04 April 2010
The band formed in Arizona in the late sixties, fronted by Vincent Furnier. Furnier was already using his oddball stage persona. The band went under several name changes including Earwigs and Spiders before settling on Alice Cooper.They were briefly called The Nazz until they discovered that Todd Rundgren's band was called Nazz.
Early press releases claimed that the name was agreed upon after a session with a Ouija board, during which it was revealed that Furnier was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch named Alice Cooper.
However, it is now widely accepted that this story was in fact a publicity stunt. Furnier/Cooper in later interviews confirmed that the name actually came out of thin air, conjuring an image of "a cute and sweet little girl with a hatchet behind her back."
The name was also once said to be an inside joke associated with a character in the television show Mayberry R.F.D. Alice Cooper is also the name of Betty Cooper's mother in the Archie comic strips.
In later interviews, Cooper admitted that "Alice Cooper" was only intended to be the name of the band, as he was using his birth name (Vincent Furnier) during the band's early days. However, as the band played more shows, numerous fans were coming up to Cooper and saying, "Hey, Alice!" Cooper was unaware that the fans were addressing him, and was taken aback by the notion that the fans were mistaking the band's name for his own.
Cooper and the band realized that the concept of a male playing the role of an androgynous witch, in tattered women's clothing and wearing make-up, would have the potential to cause considerable social controversy and grab headlines.
Cooper has stated in interviews that his look was inspired in part by the film Barbarella. "When I saw Anita Pallenberg playing the Great Tyrant in that movie in 1968, wearing long black leather gloves with switchblades coming out of them, I thought, ‘That’s what Alice should look like'. Throw in a little of Emma Peel from The Avengers. Alice has also cited the camp film classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? as an influence on his makeup.
Furnier would later say that changing his name to Alice Cooper was one of his most important and brilliant career moves he ver made.
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