Originally Published: September 27, 2002
Author: Graham Caldwell
If rock music has taught us anything, then it's not to be judgmental. Just because a guy makes a living beating up cripples and dismembering babies before being ritually executed, it doesn't make him a bad person.
Take, ooh, for a wild example... Alice Cooper. For the past 30-odd years; this merchant of ghoul has been regular visitor to the UK, using more theatrical blood than a Sam Raimi film in the process and attracting process and attracting equal mounts of righteous criticism.
Yet, the man's a pussycat. A caring and tea-total father of three, he plays golf every day - regular partners include former president Gerald Ford - worries about Ozzy Osbourne's well-being and has even found God, attacking Marilyn Manson for taking the Devil worship thing "way too far".
What you have to remember about Alice is that it's all a morality tale. The leather-clad, panda-eyed, swordwielding maniac on stage is undoubtedly a bad person, but he pays for his sins - usually with his head. Ergo, Alice is a force for good.
Not that the thousands of fans who'll pack into Glasgow's SECC on November 22 will be giving it any deep thought. As far as they're concerned, Alice rocks. He also provides the most consistently theatrical, inventive and entertaining show in the business.
His latest a Monsters of Rock extravaganza for which he'll be joined by Thunder, LA Guns and The Quireboys - is themed around his latest album, Dragontown. Like its immediate predecessor, Brutal Planet, it's set in a murky world where morality, as is usual with Alice, provides interesting choices. Alice said: "It's like Dante's Inferno, a place where people have to deal not with political choices but moral choices. People might say that sounds pretty Christian, but let's pretend we don't believe in anything. If you want to look at it that way, it's-as fictitious as The Wizard Of Oz. But if you have any of those beliefs, you have to deal with your conscience." The album has, says Alice, gained greater resonance since September 11. "It's the darkest thing I've done. I started writing it as a piece of fiction and realised that the scariest songs on the album were all from CNN."
Alice as social commentator, it's an interesting concept. And he's not finished yet, his dislike of Marilyn Manson goes beyond the fact that the new Goth god nicked his style, appearance and-female-style monicker. "I'm Christian and I'm sitting there going, 'How dare you tear up the bible on stage?' He even pissed me off. And this whole AntiChrist Superstar. As a Christian, I took real exception to that."
But, hey, enough of the heartwarming stuff. What you really want to know is, does Alice still do all the hits and act like the worst kind of camp before his final appointment with the guillotine? Yup, to all three.
"The guillotine is always a crowd pleaser," says Alice. "They're always screaming for my head."
Now into his Fifties, Alice is experienced enough to know that the fans want to hear the hits, all way back to I'm Eighteen, through Schools Out, Elected and Poison. Not that age comes into it... "Because the character Alice that I play is ageless, like The Joker or Batman, he's such an Americana character. You'd never think, 'How old are they?' They just keep living on and on. I look exactly the same as I did back then. I'm actually in better shape now than I was 20 years ago because I stopped drinking. It's frightening, I look at pictures of myself from 1970 and go, 'jeez, I look exactly the same'." Alice Cooper and the Monsters of Rock play Glasgow SECC on November 22. Tickets, priced £25, are available now on 08704 000 688, but we have two pairs of tickets to give away, plus two special limited numbered tour editions of his current album Dragontown, containing the previously unreleased Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me, the video for Gimme, a Screensaver and a poster.
To be in with chance of winning, just complete the title of the following Alice song: School's... Send your entry, including your address and telephone number, to: Alice Cooper Competition, Scottish Daily Express, Park House, Park Circus Place, Glasgow G3 6AN, to arrive by Friday, October 4.