Originally Published: August 12, 2009
Author: Bill Chapin
School's been out for summer since June, but it became official Tuesday night. With the sound of a ringing school bell, a large "Theatre of Death" banner concealing Alice Cooper's stage show at the Jackson County Fair fell and the school of rock was in session.
Providing the fair with a dose of hard rock and horror-show theatrics, the Detroit native performed for thousands of fans, many of whom were dressed in gothic makeup. Exact attendance numbers were not available Tuesday.
"He's got attitude," said Diane Decker of Battle Creek, who wore a bloody bride's veil and red makeup that looked like she had "Alice" carved in her neck.
It took five songs for the guillotine to come out. Wrapped in a purple straight jacket, Cooper screamed, "I got to get out of here!" as the blade came down.
A few moments later, he emerged — head intact — picked a prop head out of the basket and stared it in the eye as he sang "Go to Hell."
"There's no other artist out there who gives this much of a show," said Tina Susselle, 25, of Somerset Township, who goes by Boo, a nickname given to her by Cooper. "It's like Groucho Marx said: He's the last of the vaudeville shows."
She said she was "absolutely stunned" to learn Cooper would be performing at the fair.
"I'm used to traveling several hours or days" to see him, she said.
She has met Cooper and said it's true that, although he's known for the hit "No More Mr. Nice Guy," he is a genuinely nice guy.
He may preside over a gory stage show, but off stage Cooper quashes many of the stereotypes associated with heavy metal music. He is a born-again Christian and an avid golfer.
On Monday he took part in the Wendy's Charity Classic LPGA Legends Tour pro-am at the Country Club of Jackson. He also found time to shoot a commercial in downtown Jackson for Sony TV that will air in the United Kingdom.
As the gates opened, business was steady at Suzanne Dodoro's face-painting booth near the grandstand as she painted black makeup around fans' eyes.
"As soon as I saw Alice Cooper (on the schedule), I was like, 'Yes!'" said Dodoro of Goodrich.
Among her customers were Amy Hinchey, 19, and her father, Mark Hinchey, 53, of Jackson.
"We wanted to dress up like him, so we went out and got hats," she said.
"We're very excited," he said.
(Originally published online on the Mlive website, on 12th August, 2009.)