Welcome to My Nightmare
“There is so much great rock from the '60s, '70s, a little thinner in the '80s. I can't believe that there are only 40 songs that get played. There is such a variety of music from that era. There are just so many bands that never get played.” Alice Cooper
Legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) is the former lead singer of the late 1960s/1970s rock band of the same name, with whom he had the 1971's monster hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album "Love it to Death" and the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The group, which rose to their commercial peak with the 1973 album "Billion Dollar Babies," disbanded in the mid 1970s and Cooper adopted the band's name as his own.
Since his first solo effort in 1975 with the album "Welcome to My Nightmare," Cooper has released 17 studio albums, including "Alice Cooper Goes to Hell" (1976), "Lace and Whiskey" (1977), "From the Inside" (1978), "Flush the Fashion" (1980), "Constrictor" (1986), "Raise Your Fist and Yell" (1987), "Trash" (1989), "Hey Stoopid" (1991), "The Last Temptation" (1994), "Dirty Diamonds" (2005), and his latest album, "Along Came a Spider" (2008). His most popular songs include "Only Women Bleed" (1975), "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" (1986), and "Poison" (1989).
Having been in the music scene for five decades, the heavy metal rocker, who is best known for his theatrical and violent stage performances, is #20 on VH1's “100 Greatest Artist of Hard Rock” and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. He also received a Rock Immortal award at the 2007 Scream Awards, was given the key to the city of Alice, North Dakota, in May 2006, and scooped up the Living Legend award at the 2006 Classic Rock Roll of Honor event. In 2007, his book, "Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict," was released
"On stage, I'm this figure, this actor, who does things that people aren't used to seeing and I relish in that reaction. In real life, though, I play golf, I shop and I walk around with no makeup on and my hair in a ponytail. I may not be the typical middle-aged Joe, but I'm closer to normal than you think." Alice Cooper
This 5' 9½" rock star, who lived with Cynthia Lang from 1968 to 1976, has been married to Sheryl Cooper since 1976 and has three kids.
Childhood and Family:
"When I was a kid and my parents started talking about politics, I'd run to my room and put on the Rolling Stones as loud as I could. So when I see all these rock stars up there talking politics, it makes me sick. If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal." Alice Cooper
Born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 4, 1948, Vincent Damon Furnier, who would legally change his name to Alice Cooper in 1974, moved to Phoenix, Arizona, at a young age following a series of childhood illnesses. He still lives in the state today. His parents are Ella Mae and Ether Moroni Furnier, a minister. His grandfather, Thurman Sylvester Furnier, was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ based in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.
“I have never made fun of religion. Religion is something I don't even want to mess with, because I am really afraid of the clouds opening up and my being struck by lightning. Satanism is something else I don't mess with. I think that the heavy metal bands that do are playing with fire. I have never influenced people in a negative way, and I'm not about to start now.” Alice Cooper
After Washington Elementary School, Cooper attended Nankin Mills Middle School, which is now Lutheran High School Westland, and graduated from Cortez High School in northern Phoenix, Arizona. Later, in 2004, he was granted an honorary PhD (Doctor of Performing Arts) from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Cooper was also a member of the Order of DeMolay.
“I didn't go to my senior prom, but I played it.” Alice Cooper
From 1968 to 1976, Cooper lived with Cynthia Lang, who would later sue for community property. On March 3, 1976, he married his present wife, Sheryl Cooper. They have three children: Calico Cooper (born on May 20, 1981), Dashiell Cooper (born in 1984), and Sonora Rose Cooper (born in 1993). Calico has been touring with Cooper as one of the dancers/actors in the show.
Cooper, who collects cars and antique watches, opened up a restaurant in downtown Phoenix called "Cooperstown" in 1998. He is an avid golfer and has participated in several celebrity tournaments.
Along Came a Spider
“We put a stake through the heart of the love generation.” Alice Cooper
While living in Phoenix, Arizona, Alice Cooper formed his first garage rock band, “The Earwigs,” in 1964 at the age of 16. The group later renamed themselves “The Spiders” and featured Cooper on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, John Tatum (later replaced by Michael Bruce) on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and John Speer (later replaced by Neal Smith) on drums. After recording their first single, "Why Don't You Love Me," (originally performed by The Blackwells) in 1965, the band, whose members had just graduated high school, had a local #1 radio hit with their second single "Don't Blow Your Mind" in 1966. The following year, they began to perform in Los Angeles regularly and relocated to Los Angeles permanently by the end of the year.
