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Deep Purple & Alice Cooper

September 6 @ 6:30 pm - 11:30 pm

$20
Deep Purple and Alice Cooper concert poster

Deep Purple, w/

  • Alice Cooper
  • Edgar Winter

6:30 pm
Tickets = $20

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Deep Purple

Deep Purple, once credited in The Guinness Book of World Records as the globe’s loudest band, and with their revolving-door roster, launched the careers of performers including Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, and Ian Gillan.

Deep Purple were formed in Hertford, England, in 1968, with an inaugural lineup that featured guitarist Blackmore, vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice. Initially dubbed Roundabout, the group was first assembled as a session band for ex-Searchers drummer Chris Curtis but quickly went their own way, touring Scandinavia before beginning work on their debut LP, Shades of Deep Purple. The most pop-oriented release of their career, the album generated a Top Five American hit with its reading of Joe South’s “Hush” but otherwise went unnoticed at home. The Book of Taliesyn followed (in the U.S. only) in 1969, again cracking the U.S. Top 40 with a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman.”

The revamped Deep Purple’s first album, 1970’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra, further sought to fuse rock and classical music. When the project, which was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, was poorly received, Blackmore took creative control of the band, steering it toward a heavier, guitar-dominated approach that took full advantage of Gillan’s powerful vocals. The gambit worked; 1970’s Deep Purple in Rock heralded the beginning of the group’s most creatively and commercially successful period. At home, the album sold over a million copies, with the subsequent non-LP single “Black Night” falling just shy of topping the U.K. pop charts. Released in 1971, Fireball was also a smash, scoring a hit with “Strange Kind of Woman.”

Despite continuing lineup upheavals, Deep Purple remained active well into the 21st century. Keyboardist Lord departed the band in 2002 and issued several classical albums during the remainder of the decade; sadly, he died in 2012 after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a year. Lord’s replacement in Deep Purple during the new millennium was Don Airey, and the band issued two surprisingly strong albums with a lineup of Gillan, Glover, Paice, Morse, and Airey: 2003’s Bananas and 2005’s Rapture of the Deep. The late ’90s and early 2000s also saw the release of many archival releases and collections preserving the band’s enduring legacy (Machine Head’s 25th anniversary, Friends & Relatives, Rhino’s The Very Best Of, and Days May Come and Days May Go: The 1975 California Rehearsals), as well as a slew of DVDs (Total Abandon: Live Australia 1999, In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, Bombay Calling, and New Live & Rare). The impressive and timeless-sounding Now What?!, produced by Bob Ezrin, appeared early in 2013. Surviving members of Deep Purple came together for a tribute concert held April 4, 2014 at Royal Albert Hall that marked the 45th anniversary of when Jon Lord’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” first debuted there. The event was chronicled on film and on two albums, Celebrating Jon Lord: The Rock Legend and Celebrating Jon Lord: The Composer, which appeared in the fall of 2014. The group returned to the same Nashville studio with Ezrin early in 2016. A pre-release single of the opening track, “Time for Bedlam,” was issued in December. In January, Infinite’s title, cover, and track listing were announced. In an interview, Airey described the album as “a little heavier than the last one…a bit more prog.” Infinite was released in April, as a precursor to Deep Purple’s global “Long Goodbye Tour.” The band refused to address all speculation regarding the meaning of either the album’s or tour’s titles.

 

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperOriginally, there was a band called Alice Cooper, which was led by a singer named Vincent Damon Furnier. Under his direction, Alice Cooper pioneered a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock. Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, heavy metal, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood, and huge boa constrictors, all coordinated by the heavily made-up Furnier. By that time, Furnier had adopted the name for his androgynous on-stage personality. While the visuals were extremely important to the group’s impact, the band’s music was nearly as distinctive. Driven by raw, simple riffs and melodies derived from ’60s guitar pop, as well as show tunes, it was rock & roll at its most basic and catchy, even when the band ventured into psychedelia and art rock. After the original group broke up and Furnier began a solo career as Alice Cooper, his actual music lost most of its theatrical flourishes, becoming straightforward heavy metal, yet his stage show retained all of the trademark props that made him the king of shock rock.

