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Susan Foreman 8th March 2021 06:23 AM

New feature in the Detroit Metro Times

"Alice Cooper on the greatest music city in the world — and coexisting with the most dangerous man in rock ’n’ roll

As planned, Alice Cooper looks absolutely insane during a 1973 performance at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas.

He's wearing a thin, tattered, and mostly disgusting white cotton leotard with thigh-high platform leopard-print boots, his signature dead clown eye makeup, and something clipped to his bulge, which is unapologetically displayed with no discernible support from the sagging and frayed one-piece. The performance, a stop on the native Detroiter's massive record-breaking Billion Dollar Babies tour in support of his 1973 eponymous record that, as pointed out by Wikipedia, contains themes of “necrophilia, dental fear, horror, and sexual harassment,” was just one of many, if not most, in which Cooper did whatever the **** he wanted.

During “Raped and Freezin,'” a song Cooper has likened to the Rolling Stones' “Brown Sugar” (though a Rolling Stone magazine review leveled that the song was too “unmelodic” and filled with too many “ridiculously arbitrary tempo changes” to be compared to the Stones; meanwhile, PopMatters called the track “a hilarious and gorgeously catchy” spin on “the whole sexual harassment idea”), Cooper wheels a headless mannequin torso on stage and proceeds to launch a gob of frothy spit down its neck, where its head would go.

As the loogie makes its way down the hunk of plastic, dripping between the set of pewter breasts, Cooper positions himself on his back beneath the torso to retrieve the spit he spat, which he does with an open mouth before gracelessly rolling onto his feet to complete the song's chorus: “Hey, I think I've got a live one! Hey!”

Gross? Sort of, though, to be fair, it was his spit. Sexual? Yes, but in a way that would confuse even the strictest of parents as to why, exactly. Crude? Honestly, not really. Strange? Abso-f*cking-lutely.

“It was really the beginning of when we could afford props,” Cooper tells Metro Times from his home in Phoenix. “Before that, anything we found backstage was a prop. If I could find a mop, I could use it as a girl because it looked like her hair and everything, or I could swing it around and use it as a weapon, or I could ride on it like a witch, or whatever. A bucket or a pillow — anything I can find, we would improvise with on stage. Then when we got into '73, now we could afford to build the gallows and we could afford to build guillotines and things like that,” he says.

“Finally, we could start kind of creating the theater we really wanted to create.”

It may come as some surprise that creation — and not destruction — has been a driving force behind Alice Cooper, the unpredictable and villainous grease paint-wearing “Godfather of Shock Rock” who claims to have not infamously brought the live chicken that was ripped to nuggets by fans during his band's performance at the 1969 Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival festival. Vince Furnier is the earthly vessel for Alice Cooper, who speaks of Alice in the third person and is an avid golfer, husband of Sheryl (whom, after 45 years, he says he still flirts with and, on occasion, will whisk off to a cheap motel), and attends church every Sunday, Bible study every Wednesday, and prays every single day.

“My relationship with Christ is probably more important than anything,” he says.

OK — so Christ may not have gotten a shoutout in the liner note thank yous of Cooper's latest record, Detroit Stories, out now (though Creem magazine, the Shinola Hotel, and Soupy Sales did), but the 15-track record oozes with love of community, love of rock 'n' roll, and love of all things Detroit: the good, the bad, and the Slim Shady. But more on that later.

The record, Cooper's 28th, was recorded pre-pandemic at Al Sutton's Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak, and found Cooper reuniting with producer Bob Ezrin and enlisting an iconic cast of Detroit players, like the MC5's Wayne Kramer, Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner, Johnny “Bee” Badanjek and Steve Hunter of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, guitarist Garret Bielaniec, and jazz/funk bassist Paul Randolph. The record also features original Cooper bandmates Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway, and Michael Bruce.

Cooper says he didn't set out to make a concept record when he began brainstorming the followup to 2017's Paranormal, a record that Consequence of Sound called “a well-intentioned concept, [with] a terribly unfocused conclusion.” But once he did, he decided to make a hard rock album — as if there is any other kind in Cooper's repertoire. (Imagine if he just leaned into the whole god thing and made a Christian rock record? Or what if when you played Love It to Death backwards and it was just, like, Cooper reciting Psalms? Now that's spooky.) Anyway, he knew he had to return to hard rock's holy land and the place where he called home until severe asthma relocated him to Arizona as a pre-teen — and the place he would return to once Alice Cooper was born from the ashes of a high school Beatles parody band.

“There was a time when Detroit was the murder capital. There was a time when Detroit was the drug capital. And everybody keeps forgetting Motown and hard rock came out of Detroit,” Cooper says. “The only reason that we moved back there in the early '70s was because we didn't fit in in L.A., we didn't fit in in San Francisco, we didn't fit in New York. The only place that made sense to us was Detroit.”

He says that it wasn't until performing at the 1969 Saugatuck Pop Festival, an event Cooper and his band were not technically scheduled to play, that he had found his people. The festival hosted performances by Bob Seger, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Arthur Brown, and two bands that made the Alice Cooper band feel like they had finally found their audience: Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5.

“I saw the MC5 and I went, ‘wow, who are these guys?’ And then I saw Iggy and the Stooges, and I went, ‘what the hell?’ I thought that we were the only ones that kind of created our own theater. And then we went on,” Cooper recalls. “And, you know, I mean, we were loud, if not louder than every other band, and we were even more in everybody's face and we projected this kind of villain character. And then they found out it was from Detroit. And I became the missing child.”

And the child? Well, he stuck it out in Detroit to record Love It to Death, one of the coolest ****ing records of all time, and the band's follow-up to a pair of albums released by the late Frank Zappa, who allegedly saw Alice and Co. perform at Lenny Bruce's birthday party in 1967, and offered to sign them to his label after the band cleared the room in under three minutes. One of the Zappa-released records — the band's psychedelic and totally scattered 1969 debut, which, allegedly, not even Zappa understood, and that's saying something — got the true Lester Bangs treatment when the rock critic legend referred to it as a “tragic waste of plastic.”

“I always liked that review,” Cooper says. “To him, it didn't rock, it was too crazy, it was too insane. But later on, you know, when Love it to Death and Killer came out, then he was a big fan, because the albums rocked. I mean, they were really pure rock albums.”

Both Love It to Death and Killer turn the big 5-0 this year, something Cooper said he wasn't aware of until someone told him that Detroit Stories, which was supposed to be released in 2020, would coincide with two major Alice Cooper band anniversaries.

“I would never have known that,” he says. “I mean, I live much more in what's the next record and not what was the one we did 50 years ago. Now, when they told me that it was 50 years, I went, well, what a coincidence.”

