Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

When Alice Cooper was first getting his act together in Los Angeles, his shows literally drove people away, according to rock histories.

Frank Zappa took notice.

“They were the opening act for us several times and invariably when they would play, thousands of people would leave the room and I knew they had something,” the late prog-rock genius Zappa told TV interviewer Mike Douglas in 1976.

It was music that scared people. More than a half-century later, Cooper, born Vincent Furnier, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member. The frights come across campier than they did when the act freaked out ’70s kids’ parents. Cooper, a born-again Christian, tells interviewers nowadays that his songs are warnings about evil, and that “TV evangelism is one of Satan’s greatest weapons,” according to multiple reports and video interviews.

All that aside, the songs still rock. The hits, including “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Only Women Bleed,” “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out” and “Welcome to My Nightmare” have kept him on the map and on the road for decades.

He’s still putting out new music. “Paranormal” came out in July 2017, and in September, he released an EP called “Breadcrumbs.” Visit this story at roanoke.com/entertainment/music to check out the lyric video for the EP’s “Detroit City 2020,” which pays tribute to the city where he was born.

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