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  #1291  
Old 4th April 2020, 06:48 AM
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New interview at Spin Magazine

"Alice Cooper Provides a Solid Rock for Teens During COVID-19 Crisis

Cooper's Solid Rock nonprofit continues to help teens even as the pandemic spreads

Sometimes, something suddenly appears that’s so unsettling, even the king of shock rock himself is startled. That’s what happened when Alice Cooper was forced to cancel his European tour in the midst of something scarier than what Cooper does in his notorious horror rock show.

“It’s strange times. I’ve never lived in a time when one infinitesimal thing that you can’t even see has literally stopped the entire world,” Cooper says, sounding astonished while speaking from his home in Arizona.

Cooper’s wife, Sheryl, is also on the call. She performs in her husband’s show (often portraying a psychotic nurse), and she seems stunned as she recounts the unexpected and abrupt end to their show in Berlin. As she tells it, they were told to “jump off the stage and go directly to our bus in full makeup and costumes.” Almost 24 hours of exhaustive travel later, they made it back to Phoenix – but they “got home, no food in the house, went to the grocery store, no food at the grocery store. What’s happening?”

Unfortunately for the Coopers, they have more than just canceled shows to worry about. They’re worried about the pandemic will affect Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock, the nonprofit organization they founded in 1995. The organization operates The Rock Teen Center, a 28,000 square foot facility in Phoenix where people ranging from ages 12 to 20 can get free instruction in music (both instrument lessons and recording studio training), dance, art, film and photography, among many other artistic options.

Cooper says Solid Rock is something they feel driven to do.

“We’re based on a Christian ethic,” he says. “The kids say, ‘Why are you doing this?’ and we tell them, ‘Because the Lord told us to. We don’t want anything from you except you to show up and create.’ And they say, ‘Well, what do you get out of it?’ And I go, ‘Watching you create!’ That’s all there is to it.” Another reason for doing this, he adds, is that “We feel that every teenager is at risk – not just the ones that come from the gang world. They’re all in trouble unless they have some guidance.”

But while Solid Rock is a labor of love for the Coopers, it also requires funding to operate – and the pandemic has forced them to cancel Solid Rock’s biggest fundraising event of the year, Alice Cooper’s Annual Rock & Roll Golf Classic tournament. It was scheduled to take place on April 26. Canceling the tournament has “put a gigantic dent in funds,” Jeff Moore, Solid Rock’s executive director, says.

Moore says the virus-driven economic downturn also calls into question how much donations from individuals and corporate sponsors will be affected this year. “Their contributions are based on their profits and the successes of their businesses,” he says. “With all this happening, I don’t know what positions they will be in. They have been fantastic sponsors over the years. But we also have to be mindful that they could be severely hurt through this crisis.”

As Solid Rock faces this financial hit, logistical problems are also arising. As people self-isolate at home, the Teen Center staff have scrambled to continue offering activities, such as putting up video series with lessons for various instruments, and livestreaming performances from the teens themselves. The goal, Teen Center director Mark Savale says, is to “engage and keep in contact with our teens. If we can’t see them face-to-face, we can at least put some content where they can actually participate.”

This emphasis on interpersonal connections is at the heart of what Solid Rock and the Teen Center are all about, according to Ale Moran, 20, and Kailee Schoeff, 18. Both of them participated extensively in many of the programs before becoming part-time staff members there. (Moran teaches art, and Schoeff teaches photography). They know firsthand how the Center can help – and the danger that could come now that this pandemic is undermining this support.

“I was a freshman when I first started coming to the Rock,” Schoeff says. “I didn’t have a lot of friends, nobody really talked to me. I walked in and all the teens and the staff were super welcoming and wanted to be my friends right off the bat. I was really shocked. I wasn’t used to that. So it was intimidating in a very good way.” Now, she says, she’s making an extra effort to text and connect with the teens. “Especially at times like this, it’s important to reach out to them and make sure they’re not feeling alone or ignored.”

