Glen Buxton

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Glen Buxton
Glen Buxton.jpg
Background information
Birth nameGlen Edward Buxton
Born(1947-11-10)November 10, 1947
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
DiedOctober 19, 1997(1997-10-19) (aged 49)
Mason City, Iowa, U.S.
Genres Rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Associated acts Alice Cooper, Virgin

Glen Edward Buxton (November 10, 1947 – October 19, 1997) was an American musician and composer, best known as the lead guitarist for the rock band Alice Cooper. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Buxton number 90 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. [1] In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the original Alice Cooper group. [2]


Early life

Born in Akron, Ohio, Buxton moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and in 1964, while attending Cortez High School, made his debut in a rock band called The Earwigs. [3] It was composed of fellow high school students Dennis Dunaway, Vincent Furnier, John Tatum and John Speer. At the onset, Buxton was the only member who could play an instrument, and thus taught some of the other members to play after the group decided to take a shot at becoming a real band. They became popular locally, and changed their name to The Spiders in 1965 and later to The Nazz in 1967. [3] In 1966-67, guitarist John Tatum and drummer John Speer left the group, and rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith joined. In 1968, to avoid legal entanglements with the Todd Rundgren-led Nazz the group changed their name to Alice Cooper, premiering their new name at their performance at the Santa Barbara County Fairgrounds on March 20, 1968.

Alice Cooper

Buxton was the co-writer of hit songs like "School's Out", "I'm Eighteen", "Elected," and "10 Minutes Before the Worm". He is credited as lead guitarist on seven albums by Alice Cooper, including the chart-topping Billion Dollar Babies . However, he was "not invited" to play on 1973's Muscle of Love and does not appear, although he is credited due to management's concerns about band image with the fans. According to drummer Neal Smith, the absence was due to "problems that Glen was having with the demons of rock and roll at that particular time..." The band sought out other guitar players to fill in, including Dick Wagner and fellow Cortez High School alum Mick Mashbir.

In an interview with Marc Maron, according to Alice Cooper, "Glen ended up being one of the great rock guitar players of all time. He created 'School's Out'. He created all that stuff." [4] In a separate interview, Cooper stated, "Glen was not a songwriter. He would write riffs, though. They would show up on the album, and even great guitar players would say, 'What is that line? It's so weird, but it's catchy.' Mike (Bruce) was much more into chord structure. So, Glen was always sort of our icing on the cake." [3]

Post Alice Cooper years

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Buxton maintained a low profile, playing only occasional club gigs with bands like Shrapnel and Virgin. [3] In the 1990s, Buxton lived in Clarion, Iowa, performing with local artists. In 1994 Buxton founded the band Buxton-Flynn with his long time friend, Michael Flynn. The band played shows throughout southern Minnesota and north Iowa.


A few weeks before his 50th birthday, Buxton died of complications from pneumonia at a hospital in Mason City, Iowa, on October 19, 1997, age 49. [5] He had recently spent time visiting and playing music with two of his Alice Cooper bandmates and longtime friends, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith. [3] With bassist Richie Scarlet (Frehley's Comet) filling in for Buxton's longtime friend and Alice Cooper bandmate Dennis Dunaway (who was unable to attend due to illness), and John Glenn on keyboards, Buxton, Smith, and Bruce performed on a morning radio show in Houston on October 10, 1997, and performed a concert at nightclub Area 51 in Houston on October 12, 1997. [6] [7] Buxton mentioned having some pain at the nightclub and his friends urged him to see a doctor, but Buxton replied he would wait until he got home. On October 19 his fiancée drove him to the hospital near his home in Clarion, Iowa, where he died of viral pneumonia. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Clarion, Iowa. [8]


With Alice Cooper
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  1. "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), Rolling Stone.
  2. Alice Cooper, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Rodgers, Larry (March 8, 2011) [October 1999]. "Rock lifestyle caught up with Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton". The Arizona Republic . Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  5. "Glen Buxton, lead guitar for Alice Cooper dies here". Wright County Examiner . October 23, 1997. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  6. "The Original Glen Buxton: Area 51" . Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  7. ""I'm Eighteen" - Alice Cooper band "Rock Legends" live at Area 51" . Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  8. Glen Buxton at Find a Grave