When you think Alice Cooper, you can’t help but think blood, gore, and everything in between. Alice Cooper, the godfather of shock rock, started his outrageous theatrics in the late 1960’s with the original Alice Cooper group in Phoenix, AZ. The now historic tradition of props on stage started with anything that was found laying around the venue. Ranging from brooms, lightbulbs, chairs, and even a live chicken during the Toronto Rock ‘N Roll Revival Festival! Over the forty year career of Alice Cooper, some crazy theatrics and acts have been involved in his amazing shows, and here are the top five…
1. The Guillotine
The guillotine, normally used as an execution device in the 1700’s, has become a staple prop at any Alice Cooper show. Seeing The Coop surely wouldn’t be the same without the ‘chopping’ off of his head, spraying blood into the first five rows of the audience, along with the eerie chorus of Cooper’s song, “I Love The Dead,” all while the executioner makes out with Alice’s disembodied head.
2. The Snake
This iconic prop got its start in 1971, when the the Alice Cooper band was looking for anything that would bring parents to the brink of insanity. The first snake used, Kachina, was a pet of original drummer, Neal Smith. Kachina was also the snake photographed on the cover of the Alice Cooper Group’s 1971 album, Killer. Alice still uses snakes in his show to this day.
3. The Straitjacket
During the recording of the Alice Cooper Group’s classic, “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” a song about a mental patient in an insane asylum, from the 1971 album, Love It To Death, Bob Ezrin, longtime Alice Cooper producer, had Alice wear a straitjacket. The act introduced in the studio became a trick used while onstage, where Alice is put in a straitjacket, and then escapes, usually murdering a nurse afterwards!
4. The Gallows
The gallows were first instituted in Alice shows during the Killer tour in 1971. With the snake, the chopping up of baby dolls, and the hanging of Alice Cooper, it was surely enough to drive any parent crazy. The gallows have drifted in and out of Alice tours throughout the years ー Alice even managed to break his ribs one night during this gag!
5. Cold Ethyl
The Cold Ethyl doll was used in the Welcome To My Nightmare Tour in the year 1975. It was created to portray a character from Cooper’s album, Welcome To My Nightmare. ‘Cold Ethyl’ has made numerous appearances throughout the years, not only being thrown around the stage during “Cold Ethyl,” but also during “Only Women Bleed,” another 1975 Cooper hit. Cold Ethyl has also taken a part in shows in human form, being played by Alice’s wife of forty years, Sheryl Cooper.
Alice Cooper has proven throughout his almost fifty year career that it shouldn’t just be a concert with a Hall of Fame setlist, but an experience. Be sure to see him when he’s in your area to find out what your top five theatrics are!
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