Just because Cooper — who at 73, looks better in leather pants, blouses, and black eyeliner than we ever will — lives a zen-ass, in-the-present-moment life, with, you know, big youth pastor energy doesn't mean his mind doesn't often wander to the dark side. The guy is a walking, talking, rock 'n' roll history lesson. (We were going to say “a walking, talking, memoir-waiting to be written,” but Cooper has penned several books already, including Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict. And no, we didn't read them, because, well, golf.) What we're getting at is Detroit Stories is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cooper's own tales from the crypt. Oh, and apparently only 30% of what you hear about the man, the myth, and the legend who never bit the head off of a living thing — that was some other guy — is actually true. Or so he says.

For starters, Jimi Hedrix passed Cooper his first joint, and, pre-sobriety, Cooper would throw back Southern Comfort with Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, all of whom he refers to as his “older siblings.” Then there's the time when the Who's Keith Moon moved in for an unannounced week-long stay with Cooper and his wife after they had just tied the knot. During that time, the newlyweds would come home to Moon dressed as a French maid, or, in one case, clutching to the roof of his wife's car as she drove it, surprising her half-way down Benedict Canyon.

In what Cooper often refers to as “his best story,” the rocker was once invited to meet Elvis Presley and found himself in an elevator at a Hilton hotel with Liza Minnelli, Chubby Checker, and Linda Lovelace.

“You're the cat with the snake, right?” Presley asked before handing Cooper a snub-nosed Smith and Wesson .38 to give an unsolicited tutorial on how to properly remove a gun from someone's hand. The Smith and Wesson lesson ended with Cooper on the ground and the King's boot on his neck.

There was the time, too, in 1973 when Cooper was summoned by the great surrealist Salvador Dali, who demanded to meet with Cooper and his bandmates. When they met at the St. Moritz Hotel, Dali declared Cooper the greatest artist and proceeded to turn Cooper into a moving hologram. No, really — he festooned Cooper in $4 million in diamonds and handed him a sculpture of a brain covered in ants with a chocolate eclair running down the middle, and turned that mother****er into a moving 3-D hologram.

And these historic rock 'n' roll run-ins don't account for everything Cooper did onstage, which, during the course of his career has involved the following: parading around with a live boa constrictor; hanging himself; stabbing baby dolls with swords; wearing a straight-jacket; wearing many a goofy hat; and, perhaps his most iconic stunt, staging his own beheading with a real guillotine. In a 1973 interview, when asked how far he would push his theatrics, a glassy-eyed Cooper, clutching a beer, told the Finnish interviewer that any show could be his last.

“I'm wondering about the day the guillotine doesn't work,” he said. “It has one safety catch. And if it doesn't work, it'll be a great show, but you can only do it once because they'll be pulling my real head out of the box if it doesn't work.”

When pressed as to whether Cooper wants to stage a real death — his or someone else's — during a performance, Cooper says no.

“I hope not,” he says. “I like me too much to die,” he adds, “I don't want to kill somebody. I'll let my snake do that. It's what he's hired for.”

Cooper says, in those days, the days of the Billion Dollar Babies tour (you know, the one that shattered previous tour records set by the Rolling Stones), it was much easier to shock an audience, because, well, there was no internet to numb them, nor was there an accessible way to ruin Cooper's many stage antic surprises.

“People believed everything they heard about Alice Cooper, and we even created some of the rumors and some of the myths around Alice,” he says. “We found that the more that the parents hated us, the more the kids loved us. So, we went way out of our way to do things. And yet — this was the insane thing — there was never any nudity on our stage. There was never any bad language. There was nothing Satanic. There was nothing like that. People created that in their own minds. I read reviews where people would say, ‘and then the snake got loose, and went in the audience,’ and, it was like, I didn't use the snake that night. But people saw that and they wanted it to happen and so they made it happen.”

No amount of blood, baby dolls, fire, snakes, spit, or scandal could diminish what was truly important to the Alice Cooper band, and no, we're not talking about belts (the dude really loves wearing several belts). Of course, we're talking about the music. For instance, John Lennon once told the shock rocker that his all-time favorite song was Cooper's “Elected” from Billion Dollar Babies. Oh, and in a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone, folk god Bob Dylan called Cooper an “overlooked songwriter” not to mention the tales of punk rock pioneers Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious who are said to have busked in London's subways, playing Cooper tunes. The theatrics, though, was a part of the band's DNA, stemming from their high school days and happened, as Cooper says, somewhat organically. The shtick stuck once Coop and Co. realized they were “exciting on stage,” and the stunts, props, and staged executions were inspired by the songs. Much of the tortured imagery that would appear before a Cooper audience was already written about in song form; it was just a matter of bringing the songs to life — or putting them to rest.

“We were not the band that would go up and go 'gee, I hope you like us tonight,'” he says. “We were always the band that grabbed the audience and shook them. But there really was a point where our notoriety was talked about more than our music. But we also knew one thing: If there was an eight-hour rehearsal, seven hours was going to be on the music and one hour would be on theatrics because we were up against Led Zeppelin, Cream, you know, Jimi Hendrix — every band that was so great. And we realized that in order to pull off the theatrics, the license to do that was to make sure that the band could stand up to anybody, could go on any stage and play, and would be considered one of the best bands out there. We spent all of our time on the music.”

Despite the fact that it may actually be more difficult to shock a modern rock audience (though, the world was seemingly very offended by indie rock's Phoebe Bridgers when she attempted to smash a guitar during her debut Saturday Night Live performance last month), Cooper says that doesn't stop him from creating his own brand of demented theater during his sets. In fact, he says his most recent outings are more theatrical now than ever before. But that doesn't include his performances with actor Johnny Depp and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, two players with whom Cooper shares membership in supergroup Hollywood Vampires. Cooper describes Hollywood Vampires, a band that is going on seven years and has much of their third album in the bag, as being “less theatrical, but more of a party,” and makes no mention of inner-band squabbles over scarves, skull baubles, eyeliner, or Patchouli.

“It's like we're the world's most expensive bar band,” he says.

Cooper doesn't hit the bar like he used to. Well, not at all. In fact, he recently landed his face and endorsement to an Arizona-based chocolate milk company, and he's going on nearly 40 years sober. Within that time, Cooper has learned to coexist with his angels, demons, and the character he unknowingly slipped into and has, on some level, willingly maintained for more than 50 years.

“I realized that it was impossible to try to keep that character up, especially in your everyday life,” Cooper says. “And so there was a time when I divorced myself from the character, and just said, look, from now on, we talk about Alice the third person. And when I get on stage, I'll be Alice Cooper. But when I'm off stage, I'm not going to be wearing makeup. I'm not going to be carrying a snake around or anything. That way, I could coexist with Alice much easier.”

