Alice Cooper, Doors guitarist playing at academy

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By DIRK LAMMERS, Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A pair of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members took the stage Thursday in South Dakota for the first show in a week of concerts benefiting a music academy for Sioux Falls Boys & Girls Clubs members.

Alice Cooper jammed with Robby Krieger of The Doors and a who's who of '80s glam and metal rockers to help christen the $3.6 million Brennan Rock & Roll Academy in Sioux Falls. Also taking the stage were Joey Allen of Warrant, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, bassist Chuck Garric and Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer of Kiss.

"These guys all know my songs, so I'll be doing four or five of my songs, and then a couple of Doors songs," Cooper told The Associated Press before the show.

Cooper, wearing black leather pants, a black vest, black jacket and black gloves, belted out The Doors' "Back Door Man," aptly channeling the late Jim Morrison as Krieger led on guitar.

Cooper then told tales of warming up for The Doors in the late 1960s before the band jumped into "Break on Through (To the Other Side)."

Earlier in the set, Krieger came out for a duet with Bach on the lesser known "Crystal Ship," the B-side to superhit "Light My Fire."

The all-star band also performed some Kiss songs, a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" and a little Skid Row.

The $1,000-a-ticket concert is a fundraiser for the center, which is the brainchild of Sioux Falls native Chuck Brennan. Brennan, the founder of short-term lender Dollar Loan Center, based his idea on Cooper's Solid Rock Foundation in Phoenix.

Cooper said about 100 kids a night are flocking to his Solid Rock center, which opened about two years ago.

"If you take one kid out of a gang and get him involved in rock 'n' roll or get him involved in a guitar or bass or drums, you don't just change that kid, you change the neighborhood," he said.

The Sioux Falls academy has had the feel of an exclusive, intimate venue this week, but starting in April it will become the afternoon home for young people looking to learn or improve their skills in guitar, bass, drums, keyboards or vocals.

Lessons will be given in nine soundproof rehearsal rooms, five of which are wired to a professional mixing and recording studio. The four upstairs rehearsal rooms will honor Kiss, with each decorated as an homage to the band members' characters: The Demon, Starchild, Catman and Spaceman.

Kiss' Thayer, who grew up playing saxophone in a school music program before he ever touched a guitar, said the facility will spark kids' creative side.

"I'm blown away with this whole facility," Thayer said. "I think it's a great thing."

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