Before there was a Kiss and before there was a David Bowie, there was an Alice Cooper pioneering rock and roll stage craft. Snakes and eye makeup might get you noticed but if the music’s not there, who cares?
Alice, AKA Vincent Furnier; wrote in his 1964 High school yearbook that his ambition was to sell a million records. His Phoenix, Arizona, garage band consisted of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass and Neil Smith on drums.
There was only one thing holding the band back from stardom. Glen Buxton was the only member who knew how to play an instrument. Buxton split his time as teacher and guitarist. How many high school garage bands dream of stardom while still learning the F chord? How many had the where with all to stay focused and learn their craft in the face of grinding reality. High School friends are off to college, while the band is making two hundred bucks a night, split five ways playing a dive.
The band now named the “The Spiders” relocated to Los Angeles in 1968. The name was changed to the “Nazz,” but they soon learned that was the name of Todd Rundgrens band, Almost on a whim and certainly a sign of Furnier’s wit the band was renamed “Alice Cooper” almost as a lark. Rock and roll is built on dreams I guess that’s what makes great. Dreams, focus, talent and luck. But don’t count on luck.
Alice Cooper was a persona, snarling, raucous and outrageous. Everything a teenager would love, and everything a parent would hate. I was a junior in high school when Alice Cooper had their best-known work.
There big break came by relocating to Pontiac, Michigan, “L.A. just didn’t get it,” Cooper says. “They were all on the wrong drug for us. They were on acid and we were basically drinking beer. We fit much more in Detroit than we did anywhere else. We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love. We wanted to see what was next. It turned out we were next, and we drove a stake through the heart of the Love Generation”
I knew it would play as long as there were schools and as long as there is rock & roll.But the problem with being a persona is as Jimmi Hendrix put it is, “You’re a thing, you come to town like the circus.” Edgy and avantgarde becomes common place and campy. What else have you got to show me? Alice Cooper was the garage band that grew up. They weren’t out to impress anyone,
Just in your face rock and roll. The band peaked commercially in 1973 but had a long and storied career. All based on Vincent Furnier Aka Alice Cooper in rock & roll, dreams come true.