During this time, the band was renamed “The Nazz” and released the single "Wonder Who's Lovin' Her Now." However, after finding out that there was a band with the name “Nazz,” Cooper chose “Alice Cooper” as the band's new name and adopted the stage name as his own.
"The hippies wanted peace and love. We [the original Alice Cooper band] wanted Ferraris, blondes and switchblades." Alice Cooper
The group consisted of Cooper on vocals, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass, and Neal Smith on drums and was signed by composer and renowned record producer Frank Zappa to his new record label, Straight Records. In August 1969, they released their debut album, "Pretties for You.” It met with critical and commercial failure after touching the U.S. charts for one week at #193. The album's first single, "Reflected," was later rewritten as "Elected," which was featured on their 1973 album "Billion Dollar Babies."
Picking a new subgenre, shock rock, "Alice Cooper" released their second album, "Easy Action," in June 1970, which was met with the same fate as its predecessor. Drummer Neal Smith later said of the record producer David Briggs, "David hated our music and us. I recall the term that he used, referring to our music, was ‘Psychedelic S***.’ I think 'Easy Action' sounded too dry, more like a TV or radio commercial and he did not help with song arrangement or positive input in any way."
After the two failed albums, the band had a last chance to create a hit on their third album, the last in their contract with Straight Records, before the label was purchased by Warner Bros. Records. The hit came with the single "I'm Eighteen," which was released in November 1970 and rose to #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It ranked #39 on VH1's “40 Greatest Metal Songs” and #482 on Rolling Stone magazine's “500 Greatest Songs of all Time.” The song was later covered by thrash metal pioneers “Anthrax” on their 1984 album “Fistful of Metal,” the post-grunge band “Creed” on the soundtrack to the 1998 movie “The Faculty,” and “Camp Freddy” with Slash on guitar and Chester Bennington of “Linkin Park” on vocals.
"The late sixties and early seventies were kind of a breeding ground for exciting new sounds because easy listening and folk were kind of taking over the airwaves. I think it was a natural next step to take that blissful, easy-going sound and strangle the life out of it." Alice Cooper
The breakthrough hit single was followed by the album “Love it to Death,” which was released in February 1971 and included two other hit singles, "Ballad of Dwight Fry" and "Is it My Body." It proved to be the band's breakthrough record and rose to #35 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts. In 2003, the album ranked #460 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
“Alice Cooper” subsequently embarked on their first successful tour of Europe, where audience members reportedly included such legends as Elton John and David Bowie. They were offered a new multi-album contract by Warner Bros. and released their follow-up album, "Killer," in November 1971. It spawned the successful singles "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" in early 1972, as well as "Halo Of Flies," which became a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands.
1972 saw the release of title track single from their fifth album, "School's Out," which became Alice Cooper's first major hit single. It climbed to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and propelling the album to #2 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. The song topped at #1 on the U.K. singles chart for three weeks and marked the first time that the band was regarded as more than just a theatrical novelty act. The song was ranked #319 on Rolling Stone's list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004.
They followed it up with their most commercially successful album, "Billion Dollar Babies" (1973), which topped at #1 in both the U.S. and U.K. and is viewed the band's creative peak by many critics. It yielded the U.K. Top 10 singles "Elected," "Hello Hooray," and "No More Mr Nice Guy."
"Alice Cooper" toured the U.S. once again in 1973 and managed to break box office records previously set by "The Rolling Stones." By the end of the year, they released the album "Muscle of Love," which marked the band's last U.K. Top 20 single of the 1970s with "Teenage Lament '74," featuring Liza Minnelli on background vocals. They also recorded the track "Man with the Golden Gun" for the James Bond film of the same name, but was replaced by Lulu's different song of the same name.
Following a string of opinion differences, the band decided to take a much-needed hiatus. During this time, Cooper moved back to Los Angeles and became a regular performer on such TV shows as “Hollywood Squares” and “Warner Bros.” He also released the “Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits” compilation album, which rose to the U.S. Top 10. The band also starred in the feature film "Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper," which featured footage of a live show from the band's "Billion Dollar Babies" tour.
