Interview with Alice Cooper, as we discuss touring, new music, Elected, Vikings and more!

Photo Credit: Ross Halfin
Photo Credit: Ross Halfin

Alice Cooper, the iconic pioneer of shock rock, has been entertaining and shocking audiences for over 40 years and there is no slowing down in sight. This year he has successfully balanced two tours, one with his Alice Cooper band and the other his super group, the Hollywood Vampires  featuring Johnny Depp and Joe Perry. This Friday Alice will be performing with Hollywood Vampires at the Weill Hall Green Music Center in Rohnert Park. The show which includes a strong set of pure hard rock, paying tribute to their musical influences, their big brothers, their “dead drunk friends” as Alice comments. It is a show that continues to garner them high praise for the infectious energy that they bring to the stage as well as appealing to rockers of all ages, from young kids to seasoned rockers.

We had the chance to chat with Alice as he prepared for his show and makes his way out to the West Coast. We are pleased to share with you our interview:

We have uploaded a Soundcloud, if you prefer the audio:

* * * * * * 

MJP: We are excited for your show with the Hollywood Vampire this Friday in Rohnert Park. We have to tell you that we have been hearing such great reviews about your shows. You are now coming down to the last four shows of this Hollywood Vampires tour.

Alice: Yeah, it is. We started in Europe. In fact, we played in Transylvania. Yeah, we all went to the castle, the real Dracula castle and had dinner. It’s really interesting because it is a 13th century castle and it is a place that you would not want to be alone in at night.

MJP: Definitely, the place that movies are made of and always about.

Alice: It lives up to it’s reputation. Let’s put it that way.

MJP: I love that. We have to tell you about all the great things we have been hearing about your shows. The shows have been drawing in this huge fan base, from young kids to seasoned rockers. How has it been to see that the music has been appealing to such a large range of fans, especially with the familiarity of the songs you perform. It has just received such a great response.

Alice: Well I think it is the energy you put behind the songs with this band. Johnny is a killer guitar player. And I’ve got Robert DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots on bass, I’ve got Matt Sorum on drums from Velvet Revolver and Guns ‘n Roses and Joe Perry got sick, but I have one of my guitar players, Tommy Henricksen and Bruce Witkin.

MJP: All great guys.

Alice: So, I mean the band is so solid and so strong. When we do a Doors song, I mean we really do it. We don’t just play it. If we do a T Rex song, we really do it, we give it a little more energy than the record actually had.

MJP: It is very true. Everybody has been talking about it as a full concert experience. The energy you guys put out is fully reciprocated by the crowd.

Alice: Right. And these were the guys we used to drink with. I mean Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and those guys were our big brothers. So, when we first started doing this, this show, Johnny and I said it would be great to do a bar band. Be a bar band again. Except we are paying tribute to all of our “Dead Drunk Friends”. That is exactly what it is. I actually kind of act as the narrator. I’m the singer and the narrator, because I will kind of explain about what this song, who it was, and why it was and all this. Which is totally opposite of what I do when I play Alice Cooper in my show.

MJP: That is wonderful. It has been amazing because people have talked about how whomever brought them to the show, you, Johnny, Joe, whomever, they have all raved about the show. We have had several colleagues who went to shows back East and have told us to be ready, it is incredible and you won’t believe what you are in for, outstanding show.  Now, has it been for you, what is the biggest different touring with The Hollywood Vampires versus when you are touring as Alice Cooper with your band?

Alice: Well, when I play with Alice, our show is so ridiculously tight. The band I have in that is like, squeaky tight, hard rock and roll, but I mean, I never hear a note out of place, every night. I know that if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time in the Alice Cooper show, you are gonna get stitches. Because it is all choreographed. This show is more like being a lead singer in a bar band. Where as, I can go anywhere I want to go, and say anything I want to say. It’s loose. You know, I can look at the band and just give them the nod, start the song, and it is much looser. Which it is totally opposite of what I normally do. Alice Cooper the character, never talks to the audience. Where as in the Vampire show, I talk all the way through the show, kind of explaining things and telling funny stories about these guys. It is two opposite things and yet, the thing that holds it together is, it is pure hard guitar ROCK.

