Saginaw News

Originally Published: July 01, 2004

Alice Cooper on Ojibway just the start for WHEELZ

Author: Sue White

Michigan shock-rocker Alice Cooper is returning to Saginaw to headline an outdoor rock fest on Ojibway Island, promoters say.

Jerry Tarrants, WHEELZ program director at WILZ-FM, 104.5, and WYLZ-FM, 100.9, sponsors of the Sunday, Aug. 15, concert, said the stations would officially announce details of the event on air later today.

"I love this, coming on the heels of what people want to see in a 'cool' city," Tarrants said. "How cool is it to get Alice Cooper back? This was all contingent on signing him to the show.

"And we have the island for a couple of years. Next time, I'd like Ted Nugent, and then I'm going for Bob Seger. If that's the last thing I do in my radio career, I want to get Bob Seger on the island."

Also on the bill are The Dirty Americans, a Mount Pleasant band recently back from tours in Japan and Europe, and another act as yet unconfirmed.

Local bands can compete for a chance to open the show through an on-air battle of the bands,

"We'll hold the competition through July and announce a winner Aug. 6," Tarrants said.

Tickets to the festival, which includes a car show and other activities, cost $34 for VIP seating and $20 for general admission. They go on sale Friday at Star Tickets Plus outlets, at most Meijer stores, and on the radio stations' Web site,

Born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, Alice Cooper gained fame in the early 1970s with songs such as "Eighteen," "School's Out" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and stage shows that included executions, mutilated dolls and a boa constrictor. He later joined with Dick Wagner -- now living in Saginaw -- and co-wrote ballads "Only Women Bleed" and "You and Me." Later he joined the metal set with "Poison" to create a new generation of shock-rockers.

Cooper's most recent visit to Saginaw was in 1996 when he shared the stage with Nugent at the Whiplash Bash.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. Aug. 15, Tarrants said, with the music beginning at noon. Pets and coolers are not allowed, Tarrants said.

Through an arrangement between the city of Saginaw and Citadel Communications, which owns and operates the stations, organizers will serve alcohol in a designated area, similar to the set-up at the Friday Night Live concerts at Morley Plaza.

Bands interested in the opening slot should send a CD and biography to Citadel Communications, 1740 Champagne, Saginaw MI 48604. Listeners will decide the winner on the Local Grudge Match competitions on sister station WKQZ-FM, 93.3.

WHEELZ also will auction off a Fender Stratocaster guitar Thursday, July 8, in anticipation of the Doobie Brothers' concert Saturday, July 17, at Veterans Memorial Park in Bay City. Proceeds will benefit the National Veterans Foundation.

"The Doobie Brothers have been doing this since they got back together in 1987," said organizer Don Cox, a member of the band's fan club. "Whoever places the winning bid will go backstage to hang out with the guys, and if the top bid is $2,500 or more, they get to go on stage and sing 'Listen to the Music' with the band."

Bids for the guitar, donated by Rit Drum and Guitar in Saginaw, will begin at $500. Those interested can place their offers on the stations' Web site or call 695-9441 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 8.