ALICE COOPER – DENNIS DUNAWAY
Rays of light emanating from his mirrored bass. Sinister bass lines underscoring grandiose rock anthems. These are the elements Dennis Dunaway brings to the stage, with his bands, Blue Coupe, Dennis Dunaway Project and Fifth Avenue Vampires. It’s a presence he’s refined during the years of his legendary rock career.
Dennis was the oldest of four in a farm family in Oregon. When placed in a lineup, the classically-coiffed little boy in cowboy garb would have been the least likely suspect as a founding member of legendary shock-rockin’ band, Alice Cooper.
Dennis and his family moved to Phoenx, Arizona, where, in high school, he became best friends with cross-country teammate Vincent Furnier. Soon after, the duo formed several bands: The Earwigs, The Spiders, and The Nazz. Dennis assumed the role of bassist full force, practicing day in and out, with Alice on vocals, Neal Smith on drums, and Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton on guitars, and they changed the band name to Alice Cooper.
With starry eyes and blistered hands, the band moved to Hollywood and changed their name to Alice Cooper. Amidst a sea of Beatles-influenced light rock and surfer bands, Alice Cooper realized they could catch more attention by integrating provocative theatrics into their shows.
Neal’s sister, Cindy, an aspiring fashion designer, understood the band’s vision and conceptualized a trailblazing line of androgynous, sequin-adorned costumes that helped coin the term “glam rock.”
In tandem, Alice Cooper’s musical style evolved into a unique blend of cryptic lyrics and mysterious music, and they began integrating improvised fights, mesmerizing light shows, and feather storms into their stage routines. This caught the attention of Frank Zappa, who signed them to his record label. And the career track that changed rock and roll began.
The band worked constantly the next six years, knocking out two albums every year, and creating the largest and most innovative stage productions ever seen in rock. They were the first band to tour with their own lighting, the first to wear makeup and sequined costumes, and the first to create albums to support elaborate stage productions. In 1971, the band had their first Top 10 single, “I’m Eighteen.”f In the few years to follow, the group earned six gold and seven platinum albums. Their single, “School’s Out,” was the biggest selling single in the history of Warner Brothers Records.
During the thrilling chaos, Dennis and Cindy Smith fell in love and married.
The band broke up in 1976 as Vince Furnier took the band’s name, and theatrical concepts, as his own. The 80s brought the birth of Dennis and Cindy’s two daughters, Renee and Che Monet, and also the bands Billion Dollar Babies and Deadringer. Dennis then focused his attention on his family, and continued to write music for his own creative fulfillment.
In the 90s, Dennis went into a month-long hospital stay due to Crohn’s disease complications and was flooded with fan mail from around the world. Cued by the kind words of his fans, and by the encouragement of his family, he vowed to perform for live audiences again.
He did so, first by forming Bouchard Dunaway & Smith (BDS) with fellow Alice Cooper vet Neal Smith and Blue Oyster Cult alum Joe Bouchard. They released two albums and did a European tour.
Ever since, Dennis has been back in action, constantly recording and doing shows with bands involving his musical friends. Bouchard Dunaway & Smith, the Dennis Dunaway Project, Blue Coupe and Fifth Avenue Vampires are active examples. He is also finishing up his much-awaited memoir about his musical journey from childhood up to his first performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
His wife, Cindy, is still spreading glam and glitter with her unique creations. Her whimsical costume crowns and headpieces can be seen at divacrowns.com. Their daughters are both pursuing successful and eclectic careers in the arts. Renee Dunaway is a musician, perfoming and recording both as a solo artist and in the group Jetsetter. Che Monet is in new media, fashion and comedy.
Dennis’s fans continue to inspire him to take new risks; staying fresh and current while remaining true to his legendary roots.
Check the shows section to see when Dennis is playing near you, and join the email list to be the first to know about new projects and tracks.
RS66LD Swing Bass