Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Alice Cooper

Vincent Damon Furnier (born February 4, 1948), better known as Alice Cooper, is a heavy metal singer, musician and composer. He is best known for his stage performances, which are often theatrical and violent, utilizing make-up, electric chairs, guillotines, decapitated human heads, fake blood, and boa constrictors.

Alice Cooper was originally just the name of Furnier's band. By the mid 1970s, Furnier officially changed his own name to Alice Cooper for a highly successful solo career.

Furnier, born in Detroit and heavily influenced by The Beatles, formed a number of rock bands in the 1960s, including the Earwigs, The Spiders, and The Nazz. Furnier, upon learning that Todd Rundgren also had a band called the Nazz, changed the band's name to Alice Cooper, which at that time included guitarist Mike Bruce, guitarist Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith, After moving to California in 1968, the band enlisted Shep Gordon as their manager, and the band was soon signed to Frank Zappa's label, Straight Records - releasing two competent but outlandish albums to a frosty public and critical reception.

Although the band incorporated theatrics in their stage act from the outset, a chance case of press misreporting an unfortunate, unrehearsed stage routine involving Alice and a live chicken lead to the band changing tack - capitalising on tabloid sensationalism and creating a new sub-genre, Shock Rock. A major hit single soon followed in 1971's "I'm Eighteen", from the Love it to Death album. The band's mix of shock and glam captured a teen audience bored with bearded, denim-clad hippy bands and in the summer of 1972, Alice Cooper served up School's Out to their hungry audience, their biggest success. The album reached number two on the charts and sold over a million copies. The title song became a Top 10 hit in the US and a number one single in the UK.

album cover
Billion Dollar Babies
Billion Dollar Babies, released in 1973, was the band's most commercially successful album, reaching no. 1 in both the US and Britain. That album's first single, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," became a Top 10 hit in Britain, and reached number 25 in the U.S. With a string of successful thematic, or concept, albums in the bag, the band played sell-out tours around the world - attempts to ban their shocking act by politicians and pressure groups only serving to fuel the myth of Alice Cooper and generate more audience interest.

In 1975, Cooper dropped his fellow band members and released his first solo album, Welcome to my Nightmare. Cooper was backed by Lou Reed's band, guitarist Dick Wagner, guitarist Steve Hunter, bassist Prakash John, keyboardist Joseph Chrowski, and drummer Penti Glan. The album was another top 10 hit for Cooper. The album featured his hit song and feminist anthem, "Only Women Bleed", but without the old band this album marked out the direction Alice would now take - a move toward rock's mainstream.

After three further disappointing albums, in 1977 Cooper was hospitalized in the New York sanitarium for alcoholism. Ironically this proved fruitful for a surprise return to form on the hard-rocking, semi-autobiographical album From The Inside. The life changing event also led Cooper, whose father was a Baptist minister, to become a Christian. Around this time Cooper lead celebrities in raising money to remodel the famous HOLLYWOOD sign in California. Cooper himself chipped in over $27,000 for the project, doing it in memory of friend and comedian Groucho Marx.

Albums from the beginning of 1980s, Flush The Fashion, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin and DaDa were not successful in commercial way, they were very strange and bizarre at that time, and are now considered cult classics. Cooper then released Constrictor (1986) which had more success, followed by Raise Your Fist And Yell (1987). In 1989 he released his best-selling album Trash with the hit singles "Poison", "Bed Of Nails" and "House Of Fire".

In 1991. album Hey Stoopid was released, and the song with same name became one of the anti-drug anthems. In 1994 he released The Last Temptation which contains deeper theological thoughts. Then, a pause that lasted for 6 years and a great comeback in 2000. with Brutal Planet. Strong, dark and loud with motives from brutality of a real world without much philosophy, it is one of most realistic rock albums ever. Brutal Planet was succeeded by Dragontown (2001). (Dragontown is the worst city on Brutal Planet.)

Cooper continues to record and tour heavily to this date. Many artists and rock bands claim to be fans of Cooper's, including Kiss, Alice In Chains, U2, Guttermouth, The Rolling Stones, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Mötley Crüe, Tool, UFO, Michael Jackson, Megadeth, and of course Marilyn Manson, who has been called an imitation of Cooper.

Cooper owns a rock and roll club called Cooperstown in Arizona and loves to golf.