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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alice Cooper w/ No Quarter (Led Zeppelin Tribute)

Sunday, June 30 @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.

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In a world filled with rockers of every color and stripe, it’s easy to forget that Alice Cooper was the godfather—make that the grandfather—of shock rock. Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie may have emerged without him, but the boa constrictor-bedecked composer of “Under My Wheels,” “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” who this year qualifies for Medicare, was a true original when he appeared in 1969.


Cooper, born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, first performed as one of The Earwigs, a group made up of cross-country team members from Phoenix’s Cortez High School that mimed Beatles songs during a lettermen talent show because they hadn’t yet learned to play instruments. The non-musicians became stage-struck, and a career soon followed.

The Earwigs became The Spiders, then The Nazz, but the band changed its name again so as not to be confused with Todd Rundgren’s group of the same name. With a gimmicky look inspired by Bette Davis’s makeup in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and the name conjured from an Ouija board session, Alice Cooper soon attracted the attention of rock legend Frank Zappa, who found them just strange enough to sign to his newly created Straight Records.

Cooper has changed over the years, becoming a radio personality and golf addict, undergoing drug and alcohol rehab, and turning to born-again Christianity. But his brand of Grand Guignol rock ’n’ roll theater remains constant. On stage, he’s still not Mr. Nice Guy.

 

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