And it's not just coexisting with characters that Cooper has mastered — Detroit Stories coexists with a handful of cover tracks. The record finds Cooper adding some grit to the Velvet Underground's “Rock & Roll,” some polish to MC5's “Sister Anne,” honoring the psychedelia of Bob Seger's “East Side Story,” and kept things pretty close to the original when it came to the seemingly sunny yet deceptively dark “Our Love Will Change The World” by Detroit indie rock band Outrageous Cherry.

Then came some tweaks. On “Hanging By A Thread (Don't Give Up)”, Cooper told The Detroit News that the song was originally written about suicide, but was later adjusted to reflect hope amid the coronavirus pandemic, of which both Cooper and his wife Sheryl are survivors of after contracting the virus last year. Then, on “Detroit City 2021,” Cooper reimagines his own 2003 track “Detroit City” to add some major name drops, like Suzi Quatro, Kid Rock, Eminem, and, yes, even Insane Clown Posse. (Which asks the question: why the **** haven't Cooper and ICP collaborated? Oh, wait. They did!)

“Me and Iggy were giggin’ with Ziggy and kickin’ with the MC5/ Ted and Seger were burnin’ with the fever, and Suzi Q was sharp as a knife,” Cooper growls on the track. “The Kid was in his crib, Shady wore a bib, and the Posse wasn't even alive.”

As on the nose as it may seem (OK — it doesn't seem, it just is), Detroit Stories is more than a notch on a celebrated rocker's belt, and is more than a fake blood-soaked love letter to the city, its music history, ingenuity, and, as Cooper says, “lack of sophistication.” The record doesn't dare to break new ground, because it doesn't have to. Hell, Cooper doesn't have to. Sure, he may never crank out another “I'm Eighteen” or “School's Out” or “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” but his formula works as long as the guillotine holds up — in the case of his latest installment, Cooper honors what is, not was, nor what could be. To quote Detroit Stories' penultimate track, Cooper appears to have taken his own advice: “Just shut up and rock.”

“Detroit for a long time was the butt of the joke,” he says. “Detroit was the punchline. And it was always, ‘oh, no, don't take me to Detroit,’ you know, that kind of thing. Whereas now, if you thought like a musician, you can't wait to get to Detroit. I mean, it's that the energy in Detroit musically is the best energy in the country. Detroit is everybody's target city,” he says.

“This is a funny thing about rock and roll, you go on tour, and you're gonna play New York, and you're gonna play Cincinnati, and you're gonna play Nebraska, and all these places. But when a band sees that Detroit is coming up, that's the gig that they better go all out on because that's the rock and roll audience. And they do not stand for a band and go up there and just be soft and cuddly. You know, they want their bands to be in their face,” he says. “There's a certain amount of no BS about Detroit.” "

Susan Foreman 8th March 2021 07:22 PM

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Advert for 'The Nightmare' television special in 1975

Demdike@Cult Labs 8th March 2021 07:31 PM

After listening to Detroit Stories all the day it came out and much of the rest of the weekend too i gave it a rest after that.

Gone back to it this afternoon / evening. Currently on my third run through of. The varied styles of music keep it interesting. In my opinion it's far superior to last record Paranormal.

Susan Foreman 9th March 2021 07:21 AM

'Detroit Stories' album review at 'Rolling Stone' magazine - :star::star::star::halfstar: / out of 5

"Alice Cooper Pays Homage to His Hometown With a Wink on ‘Detroit Stories’. The shock rocker’s love for the Motor City is genuine, but he won’t let that stand between him and a good one-liner

Part of Alice Cooper’s enduring appeal has been the fact that, unlike many of his Seventies FM-radio peers, he always rejected the notion that rock & roll should be Serious Art. “School’s Out” is just a distant cousin of Chuck Berry’s “School Days,” and “I’m Eighteen” is inherently funny since Cooper was 23 when it became a hit, and he hasn’t stopped singing it for the past 50 years. That’s why his great Seventies albums like Love It to Death and Killer were great in the first place. You could be in on the joke (or not) and still feel a genuine connection to the group’s gritty Detroit rock. That spirit of rock & roll abandon still exists in Cooper’s music half a century later, and his inherent showmanship is why people still fill theaters to see his guillotine act. It’s also why his records are still fun to listen to: You never know where he’s headed.

So it’s no surprise that the best songs on Cooper’s 21st solo album, Detroit Stories, are the funniest. “Our Love Will Change the World” is a jaunty cover of an ironic ditty by the Michigan power-pop group Outrageous Cherry, and in Cooper’s hands, it sounds like The Partridge Family on angel dust, complete with finger snaps, as the ever-sarcastic singer describes his dream utopia as a dystopia. “You may not like [the world] now,” he sings with a smirk, “but you’ll get used to it.” “Go Man Go” is a sendup of toxic masculinity set to a Replacements-style “I Don’t Know” guitar riff (cowritten by the MC5’s Wayne Kramer), on which Cooper sings, “[My girlfriend] knows that I’m a man” and then immediately follows that line with, “She knows that I’m a moron, but that’s OK.” And his “Wonderful World” has nothing to do with Louis Armstrong’s trees of green and red roses, too, but rather, “It would be a wonderful world if everyone was like me.”

Then there’s “I Hate You,” on which he and the other surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Band take silly jabs at each other, adding collectively that they hate the late-guitarist Glen Buxton for having the nerve to be dead for the past 24 years. Cooper even swipes at artists who take themselves too seriously on the predictably upbeat rocker, “Shut Up and Rock.” “Don’t want to hear about your politics,” he says at one turn, and at another, “Don’t want to hear about your painful past, I don’t care anyway.” His message, of course, is “Shut up and rock.” (U2’s Larry Mullen, Jr. plays drums on “Shut Up,” perhaps as an ironic act of protest.)

Even the idea that Cooper is paying homage to his hometown in a “Don’t forget the Motor City” way feels like he’s doing it with a black-mascara’d wink. He covers the Velvet Underground’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and changes the radio station in the lyrics from one in New York to Detroit and plays up, in true Cooper fashion, the macabre fantasy lyric about dancing “despite all the amputations.” He shouts out a litany of Detroit rock royalty — Iggy, Nugent, Suzi Quatro — on “Detroit City 2021” and throws in Eminem and Insane Clown Posse for kicks. And he fairly reverently covers the MC5’s “Sister Anne” and Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” just to drive it all home.

Not all of the humor works — “$1,000 High Heel Shoes,” about losing your savings a stripper, and “Drunk and in Love,” about homeless romantics, feel a little tone deaf. And amid all the jokes, the message of Cooper’s one totally serious song, “Hanging On by a Thread (Don’t Give Up),” about suicide prevention, feels hidden late in the record.

But largely, Cooper and longtime producer Bob Ezrin know what they can get away with on an Alice Cooper record, and when they hit their stride, it’s a lot of fun. Figuring out how to do that seems like an artform unto itself."

