Alice Cooper

Vincent Damon Furnier, best known as Alice Cooper, was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, on February 4, 1948. American rock singer and guitarist, by now legendary in its genre, inventor and forerunner of a whole dark current that has in him the first historical exemplary in musical terms, was the protagonist during his long and dazzling career of some of the most spectacular concerts ever. Horror, both literary and artistic, is the area from which he has always drawn inspiration for his music and performances, characterized by bloody instruments placed on the stage, such as guillotines, snakes, impaled dolls and much more.Discovering Alice Cooper is her colleague and great artist Frank Zappa, one of the best talent scouts in music, as well as an immense guitarist and composer himself.Young Vincent is the son of a preacher, probably a descendant of an old French Huguenot family. His father is Ether Moroni Furnier and his mother’s name is Ella Mae McCart, bearer of the British strain, mostly Scottish. A few years go by and from Detroit, the family of the future king of macabre rock decides to move to Phoenix, Arizona, where the then Vincent Furnier grows up.He attended Cortez High School, in the north of the city and, as early as 1965, at the age of seventeen, he put together a band of his own and took part in the school’s annual talent show. His first band is called “The Earwigs”. Actually, the boys still can’t play, but from a scenic point of view they are quite impressive: they win the first prize. The success of the band led Vincent and his classmates to get involved in the study of music, under the guidance of their leader, who took over the microphone and became passionate about the harmonica.Bands like Beatles, Who, Pink Floyd, inspire the band born around the future Alice Cooper, acting as a stylistic and musical reference point. A few years passed and Vincent became the frontman of another band, initially called Spiders. After changing their name to Nazz, they soon became Alice Cooper. On the origins of the name, which would later end up sticking to Vincent Furnier himself, becoming in fact his own legally, there are several versions, rather discordant. According to some, the choice fell on an alleged witch burned in Salem during the witch hunt around 1660. According to others, and probably also confirmed by the words of the then singer of the nascent band, the name was chosen simply because it sounded good. Later, now famous, Alice Cooper himself, who became famous, would have said that the name made him think of “a pretty girl in a miniskirt hiding a hatchet behind her back”.Anyway, the beginnings of the famous Detroit singer are all with his real name and surname, as can be read in the credits on the back of the first records engraved. The beginning of their recording career is almost entirely due to the great Frank Zappa, to whom young Furnier immediately makes a good impression.In agreement with manager Shep Gordon, Zappa arranged for Alice Cooper to release their first work, dated 1969, for Straight Records, the same as the great guitarist and composer of Italian origin. The album is called “Pretties For You”, of folk and blues genre, where however already emerge the distinctive elements of Cooper, characterized by lyrics and sounds vaguely horror, focused on themes of death, torture, and blood. It is, in practice, the very distant beginning of the so-called “shock rock” genre, of which Alice Cooper will become a historical exponent.After a failed second album, entitled “Easy Action”, from 1970, the band moved from Los Angeles to Detroit. Here they meet Bob Ezrin, producer, and the deal with Warner Brothers comes through. It’s the year of “Love It Do Death”, which definitively marks the transition from a rock-horror, to a real rock-horror, pushed well by the single “Eighteen”, which is a short time becomes a golden record. The scenic apparatus of the concerts begin to fill with macabre objects, the theatricality of the band makes people talk and discuss a lot; some American puritanical groups contest their way of making live music, represented by forks, masks and various instruments of torture. The album “School’s Out” was released in 1972 and, above all, the single of the same name was released, which immediately became a liberating hymn of the American students, so much so that it is still sung at the end of the school year. The following year the album “Billion Dollar Babies” was equally successful, with its song-manifesto “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. In the same year, the band tries to make a big hit, riding the wave of success and releasing a new album, “Muscle of Love”, which however turns out to be a fiasco.Vincent Furnier then, due to various disagreements with the rest of the band, decides to undertake a