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Alice Cooper: The band went through suitably-disgusting names such as The Earwigs, The Spiders and Nazz. The last, suggested by drummer Neal Smith, had to be changed because of Todd Rundgren's The Nazz.
"Alice Cooper" related at first to the band, but after 1975 to the singer, born Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit. In an interview, he said the name was meant to fit their "Alice in Wonderland" act. He came up with it "on the spur of the moment" and could have as easily said "Carrie Carter," "Suzie Smalls" or "Billy-Jo Melons". The act featured axes, snakes and electric chairs with Alice dressed as a ghoul with "blood" dripping off his face.
These shock tactics, combined with loud feedback guitars and screams, caused entire audiences to walk out of concerts: some expected to see a quiet Joni Mitchell style act, not an over-the-top hard rock combo. The confusion impressed Frank Zappa, who signed them to his record label.
The appellation also has the same ring of innocence as axe killer suspect Lizzy Borden, although it's subtler than Molly Hatchet.
Alice offered bizarre explanations, all of which he has now admitted to be false. He had once suggested the idea was that "people are male and female biologically". He now says he hates New York Dolls drag and sexual politics. He had also claimed an Ouija board session showed him the incarnation of a 17th-century witch – now admitted to be a publicity stunt.
The Billion Dollar Babies. Cf Alice In Chains.
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