How rock music and art is improving the lives of Phoenix teens

Valley resident and legendary rock n’ roll hall-of-famer Alice Cooper has owned the stage for nearly 50 years. Cooper’s music, theatrics and special effects came together to create a persona that will go down in history as “The Father of Shock Rock.” One part of Cooper’s life story will include his dedication to helping teens by creating a special place just for them.

Founded in 1995, Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock was started to raise money to build a place that would offer a safe environment for kids. Through a combination of free classes in art, music, dance, photography and audio/video production, the center serves as “a local sanctuary to support an exciting and creative journey for teens.” 

Cooper started the center because he believes many teens don’t realize the music, dance or artistic talent that lies within them, according to Jane Gordon, an associate with the center. Cooper also believes that teens stand a better chance in those tumultuous years if they can find a creative outlet.

Because of the popularity of his music among teens, Cooper and his wife Sheryl, along with best friend Chuck Savale, opened Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center in 2012, as a way to give back.

Located at 32nd St. and Thunderbird Road in Phoenix, The Rock offers a wide range of activities for ages 12 to 20. A computer lab is available for teens to do homework. The supervised center also has a room with games, a stage for open mic nights, rehearsal rooms for bands and private lessons, in addition to the many hands-on classes offered around a variety of subjects.

Gordon says the center’s ongoing and future goals include inspiring teens and helping them discover their talent while building self-esteem, self-confidence and helping to make a difference in their lives.

To ensure these goals, the center puts on multiple events, including the upcoming holiday fundraiser, Christmas Pudding. This event is noted for its caliber of talent, often headlined by legendary rock stars including KORN, Slash, Rob Zombie and KISS.

This year’s concert will bring together original Alice Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway. Judas Priest’s front man, Rob Halford, and legendary guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, will also perform with the Alice Cooper band. Johnny Depp of the Hollywood Vampires has also been added to the lineup.

Guests will also see performances from the teens of The Rock. This year will feature acts from the Solid Rock Dancers, The Bucket Brigade, and the winners of this year’s Proof is in the Pudding musical talent search, Cooper’s own version of American Idol. 

The fundraiser will include a live auction, which will have custom paintings of Alice Cooper, autographed guitars from the performers and backstage experiences.

Christmas Pudding

When: Saturday, December 14

Time: 7-11 p.m.

Where: Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix