When you think about Slash from Gun ’N’ Roses, Ace Frehley from KISS, Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Johnny Depp getting together for a night out with Alice Cooper, you think more about headbanging that heartstrings.
But every holiday season, Valley resident Cooper brings together rock ’n’ roll royalty for Alice Cooper’s Annual Christmas Pudding, which has become one of Phoenix’s signature holiday events. This holiday season Cooper, Depp and Perry will descend upon Phoenix in an exclusive performance as The Hollywood Vampires at the shock rocker’s 17th Annual Christmas Pudding. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the free music, dance, arts, and vocational programs for Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center. More surprise guests will be announced soon.
The annual fundraiser for teens returns to the historic Celebrity Theatre at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 8th, and will also include performances from the Solid Rock Dancers and the winners of this year’s Proof is in the Pudding Musical Talent Search, Alice’s own version of American Idol.
Tickets prices range from $120-$225, and go on sale Monday, October 8th at 10 a.m. at Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., in Phoenix, or online at www.celebritytheatre.com. To charge by phone, call 602-267-1600 ext. 1. All tickets include facility and ticketing surcharges. All ages welcome.
Cooper, who turned 70 this year, still tours and is considered by many to be “The Godfather of Shock Rock.” He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his pioneering take on theatrical rock ‘n’ roll inspired many of today’s biggest rock gods, including Rob Zombie, who claims his first “metal moment” was seeing Alice Cooper perform.
But Cooper has a soft side, too. He formed the Solid Rock Foundation in 1999 with his friend, Chuck Savale. Cooper acts as president of the nonprofit organization, which strives to help troubled teens and children in the Phoenix area.
Az Business Angels sat down with Cooper, who attended Cortez High School in Phoenix, where his yearbook ambition was to be “a million record seller,” to talk about his softer side.
Az Business Angels: How did you come up with the concept of Alice Cooper’s Rock Teen Center?
Alice Cooper: My wife and I and our dear friend, Chuck Savale, came up with it together. I wanted to create a place where teens could express themselves in a healthy, safe environment. Teens today have way too much time on their hands and if they aren’t playing sports, they end up doing drugs or joining gangs. The Rock Teen Center is a place where they can learn music, dance, art, video and audio recording and more, or just hang out with their friends, and it’s all free for teens 12 to 20 years old.
ABA: Why was starting this nonprofit so important to you?
AC: Teens are the reason I am successful. When I first started out, they bought my albums and tickets to my concerts. I decided it’s time for rock and roll to give back. I know what’s it’s like — I was a teen once, too, and had similar experiences. I would have loved to have had a Rock Teen Center when I was growing up.
ABA: What is your favorite story to tell related to the Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center?
AC: There are so many success stories that have come out of The Rock Teen Center. Life-changing stories. We have had kids who were on drugs, from broken families, cutting themselves, contemplating suicide; and after coming to our Teen Center, they found hope. They discovered the arts and even a hidden talent or passion they never knew they had. We hear all the time how if it weren’t for The Rock Teen Center, they would’ve chosen the wrong path, or made the wrong decision.
ABA: What impact do you hope the Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center has on the community it serves?
AC: People like to use the term “at-risk youth.” We want the community to realize every youth is at risk. Whether you come from the east side or the west side. No matter the circumstances, it’s a tough time to be a teen. By helping them cultivate a passion for the arts, we are able to make an everlasting difference in their lives so they, in turn, can contribute to their community. Our vision is to open more teen centers across the Valley and, ultimately, the country.