Moran also worries about what this loss of contact could do, since she knows firsthand what a good influence the Center can be for teens. “Before I started going to the Rock, all my friends would drink and do drugs,” she says. “To me, there was no way out – I thought that was going to be my life.” Now, she can advise other teens at the Center. “I can speak on what I went through; it’s not just, ‘I’m telling you what to do.’ It’s like, ‘No, I’ve gone through that. I don’t want you to have to go through that, too.’”

Stories of the positive impact of the foundation keeps the Coopers motivated to keep it going. “You see a kid who was uncontrollable, and he comes in, and [now] he’s the one that’s blossoming the most – it’s unbelievable,” Cooper says. “We just sit there and go, ‘Wow, he was the kid that I didn’t want to deal with. Now he cannot wait to get in [when we open]. I sit back and smile. These kids, all they really need is some creative outlet.’”

But, Moore says, trying to accomplish this via remote outreach is an extremely frustrating endeavor. “It’s very strange to have things so quiet and to not have the teens here, because we are a relational ministry. Trying to do things through social media, that interpersonal interaction is difficult at best.”

For their part, the Coopers are determined to try to turn this situation into an opportunity. “Alice and I are encouraging the kids at Solid Rock to use this time to create,” Sheryl says. “Paint something. If you’re a dancer, choreograph. Keep pressing forward, and then when we’re together once again, show us what you’ve got.”

Should funding still come through as hoped, there are other post-pandemic plans in the works as well. A second Teen Center, in nearby Mesa, is still scheduled for a December opening date. They hope that the golf tournament can be rescheduled for this fall. And, the Coopers say, their daughter Calico (a member of famed improv group The Groundlings) is creating a theater program at the Center – and Johnny Depp (Alice’s longtime friend and Hollywood Vampires bandmate) has volunteered to teach an acting workshop.

Bringing in celebrity volunteers is a tradition that is also on the “wish list” for when the Center doors can reopen. Because of Cooper’s legendary music career, many famous musicians have conducted workshops with the teens throughout the years, including Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Brian “Head” Welch (Korn), Monte Pittman (Madonna’s longtime guitarist), John 5 (Marilyn Manson), and David Pack (Ambrosia). Cooper himself can be found teaching songwriting classes or playing ping pong with the teens, while Sheryl leads master dance classes, which they say they plan to continue doing.

Even though it’s uncertain when everything can get underway again, Cooper is maintaining a positive attitude. “I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy,” he says, explaining that he even sees some value in this current self-isolating reality: “This has forced families to sit in the same house together and maybe rediscover themselves. It’s almost like God saying, ‘Let’s take a time-out. How about you kids sit with your parents and watch TV, or play Monopoly.’ All the sudden, families are gelling together again because it’s like one for all and all for one against this disease. I think that’s, in some ways, a bit of a blessing.”

The Coopers are also positive that Solid Rock will survive these challenging times. “This is just a setback,” Cooper says. “We’re here, we’re not going away.” Sheryl seconds this reassurance: “We are in it for the long haul.”"
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  #1292  
Old 5th April 2020, 07:02 PM
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New Q&A interview at Forbes

"Q&A: Alice Cooper On His New Podcast, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Jimmy Page And Hanging With Pink Floyd In 1968


For the last 16 years, Alice Cooper has done double duty as a rock legend and host of the global radio show Nights With Alice Cooper. As a true rock icon who partied with the likes of John Lennon and Keith Moon in the Hollywood Vampires and has played with everyone from Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin, Cooper has unparalleled access in the rock community.

He has utilized that access to interview everyone from Jimmy Page and Slash to Queen's Brian May and Ozzy Osbourne. But as Cooper points out those interviews were often one and done, so if fans missed them they could not access them again.

So a few months back he was approached by Storic Media about turning the show into a podcast. “We are proud to launch Alice Cooper’s Vintage Vault as part of United Stations’ new podcast network, Storic Media. Through Storic we will be launching a series of podcasts ranging from children’s stories to all things music and beyond,” said Kristin Verbitsky, director of Storic.

