Decibel - November 2011

(November 2011)

Originally Published: November 2011

Call & Response: Alice Cooper

Halloween Special Edition

Author: Alice Cooper

To celebrate the release of his 19th solo album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, we sent the legendary Alice Cooper six Halloween-themed songs, identified only by title. Here's what the golf monster had to say about our selections:

Track 01: Type O Negative, "Halloween in Heaven"
from: Dead Again

[THE SKINNY] We hope it's a party up there, Pete

This is, of course, playing the opposites against the opposites — that's the kind of thing that I would write. You set up a situation that nobody's ever thought about: What would Halloween be like in heaven? Are all the people that died in rock 'n' roll heaven? I don't think so. All the people that I knew that died probably aren't in heaven. But all of those people could be in Halloween in heaven. But it's a great juxtaposition. As a lyricist. I look for that. I like that there's actually a punchline to it. Type 0 Negative were around for a long time. Just the idea that their name was Type 0 Negative shows that they had a sense of humor.

Track 02: Helloween, "Helloween"
from: Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1

[THE SKINNY] At over 13 minutes, not a mark of German efficiency

A lot of metal is just bordering on prog. When you have a song this long, somebody is listening to King Crimson in that group. Pretty soon, what happens with a lot of bands is that they don't know when to quit writing riffs. But that can get interesting. We had a song called "Halo of Flies." which was about 20 different riffs and that's what this reminds me of. In the end, it all sort of does make sense. It's not unlike "In the Court of the Crimson King"... but maybe not quite as sophisticated. The idea behind a song is to take you somewhere, like a movie. It should take you to another world. That's why I think videos are a little anti-productive. If you just play a kid "Halloween" and let him sit in a dark room, he'll come up with his own video for it.

Track 03: King Diamond, "Halloween"
from Fatal Portrait

[THE SKINNY] At least two dB staffers have dressed up as KD on Halloween. What's wrong with the rest of you?

I hate to categorize people, but with certain bands, you could tell who they're listening to. You can tell if they're a Metallica band, or you can tell if they're a Megadeth band. It's like that with all music. You can always trace the influences, but on this one. I couldn't really pick out who these guys were listening to. King Diamond, when he first came out, I think there was a harder edge to it because I think he was trying to establish himself as heavy, scary and creepy at the same tiobrhead.

Track 04: The Shaggs, "It's Halloween"
fom Philosophy of the World

[THE SKINNY] OK, it's not metal, but it's FUCKING EXTREME!

The Shaggs, oh my gosh! This is one of the greatest albums of all time. "And Dracula will be there!" Every time I need a good laugh. I put the Shaggs on. [Producer] Bob Eznn and I would sit and listen to the Shaggs and we'd just go, "How can they not hear that the guitars and the drums are nowhere near each other?" You can't get five people in a room who are that tone-deaf consistently. And then their dad's producing it, and he's more tone-deaf than they are. I think the Shaggs are one of the great phenomena of all time, because it's hard to make an album that bad. "It's Halloween" and "Philosophy of the World" are very Frank Zappa, though they probably never heard of Frank Zappa.

Track 05: In Solitude, "Witches sabbath"
from: In Solitude

[THE SKINNY] The kids are Satanic, but still alright

It's another one of those where it's like. "How scary and evil can we be? People will think that we're really deep." And I totally get that, because when we wrote "I Love the Dead" or "Sick Things." I was thinking, "Let's write something very Edgar Allan Poe." You take "Witches Sabbath" and you could write a really good '60s C-movie from that. It's like a Hammer Horror movie. Again, it's basic metal. There's nothing incredibly creative about it, but at the same time, it's very effective. But these kids must eat, drink and breathe metal.

Track 06: Vampires Everywhere!, "Silver Bullets Don't Kill Vampires"
from: Kiss the Sun Goodbye

[THE SKINNY] Based on record sales, more like Vampires Anywhere?

I was just reading about this song and I thought, "That is really clever." Have you seen Fright Night? Because that happens in the movie. Colin Farrell plays Jerry - great name for a vampire, right? He's shot with silver bullets and he pulls them out and just goes "werewolf." I always like kids who watch horror movies and then let it come out in writing. [Guitarist] Kane Roberts and I just lived on slasher movies when we wrote Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell. It really started showing up in the writing. As for the music to this track, it was, "We couldn't think of a melody line for the verse, so just get to the chorus!" That's what [songwriter] Desmond Child used to say. We'd be writing a song and he'd say. "Don't bore us, get to the chorus!"