Why Alice Cooper Got Signed By Frank Zappa After A Terrible Show That Emptied The Bar In 10 Minutes

Alice Cooper is currently known for his career as a solo musician but back in the mid-’60s, the name belonged to the band that he co-founded and he was using his original name, Vincent Damon Furnier. The classic band lineup consisted of lead vocalist Furnier, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith.

Although the band released their debut album in 1969, they achieved limited success and it took them four years to enter the charts. However, the band’s sixth album ‘Billion Dollar Babies‘ (1973) ranked No. 1 on the album charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, there was a secret hero who had faith in the band since day one, even when they emptied bars when they got on stage.

Why Did Frank Zappa Give Alice Cooper A Record Deal?

Alice Cooper (1969)

As you know, it is often said that great success comes with great talent and luck. In Alice Cooper’s case, the band was at the right place at the right time. Even though Cooper is now known as the godfather of shock rock, there was a time in the late ’60s when he would get on stage with his band and they would drive everyone away.

One of these nights, when the band was performing at the Cheetah club in Venice, California, Alice Cooper literally emptied the entire club after performing for just ten minutes. The band was then approached by a music manager named Shep Gordon who turned out to be working for the iconic composer and record producer Frank Zappa.

Some sources say that the main reason why Frank Zappa decided to sign Alice Cooper was that he was planning to turn them into a gimmicky comedy act and change their name to ‘Alice Cookies.’ The band members were aware of this idea and kind of liked it but the plan was dumped due to financial constraints.

How Was The Relationship Between Frank Zappa And Alice Cooper?

During the recording of the band’s debut album ‘Pretties For You,’ Zappa would rarely visit the studio and once the band landed on a sound that they wanted to continue with, Zappa told them they had a week left to complete the album.

During the recording of their second album, Zappa was even more absent and left them to the producer David Briggs who allegedly hated the band. Finally, Zappa was not involved at all in the recording of their third album, and his label was run almost entirely by Warner Bros.

Years later, the band met Zappa again for a bitter lawsuit which Cooper claimed cost him millions of dollars as they lost the royalty rights to their work preceding ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ (1973). Although Frank Zappa was clearly not the most supportive figure in the band’s career, he was still a person who took a leap of faith and helped the band achieve their dreams.