solo career and, even legally, becomes Alice Cooper. The musician from Detroit, thanks also to his ties with Ezrin, chooses Lou Reed’s band for his first solo performances, pushing himself more and more towards hard rock. His first album is “Welcome to My Nightmare”, dated 1975, with evidently dark sounds, macabre lyrics and, according to many, his best work ever. In addition to the song that gives the title to the album, there are other songs in the history of rock, such as “The Black Widow”, “Steven” and “Only Women Bleed”, the latter arranged in an acoustic key and of valuable workmanship.The following year he put his name on the album and recorded “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell”, another work much appreciated by the public and critics. However, from this moment on, Alice’s problems begin to have to do, and brutally, with alcohol. She spends some time in the clinic, to detoxify, and publishes “From the Inside”, in 1978, telling about her last parenthesis of life.From 1980 to 1983 with records such as “Flush the Fashion” and “DaDa”, Alice Cooper is not able to reproduce herself at her highest level: the sound has changed, the new decade seems tired of dark and catastrophic atmospheres, she wants positive sounds, catchy tunes. Alice Cooper tries, but her pop is watering down everywhere and comes out, at least for a handful of years, from the scenes, making people talk about her retirement.In 1987, by surprise, he appears in a film: “The Lord of Evil”, by John Carpenter, as actor-guest star of the situation. Then comes out the album “Raise Your Fist and Yell”, in the same year, which puts Alice Cooper in the register of metal, musical style closer to his own, at least according to his beginnings. “Trash”, from 1989, turns out to be a great work, which marks the return in the style of the Detroit singer. Prominent guests such as Aerosmith, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richie Sambora, as well as Steve Lukather and others, make the album very good and varied, enriched by songs of excellent workmanship, such as “Poison”, “Spark In The Dark” and “Bed Of Nails”. The album stands out in the charts and reveals to new teenagers the star of the old Alice Cooper, who finds a lost success for over fifteen years now.During the ’90s, the controversial Marilyn Manson, a shock-rock star who never hides her stylistic debt to the maestro, is the one who gives him a sort of continuous tribute that also takes away most of the scene. In addition, she takes part in “Use Your Illusion I”, with Guns N’ Roses by Axl Rose, her admirers and at the time on the crest of the wave.Meanwhile, he cultivated his passion for cinema and took part in successful films such as “Nightmare 6: The End”, in 1991, and “Fusi di Testa”, in 1992.After the first record of a trilogy that will be completed only in 2000 and 2001, dated 1994 and titled “The Last Temptation”, to be noticed in these years is above all “A Fistful of Alice”, a record work that hosts musicians like Slash, Sammy Hagar and Rob Zombie: a whole generation grew up also listening to his music. Two years later, in 1999, comes the box set containing his best songs, entitled “The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper”.Macabre as in the old days is the album “Brutal Planet”, from 2000, followed the year after “Dragontown”, the two CDs that complete the macabre trilogy born in 1994, with the mentioned “The Last Temptation”. In June 2007, confirming their musical contiguity, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson duet at the “B’Estival event” in Bucharest, Romania. However, the anti-Christianism of which Manson is the spokesperson is not very much in keeping with Cooper’s religious and cultural beliefs.After the single “Keepin Halloween Alive”, released in 2009, the Detroit-based musician takes part as a guest on the album “Slash &Friends”, a work obviously conceived by the former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist and released in 2010.In 2011, she sees the light of the umpteenth album by Alice Cooper, entitled “Welcome To My Nightmare 2”.

1969 – Pretties for You
1970 – Easy Action
1971 – Love It to Death
1971 – Killer
1972 – School’s Out
1973 – Billion Dollar Babies
1973 – Muscle of Love
1975 – Welcome to My Nightmare
1976 – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell
1977 – Lace and Whiskey
1978 – From the Inside
1980 – Flush the Fashion
1981 – Special Forces
1982 – Zipper Catches Skin
1983 – DaDa
1986 – Constrictor
1987 – Raise Your Fist and Yell
1989 – Trash
1991 – Hey Stoopid
1994 – The Last Temptation
2000 – Brutal Planet
2001 – Dragontown
2003 – The Eyes of Alice Cooper
2005 – Dirty Diamonds
2008 – Along Came a Spider
2011 – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
2017 – Paranormal

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