Growing up in the Valley, Dash Cooper didn’t understand why the neighbor kids were so hesitant to visit.
“At a really young age, I learned that the image everybody sees is the shock rocker he is on stage,” says Cooper, about his father, Alice Cooper.
“Not a lot of people got that that was just a persona. Other kids wouldn’t come over my house and play. They thought he would be hanging kids in a noose or putting them in a guillotine.”
When Cooper retorted with, “Well, what does our dad do?” Kids would answer with myriad of answers.
“But with us, it was a normal thing,” he says about his dad. “I guess I can see from an outside perspective. He sits on the couch at home watching golf.”
Meanwhile Cooper and his band, CO-OP, are carrying on the rocker’s tradition, although on a much less dramatic scale.
“He really taught me how to write lyrically,” says Cooper, during an interview at his dad’s Solid Rock Foundation/The Rock Teen Center office. “I’ll treasure those lyric-writing sessions forever. He turned me on to the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli. As simplistic as they were, they were the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll.”
CO-OP—which also includes vocalist Cooper, lead guitarist Court Stumpf, drummer Mark Savale, bassist Justin Swartzentruber and guitarist Kolby Peoples—have been making a name throughout the Valley for years. They will continue that mission with a show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, as part of Arizona Bike Week at WestWorld. At 9 p.m., the band will back Alice Cooper for his show. In December, CO-OP released its self-titled debut.
“Our CD release party was at Joe’s Grotto last December and a lot of the kids from The Rock were there,” says Stumpf, the Teen Center’s music director. “We play mostly 21 and older shows. For many of them, that was the first time they had seen us play.”
Cooper says the EP took a little longer than anticipated to hit the stores. Life’s events—babies, jobs, etc.—took precedence.
“We have had these songs for a while,” Stumpf adds. “It was hard for us because we constantly had something else going on—shows or going out of town to play events.
“It was tough for us to sit down and say, ‘We’re going to knock this thing out.’ But now we’re hitting the ground running. We’re already in the studio doing the full length.”
The band considers itself “desert hard rock” that considers the musicians’ different tastes. Stumpf prefers industrial music by the likes of Nitzer Ebb and Skinny Puppy, while Cooper follows Bullet for My Valentine.
The band has received help from EMP, the label backed by Scottsdale resident and Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and music veteran Thom Hazaert.
“Alice Cooper took Megadeth out on our first big tour, and we’ve always had a great relationship,” Ellefson says. “He wrote the foreword to my book. So, when Thom talking to Dash and the CO-OP guys, and we had the chance to sign them, it was a really cool opportunity to shine a spotlight on some incredible local Phoenix talent. And when I finally heard the finished EP, I was blown away.”
Stumpf, a Scottsdale Community College film student who has been writing music for movies and TV since 2009, explains the effect the signing had on the band.
“With EMP, we really have that wind in our sails,” he says. “We’re really going to do this full-on now. It’s amazing to have that now.”
Although it’s taken some time, now is the perfect time for CO-OP.
“It all worked out,” Stumpf says. “It’s just the way life works. The timing was up to God.”
CO-OP, Arizona Bike Week at WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, azbikeweek.com, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, $30.