Cooper felt the same. And this week I spoke with him about the podcast, his interview technique and more. Few people have the stories of Alice Cooper and he did not disappoint as he filled me in on Guns 'N' Roses, Jimmy Page and a truly amazing Pink Floyd story at the end of the interview.

Steve Baltin: How are you holding up in all of this?

Alice Cooper: The great thing in Arizona is that the golf courses are open. They say it's an outdoor event, you're not touching anything but your own equipment. And they want people out doing something — walking, outdoor activities and they said that is the one sport that is not a contact sport. There are 200 golf courses here. So we go out every morning, first off there's nobody out there. We have the whole place to ourselves and we're done by 9:30, 10 o'clock and it's great. We come home and then I don't feel guilty sitting watching TV all day.

Baltin: Was the podcast always intended to come out during this time frame or was the release sped up to come out during the quarantine?

Cooper: We had planned the podcast before. We've been doing the radio show for 16 years and the podcast came up four or five months ago. I said, "What is it?" And they said, "The idea is to take old interviews and for you to go into that interview and either explain it or be the narrator, the voice over top of these. Because every single interview, even if it's not your interview is somebody you know or have interviewed. So it's not like this is somebody you've never talked to before." So I kind of go in and do insight into that person or before they're talking. What it does is bring up all these great interviews that were kind of lost. You hear them once and they're gone. And I said, "Wait a minute, they're like records. What if we want to hear what Jimmy Page has to say about this? What if we want to hear what Slash says about that or whoever?" So it's taking these interviews and turning them into something new all over again.

Baltin: Using your record analogy, when you go back and listen to old records you often hear new things in there. Is that the case for you with the interviews too?

Cooper: I started going, "We started out this album with absolutely no storyline and it accidentally turned into a storyline because every single character was a paranormal character. I didn't design it to be that. It happened like that." When I did the interview at the first I said there was no storyline. Two months later there was a storyline that was accidental. That's just one example of how I might be talking to Duff McKagan and Duff goes, "Well, I don't know if Guns 'N' Roses ever gonna get back together, doesn't sound like it ever will." And four months later they're on tour and doing the best tour they've ever done (laughs). So it's kind of neat to see what actually did happen against what they thought was gonna happen.

Baltin: Are there particular interviews that have been fun to revisit?

Cooper: Sometimes I look at the date of when this interview came out and I go, "Oh boy, look what happened to that band since then." They weren't expecting to have a hit or they were expecting this to be their biggest album and it didn't go anywhere. But I don't like to dwell on what never happened. I think it's funny to let the audience also discover that. "Let's see what they were talking about in 2005." I'm sure Brian Johnson [AC/DC] was not expecting to lose his hearing. He's going on and on about how he loves it and can't wait to get back on stage and here you go a couple years later and he can't hear anything. Who would ever predict that? It's kind of fun to look back and say, "Wow, if it were a time machine we never would have expected that." I always look at it like if you were to tell me in 2005 the world's greatest male athlete was going to become a woman, Bill Cosby was gonna become a [convicted] rapist and Donald Trump was gonna be the president I'd say, "What world are you in?" That's a Kurt Vonnegut novel you're talking about, that's not reality. And yet all that stuff happened. We kind of take it for granted after a while, but when you start adding up the insanity...if somebody said, "There's something so small that nobody can see it that's going to stop the entire world for about three or four months" you'd go, "What? Is it an alien?" And they go, "No, it's just a germ, but it's gonna stop the entire world." You'd go, "No, that's never gonna happen." On a smaller level it's like that on interviews where people have all these great ideas of what's going to happen and this is going to be the greatest tour we ever did and of course that tour never happened. So it's almost funny.

Baltin: At times it becomes overwhelming to think of the interviews you have done. Like it took me years to appreciate interviewing James Brown. Do you have that experience?

