The year was 1971, and it was only the second rock and roll concert I had ever seen. I was just 16 years old and some chums of mine were going to Columbia’s Township Auditorium to see this new band called Alice Cooper.
I knew nothing about the band or their enigmatic lead singer except that they did very strange things on stage, including mock hangings and other theatrical tricks that had garnered rave reviews in Rolling Stone.
Plus, Alice Cooper had a hit on the radio called Eighteen that I thought was very cool. I will never forget that night as long as I live.
Love it to Death Dept. Most folks are not aware that the original Alice Cooper Band was not named after their lead singer, Vincent Furnier. The group was “discovered” by Frank Zappa but had little success until their later albums Love it to Death and Killer, both issued in ’71.
Other very successful albums followed including Schools Out and Billion Dollar Babies. Singles that included Under My Wheels, No More Mr. Nice Guy and Elected kept the band on the road almost constantly from 1971-1975.
The original band broke up and Furnier changed his name to Alice Cooper to avoid litigation. Cooper immediately hit the charts as a solo artist and scored hits with Only Women Bleed, Welcome to My Nightmare, You and Me and Poison.
Still performing, Recording, and Playing Golf Dept. The current Alice Cooper Band, who makes their first Augusta appearance at Bell Auditorium at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 30, is chock full of stellar musicians including three lead guitarists. When he and I talked earlier this week, Cooper raved about the lone female on board, a 27-year-old named Nita Strauss as well as his drummer Glen Sobel, who has played with Motley Crue, Rob Halford and Steven Tyler.
At the Augusta concert, you can expect some 22 songs that include most of the aforementioned hits. Cooper will also dig deep into some very deep album cuts such as Halo of Flies, Cold Ethyl and Ballad of Dwight Fry. Sure, the theatrics are still top of the notch as there is nothing boring about an Alice Cooper show. Good seats are still available at the box office and range from $39.50 to $79.50. There’s also some VIP packages available as well, but you better get good seats while you can!
Here’s a bit of what Cooper had to say:
Q. Being raised in Detroit, were you influenced by other musicians in your hometown?
A. Influenced? I was and still am close friends with Bob Seger, Iggy Pop and Ted Nugent. We played together at countless gigs back in the day before any of us had hits!
Q. Do you remember your very first record that you bought?
A. Sure! It was Sweet Little Sixteen by Chuck Berry, and it’s still one of my favorites.
Q. You did a very early video in 1972 for your hit Elected.
A. Video? It was shot on 8mm film and we worked with Vincent Price on it. A great experience.
Q. Your longtime producer Bob Ezrin had a major impact on your success.
A. Yes, he was like George Martin was to The Beatles, as he told us what to do … and we did it!
Q. What would surprise people about you?
A. That I play golf six times a week! I wish I could play the Augusta National as it’s one of the few major courses that I’ve yet to play.
Q. So Eighteen really has nothing at all to do about golf?
A. No, not then, but it sure does now!