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"Alice Cooper" was originally the name of Furnier's band; he legally changed his own name to Alice Cooper for a successful solo career. He is often referred to as the founder of shock rock due to his gory, theatrical performances.

Alice Cooper - History

Vincent Furnier was born in Detroit, Michigan to Ether Moroni Furnier and Ella Mae McCart. After a series of childhood illnesses, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona. His grandfather, Thurman Sylvester Furnier, was an ordained Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). Vincent's father was an ordained Elder. Vincent has some distant French Huguenot ancestry; the remainder of his ancestry was English and Scottish.[1]

Cooper was influenced by British bands such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and in particular The Yardbirds. As a result, he formed a number of rock bands in the 1960s, including The Earwigs, The Spiders, and The Nazz. Upon learning that Todd Rundgren also had a band called The Nazz, Furnier changed the band's name to "Alice Cooper." Early press releases claimed that the name was agreed upon after one of Furnier's Ouija sessions, and learning that he was a reincarnation of a 17th century "witch" of the same name. However, Cooper in later interviews has said the name actually came out of thin air conjuring an image of "a cute little girl with an axe behind her back."

The classic Alice Cooper group line up consisted of Cooper, guitarists Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith. All of the band members except Neal were on the Cortez High School cross country track team. The original drummer was Jim Spears, who was the team equipment manager. Many of Alice's "effects" were inspired by the track coach, Emmit Smith, who also was the journalism teacher. One of Smith's class project was to build a working guillotine for slicing watermelons.


In 1970, after the band had recorded two records on Straight Records, the band, under the Warner Brothers label, teamed up with fledgling producer Bob Ezrin on their album entitled Love It to Death. This was the first of more than ten Alice Cooper group and solo albums done with Ezrin who is credited with having helped to create their definitive sound. A hit single soon followed in 1971's "I'm Eighteen". The band's trailblazing mix of shock and glam theatrics stood out amongst bearded, denim-clad hippy bands by sporting sequined costumes by the prominent rock fashion designer Cindy Dunaway (Pink Floyd, The Who), and stage shows that involved Gothic torture modes imposed on the lead singer. Cooper's outspoken views on the Vietnam War stood out no less, as Cooper was always staunchly pro-war—in stark contrast to the vast majority of musicians at the time, who were rebelliously anti-war. [citation needed]

The follow up album Killer included further singles in "Under My Wheels", "Be My Lover", and "Halo Of Flies", which was a Top 10 hit in Holland. In the summer of 1972, Alice Cooper released the appropriately-titled School's Out. The album reached #2 on the charts and sold over a million copies. The title song went Top 10 in the US, was a #1 single in the UK, and remains a staple on classic rock radio.


His albums from the beginning of 1980s, Flush the Fashion, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin, and DaDa, were not commercially successful, especially in comparison to previous sales. They were regarded as very strange and bizarre at that time. However, they are now considered cult classics. Flush the Fashion has a spare, edgy musical sound that was so unexpected as to have been truly baffling to long-time fans, but yielded a mild hit with "Clones (We're All)". The other three albums continued with the experimental "New Wave" sound.


In 1991, the album Hey Stoopid was released. He also appeared on the Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion I, singing backup on the track "The Garden". He also made a brief appearance as the abusive stepfather of Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare On Elm Street film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).

In 1992, Cooper made a famous cameo in the movie Wayne's World, in which he discusses the history of Milwaukee in some depth. The movie's main characters Wayne and Garth held Cooper in extremely high regard, chanting "We're not worthy!"


A pause, lasting for six years, ended in 2000 with Brutal Planet. Brutal Planet is musically strong, dark and loud, with subject matter thematically inspired by the brutality of the modern world, although set in a post-apocalyptic future. It was succeeded by Dragontown in 2001, which has been described by Cooper as being "the worst town on Brutal Planet".

In 2003, Cooper again adopted a leaner, cleaner sound for The Eyes Of Alice Cooper. Recognizing that many current bands were having great success with his former sounds and styles, Cooper worked with a somewhat younger group of road and studio musicians who were very familiar with his oeuvre. However, instead of rehashing the old sounds, they updated them, often with surprisingly effective results. The resulting Bare Bones tour adopted a less-orchestrated performance style that had fewer theatrical flourishes and a greater emphasis on musicality. The success of this tour helped support the growing recognition that the classic Cooper songs were exceptionally clever, tuneful, and unique.

On August 26 to 28 2006, Cooper took part in an annual celebrity golf version of the Ryder Cup called The All*Star Cup in South Wales, UK. August 26 was practice day, August 27 and 28 were the two days of competition. Europe won the Cup for the 2nd year running. Cooper won his match on the first day, and lost his match on day two. Meat Loaf was a fellow member of the US team. The event was a big success, with large crowds attending, and the two main days of competition were shown live on UK television. The commentators made many references to Cooper being the best player and that he played six days a week back home in Arizona. Cooper clearly enjoyed the event and hopefully will return to play again in future years of The All*Star Cup.

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