MJP: Now with that in mind, do you guys have any plans to put out a LIVE DVD of the performances, just to be able for everyone to capture those great live moments?

Alice: Well, you know we did tape every single show ( chuckling) because I think (it would be stupid not to. If you are running it through a board and everything like that, tape everything! You can go back in and instead of saying everything, “This is live from San Francisco” what you say is “This is live from the tour”. Take the show from the Detroit because that was the best version of that song, take the show from Philadelphia because that was the best version of this song. And then you can say, ‘it is live from that tour”. That way you get a really LIVE album. You don’t just get a live album that everybody goes back into and fixes.

MJP: Yes, it also has pieces of the whole tour that everyone feels like they can be part of the tour, whether they were at one show or not. It also gets everyone gets excited for it, if it includes some from their show.

Alice: Yes. Yes, there is very rarely, a real LIVE album. I mean bands are just so particular about, “oh man, I  have to go back in and fix that bass line” or “I have to go back in and fix that drum thing” or “that vocal was a little flat there”. I kind of like the fact that rock and roll should have those things in them. I mean that is what makes it, what it is.

MJP: Me too. I love the fact that you have the Deluxe Hollywood Vampires on Vinyl. That is huge for us out here. We are big vinyl hounds.

Alice: Absolutely! You know that vinyl went up last year 80%?

MJP: Yes! It is incredible and amazing to see. I love that.

Alice: Kids are so tired of buying air.

MJP: They are loving it. It is funny, one time we brought several teens in to do a sound test. We had them listen to some of their favorite songs on their Ipods, then CD and then Vinyl. It was great to hear them say they blindly preferred the vinyl. They said they could hear things that they didn’t pick up on the others. They were blown away with what they were missing. They were missing a lot.

Alice: Yeah, it is. There is something, something warmer about that sound, the record sound. I was just over at Shinola in Detroit. The Shinola factory. They showed me their new deck for record players and the stuff that is coming out is unbelievable. They are so cool.

Optimized-Hollywood Vampires - Album Cover (Final) (1)

MJP: Vinyl is definitely on the rise and that is exciting and something to look forward to. Now are you guys talking about doing a follow up album for The Hollywood Vampires?

Alice: You know, when you get five or six, or seven musicians together, they’re always writing. They are always saying, “Well, this might work on the next album”. The next album will not be all covers. If we do another album, and I am pretty sure we will, because Johnny wants to do it, I want to do it. You know, I think that album will be all  new material because Johnny is always writing, I’m always writing, Joe’s always writing, so we are going to have a glut of material.

MJP: Yes, and you guys have been on the road for a while. You actually finish up the Hollywood Vampires tour and have a short break before heading right back out on your Spend the Night Tour.

Alice: I go right back. We started in April. I was out with my band, and then I went with the Vampires for two weeks, then I went with my band for another three weeks. Now I’ve got the Vampires for a month and then I go back out with my band for two months.

MJP: Wow! Now do you do the VIP experiences at your shows as well?

Alice: Yeah, we do it after the show. With the Vampires, we do it before the show.

MJP: Great, because people love that. It is such a great experience for them. It is great to see that you will be doing it as well on your shows.

Alice: Well, you know, the nice thing about it, and this is something that people should know about Johnny. One night we had 60 people and one of the girls had brain cancer. They brought her in on a stretcher. Johnny, myself and Joe. Johnny spent an hour with her, just whispering in her ear, and her talking, she could barely talk. We were almost late for the show. He wouldn’t leave. And we finally got back on stage and did it. And after the show, he spent another half hour with her.

MJP: God bless you guys.

Alice: That is just really, … I mean, that told me something about him.

