304: ALICE COOPER

With seven albums fronting the band Alice Cooper, followed by twenty-one-and-counting solo albums as the Coop himself, Alice Cooper is a hard rock institution. Starting out at the tail end of the sixties with arty acid rock, he has readily dabbled in other genres – leaning into glam rock in the 70s, new wave in the 80s, and industrial in the late 90s. But throughout the decades, all the influences he has taken on have been parallel to the horror-themed shock rock that he is famous for.

Alice Cooper was one of the first to bring horror aesthetics and general shock themes to mainstream rock. This is part of a lot of his lyrical stuff themes, as well as live performances, and of course that iconic face paint.

And those live performances are a must-see for any fan of hard rock. With his infamous growl, Alice Cooper tells tales of all manner of horrors, while handling pythons, being decapitated, and numerous other horrific theatrics.

As one of the first )and certainly the most well known) shock rockets, Alice Cooper started a long tradition of artists parents objected to. For my generation it was Marilyn Manson, but the sentiment was the same. Evil music corrupting innocent minds. Itโ€™s hard to say what the future is for the shock rock concept. Cooper himself thinks audiences are so desensitised in the modern age that thereโ€™s nothing they could be shown that would shock them.

But thankfully we still have the man himself. I was lucky enough to see him twice in the past decade and it was surreal and incredible. The centrefold in a heavy metal history book come to life. One of the most iconic stage shows in all of heavy metal, right in front of me in the flesh.

If you have the chance, take it.