Dennis Dunaway

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Dennis Dunaway
Alice Cooper on tour for million dollar babies.jpg
Background information
Born (1946-12-09) December 9, 1946 (age 75)
Cottage Grove, Oregon
GenresRock, hard rock, shock rock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter

Dennis Dunaway (born December 9, 1946, in Cottage Grove, Oregon) is an American musician, best known as the original bass guitarist for the rock band Alice Cooper (1962–1975, 1999, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021).[1] He co-wrote some of the band's most notable songs, including "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out".


Dunaway's first bass was a short-scale Airline.[2] This was used on Alice Cooper's debut album Pretties for You.[2] The band's sophomore album, Easy Action, featured Dunaway playing a short-scale Höfner.[2]

Later, Dunaway procured a Gibson EB-0 short scale bass, modified with a Fender Precision Bass split pickup in the treble position, that he spray painted green and called "the frog".[3] He can be seen with it on the back cover of the Love it to Death album. Dunaway used this bass exclusively in the making of the original Alice Cooper group's first three albums. It currently is on loan to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dunaway would later switch to a Fender Jazz bass.

'Billion Dollar Babies' was the name of the band founded by Michael Bruce, Mike Marconi, Dennis Dunaway, Bob Dolin, and Neal Smith after they split from Alice Cooper in 1974.[4] This band was embroiled in a legal suit over the usage of the name. They only released one album, 1977's Battle Axe, before disbanding.

Dennis is married to Cindy (Smith) Dunaway, Alice Cooper's original costume designer who helped create the Shock Rock fashion style. Cindy is the sister of original Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith.

Dunaway (far right) and the three surviving original Alice Cooper band members at Wembley Arena in 2017

Dennis performs on Alice Cooper's Welcome 2 My Nightmare. On July 1, 2010, when talking about the newly retitled album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, Alice said in a Radio Metal interview: "We’ll put some of the original people on it and add some new people, I’m very happy with working with Bob (Ezrin) again." Other names mentioned were: Slash, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway, Steven Hunter and Dick Wagner. Dunaway and Smith wrote two songs and perform, along with Michael Bruce, on three tracks on the album, released in September 2011. That same year, Dunaway and his former Alice Cooper bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the "Performer Category".[5]

Dennis currently plays live with his bands, Blue Coupe which also comprises Joe and Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult fame and 5th Avenue Vampires. Blue Coupe's most recent single "You (Like Vampires)", written by John Elwood Cook, can be heard on iTunes or Pledgemusic. Dennis released his memoirs Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! (Thomas Dunne Books) in June 2015.[6] The book has been penned with Rolling Stone writer, Chris Hodenfield.

Dunaway appears on bonus tracks for Alice Cooper's 2017 album Paranormal[7][8] and on two songs of Cooper's 2021 album Detroit Stories. He also co-wrote the Detroit Stories track "Drunk and in Love".

In 2022, Dunaway wrote the afterword to Alice Cooper Confidential by authorized Alice Cooper biographer Jeffrey Morgan.[9]


Solo (billed as Dennis Dunaway Project)

  • Bones from the Yard (2006)

With Alice Cooper

With Billion Dollar Babies

  • Battle Axe (1977)

With Deadringer

  • Electrocution of the Heart (1989)

With Ant-Bee

With Bouchard, Dunaway & Smith

  • Back From Hell (2001)
  • BDS Live in Paris (2003)

With 5th Avenue Vampires

  • Drawing Blood (2010)

With Blue Coupe

  • Tornado on the Tracks (2010)
  • Million Miles More (2013)
  • Eleven Even (2019)

With Hollywood Vampires


  1. ^ Dan Haggerty (2010-02-05). "The Mosh Pit 2.05.10: The History Of Metal – 1971". 411 mania. Archived from the original on 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-02-02. A group called Alice Cooper comprising Vincent Furnier on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar and keyboards, Dennis Dunaway on bass, and Neal Smith on drums would get heir start in 1969 but would struggle until 1971 to enter the lexicon of rock and roll. And for the record Vincent would be the singers real name, for a number of years he would be surprised when people would call him Alice simply because that was the name of the band. It wasn't until 1975, when he assumed control of the band as the only original member, that he would take the name for himself.
  2. ^ a b c Shooman, Joe (March 2019). "Alice Trooper". Bass Player. Future US (380): 30–31.
  3. ^ Meeker, Ward (April 2017). "Dennis Dunaway: Earwigs, Alice, and Beyond". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Alex Parachini (1975-03-21). "Alice Cooper's image fading". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  5. ^ "Alice Cooper: inducted in 2011 | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  6. ^ "SNAKES! GUILLOTINES! ELECTRIC CHAIRS!". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Munro, Scott (2017-05-11). "Alice Cooper announces new album Paranormal". loudersound. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  8. ^ Graff, Gary (2017-07-28). "Alice Cooper Shares Track-By-Track Breakdown of 'Paranormal' Album: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  9. ^ Alice Cooper Confidential. New Haven Publishing Ltd. 2022. ISBN 978-1-949515-44-2.

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