Alice Cooper — on stage villain, backstage superstar

Posted on 30 March 2018 by JLusk

Cinema Dave & Alice Cooper.

Over 40 years ago, Captain and Tennille’s Love will Keep us Together played on rotation on radio pop radio airwaves, while Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare played regular rotation on album rock radio (Anyone remember WSHE?)  While the Captain and Tennille enjoyed the comforts of a variety show on ABC Television, newlyweds Sheryl and Alice Cooper were torturing each other on stage on an international rock ‘n roll tour  A safe bet would have predicted that “Love would have kept” Captain and Tennille together, but the couple divorced after 39 years of marriage, while Alice and Sheryl still continue to strangle and stab each other on stage. Back stage Alice and Sheryl Cooper have been married 42 years, raised three adult children with two grand children (twins) and one more on the way.

The contrast between Rock Icon and family man is what makes Alice Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) such a fascinating individual. Alice is comfortable everywhere he goes. He can give a lecture at the Salvador Dali Museum in Saint Petersbug and then play 18 holes of golf during the regiment of a yearly 100 city world tour.  At the end of the year, the Coopers return home to Phoenix, Arizona to host their final concert of the year, Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding.

Unlike the slick two-hour concert tour, featuring snakes, guillotine, balloons and confetti, Christmas Pudding is an epic variety show that features diverse talent: Gary MuleDeer sprinkles comedy between two roof-raising renditions of Johnny Cash songs, Slash (Guns n Roses) and Ace Frehely (KISS) taking turns proving who is the greatest guitarist in the world, while local talent features a dance review of 1970s disco and Mariachi Juvenil de mi Tierra performs a series Christmas Carols with Mexican violins, horns, giant guitars and sombreros.

Proceeds from that concert go to the operations of  Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center. The Rock provide teens with a central place to learn, have fun and explore their creativity in a supportive and safe environment. Touring The Rock last December made me nostalgic for my Dillard School of Performing Arts days, while making me optimistic that the fundamentals of  the performing arts will be emphasized.  While some of the “Rock Teens” performed onstage, special attention was given to the young people backstage and behind the camera.

While keeping his core audience in good standing for four decades, there is a conscious effort to reach young people. For the School’s Out curtain call, it is usually a young person who throws balloons at the audience. His touring band is younger than  Alice, with the youngest being Nita Strauss, a 32-year-old heavy metal guitarist whose ancestry includes composer Johann Strauss.

For the most part, an Alice Cooper Show is strictly entertainment.  The themes can be lofty with symbolism and artistic merit, but the main goal is to entertain the ticket buyers.  However, last Saturday Night at the Orlando Hard Rock stadium, local headlines were acknowledged ( the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas) between the songs 18 and School’s Out. There was no politics, just photos of the 17 victims with support of the young people marching last Saturday.

His current Paranormal tour wrapped up on Holy Thursday and, on Easter night on Sunday, Alice Cooper will be typecast as  King Herod  in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC. As an actor, Alice Cooper embraces his devilish contribution to Andrew Lloyd Wright and Tim Rice’s controversial musical. As a Christian, Alice Cooper accepts his role as a villain while publicizing the gospel of Jesus.

Before commencing his “Christmas Pudding” concert, the Cooper family appeared on stage. While receiving two notes from his twin grandchildren, Alice and Sheryl Cooper just learned that they are going to be grandparents for the 3rd time.

 

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