The Yardbirds were a British sixties band that during their original lifespan included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck AND Jimmy Page in their ranks at various times. The original Alice Cooper were hugely influenced by the band, covering many of their songs in the early Spiders days around Phoenix. Legend has it that at one show at the VIP club The Spiders opened for The Yardbirds, playing a set of Yardbirds songs before the real band arrived on stage.
From Dennis Dunaway's autobiography 'Snakes, Guillotines, Electric Chairs':
One hot night, the Yardbirds came to play the VIP Lounge. They might have been our heroes, but they were only just then on the verge of national recognition. Jack was still able to get acts like this for a decent price.
As the opening act, the Spiders came up with a real nice way to salute these guys and show them our respect. We did a set that was all Yardbirds numbers. It wasn't until the Yardbirds blew everybody away with the same songs that it occurred to us we might have been a trifle inconsiderate.
One of the new things that Glen had been doing was incorporating silverware into his act. He clacked spoons against his thigh and even played slide guitar with a spoon. The Yardbirds’ guitar player, Jeff Beck, thought Glen’s spoons were hilarious. After we finished our set, Beck sneaked into the Spider Sanctum and swiped Glen’s tray of silverware. During their show, Beck was doing one of his blistering solos. He fretted the guitar with his left hand while his right pinged spoons off the neck. One by one, they clanged off his strings and flew into the audience.
After the show, Glen and I were backstage and struck up a conversation with Yardbirds singer Keith Relf.
"I'll bet you didn’t expect anyone to know all your songs," I said.
"We've never had to follow that before," he admitted.
"We really like your band," Glen said, "especially the guitar player."
Relf just shook his head. "You should have seen the guy we had before him."
"Glen and I laughed because we were sure he was putting us on. Better than Jeff Beck? C'mon. Beck was probably the most original, outlandish guitarist on earth. It was only later, when we heard Cream and found out that Eric Clapton had broken in with the Yardbirds, that we understood Relf wasn’t joking.
But the biggest assault on my senses that night was seeing their bass player, Paul Samwell-Smith. His experimental style was a revelation. It was Glen Buxton who taught me my first musical notes, and Bill Wyman and his "Famous Framus" bass playing on early Rolling Stones records gave me a foundation in blues patterns and structure, but it was hearing Samwell-Smith's original style that fueled my desire to be as different as possible on bass."
Alice himself has often listed the Yardbirds as his favourite band ever, also refering to their 'Five Live Yardbirds' as his favourite albums.
In 2017 Alice picked his top ten songs for the BBC's 'Tracks Of My Years' show and included the Yardbirds' 'Train Kept A-rollin'', which of course The Holywood Vampires play live.