Creem - October 1975

(October 1975)

Originally Published: October 1975

Reflections in a Cyclops Eye or Alice Off the Road

Author: Bruno Stein

"I'm watching Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? right now," says Alice Cooper's voice on the telephone. "Bette Davis is taking the rat up. Remember the rat she gave her for dinner? What a treat!"

Alice is calling from Minneapolis to tell me some final thoughts about whatever happened to Baby Alice this past tour. But, as usual, the TV set in his hotel room is on and he's having trouble concentrating on the question at hand.

"Oh! There's the rat. Oh. she's laughing. Bette Davis, wow, is she great! I finally figured it out. Alice Cooper is Bette Davis in this movie."

Tell me about Vancouver? I interject, referring to his now famous accident, in an attempt to steer him back to the harsh rock 'n' roll realities.

"Well, you know that giant toybox we use in the show. It collapsed on me, and pushed me back over the footlights. I tripped on the lights and just folded up and fell off the stage. I fell backwards seven feet and hit my head on the cement. I'll tell you the truth, I'm lucky. Bruno, I'm really lucky I didn't get killed."

"I managed to hit a photographer on the way down. I hit his shoulder, and luckily I rolled off that and did a whole turn before my head slammed back on the cement. It was so crazy.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't know what had happened. I was so dazed. They took me backstage and had already bandaged me up and everything before I knew what was going on. We went back on and did four more songs with the bandages and everything before I collapsed from shock and they took me to the hospital."

Alice was already feeling better for the next concert in Edmonton, but his Welcome to My Nightmare show was restructured with more emphasis on the band and dancers and Alice only onstage a half-hour. By the next show, almost everything was back to normal. "I had to eliminate the cyclops throwing me around stage and the spiders attacking me. That's all.

"You know I really believe in that Hollywood stuff. And, you can't have the Hollywood attitude halfway. In other words, if you're gonna live the Hollywood life and live the Hollywood attitude, that means you've gotta go all the way the show's gotta go on. If it hurts, you still go on. I know that sounds corny, but it's the truth. I live by that code."

Alice's seeming high spirits tend to give the lie to the spreading rumors that this has been his last tour, so we ask him what his plans are. "I've got a month off. I think I'm going to Hawaii, and I'm going to start writing the new album over there. Myself and Dick Wagner (one of the guitarists in his current band) are going to start, and then Bob Ezrin. And after I get going on the album, then we go to Europe for 12 dates. And then we go to Australia and Japan. Then we come back home and start on the new show.

"I get on this tour and hear all these things about Alice's farewell tour. Hey. guys. I'm only 27 years old. I'm not doing any farewell tour. I don't know where you got that idea."

Which band is Alice taking to Europe with him? His management has been claiming that the original Alice Cooper band hasn't really broken up and will rejoin its lead singer after this tour. But Alice Isn't planning on his current band departing for now. "I'm using this band (or everything as far as the Nightmare show goes, because they know it backwards. They could be asleep and play it. And to tell you the truth. I would put this band that's playing with me now up against anybody musically. They, are really something."

What about the old band? Alice's answer sounds rehearsed.

"Well, the old band, you know, as far as I'm concerned, everybody was supposed to do their own personal albums, their solo things. And I'm expecting their things to come out first, before I can even consider anything. I mean, that was the deal. They're supposed to come out with their own product before I can siart doing anything else. That's only fair to them, you know.

"I mean. I came out with my pro-duel, and I know that Mike's got his done and so does Neil. It's just that they have to put it out. It gives them the chance to do a solo thing. It wasn't my idea in the beginning. It was theirs. As far as the solo thing goes, it just so happened that I put mine into motion a lot faster."

It seems that no decision about bands has been made for after the Nightmare tour then.

"No. I'm just gonna start writing after that. That's the most important thing - just to start writing something new and getting my head into that. You know, people have kept saying, 'Wow. Alice has changed his image!' Because I put out, 'Only Women,' you know. And I say, hey, that's not changing, that's just broadening.

"Like anything else. it's boring as hell if you keep one thing going. Who wants to play the very same image for five or 10 years. You can do the same image but just keep changing it. So that it's even more of a shock that Alice does a song like 'Only Women Bleed.' And people go. 'Wait a minute. You can't do that.' What do you mean I can't do that?

"But that doesn't mean I'm going to do another one like that either. It just means that that was one I really liked, that's all. Besides, if you listen to it, it's really sort of a modern grandiose horror-type song if you listen to the lyrics. More Tennessee Williams, which is the way it's played onstage. You know, the ballerina gets beat up and the whole thing.

"I don't look at my songs as just songs anyway. I always write albums as soundtracks. I mean, it's sort of the way 'Pinball Wizard' came off the Tommy album. It didn't have anything to do with anything else. Who the hell knew what it meant. Because it was just on its own without something that was behind it, like the whole concept of it. Same thing with 'Only Women Bleed.' When you see it onstage, you see what happens before and what happens after, and then you see why it's in the set."

What about people who didn't see the show?

"Well, you might put all kinds of values on it that might just be your own things. But you know I'm not a preacher. I hate the idea of that, of that preaching shit. That's an old concept of mine, the fact that I can't stand being preached to so I won't preach anything. I let people put their own values on words, and 'Only Women Bleed' might mean something totally different to 10 different people.

(Kindly submitted from the collection of Jerry Cogliano).