Originally Published: 2003

Alice Cooper - Draggin' Through Your Town

Author: Martin Popoff

Corpse-painted shockfather Alice Cooper has hit the road once again, bringing his heavy Dragontown record (recently reissued with a spate of bonus material) plus a bevy of old hits to cities all over the world, including a Toronto date in October. First thing we had to ask: what kind of mood is Alice in?

"Interesting," begins the psychoanalyzing man behind the mask, "because after living with Alice for 30 years now, he's actually taken a position on certain things, which he never did before. And it's kind of interesting for him to take a position, but still very unpolitical. It probably began with The Last Temptation, and then moved on to the three-part thing, Brutal Planet, Dragontown, and the part three that's coming up. All of a sudden... he never really had much interesting to say before, but just to be cynical, then all of a sudden I think more things got caught in his craw a little bit. And they were maybe things people were not expecting him to say. You know, like 'What this whole planet needs is a shot of morality' (laughs). You never expected him to say that, but you have to agree with him! And then the way he says it is through, you know, how it all works. He's going, 'Well, look around. Tell me we don't need a shot of morality.'"

Third part? Do tell... "The next part is going to be really interesting, and I just got it the other day. You know how you kind of let ideas just swirl; you just let them swirl and swirl and swirl, and all of a sudden it hit me what the next one is. The storyline... I would actually love to see this movie. I think it's going to be called Meet The Children, but it's Chill-dren, and it's all of the kids that died, all the abortions, all the abused kids, all the kidnapped, murdered kids, they're all there. And any time one of these people who does these things dies, they've got to go up and meet the children. And it's really scary (laughs). Musically it's going to be the same kind of thing. I'm not going to change. My approach to music is always going to be guitar-oriented hard rock, with a lot of melody. I mean, that to me is something that has stayed constant through the albums. And sure, I'll go off a little bit here and there and do a song over here that is an Elvis kind of track, or one over here that is a ballad-y kind of thing, but I think that 98% of that album is going to be guitar riffs, hopefully with really interesting lyrics."

"We're always changing the show," offers Alice when asked about any obvious changes he's made this time around. "If you see this show tonight, and then you see it three months from now, you'll be seeing a marked difference in everything. Because the show changes every single night. There'll be little subtleties; somebody will say after the show, 'You know, it would be great to use a sound bite right here. And, wouldn't it be a great idea to move this bit here, take that out, shorten this, but we'll add this little piece.' So every night, we probably change three things in the show, and I think that's great. Because I like the band to be part of it. I like the band to have ideas, and these are very creative guys. And even lighting guys will come up to me and say, 'Hey, you know what would be really cool is that when Alice first comes up, that the backlighting is really heavy up-light, because right now we're using sidelights.' And I'm like, 'Well, let's try it. Show me what it looks like.' I like the fact that the show is in the works; it's not so set in stone that you can't have fun with it. And there are some nights where I might go 'No ballads tonight.' And they go 'What!?' And I go, 'This crowd is not a ballad crowd. It's an outdoor monster crowd and they really don't want the ballads.' Specific changes... we do a little 'Nurse Rozetta' in there, and I'm trying to think of a few other ones... a little 'Steven' where it wasn't before, and 'Dead Babies'. Yeah, every once in a while a song will pop up there where people go, 'What!? I haven't heard that in a long time.' That's always fun to do. I always like to go back and find one really obscure little song that people just thought they would never hear."

And finally Alice plots the road for the foreseeable future. "Actually, we're just doing four warm-up shows right now, and then there's three weeks off. And when we start up again we do the entire United States plus some Canadian dates, and then we go right from November 1st I think, and we go right to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and then I think about 15 to 20 European shows."