Susan Foreman 9th March 2021 03:43 PM

March 9th, 1971 - 50 years ago today, The Alice Cooper Group release the 'Love it To Death' album

After the release of two albums in 'Pretties For You' and 'Easy Action', this is where Alice Cooper really begins. Gone were the bands attempts to be psychedelic. Now they are more polished, and the songs are 100% hard-rock. Much of the thanks to that direction has to be laid at the feet of producer Bob Ezrin.

It's noticeable that they don't really do anything too unique here! The song production consists of the usual orchestration - no sweeping synth-passages (as used by The Who) or mellotrons (as used by Zeppelin). This is very much a hard rock album. But that doesn't do it justice, because there is a lot of theatrical material on here. Clocking in at over 9 minutes, 'Black Juju' is the longest song the band have ever recorded, and 'The Ballad of Dwight Fry' is still a mainstay of the live set today

'Love It To Death' gave the band their first hit single in the teenage rebellion song 'I'm Eighteen' (backed with 'Is It My Body') which was America's answer to 'My Generation'. The follow up single was another hard rock classic 'Caught In A Dream' (backed with 'Hallowed Be Thy Name')

'Second Coming' is a piano-led ballad which turns into a guitar song, 'Long Way To Go' is a delicious, bouncy slab of glam rock and even the cover of 'Sun Arise' is acceptable!

The greatest aspect of the album is its diversity. No two songs sound alike! Furthermore, there isn't a moment in here that sounds like a misfire. Pretty much every song on offer deserves an 8.0 or above and the album is filled with catchy melodies

'Love It TO Death' is the first in a line of classic albums released by the original band, and something that every fan of classic hard rock should own

Susan Foreman 10th March 2021 06:23 AM

11 Questions With Alice Cooper / AV Club

"You have to be some sort of superhero or vampire to survive in the world of rock ’n’ roll for 50 years, and living legend Alice Cooper is one of the few who fits that particular bill. The horror-rock icon—likely the only person who’s in both the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and The Friars Club—has just released his 21st solo record, Detroit Stories, on which he pays homage to his hometown. Cooper reunites with old friends like producer Bob Ezrin and fellow Detroit music legends MC5’s Wayne Kramer, The Detroit Wheels’ Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, and the Motor City Horns on inspired covers like Lou Reed’s “Rock ’N’ Roll” and new bangers like “Social Debris” that prove that his vocals are as scathing as ever.

It’s been a long road, to say the least, for Cooper (née Vincent Damon Furnier), who drafted his cross-country teammates back in high school to create the ensemble that would eventually become the Alice Cooper Band (as we found out, it was his first and last job). The band hit it big in 1971 with the teen angst anthem “I’m Eighteen,” but soon, Cooper spun off into a solo career, keeping the band’s name for himself to create the 1975 concept album Welcome To My Nightmare, which helped establish his iconic demonic musical persona. The rest is shock rock history. Alice Cooper has not only toured almost incessantly since, but has appeared everywhere from The Hollywood Squares to Wayne’s World to a recent turn as Herod in the 2018 live production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

With a new record out, Cooper would usually be on the road in one of his gruesome stage shows, heavy on the blood-curdling theatrics. But like the rest of us, he’s stuck inside, at his home in Arizona. “Every band that I know of, we’re like racehorses at the starting gate. We’re not used to having a year off. It’s just weird that coming back and getting into the rhythm of being at home for a year was very different.”

This is also a big month for Cooper because The Muppet Show finally dropped on Disney+, and many (including The A.V. Club) have pointed to Cooper’s episode as one of the Muppet Show’s best ever. To this day, he calls it “the most fun thing I ever did in my life. When I was offered The Muppet Show, it was the number one show in the world. And at the time, I kind of established myself as being rock’s villain.” Parts of Cooper’s episode were so disturbing that they reportedly weren’t aired in some countries: “Well, you know, they wrote the show. I didn’t write the show. It was really funny, this kind of Faust thing. I tried to get Kermit to sell his soul to be a rock star. It was a perfect thing to do in the Halloween show, you know?”

We were excited to have Alice Cooper answer our 11 Questions, in which we learned that he was among the first people ever to taste Fritos, he’s taken up tap-dancing during the pandemic, and he has an amazing collection of celebrity stories that the rest of us mere mortals can only dream about. To say we’re not worthy is a massive understatement.

1. What is the best trip or outing you remember as a kid and what made it great?

Alice Cooper: Well, I went to Disneyland when I was 10 years old. All we ever heard when we lived in Detroit was Disneyland was like heaven. And this is 1958 now, and you never, ever thought you’d ever actually get to Disneyland. My sister and I were just kind of going, “Oh, maybe when we’re older, when we’re 20, we might be able to get there.” So then we moved from Detroit to California and got to go to Disneyland. And it was one of the things as a 10-year-old is the greatest thing in the world, only because you’d watch [Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color] every Sunday. All the characters were there.

And it was the very first day that they were introducing Fritos. It was the first time anybody ever tasted Fritos and being from Detroit, we never ate Mexican food ever, you know. So I tried Fritos for the first time, and it was the greatest taste I’ve tasted in my life.

I do remember trying to go on every ride, and you just couldn’t possibly go on every ride. But we were there from the moment it opened till the last second when it closed, and it was the greatest time.

2. What’s something that’s considered a basic part of your current career that you struggled to learn?

AC: Well, I’ll tell you, there was a lot of time when I was drinking that I didn’t spend a lot of time really singing. I didn’t concentrate on the singing because I was doing so much theatrics up there that the singing was sort of secondary to me.

When I got sober, like 38 years ago, all of a sudden I started concentrating more on the vocals, on the singing. And it really, really was a whole different thing. I would rather hit the notes, and then do the theatrics. So I learned how to sing, and then when I wasn’t singing, do the theatrics. That was the thing that I really had to learn. And then the singing got better and better and better to the point where I was very confident about my singing.

AVC: And you still sound incredible.

AC: Well, I never smoked, and I quit drinking 38 years ago, and it’s just one of those things where I think you get rewarded for that. Most of the guys my age that are still touring can do maybe two shows a week. I’m doing, like, five. But I think that’s just because of the fact that I haven’t diminished that lung capacity. When I get in the studio, I seem to sound the same way as I did in 1972. So I’m happy with that.

3. Did you pick up any new skills, hobbies, or get into something you hadn’t before during quarantine?

AC: Yes, and it’s something that’s so bizarre. My wife is a professional dancer. She was with Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street. Both of my daughters are professional dancers, and one’s a comedian and one’s an actress and the whole thing. So they could all dance. I wanted to learn to tap-dance. I mean, I saw Fred Astaire movies and I went, “I want to be able to do that.”

