compilationand, and a live album called A FISTFUL
OF ALICE gives the younger generations something to scare their
parents with. In 1999 Alice released a box-set called "THE LIFE
AND CRIMES OF ALICE COOPER", a collection of his best music,
including some rare recordings and previously un-released material.
In June 2000, Alice released, BRUTAL PLANET,
and has followed this with yet another album, released in 2001,
his latest album is called DRAGONTOWN.