WITH HIS “OL’ BLACK EYES IS BACK” TOUR IN FULL SWING, THE ORIGINAL “SHOCK ‘N ROLLER” STILL THRILLS WITH A WINK, A NOD, SOME SKULLS, AND POSSIBLY SNAKES
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI • PHOTO BY ROB-FENN
For Vincent Damon Furnier of Detroit, it’s Halloween, not Christmas, that’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s been that way since 1969, when he and his Alice Cooper band were discovered by the late and equally unconventional Frank Zappa, who signed them to his record label, beginning a legendary career on stage, screen, and vinyl.
While the group disbanded within five years, Cooper, now 71, went on to create 27 albums, each accompanied by a bigger and more elaborately ghoulish touring stage show.
The singer, songwriter, and actor, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York city by fellow “horror rocker,” Rob Zombie, is considered a pioneer of a macabre and theatrical brand of hard rock, one designed to shock. Drawing from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock, Cooper’s stage show has featured electric chairs, guillotines, copious fake blood, and boa constrictors. He still tours regularly, bringing a unique brand of musical psycho-drama to fans old and new; some of whom might be surprised to learn that in real life, he’s been married to the same woman almost as long, and has three grown children.
On November 23, the still energetic and fully made-up Cooper will bring his road show to Ovation Hall at Ocean Resort Casino (formerly Revel) on the Atlantic City boardwalk as part of his “Ol’ Black Eyes Is Back” tour, which debuted last summer and included United Kingdom arena performances. After its New Jersey stop, Cooper’s troupe will primarily tour through Florida and other Southern states before heading to Australia and New Zealand, ending in Washington State and Oregon in late April.
Fans can expect to hear such classics as “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “School’s Out (for Summer),” and “Poison,” accompanied by multi-media thrills, chills, and other selections from Cooper’s 27 albums, including 2017’s Paranormal. Between-song chatter could include tales from his television and film appearances. In addition to heading his own ABC TV special in 1975, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, he has been featured on The Muppet Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and That ‘70’s Show, among others. His filmography includes Mae West’s last film, Sextette, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Diary of a Mad Housewife, and the horror films Monster Dog and the John Carpenter-directed Prince of Darkness. He also appeared as himself in 1991’s Wayne’s World, and played Freddy Krueger’s wicked stepfather in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
For Cooper and his fans, it’s always Halloween.