(You can read more about that story here. Hollywood Vampires posted on Twitter):

 

MJP: It is amazing because the stories we have heard from people. To just be able to get that chance to interact for a bit and to thank you guys for the music that has literally kept them going all these years. Whatever they  have been going through, music is the healer of it all.

Alice: That is really an interesting thing. I never think of music as being therapeutic and nine times out of ten, people will say, “you know that song Hey Stoopid?, Man I was going to kill myself until I heard that song.” I have heard that a hundred times and you never think of a song like that, being something that helps somebody get through their life.

MJP: Exactly. I mean your whole catalog of music has given them so much, whether it be a form of escapism from whatever they are going through or just that therapy. It is amazing for them to have that opportunity through the VIP to share with you their little story, or snippet or to say thank you, it is so huge for them. I am so glad that you guys will continue with doing them.

Alice: Well, and the nice thing is, that most of the girls come in and of course, want to mean Johnny and we shake their hands. And every single one, Johnny gives a big hug and kiss too.

MJP: I love it! Now, you guys have some extensive touring. Are you still in your rounds of golf every day?

Alice: Every day!

MJP: We have some great courses out here, when you come out this weekend.

Alice: I will actually be at Pebble Beach one of those day.

MJP: That will be great! Now we have to talk a little bit about your new version of your 1972 hit, Elected. How did that come about now? (You can pick up the song by heading over to www.aliceforpresident.com)

Alice: Well, it is a satire song when we wrote it. It of course is a political satire, and it was when Nixon was running and he was the easiest target of satire of anybody. Every four years now, we have to put it back in the show. You know. (chuckling) But at the same time, we wrote that song as a tribute to Pete Townsend. It had those big power chords, you know. It sounds like a Who song, if you really listen to it and that is what we wrote it to be. Then it ended up being a Number One hit in England and a big hit in America, but it was really not intended to be like a number one single and it ended up being that.

MJP: (laughing) It is great. It is the Wild Party and we’ve got to join in. It is definitely a candidacy we can stand behind.

Optimized-AliceCooper_ElectedUSsingle (1)

Alice: Well, and think of it, in the 1970’s, your parents hated me, more than anything. I mean it was just like I was like Marilyn Manson times ten. The most unlikely person to be president would have been me.

MJP: Exactly, (laughing) for them it was that whole shock.

Alice: Now, people like Ozzy and myself, and Johnny Rotten, and Iggy Pop, we’re now beloved.

MJP: Yeah, that is so true! Now, how about, an interesting thing: I mean you literally birthed the whole shock rock genre, and created it, and inspired so  many bands. Of course, they now all try to outdo each other. Do you every feel that some go to far with the shock factor?

Alice: Well, you know. First of all, I don’t think you can shock an audience anymore. I think audiences are pretty much shockproof. But in the seventies, it was easy to shock an audience. Because we didn’t have the internet so everything was urban legend. In Cincinnati, I had a 5’ snake. By the time it got to LA, it was a 25’ snake and it had killed three people.

MJP: (laughing) so true!

Alice: So the urban legend really built right into what the Alice Cooper show was. It was easy to shock Ann Landers and people like that, who actually had some kind of a platform to really scream at Alice Cooper. So we did become every parent’s nightmare and every kid’s favorite villain.  And now, I think that, yeah,, I do think there are bands in Norway and Denmark, and if you read one of these magazines, one of these death metal magazines, every band is trying to be more evil than the last band. Either that or they are trying to be Vikings.

MJP: (laughing) Yes, that is so true!

Alice: and it gets to be comical. You know, you look at this band and you go, “Oh my gosh, this is hysterical”. So if you were trying to do Spinal Tap for death metal, you would just go through this magazine and  go “Oh my gosh, look at this one, here is a band that is called “Satan’s Diarrhea”. I love that.

MJP: That is so true. It has been a great time talking with you Alice. We are so looking forward to your show this Friday. We will be there.