According to band legend, the name, “Alice Cooper” came to Furnier during a Ouija board session, where he was told he was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch of the same name. Comprised of vocalist Furnier — who would soon begin calling himself Alice Cooper — guitarist Mike Bruce, guitarist Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith, the group moved to California in 1968. There they met Shep Gordon, who became their manager, and Frank Zappa, who signed Alice Cooper to his Straight Records imprint.

Alice Cooper released their first album, “Pretties for You”, in 1969. “Easy Action” followed early in 1970, but failed to chart. The group’s reputation in Los Angeles was slowly shrinking, so the band moved to Furnier’s hometown of Detroit. For the next year, the group refined their bizarre stage show. Late in 1970, the group’s contract was transferred to Straight’s distributor Warner Bros., and they began recording their third album with producer Bob Ezrin. With Ezrin’s assistance, Alice Cooper developed their classic heavy metal crunch on 1971’s Love It to Death, which featured the number 21 hit single “Eighteen”; the album peaked at number 35 and went gold. The success enabled the group to develop a more impressive, elaborate live show, which made them a highly popular concert attraction across the U.S. and eventually the U.K. Killer, released late in 1971, was another gold album.

School’s Out, which wsa released in the summer of 1972, was Alice Cooper’s breakthrough record, peaking at number two and selling over a million copies. The title song became a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and a number one single in the U.K. Billion Dollar Babies, released the following year, was the group’s biggest hit, reaching number one in both America and Britain; the album’s first single, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” became a Top Ten hit in Britain, peaking at number 25 in the U.S. Muscle of Love appeared late in 1973, yet it failed to capitalize on the success of Billion Dollar Babies. After Muscle of Love, Furnier and the rest of Alice Cooper parted ways to pursue other projects. Having officially changed his name to Alice Cooper, Furnier embarked on a similarly theatrical solo career; the rest of the band released one unsuccessful album under the name Billion Dollar Babies, while Mike Bruce and Neal Smith both recorded solo albums that were never issued. In the fall of 1974, a compilation of Alice Cooper’s five Warner albums, entitled Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits, became a Top Ten hit.

For Welcome to My Nightmare, his first solo album, Cooper hired Lou Reed’s backing band from Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal — guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, bassist Prakash John, keyboardist Joseph Chrowski, and drummer Penti Glan — as his supporting group. Released in the spring of 1975, the record was similar to his previous work and became a Top Ten hit in America, launching the hit acoustic ballad “Only Women Bleed.” Its success put an end to any idea of reconvening Alice Cooper the band. Its follow-up, 1976’s Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, was another hit, going gold in the U.S. After that album, Cooper’s career began to slip, partially due to changing trends and partially due to his alcoholism. Cooper entered rehab in 1978, writing an album about his treatment called From the Inside (1978) with Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyricist. During the early ’80s, Cooper continued to release albums and tour, yet he was no longer as popular as he was during his early-’70s heyday.

Cooper made a successful comeback in the late ’80s, sparked by his appearances in horror films and a series of pop-metal bands that paid musical homage to his classic early records and concerts. Constrictor, released in 1986, began his comeback, but it was 1989’s Trash that returned Cooper to the spotlight. Produced by the proven hitmaker Desmond Child, Trash featured guest appearances by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and most of Aerosmith; the record became a Top Ten hit in Britain and peaked at number 20 in the U.S., going platinum. “Poison,” a midtempo rocker featured on the album, became Cooper’s first Top Ten single since 1977. After the release of Trash, he continued to star in the occasional film, tour, and record, although he wasn’t able to retain the audience recaptured with Trash. Still, 1991’s Hey Stoopid and 1994’s The Last Temptation were generally solid, professional efforts that helped Cooper settle into a comfortable cult status without damaging the critical goodwill surrounding his ’70s output. After a live album, 1997’s Fistful of Alice, Cooper returned on the smaller Spitfire label in 2000 with Brutal Planet, and Dragontown a year later. The Eyes of Alice Cooper appeared in 2003 and found Cooper and company playing a more stripped-down brand of near-garage rock. Dirty Diamonds from 2005 was nearly as raw and hit the streets around the same time Cooper premiered his syndicated radio show Nights with Alice Cooper. Three years later he returned with Along Came a Spider, a concept album that told the story of a spider-obsessed serial killer. In 2010, he released the live album Theatre of Death, along with a download-only EP of redone Cooper classics titled Alice Does Alice. 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his 1975 conceptual classic of the same name (minus the 2), was recorded with longtime co-conspirator Bob Ezrin, and featured 14 brand new cuts that spanned multiple genres and relied on the talents of a host of previous members of the Alice Cooper band (including Steve Hunter), as well as a guest spot from pop superstar Ke$ha. In the same year he was awarded the Kerrang! Icon Award.

