Stephen Seigel has stepped away from the Soundbites desk momentarily. He'll be back next week.
HARD ROCK BY ANY OTHER NAME
He's a much-beloved classic-rock DJ, avid golfing celebrity, sports-bar entrepreneur, well-known advocate for sobriety and an occasionally outspoken Christian and Republican. He's a diehard family man, a father of three who has been married to their mother for 37 years. He's also Alice Cooper, whose day job is maintaining his colorful mythology as the so-called "Godfather of Shock Rock."
Whether you call Cooper's music heavy metal, hard rock, glam metal or pop rock — some of those '70s hits were pretty catchy — he's an icon. A true pioneer of Grand Guignol rock theater, the 65-year-old Cooper is returning to Tucson for a concert this Friday at the Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheatre (AVA).
Born in Detroit as Vincent Furnier, Cooper moved with his family to Phoenix when he was in high school. During the 1960s, he was the front-man for The Spiders, which often played British Invasion covers here in Tucson. That group transformed into one called Alice Cooper, and its lead singer eventually took that name for himself. The rest is history — the spectacle of horror-show stage sets, dark humor, costumes, macabre scenarios. And all the immortal hits: "School's Out," Under My Wheels," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies" and "Welcome to My Nightmare."
Although he has often stated that his demonic persona and the ghoulish imagery of his show is all simply an act, Cooper has over the years inspired the heavy metal dreams, and sometimes the rebellion and transgression, of younger generations of rockers.
One of them is Marilyn Manson, who is sharing the bill with Cooper on the current tour. Manson's assaultive modern take on hard-rock, controversial content and boundary-testing sense of style owe much to the influence of Cooper. The two acts will each perform full sets, and they may appear together. When the tour kicked off this past Saturday night in Albuquerque, they sang together on Cooper's classic "I'm Eighteen."
Different sources tell us that this tour is being called the Masters of Madness Tour and the Shock Therapy Tour. Either applies, I'm sure. The publicist at Cooper's label, though, also has announced that his current stage show is dubbed Raise the Dead. That means, in addition to his hits, he will present musical tributes to late rockers such as John Lennon, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.
Alice's touring band features no less than three guitarists, most notably Orianthi. A 28-year-old shredder from Australia, Orianthi Panagaris is a recording artist in her own right, with four albums to her name. She has played with many artists including Carrie Underwood and Carlos Santana, and she was also chosen by Michael Jackson to appear on his ill-fated This Is It tour. She has been a member of Cooper's band since 2011. If you want to be impressed, check her out on YouTube.
Finally, the promising young hard-rock band Picture Me Broken, fronted by Layla "Brooklyn" Allman (daughter of Gregg Allman), will also play an opening set. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Casino Del Sol's AVA, 5655 W Valencia Road. Tickets range in price from $35 (for the lawn) to $75. For more information, visit www.casinodelsol.com or call 838-6700.
A reclusive Cajun singer and songwriter from southern Louisiana, Brother Dege has quickly attracted attention thanks to the inclusion of his song "Too Old to Die Young" in the soundtrack for the recent Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained and Tarantino's unalloyed approval of Dege's music as "badass."
Dege, who is also known as Dege Legg, plays a 21st-century version of the blues, often employing slide on a Dobro or National steel-bodied guitar. On his 2010 debut album, Folk Songs for the American Longhair, Dege (pronounced "deej") combines elements of folk, psychedelic, Delta blues, punk, metal, raga and outlaw country. The style has been dubbed "Psyouthern." He has a new album in can, titled How to Kill a Horse, and recently recorded a chilling deep-blues cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut."
Dege will play a gig Wednesay, June 12, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The Portland-based heavy Americana band Truckstop Darlin' will open the show at 8 p.m. Admission is free. More information can be found at hotelcongress.com or by calling 622-8848.
Maybe the Houston gangsta rap group Geto Boys aren't the infamous superstars they once were, but that doesn't change the fact that their 22-year-old single "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" remains one of the great works of hip-hop. The group will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. All ages will be admitted. General-admission tickets cost $30 in advance, or $35 the day of the show.
The next night, a younger but no-less-inspired hip-hop artist, Krizz Kaliko, will bring his Summer of Strange tour to the same venue. Also on the bill will be Mayday! and Stevie Stone. The show starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 12. All ages admitted. You can get advance tickets for $20, or $25 on the day of the show. For either concert, call 740-1000 for more information.
The local avant-punk band Lariats — featuring former members of such acts as Versus The Mirror, The Bled and The American Black Lung — will introduce fans to its with new singer, Daniel Lajoie, with a show Saturday, June 8, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave.. It's sort of a mini-festival with compatriot acts The New Classic, Calmosa, Sean Donnelly Band, Ocean Void and Akaidya. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is TBA. Call 629-9211 for more information.
Talented Tucson songwriter and bandleader Tammy West will celebrate the release of her excellent new folk-rock and Americana CD, A Girl Like Me — on which she and Namoli Brennet played all the instruments — with a gig at 7 p.m., Friday, June 7 at Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile. Also on the bill will be Sabra Faulk, Mitzi Cowell and Gary Mackender. Call 207-2429 for more information.
Three excellent musical acts from neighboring cities will return to Tucson to play this weekend. The Bisbee-based duo Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl will join Phoenix singer-songwriters Lonna Kelly and Courtney Marie Andrews for a concert at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth Ave. Admission is $5 at the door. Call 798-1298 if you need to know more.
With the Music on the Mountain series back in full swing on Mount Lemmon, Ronstadt Generations will play Saturday, June 8, under the tent in downtown Summerhaven. The free concert will run from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Food and beverages will be sold on site.
Haven't contracted a good dose of psycho garage-a-billy lately? Texas' Johnny Hootrock will provide exactly that when they play Friday, June 7, at The District Tavern, 260 E. Congress St. The show starts at 10 p.m. and will include burlesque performer Miss Andrea Von Frankenstein (dubbed "the fastest wiggle in the West") and Tucson's Last Call Brawlers. Admission is free. Call 791-0082 for more information.
The Supervillains, a reggae-ska-punk quartet from Orlando, Fla., will play Wednesday, June 12, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., with local act Funky Bonz opening the show at about 8 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door. Call 623-3200 for more info.