Cooper released his first solo album, "Welcome To My Nightmare," in March 1975 through Atlantic Records. The concept album that became a Top 10 hit for Cooper spun off the U.S. Top 20 hit single "Only Women Bleed.” He subsequently starred in the TV special "The Nightmare" (later released on home video in 1983 and gained a Grammy Award nomination for Best Long Form Music Video) and headlined a concert film also called "Welcome to My Nightmare." It was released in theaters in 1976 and became a midnight movie favorite and a cult classic despite its box office failure. During this time, Cooper co-founded the legendary drinking club “The Hollywood Vampires.”
Cooper decided to continue working as a solo artist and the original band was officially disbanded. He subsequently recorded the 1976 U.S. #12 hit "I Never Cry," another ballad, two albums, “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell” and “Lace and Whiskey,” and another ballad hit, the U.S. #9 "You and Me." After being treated in a New York sanitarium because of alcoholism, Cooper released the live album "The Alice Cooper Show" (1977) and the semi-autobiographical album "From The Inside" (1978). The latter spawned another U.S. Top 20 hit, "How You Gonna See Me Now. “
In the early 1980s, Cooper released the albums "Flush the Fashion," which yielded the U.S. Top 40 hit "Clones (We're All)," the New Wave-styled "Special Forces," which included a new version of "Generation Landslide," the power pop-oriented "Zipper Catches Skin," and his final album with Warner Bros., the haunting epic "DaDa."
After being hospitalized again for alcoholism in 1983, Cooper was finally clean and sober. He took a year off to spend time with his family and improve his golf skills. He also starred in the Spanish B-grade horror movie production, "Monster Dog."
Cooper was signed to MCA Records in the mid 1980s and officially returned to the music industry in 1986 with the album "Constrictor," which spawned the hits "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" and the fan favorite "Teenage Frankenstein." He then returned to the road on a tour called "The Nightmare Returns," which was captured on a concert film of the same name. It was followed by the album "Raise Your Fist and Yell" (1987) and the subsequent tour of the same name. Cooper also made a brief appearance in the horror movie directed by John Carpenter, "Prince of Darkness," and appeared at "WrestleMania III."
After Cooper's contract with MCA Records expired in 1988, he signed with Epic Records and revitalized his career with the release of the Desmond Child produced album “Trash.” It spawned one hit single, "Poison," which rose to #2 in the U.K. and #7 in the U.S., and a worldwide tour.
Cooper's 19th studio album, "Hey Stoopid" (1991), failed to have the same commercial impact as its predecessor due to the grunge rock explosion. Meanwhile, he guest starred on the successful band "Guns N' Roses” album "Use Your Illusion I," and appeared as the abusive stepfather of Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare On Elm Street film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991) and a cameo appearance in the 1992 comedy film “Wayne's World.”
In 1994, Cooper released the concept album "The Last Temptation," his last album with Epic Records and his last studio release for six years. During the rest of the decade, he released the live album "A Fistful of Alice" (1997) and the four-disc box set "The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper" (1999). After turning 60, Cooper toured extensively every year throughout the latter part of the 1990s. He also sang the role of Herod on the London cast recording of the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1996.
Entering the new millennium, Cooper released the album "Brutal Planet," which was followed by a world tour and the live home video "Brutally Live" (2001). Then came the widely acclaimed sequel, "Dragontown," on September 18, 2001, and the critically-acclaimed "The Eyes Of Alice Cooper" on September 23, 2003, which resulted in the "Bare Bones" tour.
On January 26, 2004, Cooper's radio show, "Nights with Alice Cooper," which showcases classic rock, Cooper's personal stories about his life as a rock icon, and interviews with prominent rock artists, began airing in several U.S. cities. It would later be played in Canada and the U.K.
In 2005, Cooper released his 24th studio album, "Dirty Diamonds," his highest charting album since 1994's “The Last Temptation.” It was followed by a tour throughout America and Europe.
A cultural icon, Cooper was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and received a Rock Immortal award at the 2007 Scream Awards. In May 2004, he received an honorary doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University and was given the key to the city of Alice, North Dakota in May 2006. He also scooped up the Living Legend award at the 2006 Classic Rock Roll of Honor event and released his book, "Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict," in 2007.
"Along Came a Spider," Cooper's 25th studio album, was released in July 2008 after lengthy delays. It generally received positive reviews and rose to #53 in the U.S. and #31 in the U.K., becoming Cooper's highest charting album since 1991's "Hey Stoopid."
Eyegore Award: 1997