Alice Cooper, the inventor of "shock rock" has been making music since the late 1960's when he formed a band with schoolmates whose first performance consisted of miming Beatles songs since they didn't play any instruments. Cooper, whose birth name is Vincent Furnier, received his first major deal from the legendary Frank Zappa who signed him and his band to a three record deal with his company Straight Records. By the time the band signed with Zappa, Furnier had taken the name Alice Cooper as a gimmick to help the band stand out from other metal influenced bands. The persona included taking on the physical and spiritual attributes of a tattered evil witch. Cooper has maintained this character throughout his musical career, even propagating the story that he bit the head off a chicken at a Toronto concert as part of a demonic ritual In reality, the chicken wondered onstage by accident and was thrown into the crowd who tore it to shreds.