My first interaction with Alice Cooper was shredding "School's Out," on Guitar Hero 3. My best friend and I pledged to play it immediately after walking home from our final day of 7th grade. It just felt like what we were supposed to do, and we understood that it perfectly characterized the liberation of knowing that we had a whole three months of doing stuff exactly this dumb. What we didn't realize was how precious those summers of innocence and ignorance were, but "School's Out" takes me back to that fleeting and privileged feeling. That's what Alice Cooper offers to the world, an acknowledgement that it's a great and valuable thing to be dumb… sometimes.
Cooper also cultivated a nice-guy charisma that later purveyors of scary-glam-rock, like Marilyn Manson, lacked. His staying power isn't necessarily due to life-changing music, but to a commitment to onstage fun. For example, on his current Paranormal tour, if you fork out the extra cash (and you aren't too drunk) you can stick your head in his guillotine, or play a balloon-toss game with the rock-star. That's pretty stupid, but hey, you don't go to an Alice Cooper show to bob your head and chat about artistic integrity. You go to an Alice Cooper show to headbang, laugh and watch silly macabre magic tricks, because that's a fun thing to do. Plus, you must admit, he's got some solid riffage, digs Milwaukee's socialist mayors, and penned ubiquitous anthems that aren't going away anytime soon. —Reid Kurkerewicz