The Truth Behind Alice Cooper And The Chicken Incident

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Heavy metal rocker Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier, per Biography) gives some of the best performances in the world of rock. It's how he earned the nickname "The Godfather of Shock Rock." Sure, his music is a fantastic step into '70s metal, but his live performance have always been up and beyond, mixing music and theatrics to produce an unforgettable and unmistakable experience for concert-goers. Often, Alice Cooper can be seen in the thick, black eye makeup of his character, with a large python wrapped around his neck. His shows feature the dark and the obscene, skeletons and guillotines. Pretty much everything you want in shock rock.

Cooper's metal style and the vivid visuals of his performances were enough to get the artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, but one of the most metal things Alice Cooper was ever said to have done won't be found there. We're talking about the time he bit the head off of a live chicken in front of his fans. Crazy, right? There's only one problem with that popular tale: It isn't true. But take heart. The real story isn't any less gruesome, and it does involve a chicken. So, here's what really happened:

Alice Cooper was playing his set at the 1969 Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, scheduled between The Doors and John Lennon.

Fly, chicken, Fly!

Cooper's band wasn't famous yet, but their manager did some sneaky negotiations to get them the spot. In the shock rock spirit of the band, Alice Cooper did several crowd-pleasing (and crowd-messing) things, such as chopping up a watermelon with a hatchet and blowing feathers into the air with CO2 cartridges. These feathers were not pulled off a live chicken on stage or anything like that, but there were feathers, and there was a chicken.

Cooper looked down, according to They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock'n'Roll, and there it was, the feathered weirdo strutting across the stage. Someone from the crowd had thrown a live bird onstage. No joke. So, Cooper does the rational thing and picks up the chicken. He then tosses it into the hyped crowd, which proved to be a very bad move for the chicken. "It's a bird, you know. I'm from Detroit. I don't know if — chickens gots wings," Cooper once admitted in an interview posted at YouTube. "It'll fly." It would not fly.

The audience ripped the poor bird to pieces like it was a KFC family bucket, then threw the bloody shreds back onto the stage. Less like KFC and more like a cat offering its owner a "present." Either way, it freaked Cooper out — you might even say the shock rocker was, well, shocked — for quite some time.