Now, it’ll never, ever show up in my show. But it’s just so random to learn to tap-dance, to learn how to do a soft shoe. And it kind of took me back to watching these old ’30s movies. Everybody could tap-dance. Everybody! John Wayne could tap-dance, you know? And I said, “Well, then, Alice Cooper should know how to tap-dance.”

AVC: But if you did put it in your show, that would be amazing.

AC: It might be a strange little moment in the show, yeah. [Laughs.] But I would really have to find a way to squeeze that one in.

AVC: Is there a particular song, like an old Fred Astaire song, that you like to dance to, or it’s just whatever you’re working on?

AC: You know, any song with a 4/4 beat, you could tap-dance to that easily. So really any rock song, you could do it to. But I think that if I did do it, it would be in some comedic moment in the show. And I’d have to find just the exact right song for that.

4. What restaurant do you not live near, but make a point to hit every time you’re in the right town?

AC: White Castles. I grew up on White Castle hamburgers in Detroit, and so if I’m in a town, any town, and I see a White Castle when we’re on tour, that bus is stopping. Because I still am addicted to White Castle hamburgers, cheeseburgers. You’ve had ’em, right?

AVC: Yeah, I’m from Chicago, so I feel the same way.

AC: So you’ve had them, and I mean, you don’t live on them, but every once in a while you go, “Oh, man, I’d kill for a White Castle hamburger right now.” So White Castle hamburgers gets at least one lunch during the tour.

AVC: What’s your limit? What’s the most you’ve ever eaten?

AC: When I was a kid, they used to be 12 for a dollar. My dad used to bring them back, and they were 12 for a dollar. And I can’t remember how many we ate. But I was never a big kid. I was always a skinny kid, you know, so I could probably get through four, maybe five if I really pushed it. They’re like potato chips: You can’t just eat one.

5. What futuristic technology that doesn’t exist now would you like to have?

AC: I would like to have a machine that when I go to China and I’m sitting watching Star Trek in China, that the machine translates to English. In other words, you plug it into any TV and whatever this thing is in Chinese, you’re hearing an English translator. And I think that whoever invents that is going to be the greatest inventor of all time. Because I spend a lot of time in Europe, in Germany and France, and I’m sitting there in a hotel room and I’m trying to understand what they’re saying. So I’ll just plug that one little machine in, and I’m hearing everything in English.

6. What famous person that you’ve met has lived up to or exceeded your impression of them?

AC: I can name two or three of them. Salvador Dalí, Groucho Marx. Sinatra, Elvis—they all lived up to what I wanted them to be. You know the old saying, never meet your heroes? I met all of my heroes, and I was never disappointed in any of them.

AVC: Salvador Dalí was a big fan of your live show, right?

AC: He loved the show because he thought it was surrealistic. And he probably gave himself a lot of credit saying, “Well, you guys were art students and you kind of got all this from me.” And then Groucho saw the show, and Groucho says, “No, this is vaudeville, and he got all this from me.” So everybody saw the show in a different way. Vincent Price just said, “Oh, this is great. It’s comedy and horror together. That’s what I do.” And they were all right. Maybe all of them had the right to say that because we probably did borrow some stuff from all those guys.

AVC: How did you meet Frank Sinatra?

AC: Well, I was the only rock ’n’ roller in The Friars Club. I mean, it was Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, every comedian you could imagine, and me. I had this long black hair down the back in the early ’70s, and somehow Groucho got me into The Friars Club. They kind of looked at me as comedy, I guess, more than rock ’n’ roll. And so I would sit next to Sinatra and talk music and everything like that. And he was very cool. I mean, he was never arrogant. He was Sinatra and a very, very, very cool guy. He used to call me Coop. He says [Adopts Frank Sinatra voice.], “So, I can’t call you Alice. Gary Cooper was a friend of mine. I called him the Coop. So you’re the Coop now.”

7. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

AC: I have never had any job except rock ’n’ roll, honestly. When I was 15, the very first job I ever had was with rock ’n’ roll, a singer in a band. And I’ve never, ever had any other job other than that. Really, the only time I ever got paid was to sing. And before that, I was just in school and track and cross-country and everything like that. And then it became the band practice, after that. And there was really no time to do anything but that. I can tell you what job I would not want more than any other job in the world—that would be president of the United States.

AVC: And yet, you ran.

AC: Well, yeah, satirically. And I told everybody, I said, “If you vote for me and I won, the whole country should be impeached.”

8. What fictional family would you like to belong to?

AC: Well, I think The Addams Family might have been fun, or maybe The Munsters. I would have fit right in there. So I would go with The Addams Family. I think I’m more of an Addams Family than a Munster.

AVC: You could have been Uncle Alice.

AC: Yeah. Or that thing that lives in the cellar.

9. What’s the first piece of art, or earliest piece of media, that inspired you to go into your field?

AC: That one’s easy. I was a mimic. When I was a little kid, I was sort of a show-off kid, and I could imitate everybody. So I saw Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show when I was 7. And I immediately went back in my room and got in front of the mirror and started imitating him and combing my hair like him.

That didn’t necessarily make me want to be a musician. But what really made me want to be a musician was the first time I heard The Beatles. I heard The Beatles on the radio. And I went, “Oh, what was that? I mean, that was really good, whatever that was.” And I had never seen them, never saw The Beatle haircuts or anything. I just heard the music, and I heard three songs in one day, and I went, “Who are these guys?” And as soon as I saw them and I saw the reaction and everything, I went, “Oh, I think I found what I want to do.”

AVC: You said you actually met Elvis later.

AC: Yeah, I got to meet Elvis in Las Vegas. I guess four people a night would go up and meet him. And it was me, Liza Minnelli, Chubby Checker, and Linda Lovelace. So you can imagine that three of us left that night, and one person stayed. Now, I don’t know what Elvis and Chubby Checker did all night…

Elvis was so cool. When he walked into the room… This was not fat Elvis. This was not stupid Elvis. This was Elvis Presley in his prime. And he was the room, you know what I mean? He walked in, and he just had so much charisma. [Adopts Elvis Presley voice.] “Hey, man, you’re the kid with the snake, right? That’s cool. I dig that makeup and all that stuff you guys do. That’s really cool stuff.” And I immediately got along with this guy. He was one of the guys, and he had no problem making fun of himself. Really, I could hang out with Elvis all day. He was one of those guys that… it was just who he was, you know? I mean, you didn’t feel like you had to be anybody in front of him. You didn’t have to put on any airs. He was just a Southern boy. He was Elvis.

AVC: But it’s interesting that he inspired you, because you created your own unforgettable persona. You didn’t go out and just play rock music. You created this whole art experience, basically.

