When they first landed on the music scene and began to make headway attracting legions of disenfranchised teenagers around the world, Alice Cooper was the ultimate villain, misfit and nefarious miscreant.
In no time, he was anointed public enemy number one for frightened parents and authority figures everywhere. Bolstered by such seminal albums as Love it to Death, Killer, School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper machine gunned all those standing in their way with a fusillade of consummately crated hard rock classics. The inventor of “Shock Rock,” Cooper’s groundbreaking theatrical vision served as ground zero and inspired such acts as KISS, Motley Crue, Marilyn Manson, GWAR, Rob Zombie and countless others.
With almost 50 years spent in the rock and roll trenches, Alice Cooper continues to cast his wicked spell on generations of rock and roll fans. A terrific new documentary, Super Duper Alice Cooper, captures the rise, fall and ultimate resurrection of one of music’s most unforgettable and enduring artists.
Ladies and gentlemen…Alice Cooper…
Rock Cellar Magazine: Watching Super Duper Alice Cooper, what memories hit you all at once?
Alice Cooper: The best thing about it is when you’re doing a documentary you’re basically only doing interviews. I sat there with the guys for 30 hours telling them stories. I kind of made sure I didn’t see it put together until the Tribeca Festival. When we got to Tribeca I sat down to watch the movie like everybody else.
I’m not one of those people that lives in the past but it was fun to watch. I appreciated the uncomfortable moments probably more than anything else. When it got into the part about the band breaking up, everybody had their own version of what happened and I was sitting watching the documentary with Dennis (Dunaway) and Neal (Smith). We were all squirming in our seats.
I told the filmmakers, “Don’t edit anything that Neal or Dennis says, I want what they really think. I don’t want to whitewash this so only we look good.” We’re still best of friends, all of us are. At the end we were kind of laughing about everything. When the band broke up we never broke up with any malice towards each other. We were never angry; there were no lawsuits. There was nothing like that.
We always remained best friends. So it was a little uncomfortable but at the same time it was refreshing the fact that we got it out in the public. The other thing was the cocaine thing. I never ever admitted to taking cocaine but when it got to that, I said, “It’s part of the story and we can’t ignore it” even though it was a small part of my story – it wasn’t a big part of my story. The alcohol was really the monster.
But it still had to be told any because of the fact that Bernie Taupin was my very best friend and that had a lot to do with Bernie’s story with me.
Rock Cellar Magazine: When did you realize that Alice Cooper was one of the biggest bands in the world?
Alice Cooper: You know we got voted the biggest band in the world after Billion Dollar Babies and School’s Out; those were two number one albums in a row.
We were looking at each other going, “I hope the Beatles and the Stones and the Who and the Yardbirds don’t see this!” because those were the bands to us that were untouchable.
Those were the bands that we looked up to so much. I’d look at the charts and I’d see Billion Dollar Babies at number one and then I’d see (Paul) McCartney at number seven and the Rolling Stones at number 12 and I was embarrassed. I was joyful and going, “Oh yeah, this is great!” but then I went, “This is just ridiculous because, “C’mon, those are the Beatles and the Stones!”
But it took about 10 hits before we started realizing, yeah, we were in the same kind of places that they are but we’re certainly never gonna be what they are.
Rock Cellar Magazine: How did you come up with the “villain” character?
Alice Cooper: It was one of those necessities. Here we had an army of Peter Pans and no Captain Hook. Paul McCartney, hero, Mick Jagger, hero, Pete Townshend, hero, all the heroes.
And I kept going, “Why is there no villain in rock and roll?”
I think the moment I understood the audience in Toronto with the chicken incident, even though I didn’t kill he chicken they wanted somebody that would kill the chicken.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Being that Alice Cooper was public enemy number one among parents, how did that work for the band?
Alice Cooper: We lived on it. First of all, our struggle was always, “We have got to be musically as good as any of these bands we were battling against. We were battling against the Doors and Spirit and Led Zeppelin and the Who, all these great bands. We were trying to get a record in that top 40. And on top of it, in those days you had to be a great live band; you couldn’t fake that.
So if there was a nine hour rehearsal, eight hours was spent on the music. That was out biggest thing, making the cake before we put the icing on it. The icing for us was easy; that was the theatrics. That was the easy part for us. But making sure those songs just rocked like crazy, that was the important part to us.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Bob Ezrin said Alice Cooper held a funhouse mirror up to society, do you agree?
Alice Cooper: I think that we were a really sort of psychedelic Salvador Dali view of America. We didn’t mind a little West Side Story in our songs. We didn’t mind a little violence in the songs and we didn’t mind throwing in a little bit of horror into the thing.
Pages: 1 2