Western Morning News
(November 27, 2009)
Originally Published: November 27, 2009
Don't be fooled by the thoughtful, kindly demeanour of family man and golf fanatic Vincent Furnier - when his alter ego Alice Cooper emerges on stage at Plymouth Pavilions next week all hell will break loose, along with enough fake blood for a whole series of Casualty.
Gory theatrical spectacle and upfront guitar-heavy rock and roll have been the order of the day since Alice Cooper - initially a band rather than a character - first trod the boards in the dying days of the 1960s, breaking throuhg in the UK with menacing make-up, risque stagewear and the anarchic pleasure of anthemic single School's Out in 1972.
The powerful charge of the music and his carefully scripted stage shows - including the current Theatre of Death extravaganza - still allow reformed alcoholic Vincent, now 61, to dress up and indulge, some 37 years after he first shocked and enchanted British audiences.
"I can be respectable, spending time with my family, and then at night I get to go on stage and rock out. It's great to do both," says the man whose rock radio show Nights With Alice Cooper ahs a global following and goes out as a Breakfast show on Planet Rock Radio in the UK.
"It's an amazing stage show. We go through Alice Cooper songs and then at the end of an era, Alice gets killed off. Then it goes into the next batch of songs. So the fans are confused, they see a guillotine on stage and they're like, 'Wait that's not meant to happen until the end', but then Alice Cooper dies and then the next set is him in Hell and then it continues; he keeps on dying and then going on to the next section."
Known as the arhitect of shock rock, Alice, in both the original band and as a solo artist, has rattled the cages and undermined the authority of generations of guardians of the status quo, continuing to surprise fans and exude danger at every turn.
Heavily represented on the 2009 setlist will be tracks from his most recent and most gruesome concept album, Along Came A Spider, on which he spins the story of a serial killer who imagines himself as the most predatory of all insects, trapping his prey, killing them, then enveloping his victims in silk, taking a leg from each of them. There will, of course. also be songs from the 24 previous albums.
Vincent/Alice has every intention of remaining at the forefront of modern rock and roll.
"If there's nothing standing in my way, why not?" he says. "It's what I love doing.
"And no-one puts on a show as good as ours, musically or visually. I'm glad to be an elder statesman, and a healthy one. I look at guys like Ozzy, Iggy and Steven Tyler as fellow survivors. We're carnivores, not dinosaurs. We eat whatever bands are in out path."
Support at Plymouth comes from Man Raze, personally selected by Alice. He says: "This whole tour is about the bands and music I love, so I was, like, I've got to have Man Raze featuring former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, and ex-Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen on it."