AC: When my mom and my parents saw The Beatles… my parents were very musical. They loved music. And they kind of went, “Okay, The Beatles are okay.” And then they saw The Rolling Stones. Now The Rolling Stones did not wear suits. They were kind of gruffy, and they were kind of nasty. And Mick Jagger looked like he was just spazzing out onstage. And my parents kind of looked at that and went, “Uhhhhhh.” And when I hit that point, I said, “I’m going to make these guys look like choirboys.”

10. Who is the funniest person you know personally?

AC: I would say Peter Sellers was one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He was just witty. When we do shows in London, he would always come to every show, and he was just like a little kid. You could just see the mischief in his face. Then every once in a while, he would just turn into Clouseau, at the most unexpected moments. You’d be having dinner, and all of a sudden he’d go [Adopts Inspector Clouseau voice.] “Ah! Helloo?” And all of a sudden, you’re talking to Clouseau. And Clouseau, you know, would pull the tablecloth off the table to see if he can. It’s one of those things where he was just fairly out of control. But at the same time, he was Peter Sellers.

11. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?

AVC: This is probably going to have an interesting answer, like bat wing or chicken blood or something.

AC: I would probably have to say—I’m a pretty big pastrami guy. Hot pastrami and on some kind of dark bread—that would probably be the Alice Cooper. Unless they made a rattlesnake sandwich, you know? And in Arizona, people eat rattlesnake. So I would say a rattlesnake hoagie would be good.

AVC: Have you tried it yourself? You’re such a big fan.

AC: Well, rattlesnake meat is very white. It’s almost like a chicken breast, but it’s very, very white and very tender, actually. Very sweet. But it’s expensive. It’s $20 an ounce. We have this thing here in Arizona where they make snake and eggs, and it’s rattlesnake meat with chorizo, scrambled eggs, a Spanish Mexican dish. And honestly, if you didn’t know what you were eating, you’d go, “This is unbelievable. It’s so good.”

AVC: It’s so interesting that you were born in Detroit and then your family moved out West, eventually to Arizona, but then you made it big again in Detroit. But now you’re back in Arizona, like you’re drawn to these two really disparate parts of the country. What made you go back to Arizona?

AC: Well, Arizona is a giant resort. I lived in Hollywood, in Beverly Hills, for eight years, and that was great. It was the right time to be in Beverly Hills. I lived in Chicago. I lived in New York. When we were in the band, we lived in a lot of different places. I almost lived in London because we spent so much time there.

But Phoenix… It always felt like you’d be landing in Phoenix, and you felt like you were on vacation. It was always warm, and it was always really nice out, and while everybody else was in a blizzard, we’d be having a barbecue. I always said I never really want to be cold again. I’m tired of being cold. And I never get tired of Phoenix because you wake up every morning and it’s nice."

Susan Foreman 10th March 2021 07:27 PM

New interview in The Sun

"Alice Cooper on the prophetic School’s Out and his new album Detroit Stories

HE was born Vincent Furnier but the world knows and loves him as Alice Cooper.

“The only person who calls me Vince is Keith Richards,” admits the American shock rock icon.

“He’ll say, ‘Vinnie, Vinnie, how long has it been since you had a drink?’

“And I’ll reply, ‘More than 30 years’. And he goes, ‘Ah, begs the question, why???’ ”

There was a time, however, when Alice was a match for the Rolling Stones rogue when it came to hellraising.

Let’s go back to one Christmas Eve in the early Seventies when rabble-rousing anthems like School’s Out and Elected were delivering teenage kicks years before the punk explosion.

Alice and his band of renegades were playing cavernous Madison Square Garden in New York City.

It may have been bitterly cold outside but the heat was rising inside one of America’s most hallowed music venues.

“At the end of the show, Santa Claus came on stage and took a big bow,” remembers the frontman who still wears trademark ghoulish black eye make-up.

“So we just beat the hell out of him.” As you did in those days . . .  except that all the local newspapers had a giant sense of humour bypass.
“They said, ‘How dare Alice beat up Santa!’ but of course, we were laughing all the way,” continues the 73-year-old, speaking to SFTW from his home in Phoenix, Arizona.

This tale of rock ’n’ roll mayhem helps explain why Alice needed a drastic change of location before he hit the big time.

It also sets the scene for his total blast of a new album, Detroit Stories, arriving precisely 50 years after breakthrough third LP, Love It To Death.

But before more talk of that, we must return to the rock history lesson.

After forming in Phoenix, the Alice Cooper band relocated to Los Angeles and sought fame and fortune on the West Coast.

But this was the late Sixties, the hippie era of flower power, the Summer Of Love and people in kaftans going: “Far out, man!”

Alice says: “Los Angeles was just a great big love-in and everybody was on LSD except us. We were the only ones drinking beer.

“The Doors ruled the roost along with bands like Buffalo Springfield and everybody was grooving. We were NOT like that.

“We didn’t mind a little violence — we were closer to Clockwork Orange than hippies and we scared a lot of people,” adds the provocateur who used to simulate his own beheading or electrocution on stage.

“The music itself was louder than anybody’s, really in your face, and we didn’t fit in — even if our best friends were The Doors.

“San Francisco didn’t like us either because they were grooving in a whole different way to the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.”

So Alice made a vow which involved “moving to the first place that gave us a standing ovation”.

As chance would have it, that place proved to be gritty, down-to-earth Detroit, the Mid-West city where he was born in 1948.

He says: “If the West Coast was very sophisticated, all glitzy and glam, Detroit was where they made cars and everybody worked at the factory. Very blue collar.

“I remember a happy childhood there, all about playing baseball and football, watching The Ed Sullivan Show on television and seeing Elvis Presley.

“I never noticed racial problems. We played with the black kids, the Jewish kids and the Italians and there was never any talk of what race we all were.”

By the late Sixties, the city of Motown soul was exploding with a different kind of music — raw, visceral proto-punk.

Alice says: “I had never heard of Iggy And The Stooges or The MC5 or Bob Seger or Suzi Quatro — all local acts.

“Iggy was like a miniature Mick Jagger, a contortionist who wore very little on stage. Nobody was called punk at the time but Iggy was the original punk.”
Alice recalls his first show in Detroit, at a festival: “We got up on stage and did what we did.

We were louder than the previous two bands and maybe more forceful.

“When they found out I was from Detroit, we became the long- lost sons. We felt comfortable there because all the bands were aggressive.

“You had to bring it every night. You couldn’t just go up there and say, ‘Gee, I hope they like us tonight’. They’d just kill you if you did that.

“That audience wanted hard rock and they wanted their bands to have attitude, and that’s exactly what we had.”

Crucial to their progress was young producer Bob Ezrin, who helmed the third Alice Cooper band album Love It To Death, with its hit single I’m Eighteen.

“Bob did for us what George Martin did with The Beatles,” says Alice.

“He gave us an identity. He said, ‘When you hear The Doors, you know it is The Doors, same with the Rolling Stones, same with The Yardbirds’.

