Bizarre - October 2010

(October 2010)

Originally Published: October 2010

13 Questions: Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper (or Vincent Damon Furnier to his mum) was shocking audiences before most of you were born. He started his career in the mid 1960s, and his horror-and-gore-soaked live shows have involved simulated hangings, boa constrictors, live chickens being thrown into the audience, gigantic spider-monsters, and re-enactments of electric chair executions. He was once signed to Frank Zappa's record label, appeared on The Muppet Show as one of the devil's henchmen and tried to persuade Kermit and Gonzo to sell their souls, and loves golf. As you can imagine, we were really excited to meet him.

1. You song 'Poison' contains the lyric 'Black lace on sweat'. Do you like the scent of a perspiring woman, or do you prefer your ladies to be fresh?

Napoleon famously wrote his wife a letter saying, "I'll be home in two months. Don't wash." I'm not that 'French' about things - I don't like a lady to fester to the point where certain parts of her body smell like ripe brie - but the scent of a woman who's hot in all the senses does bring out a certain animal magnetism in me.

2. Have you ever said anything you've regretted during your radio show, Night With Alice Cooper?

Hell, yeah! I'm terrible for making a faux pas, then digging myself even deeper into a social quagmire in a misguided attempt to make things better. For example, I went up to a woman with a round belly in a restaurant and exclaimed, "Congratulations on the baby!", when in fact she'd just eaten a big meal and wasn't expecting a child. Then I said, "Yes, I know, I'm just referring to the baby kangaroo, that, er, you ordered of the menu of obscure steaks... right?" I always make it worse.

3. You're playing some Halloween shows with Jim Rose - who would win in a fight between you?

I'm in better physical shape than Jim after all the trials he's put himself through in the circus. Alice is a notorious villain, steeped in knowledge of all forms of martial arts. However, while I'd definitely take Jim down in a battle, he's a bright an. He came up with an amazing idea to release a single called, 'The DJ Playing This Record Is The Coolest Guy In The World'. It'd get to number one on airplay alone.

4. What would you like your funeral to be like?

There's an old movie by Olsen and Johnson called Hellzapoppin' (1941), which is one of the most silly, crazily entertaining films I've ever seen. I'd like everyone to watch it at my funeral. I saw it when I was about 10 years old, and it has such a deep impact on my Alice character and shows.

5. Reader Question: Do you really own one of the letters in the Hollywood sign?

Yes! In 1978 it was the 75th anniversary of Hollywood, and the sign was literally falling off the side of the hill. I asked the Chamber Of Commerce what it'd take to fix it for all the tourists coming over for the anniversary. They said it'd cost about $30,000 a letter! Groucho Marx died at around that time, so I pledged to buy the first 'O' of the sign in his memory, and embarrassed other rich folk into buying the other letters!

6. Reader Question: If you could bring back one dead celebrity, who would it be?

There are a few people who have some explaining to do! I'd bring back Errol Flynn so I could grill him and get a few things straight. No-one was more swashbuckling than him, and yet you heard these bizarre stories about him being a Nazi spy and fooling around with 13-year-old girls.

7. You famously sing that 'School's out for summer'. If school was back in, and you could attend a lecture, what would you learn about?

People assume I hated school because of that song, but actually I revelled in it. I was Ferris Bueller. I had so much fun getting away with crazy stunts. Nowadays, I'd love to attend a class in song-writing taught by my favourite lyricist of all time, Johnny Mercer, who helped write songs for Bing Crosby.

8. Reader Question: If you could join any band today, which would you pick?

The most creative guy out there right now is Jack White. He's a Detroit boy like me. When I first heard The White Stripes it reminded me of Detroit garage rock from 1968. I went to see them in London and they totally killed the audience. Jack breaks every rule he can break, and makes it work.

9. Reader Question: Do you go to bed in your make-up?

I always wash my stage make-up off after a show, but whenever I do TV they put on natural 'enhancing' cosmetics that make me look so much healthier and fresher, that I can't stand to wipe them away!

Sadly, the next morning, the fresh face is gone and all I have it a dirty pillow.

10. If you had to star in a Disney film or cheesy musical, what role would you play?

I'd like to be Nathan Detroit in Guys And Dolls, or be in West Side Story. In terms of Disney, there's no way Alice Cooper would be anything but a villain. I'd be an evil genie, or Captain Hook.

11. What's the most disgusting thing you've had in your mouth?

I cam back from a round of golf in Hawaii, and went to grab a bottle of what I thought was lemonade from the fridge. I took a big swig, and it turned out to be squid juice! My wife likes to cook gourmet food, and she was using it as broth in a fish recipe. It was like taking a giant gulp of phlegm from the worst cold you've ever had.

12. What's the worst things you've ever smelled?

My dad used to do missionary work in an Indian reservation, and I went with him once when he got called to a house where woman had died of old age. Her corpse had been lying around for six days, and the odour was horrifying. The stench naturally makes you panic - it triggers something instinctive within you that warns you of danger.

13. So, Alice, time for the unlucky 13th question. You once said that playing golf helped you get over an addiction to booze. What would you do if you lost an arm and couldn't swing a club any more?

I'd learn how to do it one-handed. I'm a really resilient person. There have been times at the beginning of tours when I've broken ribs in rehearsals and still gone on stage without giving the crowd a clue that anything was wrong. I'm very much a 'the show must go on!' kind of guy. I don't care whether I've got a migraine, or polio!