Alice Cooper: Bringing shock rock Nov. 20 to Kennewick

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerNovember 9, 2012 

Lady Gaga, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson were not the only, and certainly not the first, celebrities to don wild makeup, costumes and style to gain fame in the music world.

That honor goes to Vincent Damon Furnier -- aka Alice Cooper.

Cooper first brought his shock rock to the music scene in the 1960s, and at age 64, he doesn't seem to be slowing down much.

His latest tour makes a stop in the Tri-Cities on Nov. 20 starting at 8 p.m. at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Opening for Cooper will be Halestorm.

Alice Cooper wasn't always his stage name. It started as the name of his band in the late 1960s. He was the lead singer and harmonica player.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the Alice Cooper band was discovered by Frank Zappa in 1969 when they performed at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. The band released two albums on Zappa's record label before relocating to Detroit, where they were signed by Warner Bros.

The band released several successful albums with Warner, including School's Out, Muscle of Love, Billion Dollar Babies and Killer, before breaking up in 1975. Cooper also legally changed his name that same year to Alice Cooper and embarked on a solo career, releasing his first album Welcome to My Nightmare.

He's been quoted in several publications during the past 35 years as saying he initially came up with a woman's name for the band because "I could have said Jennifer Smith or Mary Truesdale, but it just happened that Alice Cooper came out," and there was something axe-murderish about the name to make it stick.

Cooper uses greasepaint around his eyes and sides of his mouth to create his trademark Gothic look, and he is credited with pioneering macabre stage theatrics while he belts out songs in a gravelly voice.

He earned a Grammy nomination in 1984 for best video album for Alice Cooper: The Nightmare. He's also earned Eyegore Awards in 1997 and 2011. The Eyegore Awards pay homage to freaky folks who've made any kind of impact in horror.

Even though this rocker might look more like a creature from a gothic nightmare and his tours are renowned for their whacked out craziness, Cooper isn't your average rock star off stage.

He is more of a mild-mannered family man who's been a guest on The Muppet Show and has taken on a fair share of TV and film roles. He's also been married to the same woman since 1976, and they have three grown children.

Tickets to the show cost from $32.50 to $49.50 plus service fees and are available through Ticketmaster.com or the Toyota Center box office in Kennewick.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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