“When Love It To Death came out, people went, ‘Oh, Alice Cooper’.”

Fast forward half a century and Ezrin, also known for work with Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and Kiss, remains the go-to producer.

He joins Alice for Detroit Stories, a wildly entertaining tribute to the city and its hard-rocking heritage.

It begins with a rocket-fuelled reboot of The Velvet Underground’s Rock & Roll, only this time, “one fine morning”, Jenny “puts on a Detroit radio station” — instead of a New York one.

Cue another telling Alice insight: “I knew Lou at the Chelsea Hotel in the late Sixties, early Seventies. Back then, you couldn’t really talk to him . . . he was so out there. Rock & Roll was heroin chic, cool but sung in a monotone, so I said, ‘What if we bring it to Detroit and put a V8 engine in it?’

“We got (guitarists) Joe Bonamassa and Steve Hunter with Johnny “Bee” (The Rockets) on drums and we turned it into a rock monster.”

Alice recalls bumping into Reed not long before he passed away in 2013. “Lou says to me, ‘Hey Alice, I think of you pushing the ball to the right a little bit’.”

He laughs at the thought of their shared passion for golf, adding that “Iggy plays and Bob Dylan plays”. (Not exactly the obvious pastime of a rock god.)

The new album’s pivotal track is Detroit City 2021, with a guest appearance from Wayne Kramer, guitarist in the MC5, whose signature song was the scene’s defining anthem, Kick Out The Jams.

Alice says: “The MC5 and The Stooges were brothers to us. We were local bands trying to make it big and we were all surviving.

“We had our own houses and we partied the whole time. I think we were the first to actually have a hit, with I’m Eighteen, and that’s what took us out of Detroit, because we toured constantly after that.”

Detroit City 2021 gives a shout-out to another native, Suzi Quatro, who became a big star in the UK with hit singles Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive.

“We did lots of shows with Suzi opening for us,” remembers Alice. “Her original band included her sisters and was called The Pleasure Seekers.

“You’d have thought all these beautiful girls were nymphettes, but no, they were hard rock and Suzi was the catalyst.
“And she’s never stopped hard rocking. I know Suzi really well and if anybody belongs in the Hall Of Fame, she does.

“She was pre-Joan Jett and she has never let down her hard rock guard. I still talk to Suzi all the time.”

Next Alice talks about another Detroit Stories track, Hanging On By A Thread (Don’t Give Up), his life-affirming reflection on the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Instead of us all being victims, my idea was to punch the bully on the nose,” he says.

“Let’s call out this virus and say, ‘Look, you’re only going to be around for a short time, we’re going to be here for ever, we’re the human race and we’ll find a way to destroy you!’ ”

That said, Alice and wife Sheryl both had Covid over Christmas. “Though not hospitalised, I felt exhausted all the time. It’s not a fun thing to get,” he reports.

With his live show on hold, he adds: “Nobody expected us to have a year off touring. I might spend two thirds of the year on the road, 17 countries, 190 shows, that type of thing.

“My wife is in the show, playing all the characters, so we’ve had to learn how to be at home again. It’s been weird.”

With millions of children stuck at home in lockdown, I can’t resist mentioning the immortal School’s Out. “I didn’t mean that song to be prophetic at the time!” Alice quips.

As you can tell, he is a funny, and articulate guy and I’m keen to understand the difference between the man and the stage act.

“There was a long time when I couldn’t separate the two,” he says. “When I was drinking and drugging, I didn’t know if I was supposed to leave the house with make-up on.

“I felt I was going to disappoint people if I walked out without a snake around my neck.

“When I got sober, I went, ‘OK, I have to co-exist with this guy’. I mean, Alice is my favourite rock star but he stays on stage and I go back up to my normal life.

“That’s why I can speak about Alice in the third person. Somebody will bring in a costume and I’ll go, ‘No, Alice would never wear that!’

“It’s actually a very organised schizophrenia.”

One thing’s for sure, he retains the youthful energy of rock stars less than half his age.

“I don’t know what age Alice is. He could be 18, he could be 23, he could be 30,” he muses.

“I’m in really good shape because I’ve never smoked and I quit drinking 38 years ago. I can do five shows a week whereas guys my age can generally do just two.”

He takes inspiration for carrying on from the indefatigable Mick Jagger, “the prototype, the Energizer bunny who just goes on for ever. We all look up to Mick and we’ve all taken a little bit from him.

“And I’ve never lost my love for rock and roll. I do it with real enthusiasm. I never mail it in.”

Well, Alice, we’re missing you and we hope you’ll be rocking the UK again soon, pandemic permitting of course.

“I cannot wait to get back to London,” he affirms. “The first thing I do when I arrive in England is get The Sun, I swear, because I’ve got to see who’s in trouble.

“It’s my kind of newspaper!”


Susan Foreman 13th March 2021 06:54 PM

A Paranormal Evening At The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on August 13, 2017

Unfortunately, the guillotine mis-functions at 54:55!

Susan Foreman 18th March 2021 02:49 PM

Fan Q&A interview at Metal Hammer

"Alice Cooper: “David Bowie saw my show and said, ‘This is what we should be doing’”

You ask the questions. The Godfather Of Shock answers them…

For the busiest man in rock, the past year has been a testing time. Forced to stay at home away from the touring cycles he’s spent 50 years in, Alice Cooper has used COVID quarantine to craft his new album, Detroit Stories, a love letter to his hometown and its musical history. While the world waits for the next chapter in his catalogue, we challenged you to ask the Godfather Of Shock Rock the best questions you could conjure up. You didn’t disappoint, and naturally, neither did he.

Do you remember the first time an artist shocked you, and did it have any impact on the route you took? - Rich Hobson (Facebook)

“I was seven when I first saw Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show and we were so used to doo-wop music when I was a kid, all of a sudden we didn’t know if Elvis was the hero or the villain, but I knew my parents liked him. The second time was when we saw the Beatles – we all went, ‘Wow look at that hair, look at the boots, look at the suits! These songs are the best songs I’ve ever heard!’ Then the Rolling Stones came and I got the reaction from my parents that these guys were scruffy, they could be drug addicts – that appealed to me. I looked at them and thought, ‘If I ever get a band together, I’m gonna make these guys look like choirboys!’”

Nobody Likes Me and Science Fiction – where the hell do those songs come from and what happened to them? What’s the story? - Petromax Skavholm (Facebook)

“Those songs were so vaudeville, we did Nobody Likes Me with a door with Alice sitting behind it and the band singing back to me. The first time Bob Ezrin saw that, we were playing that at Max’s Kansas City in New York City and he was sent to get rid of us, he was not supposed to sign us at all. He saw that song and all the theatrics we were doing, even though we didn’t have the money to do any big theatrics, but that’s when he signed us. He said, ‘I’ve visited the future, you guys are the future.’ As for Science Fiction, back in the early days we were really good friends with Pink Floyd, we lived together in Los Angeles for a while when they ran out of money. Syd Barrett and Glen Buxton used to sit in a room with two echoplex pedals and play things back and forth to each other. So our kind of jams around that time were really psychedelic; we would just take off on a theme, and Science Fiction was a psychedelic jam.”

