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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Heavy Metal Rockers: Before They Were Stars

    What a difference metal makes. KISS leader Gene Simmons (nee Chaim Witz) in high school and now.

    What is heavy metal?

    For some people, that topic that can generate more controversy than religion or quarterback Tim Tebow. Over the years, metal has split into more genres and subgenres than we have room to list here.

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    Bottom line: We say you know heavy metal when you hear it.

    Now that that’s settled, here are some pretty tame pics (and hair and clothing choices), that our friends at dug up for us, of some of the heaviest rockers out there before they were music legends.

    (Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Chiaki Nozu/WireImage)

    Alice Cooper

    THEN: Alice Cooper, Senior Year, 1966 at Cortez High School, Phoenix, AZ.

    NOW: Alice Cooper, born Vincent Furnier in 1948, released his first album in 1969. His most recent effort, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, dropped on September 13, 2011. He also has a syndicated radio show, was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and still performs live.

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    In a video on his website, Cooper said, “I will always be doing something in this business until the moment I pass my last breath, if God’s willing.”

    And he may get his wish from the big rocker in the sky, since Cooper is also a born-again Christian.

    PHOTOS: See the entire gallery of rockers before the fame at

    (Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

    Tommy Lee

    THEN: Tommy Lee plays bass for his school band his Sophomore Year 1978 at Royal Oak High School, Covina, CA.

    NOW: Yep, that was Tommy Lee in school, playing bass, not drums, which he memorably bangs on for Mötley Crüe. Thanks to a certain videotape, we know a few things about Tommy that we don’t even know about our closest friends. (We’re not going to link to any of those clips here.)

    Nowadays, apart from his Crüe tours, Tommy is living a more relaxed life, including a recent appearance at a Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in the Bahamas.

    PHOTOS: See all 20 pics in the gallery at

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