Alice: I’ll see you backstage.

* * * * * * 

You can pick up the Deluxe Hollywood Vampires album which features the new single Bad as I Am and  a couple bonus tracks, by heading over to http://www.hollywoodvampires.com/album. The album package comes in  an antique book, which was created by noted men’s fashion designer (and rock fan) John Varvatos in his signature vintage style. Make sure to check out the upcoming tour dates and get yourself to a show. It will definitely be a night you won’t soon forget.

Hollywood Vampires Tour Dates:

  • July 22                   Rohnert Park, CA             Weill Hall
  • July 23                   Jacksonville, OR                Britt Pavilion
  • July 24                   Saratoga, CA                      The Mountain Winery
  • July 25                   Paso Robles, CA                Mid State Fair

Alice Cooper Tour Dates:

  • Aug 6                     Kalamazoo MI                   Wings Event Center
  • Aug 7                     Louisville KY                        Palace Theatre
  • Aug 9                     Huntsville AL                      Von Braun Center
  • Aug 10                  Atlanta GA                          Symphony Hall
  • Aug 12                  Ft Lauderdale FL               Broward Center for the Performing Arts
  • Aug 13                  Clearwater FL                    Ruth Eckerd Hall
  • Aug 14                  Orlando FL                          Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
  • Aug 16                  Tallahassee FL                   The Pavilion at the Center of Tallahassee
  • Aug 17                  New Orleans LA                                Saenger Theatre
  • Aug 19                  Oklahoma City OK            The Criterion
  • Aug 20                  Abilene TX                          Taylor County Coliseum
  • Aug 21                  Austin TX                             ACL Live @ The Moody Theatre
  • Aug 23                  Houston TX                         Revention Music Center
  • Aug 24                  Grand Prairie TX               Verizon Theater
  • Aug 26                  Tucson AZ                           AVA Amphitheater
  • Aug 28                  Las Vegas NV                     Psycho Las Vegas fest @ The Joint @ The Hard Rock Hotel
  • Oct 4                      Toledo OH                           Stranahan Theatre
  • Oct 5                      Indianapolis IN                  Murat Theatre
  • Oct 6                      Milwaukee WI                   Milwaukee Theatre
  • Oct 8                      Omaha NE                           Ralston Arena
  • Oct 9                      Bemidji MN                        Sanford Center
  • Oct 11                   Winnipeg MB                     Burton Cummings Theatre
  • Oct 12                   Regina SK                            Conexus Arts Centre
  • Oct 13                   Lethbridge AB                   Enmax Centre
  • Oct 15                   Calgary AB                           Markin MacPhail Centre
  • Oct 16                   Penticton BC                      South Okanagan Event Center
  • Oct 18                   Victoria BC                          Q Centre
  • Oct 19                   Vancouver BC                    Queen Elizabeth Centre
  • Oct 22                   Portland OR                        Keller Auditorium
  • Oct 25                   Reno NV                              Grand Sierra Resort
  • Oct 26                   San Francisco CA              Warfield Theatre
  • Oct 28                   Valley Center CA              Harrah’s Resort
  • Oct 29                   Indio CA                               Fantasy Spring Casino Resort
  • Oct 30                   Hollywood CA                    Pantages Theatre

We will make sure to bring you coverage of the upcoming show in Rohnert Park. Meanwhile, make sure to visit the social media sites and stay up to date on the latest news.

~ Marisol

Information & Links:

Alice Cooper:

Hollywood Vampires:

3 Comments

  1. I am Amanda Currie’s Uncle (the girl battling cancer referenced by Alice Cooper), and I helped coordinate her meeting with the band. I love this interview! Do you have any audio you can send me… particularly the part with Mr. Cooper talked about Amanda? Thanks in advance!

    • I will definitely work on getting you an audio clip. I will email you over. Sending Amanda all of our best wishes, prayers and positive healing vibes! – Mari @ Music Junkie Press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*