Cooper: Yeah, I forgot a lot of these interviews. I totally forgot that I interviewed Jimmy Page. I've known Jimmy since 1968. We did the Whisky A Go Go together, but I totally forgot that interview. And in that interview there was never any mention of him going back in to all the Led Zeppelin albums and remixing them. And I think at the time they were still up in the air about Zeppelin getting back together. Of course that never happened and everybody in the whole world went, "Why? Everybody's still viable except the drummer and they've got his son who plays just like his dad." So I think it is a bit of a game to listen to what was supposed to happen, what didn't happen, what wasn't supposed to happen that did happen and it's a little bit shocking to see we don't have any control over what is going to happen.

Baltin: This is an obvious question but is there one person you'd like to interview you never have?

Cooper: Oh yeah, who wouldn't want to interview Bob Dylan? I've never interviewed Bob Dylan. And the easiest one in the world would be Paul McCartney. He's the nicest person you've ever met in your life. I did a really good interview with Jeff Beck one time. In fact I said I look at it this way: Jimmy Page best rock and roll guitar player; Jimi Hendrix, most inventive guitar player; Eric Clapton best blues player; Jeff Beck, best guitar player. And he went, "Yeah, that's right."

Baltin: What would be the one question you'd most like to ask Dylan?

Cooper: Somebody told me that he doesn't use a teleprompter. That's 400 songs, okay. Everybody in that band has to know every song because he does an audible, he doesn't just give them a setlist. He'll get done with a song and say, "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands." And they have to know that. If he's not using a teleprompter it's one of the most amazing memories of all time. I was told he doesn't use one. I would ask him if he does use a teleprompter because as a singer I would be lost without my teleprompter. And I know those songs. I still like to have it on. So I would ask him, is it just whatever song you want to play right at that moment? It is just an audible?

Baltin: Are there things then from these interviews you've put to your own music?

Cooper: Yeah. One thing I do in my interviews is I tell the person right up front let's not make this an interview, let's make this a conversation. If there are a couple of hot points I want to get I work it in to the conversation. But I want it to sound like somebody is listening in on a telephone call between me and Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones. And we're just talking and whenever it goes it goes. I might have one or two questions that I work in there that I want to know about, that I really want to hit up. That way that interview doesn't sound like question, answer, question, answer. I let them get to what they want to talk about more than anything else. I just sort of sit back and let them go with what they want to talk about cause I've done enough interviews where I'll get done with the entire interview and I'll go, "We didn't even mention the tour or the new album. We just did 15 minutes of what I did in 1973." I get off the phone and I go, "That was a totally wasted interview. I didn't get across what I was trying to do."

Baltin: How are your interviews different you think from other interviewers?

Cooper: Most of these guys, when you get two rock stars talking they're gonna go off in a million different directions. I think people would much rather feel like they're voyeurs and they're listening to a private conversation that they shouldn't be listening to between two guys. I think that's a more interesting interview. But if it is something where they're really trying to sell something I'd say, "Okay, let's get that out of the way so we can just riff from then on." And I think that makes it a more comfortable interview for everybody and a more unique interview cause you kind of feel like you're getting away with something. You're listening to Alice talk to this guys about this city and that person. If I were listening and didn't know anything about it I love backstage stories. "He did what?" (laughs)

Baltin: Even listening to the Slash one that was true as I was surprised at how open he was with you about the friction in Guns 'N' Roses at the time. I don't think he would have been that open with a journalist.

Cooper: It was so obvious that there was such a tumor going on with Guns 'N' Roses. I took them on their first tour and a band cannot be as good as they are without being best friends. If you starve together, get high together, get arrested together, if somebody died and you cried together, you go through a lot of stuff when you're in a band early on. You really do become brothers. So those guys knowing that I've gone through the exact same thing as they have they can open up cause they know you know what they mean. As a fellow musician I totally get what he's talking about. I've been there. I know exactly what that is.

Baltin: What is one of your great backstage stories?

