Super Duper Alice Cooper

by Karin McKie

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday June 17, 2014

Super Duper Alice Cooper

"Super Duper Alice Cooper" is a "doc opera" about the man who inspired staged mayhem in the Sex Pistols and glam metal, and mortal fear in backstage chickens.

Vincent Furnier was a Detroit-born preacher's son, who moved to Phoenix for his asthma. For a high school talent show, he and some friends formed a Beatles tribute band called the Earwigs, which soon morphed into the Spiders and ruled Arizona's teen club scene with their Yardbirds, Stones and Who-inspired tunes.

In 1967, they moved to LA, a "place designed to destroy your band," and, although promoted by Frank Zappa, didn't stand out from the crowd until they starting wearing makeup and clothes adapted from thrift store ice skating outfits. "We used theatrics to cover our lack of musicianship," says a member.

The group's new name came from a Ouija board session that told Furnier he was burned as an English witch in a previous life. Alice Cooper then headed to Motown to find traction and fans as "Salvador Dali with an electric guitar" (Dali himself later met and made a hologram of Cooper).

"Eighteen" was the band's first big hit (and the age of their primary fan demographic), followed by the still-popular "School's Out." Once the limos, private planes and thrown panties became a regular routine, Furnier (who legally changed his name to Alice Cooper) got "lost in his Jekyll and Hyde character." He drank heavily, even while becoming a macabre media darling, performing on Carson and with the Muppets. Sinatra called him "Coop," but Cooper's wife Sheryl and their young daughter left the alcoholic, and he ended up in a sanatorium.

"Alice ejaculated and glam metal was born."

After being released, he co-wrote the solo album "Welcome to My Nightmare" with Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin, but then started freebasing cocaine. Five years after his second rehab, he performed his first sober show on an MTV Halloween special in 1986. Today, he's back with his wife, kids and mom in Phoenix, and still tours.

The Blu-ray contains deleted scenes and Metal Evolution interviews. The film's format is engaging, using oodles of archival footage, animated stills, and old horror movie clips, but none of the interviewees (including band mates, Elton John and John Lydon, or Cooper himself) are on-camera, only in voice-over, which feels incomplete.

Yet the recognition of Cooper's contributions to the evolution of rock remains at the forefront. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider says, "Alice ejaculated and glam metal was born."

"Super Duper Alice Cooper"



Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at