Alice Cooper

Even when he was branded a genuine danger to decent society by hysterical critics in the '70s, the man born Vincent Furnier always maintained that "Alice Cooper" was nothing more than an exaggerated horror-movie character he played. The fact that today, the 59-year-old teetotaling, golf-loving, born-again Christian is still dismembering dolls and staging mock beheadings pretty much bears that out. You won't even find PETA or Pentecostals protesting his long-form love of snake handling and a stage show that — while changing little over the years — is for fans like the thrill of watching a favorite movie again. Cooper's last record was 2005's Dirty Diamonds, and while it fails to reach the artistic levels of latter-day efforts like Brutal Planet and Dragontown (a song about a transvestite trucker is a nadir), this master of shock rock never skimps on the classics live, so expect "I'm Eighteen," "Under My Wheels," "School's Out," "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "Billion Dollar Babies." In a 1978 Rolling Stone interview, a fellow songwriter called Cooper "an overlooked songwriter" without a hint of sarcasm. That guy was Bob Dylan, someone who knows a thing or two about stringing words together — and applying eyeliner.


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