Did you feel you were walking a tightrope in the 70s as the ‘Shock Rock King’ while having massive Top 40 radio success with tender ballads like I Never Cry, Only Women Bleed and You And Me? - Jo Fleischer (Facebook)

“The funny thing was that we wrote those songs because somebody said in an article that we were a one-trick pony, that we could do what we do but that’s as far as it went. [Producer/keyboardist] Bob Ezrin, [guitarist] Dick Wagner and I sat down and wrote Only Women Bleed, they took it to the record company and the company thought it was [US singer-songwriter] James Taylor! So I wrote one of those heartbreaking ballads on every album… It was so opposite of Alice that it worked.”

Why was it important to you to pay homage to the city of Detroit for your new album? - Freddie Baker (email)

“I was born there and Detroit is the home of hard rock. Los Angeles had the Doors, San Francisco had the Grateful Dead, New York had the Young Rascals, Detroit had the Stooges, the MC5, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, the list goes on. All the bands that came out of Detroit were guitar-driven hard rock bands, more Chuck Berry’s rock’n’roll. I’m proud to be from Detroit because that’s the kind of music I’ve played all my life, so even though Detroit is the butt of the joke sometimes, when people say where you’re from, I say I’m from Detroit and I’m proud of that! We used to play a line-up every weekend of Iggy and the Stooges, the MC5, Alice Cooper and The Who – how cool is that? That was a normal weekend to us!”

What three songs define the Alice Cooper experience? - Joel Anthony (Facebook)

“You have to put School’s Out in there, then I think The Ballad Of Dwight Fry is what I would call the calling card for theatrics in a song. If you ask Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, Tim Burton or the Foo Fighters, every single one of them say their favourite song is Dwight Fry. For a commercial audience, Poison is one of the most important songs because it proved we could do all three of those kinds of music.”

You seem to have been mentoring a few younger metal musicians. Your help and advice especially around substance abuse was mentioned a few times in books published in recent years. Did you see this role of ‘Godfather Of Metal’ coming? - Marco LG (Facebook)

“It was just one of those things I went through myself. I went through alcohol and cocaine and when I came out the other end, the Lord brought me through it because he knew I had a lot more things to do. I look back at that time and wonder how I got anything done, we were on a schedule but at the same time we were almost living in a false world. I can’t say the songs weren’t good but I don’t remember writing or touring them, but I somehow came out the other side without dying. At that point I thought, ‘I probably would’ve had more hits if I hadn’t been drinking or taking drugs.’ For young bands that think this is all going to be fun and games when you’re 19-21 because you’re indestructible, if you want to stick around you’ve gotta stay away from what destroys you. Look at the 27 club: those were all my friends, my big brothers and sisters, and I watched them all burn out.”

Got any good make-up tips? - Sabrina Thomas (email)

“The spray for base make-up works a lot better than just slapping it on. I’ve always found greasepaint is good because every night I put it on and I have to take it off, greasepaint comes off really easily. When you’re using my kind of make-up, it’s a chore getting it on and off but greasepaint comes right off. Sometimes when we’re playing really hot gigs outside, the paint starts dripping and melting and it creates a whole different look. By the end of the show, you don’t look anything like you did at the beginning and sometimes it turns out pretty cool!”

Do you think rock music has the capacity to ‘shock’ any more? If not, why not? - James Fox (email)

“I think audiences are shockproof now. I came out at the perfect time to shock the audience because they weren’t ready for a band of guys with hair down to their waists, wearing make-up and not minding a little bit of real blood on stage. We would do the West Side Story thing and we had real switchblades, we’d get cut. The audiences were just not ready for that, but we weren’t Satanic at all; we just made ourselves so surrealistic that nobody could categorise us. Musically we were a good hard rock band but visually we confused and shocked everybody, so the more that would shock people, the more we did.”

You said that you don’t remember the making of albums like DaDa and Special Forces. Ever thought to play them again live? - Matteo Gilardelli (Facebook)

“Oh yeah, I’m not against the songs but those were not songs that Ezrin had anything to do with. If Ezrin had done those, they would’ve been little masterpieces. DaDa is the creepiest, weirdest little album and Ezrin plugged right into how creepy we were at that point. Flush The Fashion was with Roy Thomas Baker, that was a weird little album too, like Zipper Catches Skin. In fact I still might go back and produce those songs with Bob because they’re good but they weren’t produced well; songs like Zorro’s Ascent need to be blown up into better songs.”

Did you ever cross paths with your theatrical comrade, David Bowie? - Debbie Long (email)

“David used to come to the show when he was a mime artist, he was Davy Jones back then. I remember at one of our Welcome To My Nightmare shows, he brought his band the Spiders From Mars and he was saying, ‘This is what we should be doing.’ But he never did it the way we did it. When we started doing theatrics and still had hit records, that opened up a huge door for Bowie, Lou Reed and Velvet Underground because you could be theatrical and commercial at the same time. I wanted there to be an artistic movement, I created Alice as a villain and Bowie created all of his characters to fit who he wanted to be, so I never really saw him as competition, I encouraged him. Bowie and I talked all the time, we’d compliment each other. There was a whole thing about Bowie and Lou Reed talking about my androgynous thing being fake and they were right, of course, it’s fake. It’s a dark vaudeville show and I play a character. Lou and David knew me and knew I couldn’t be more down-the-middle American but I just happened to tap into this character and the image – I knew how to make that character scary, sexy, revolting and funny at the same time!”"

Susan Foreman 22nd March 2021 12:56 PM

"Hollywood Vampires have cancelled their summer 2021 UK and European tour due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19.

Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and Planet Rock’s very own Alice Cooper were originally set to play concerts in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and London in September 2020 but pushed them back to August 2021 last year.

Sadly, the trio have now confirmed that these rearranged dates won’t happen.

In a statement, Hollywood Vampires said: “We are beyond disappointed to announce that the Hollywood Vampires must cancel our rescheduled UK/European tour this Summer.

“We kept trying to make it happen, but unfortunately due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 travel restrictions, it is just not possible.

“Full refunds will be monored through your original point of purchase. Thank you for understanding, and we WILL be back rocking with you once the world returns to normal!”"

Birmingham Utilita Arena – Thu 5th – CANCELLED
Leeds First Direct Arena – Fri 6th – CANCELLED
Glasgow The SSE Hydro – Sat 7th – CANCELLED
London The O2 – Mon 9th – CANCELLED

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