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How a Chicken Got Torn to Shreds at an Alice Cooper Show

todayJune 29, 2024 2

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Alice Cooper ruffled a few feathers in 1969 when his fans killed a live chicken at Toronto’s Rock and Roll Revival Festival.”The audience tears it to pieces,” Cooper recalled this week on A&E’s Biography: Alice Cooper. “It was the peace and love festival. They tear it to pieces and throw it back up on the stage, so there’s blood everywhere – feathers and blood.”Rumors began to spread that he’d purposely pulled the stunt at the University of Toronto’s 20,000-capacity Varsity Stadium, and even that he’d drunk the bird’s blood. It didn’t take long for word to reach Cooper’s label boss Frank Zappa, who called the next day.READ MORE: The Heaviest Song by 10 Big ’70s Rock Bands”Did you kill a chicken onstage last night?” Cooper remembers Zappa asking. “I said, ‘There was a chicken. I didn’t kill it, though.’ He goes, ‘Don’t tell anybody. They love it.’ He says, ‘It’s everywhere in the press!’ I immediately went, ‘Perfect.’ The chicken story then became huge: ‘Who is this monster who would do this at a rock show?'”Turns out, this whole thing was just a big misunderstanding. “You have to remember I’m from Detroit,” Cooper says. “I had never been on a farm in my life. It had wings, it had feathers – it should fly. I picked up the chicken and I flung it into the audience, figuring it would fly away and somebody would take it and take it home and call it ‘Alice Cooper.'”The Gruesome Legend of Alice Cooper GrowsOf course, that’s not what happened. Chickens are flightless birds. “I threw it out there,” Cooper acknowledges, “and it fell straight down into the audience.”The crowd in Toronto that day included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Cooper said the decidedly avant-garde couple approved. “They thought it was art – because it’s chaos,” he added. Still, the rumors continued and in some cases were expanded upon, even as animal rights activists gathered before Cooper’s concerts.”My reputation was just insane. I didn’t have to do anything,” Cooper admits. “They were inventing their own Alice Cooper myth. People were just discovering Alice Cooper, and I was just discovering him – so we were all doing it at the same time.”The Real Names of Over 50 Rock + Metal IconsYou know ’em by their stage names.Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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