When the thin, sickly Vincent Damon veneer saw the light of day seven decades ago in Detroit Rock City, his parents had trouble keeping the human chick alive. His father, an Evangelical pastor, and his mother moved to Phoenix from Detroit, an industrial moloch. The dry-hot climate in Arizona got her young son much better. His constitution became so strong that he was to survive a wild career as a rock star in the seventies. The Coopers are also at home in Phoenix today. The female common name Alice Cooper, once conceived as a stage name, has been the officially registered name of Vincent Furnier since the early seventies. His wife and three children are called Cooper and not Veneer.
Two names, one man? And Zappa!
Exactly when veneer officially became Cooper, Alice has answered me in our various interviews since the eighties again and again differently. "I love the confusion. It's part of the stage personality, part of the job. You have to know, the first one who noticed us besides some high school buddies and early fans was Frank Zappa. Frank loved provocation and was not afraid to deal ironically with business and rock music. At the same time he was a meticulous, detail-loving music craftsman. And in a sense, that's what Alice Cooper has become. When we romped around in the Zappa district in the late sixties, we felt honored on the one hand that he liked us, but for the wrong reasons, as we thought. Because Zappa didn't see us as a serious rock band, more like a comedy act."
This assessment drove the band Alice Cooper into the arms of Bob Ezrin. Together with the Canadian producer, Furnier developed the stage character Alice Cooper. With albums like "Killer", "School's Out" or "Billion Dollar Babies" and several single hits, the band became one of the most successful rock acts of the early seventies. "When I appeared at the Zappanale in 2012, it was a strange feeling. We played our usual set, but subconsciously I was there on stage perhaps as close to Vincent as never before in the last decades."
Bob, the master builder
Since "Love It To Death", recorded in December 1970, Ezrin has played a decisive role in everything Alice Cooper has to say and does. "When I stress that there is in fact no step Alice has taken without Bob giving his OK, it sounds strange at first, but there is no other way. He and I created Alice Cooper, as we know the creature now. The stage character Alice Cooper has parts of my personality, but he is not identical to me. The agreements with me as a private person are primarily based on the fact that as a person I bring in certain musical, vocal and physical things that Alice cannot go beyond. Simply because I couldn't portray them."
In the nineties Cooper flirted with the fact that he could retire himself as a person and that someone or several others could continue to play Alice Cooper. "Basically, I trust Bob to create a new Alice Cooper with another person. But I feel more fit than ever before, and there is no physical reason to leave the job to anyone else."