Originally Published: June 1994

Face Off

Author: Jennifer Rose

Leave it to Alice Cooper to expand on his visual presentations as an artist in a conceptual form. His latest record, The Last Temptation, not only grabs your ears, but provides you with a comic book for a further interpretation of its theme. The Coop face's-off beyond the nightmare into other streams of consciousness.

Your comic has the look of the Anne Rice and Clive Barker type comics.

Well, that's Neil Gaiman, he's right in that class. He's the comic book version of those people. In fact, he knows all those people. They hang out together.

Are you a fan of those comics?

Oh yeah. To me comics have gone in certain cycles. When I was a kid I loved "Tales From The Crypt." If you were ever caught with an Archie comic on my street, you got killed. Then Spiderman got hip and Marvel took off and all their superheroes talked like we did. Now, this new generation is sort of alternative to that. The idea behind this comic was, what are the monsters anymore? The monsters aren't the thing that live under your bed in your imagination. The reality is much scarier than anything fantasy. The mosters are needles, heroin, gang warfare and guns - most of the things that are in your face everyday, especially for a Generation X-er.

What's your interpretation of the so-called Generation X?

I think it's a generation that doesn't trust anybody and have really tried to become independent out of survival. They don't trust their parents because seventy percent of them at least are parents that got married and then said, "We want our freedom." It's the kids who are paying for that freedom. They don't believe their parents. They believe gangs, everything except parents.

Where do you think it all went wrong?

I think it went wrong in the fact that we lost the moral fiber. I'm not saying anything that I don't think anybody doesn't know. But I think we have to regain that because everything is now fast. Get the thrill now, and it doesn't provide for any foundation for a regular life.

At what point did you feel you need to speak out about this?

I'm not preaching to them. Alice still has his edge. When I sing "Lost In America," "I want my mom and dad to be my real mom and dad," if you ask seventy percent of the kids out there that don't have parents about that line, they'll agree with me. I'm actually speaking for them. I can't pretend to be fifteen years old, but I'm an observer and I write about things I see.

When did you come up with the idea for a concept album?

I love doing concept albums because I was born to tell a story. I've always tried to write about things that were intangible, like nightmares and insanity. I thought temptation was a great subject because all of us are involved with it. Everybody has different temptations, wills, and breaking points.

What's your temptation?

I've got as many temptations as anybody else. I was an alcoholic. It's not that I'm tempted to drink every day, but that was something I overcame and I haven't had a drink in eleven years. If you had known me when I was a drinker, you wouldn't have believed that I could ever stop drinking. I was so addicted to it. That's a temptation. Everything around us is a temptation.

The Last Temptation is open to interpretation, but what's your version of the moral of this story?

You can beat temptation, you can win a battle, but the war is ongoing.

What turned you onto the macabre, especially your love of horror movies?

I think it's the humor. Comedy and horror are so close. Think of all the Freddie, and Jason movies. And "Evil Dead" is hysterical. The first time I saw that, I went, "Wow!" But then you realize how overboard they went with the blood, they must have been dying laughing. And Freddie is a stand-up comedienne. The idea of a horror movie is to scare you for a second then make you laugh.

If you were to make your own horror movie what would it be about? And to what level would the horror be?

One of the scariest movies that I ever saw was "The Exorcist" only because what happens in that movie is possible. That's what makes it scary and frightening because they haunt you because you realize you may be a victim. But if were going to scare someone, I would go for something about realism. Maybe if I did a movie about a strain of AIDS, that everybody could get at any time from drinking water or wearing cotton, or something normal that you do everyday. That would be really frightening because you'd sit there and go, "Wait a minute, that could happen to me right now." But I would much rather make a funny horror movie that scares you and makes you laugh at the same [time]. Then it's entertaining. But right now I do it through my records.

As we say our goodbyes, dear old Alice reminds me to "look under your bed tonight before you sleep."