Before Lady GaGa, before Clay Aiken, before Marilyn Manson, the nation's ultimate ghastly shock-rocker and parent-baiting troublemaker was Detroit's own Alice Cooper. Cooper and his band weren't the first rockers to shock and frighten the masses with tales of ghouls and blood, but they were one of the best.
Bands continue to steal from Cooper decades after his reign. Just take a listen to any Turbonegro album ever recorded; all have a delicate and loving homage to Cooper. Even lead singer Hank Von Helvete's stage make-up is an ode to Cooper's. It's no secret that Rocks Off also has a Turbonegro tattoo on his forearm, with Hank donning the Cooper paint.
The aging rocker hits town Sunday for a show at Verizon Wireless Theater, and he still does all of his old live staples like the guillotine and decapitation. Cooper is also known to be an amazing golfer, which gives us hope that one day we won't be laughed off the green for wearing Converse, carrying a sweet Motorhead golf bag and throwing our Lone Star empties into the water hazard.
It's hard to quantify who the first shock-rocker was. Some say it was the old bluesmen and their witchy tales of devils and evil women, while other point at Elvis and his parent-inflaming crotch. The show that Insane Clown Posse put on the other night was pure shock, no matter how you slice it even if it is bastardized horrorcore rap.
Rocks Off has always been drawn to anything darkly macabre, so shock-rock was always a beautiful fit for us. Well that, and we don't mind putting on some make-up from time to time. We collected a few videos of our favorite shockers from the past 50 years or so of rock and roll.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "I Put A Spell On You":
Screaming Lord Sutch, "Jack The Ripper":
Arthur Brown, "Fire":
Alice Cooper, "I Love The Dead":
GWAR, "Gor Gor":
King Diamond, "Welcome Home":
Marilyn Manson, "The Beautiful People":
Turbonegro, "Age Of Pamparius":
With Lillian Axe, 8 p.m. Sunday, October 11, at Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas (Bayou Place), 713-230-1600 or www.livenation.com.