Paranormal Advancing years didn’t prevent Cooper from maintaining a hectic schedule, and by 2012 he was touring with Iron Maiden and headlining Bloodstock Open Air. As an aside from his musical pursuits, he also starred in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Dark Shadows, playing himself alongside Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer. He returned to touring in 2014 as the opening act for Mötley Crüe’s final tour, and the following year he unveiled a new supergroup called Hollywood Vampires, which included Johnny Depp and Joe Perry. They subsequently released an album of rock covers. He reunited with Ezrin yet again for his 27th studio record. Paranormal was released in 2017, featuring contributions from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Deep Purple’s Roger Glover, and U2’s Larry Mullen, alongside original bandmembers Smith, Dunaway, and Bruce. The album was also released in a special edition with a bonus disc of live material.

 

Edgar Winter

EntranceAlthough he’s often skirted the edges of blues music, at heart, saxophonist, keyboardist and composer Edgar Winter is a blues musician. Raised in Beaumont, TX, the younger brother of ukulele player and guitarist Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter has always pushed himself in new directions, synthesizing the rock, blues and jazz melodies he hears in his head. As a consequence, his fan base may not be what it could have been, had he made a conscious effort — like his brother Johnny — to stay in a blues-rock mold over the years. He’s one musician who’s never been afraid to venture into multiple musical arenas, often times, within the space of one album, as in his debut, Entrance (1970 Columbia Records).

Much of the credit for Edgar and Johnny’s early musical awareness must go to the brothers’ parents, who have been a constant source of encouragement throughout their respective musical careers. The boys’ father sang in a barbershop quartet, in their church choir, and played saxophone in a jazz group. Edgar and Johnny, who’s three years older, began performing together as teens, playing local watering holes like Tom’s Fish Camp before they were old enough to drink. The pair’s early R&B and blues groups included Johnny and the Jammers, the Crystaliers and the Black Plague.

In high school, Edgar became fascinated with the saxophone stylings of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and Hank Crawford, and he began playing alto sax in earnest. As a pre-teen, he had played ukulele, like his older brother. But by the time he was of college age, Edgar had become competent on keyboards, bass, guitar and drums.

Edgar was signed to Epic Records in 1970 after performing on his brother’s Second Winter album. He recorded Entrance, his debut, which featured himself on most of the instruments. After radio success accompanying his brother on Johnny Winter and, he formed a large horn ensemble called White Trash. Although it was a short-lived group which broke up in mid-’72, Winter assembled another group to record two more albums for Epic Records, White Trash and Roadwork. Winter’s single, “Keep Playing That Rock ‘n’ Roll,” reached number 70 on the U.S. rock radio charts, and the album Roadwork hit number 23 on the album charts. By the summer of 1972, through constant touring, (and a ready willingness to do interviews, unlike his older brother), Winter formed the Edgar Winter Group in the summer of 1972. In January, 1973, Epic released They Only Come Out at Night, produced by guitarist Rick Derringer, which reached number three in the U.S. This album had Winter’s most famous song, “Frankenstein,” which reached number one in the U.S. in May of 1973. Later that year, “Free Ride” from the same album reached number 14. Although he’s never matched that kind of commercial radio success again, Winter has continued to tour and record at a prolific pace. He relocated from New York City to Beverly Hills in 1989 to pursue movie score work, which he’s had some success with, most notably with a slightly reworked version of “Frankenstein” for the movie Wayne’s World II.

Although his early-’70s albums like Entrance, White Trash, They Only Come Out at Night and Shock Treatment are bluesier affairs than some of his later albums, there are blues tunes like “Big City Woman” on one of his 1990s releases, Not a Kid Anymore (1994), on the Intersound label, and 1999’s Winter Blues was almost wholly devoted to the idiom. A good introduction to Winter for those who weren’t around in the early ’70s is The Edgar Winter Collection (1993) on Rhino Records.

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