Cooper: I remember sitting around and listening to a Burt Bacharach album with Pink Floyd in 1968, sitting there going, "Oh man, listen to that. Listen to what he did there." Because of the simplicity of that kind of writing is impossible. It's so hard to write a simple song. Then you look who you've got. You've got Pink Floyd who are writing these musical epics and Alice Cooper writing this insanity. And both of us are sitting there listening to Burt Bacharach going, "Wow." I'd say lyrically and musically nobody was better than the Beatles and Burt Bacharach. They were the best."
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  #1293  
Old 7th April 2020, 06:12 AM
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Available for pre-order
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  #1294  
Old 13th April 2020, 06:38 AM
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Alice, Sheryl, Dash and Nita appeared during the 'Oh Say Can you Stream' charity fundraiser which was put together by Megadeth's Dave Ellefson

The entire thing ran for 9hrs, 26mins, so Good luck with finding them!

















OK - you have twisted my arm!

Nita is featured at 4:36:20 and Alice and Sheryl are at 4:49:10
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  #1295  
Old 14th April 2020, 06:01 AM
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Limited edition, available here - £22.39

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  #1296  
Old 15th April 2020, 06:15 AM
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Alice took part in the 'Stars In The House Jesus Christ Superstar Live!' podcast on April 12th. This was based around the US repeated showing of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

For most of the show he's just there in a little box on the screen, but they do finally get around to talking to him, starting at 38:20

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  #1297  
Old 18th April 2020, 10:45 AM
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To help you get through lockdown

The Vampires full set from Hellfest 2018


Setlist :
1. I Want My Now
2. Raise the Dead
3. I Got a Line on You (Spirit cover)
4. 7 and 7 Is (Love cover)
5. My Dead Drunk Friends
6. Five to One / Break On Through (to the Other Side) (The Doors cover)
7. The Jack (AC/DC cover)
8. Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)
9. Baba O'Riley (The Who cover)
10. As Bad As I Am
11. The Boogieman Surprise
12. I'm Eighteen (Alice Cooper cover)
13. Combination (Aerosmith cover)
14. People Who Died (The Jim Carroll Band cover)
15. Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith cover)
16. Bushwackers
17. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
18. Train Kept A-Rollin' (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
19. School's Out (Alice Cooper cover) (with 'Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2)
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  #1298  
Old 21st April 2020, 06:29 AM
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The Goon Squad, featuring Alice band members Ryan Roxie, Chuck Garric, Tommy Henriksen and Glen Sobel, have recorded a version of The Stooges song 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' as a tribute to New York punk stylist Jimmy Webb who died on April 14th


Webb was best known for his work as a manager/buyer at the punk shop 'Trash & Vaudeville' and as the owner of the rock clothing shop 'I Need More' which was frequented by a long list of music legends including Alice and the band

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  #1299  
Old 25th April 2020, 04:48 PM
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April 25th, 1975 - 45 years ago today, the television special 'Alice Cooper: The Nightmare' was broadcast on the ABC network



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  #1300  
Old 26th April 2020, 06:25 AM
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A number of the postponed US dates have been rescheduled for later in the year:

31st March - Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, ON - Postponed until November 6th
1st April - Memorial Centre, Peterborough, ON - Postponed until November 7th
5th April - Fox Arts Center, Appleton, WI - Postponed until November 11th
8th April - Adler Theatre, Davenport, IA - Postponed to November 14th
10th April - Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND - Postponed until November 18th
11th April - Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, MB - Postponed to November 19th
13th April - Conexus Arts Centre, Regina, SK - Postponed to November 21st
15th April - Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AB - Postponed to November 23rd
16th April - CN Centre, Prince George, BC - Postponed until November 25th
18th April - Abbotsford Centre, Abbotsford, BC - Postponed to November 28th
19th April - S.O. Events Centre, Penticton, BC - Postponed to November 27th
5th June - Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, OK - Postponed until October 30th
6th June - Stormont Vail Events Center, Topeka, KS - Postponed until October 31st
17th June - Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre, PA - Postponed until January 24th 2021

Original tickets for all shows *should* be valid for the new dates

The April 22nd show in Portland is now marked as cancelled on the venue website, which leaves just four shows from the original schedule not either cancelled or having a new date - Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Seattle

There's no firm news on the Hollywood Vampires European shows yet, but the Lowlands Festival in August has been cancelled so that's one show gone!
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