Alice Cooper born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948 is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors and baby dolls, Cooper has drawn equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock.
Alice Cooper was originally a band that started recording in the late 1960s, consisting of Furnier (who also went by the name Alice Cooper) 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 broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit "I'm Eighteen" from the 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's solo career as Alice Cooper began with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. In 2008 he released Along Came a Spider, his 18th solo album, 25th overall (spanning both band and solo eras). Expanding from his original Detroit rock roots, over the years Cooper has experimented with many different musical styles, including conceptual rock, art rock, glam metal, hard rock, new wave, pop rock, soft rock, experimental rock, heavy metal, and industrial rock. In recent times he has returned more to his garage rock roots.
Alice Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage, The Rolling Stone Album Guide going so far as to refer to him as the world's most "beloved heavy metal entertainer". He helped to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and has been credited as being the person 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.
On VH1's "100 Greatest artists of Hard Rock", Cooper was ranked #20.
* 1 Childhood and early life
* 2 Recording career
o 2.1 1960s
o 2.2 1970s
o 2.3 1980s
o 2.4 1990s
o 2.5 2000s
o 2.6 2010s
* 3 Influences and fans
* 4 Personal life
o 4.1 Religion and politics
o 4.2 Love of golf
* 5 Discography
* 6 Filmography
* 7 List of Alice Cooper band personnel
* 8 Bibliography
* 9 References
* 10 External links
Childhood and early life
Cooper was born as Vincent Damon Fournier in Allen Park, Michigan, the son of Ella Mae (née McCart) and Ether Moroni Furnier, a lay preacher in the Church of Jesus Christ (also known as the Bickertonite Church). He has French Huguenot, Sioux Native American, English, Scottish and Irish ancestry, and was named after one of his uncles (Vincent Collier Furnier) and the writer Damon Runyon. His paternal grandfather, Thurman Sylvester Furnier, was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ based in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and Vincent Furnier was very active in the Church of Jesus Christ at the ages of 11 and 12.
While in Detroit, Furnier attended Washington Elementary School, and then a middle school that is now Lutheran High School Westland. Following a series of childhood illnesses, Furnier moved with his family to Phoenix, Arizona. Furnier attended Cortez High School in northern Phoenix. He was also a member of the Order of DeMolay.
In 1964, at the age of 16, Furnier was eager to take part in the local annual letterman's talent show and gathered fellow cross-country teammates to form a group for the show. They named themselves The Earwigs, and since they did not know how to play any instruments at the time, they dressed up like The Beatles and mimed their performance to Beatles songs. As a result of winning the talent show and loving the experience of being onstage, the group immediately proceeded to learn how to play instruments they acquired from a local pawn shop. They soon renamed themselves The Spiders, featuring Furnier on vocals, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, John Tatum on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and John Speer on drums.Musically, the group were inspired by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds. For the next year the band performed regularly around the Phoenix area with a huge black spider's web as their backdrop, the group's first stage prop. In 1965, they recorded their first single, "Why Don't You Love Me" (originally performed by The Blackwells), with Furnier learning the harmonica for that song.
In 1966, the members of The Spiders graduated from high school. After North High School footballer Michael Bruce replaced John Tatum on rhythm guitar, the band scored a local #1 radio hit with "Don't Blow Your Mind," an original composition from their second single release. By 1967, the band had begun to make regular road trips to Los Angeles, California to play shows. They soon renamed themselves The Nazz and released the single "Wonder Who's Lovin' Her Now," backed with future Alice Cooper track "Lay Down And Die, Goodbye." At around this time drummer John Speer was replaced by Neal Smith. By the end of the year the band had relocated to Los Angeles permanently.
In 1968, upon learning that Todd Rundgren also had a band called Nazz, the band were again in need of another stage name. Believing that the group needed a gimmick to succeed and that other bands were not exploiting the showmanship potential of the stage, Furnier chose Alice Cooper as the band's name and adopted this stage name as his own. Cooper admitted in 2007 that the name change was one of his most important and successful career moves.
Early press releases claimed that the name was agreed upon after a session with a Ouija board, during which it was revealed that Furnier was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch named Alice Cooper