Alice Cooper was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album Love it to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies.
Furnier's solo career as Alice Cooper, adopting the band's name as his own name, began with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. In 2008 he released Along Came a Spider, his 18th solo album. Expanding from his original Detroit rock roots, over the years Cooper has experimented with many different musical styles, including conceptual rock, art rock, hard rock, new wave, pop rock, experimental rock and industrial rock. In recent times he has returned more to his garage rock roots.
Alice Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage, The Rolling Stone Album Guide going so far as to refer to him as the world's most "beloved heavy metal entertainer". He helped to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and is seen as being the person who "first introduced horror imagery to rock'n'roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre". Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur and, since 2004, a popular radio DJ with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper.
On VH1's "100 Greatest artists of Hard Rock", Cooper was ranked #20.
Religion and Politics
Although he originally tended to shy away from speaking publicly about his religious beliefs, Cooper has in recent years been quite vocal about his faith as a born again Christian. He has avoided so called "celebrity Christianity" because, as Cooper states himself: "It's really easy to focus on Alice Cooper and not on Christ. I'm a rock singer. I'm nothing more than that. I'm not a philosopher. I consider myself low on the totem pole of knowledgeable Christians. So, don't look for answers from me".
When asked by the British Sunday Times newspaper in 2001 how a shock-rocker could be a Christian, Cooper is credited with providing this response "Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's real rebellion!"
Throughout his career Cooper's philosophy regarding politics is that it should not be mixed with rock music, and he has consistently kept his political views to himself, sometimes even speaking out against musicians who promote or opine on politics. Things took a slightly dramatic turn, however, in the run up to the 2004 presidential election, when he declared that the then crop of rock stars campaigning for and touring on behalf of Democratic candidate John Kerry were "treasonous morons". This outburst caused a certain amount of controversy, and led to Cooper releasing an official statement, clarifying and reiterating that the "treason" concerned in the above label was not against the state but against the ethos of rock itself.
In a 2008 interview Cooper described Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "a breath of fresh air", but that he also flitted between being a supporter of the Republican and Democratic parties.