Hit Parader

Hit Parader - July 1973 (USA)

Hit Parader
(July 1973)

Originally Published: July 1973

Alice Cooper: "Off stage I'm Ozzie Nelson... a very nice guy!"

Author: Robert Magnus

After having witnessed the incredible Super Freak Alice Cooper onstage, this reporter jumped at the opportunity of interviewing him. I was informed that because of Alice's hectic recording schedule, we would do the interview over the telephone. Alice was to telephone me at a designated time. I was careful to leave my telephone free... so that there would be no chance of missing his call. The prescribed time for the call arrived. no call. No Alice. The hours passed and did the afternoon. I will admit that I was getting slightly annoyed at this inconvenience and was preparing myself to dislike Alice... come what may. Then he called. It was four hours later... but he called.

Much to my surprise, despite my annoyance, I was somehow turned around. I began to feel that the cat at the other end of the line was a pretty nice guy. He apologized for calling late. He had become tied up at the recording studio. I understood. My prejudices began melting away, as the man's personality unfolded to me.

Alice had just arrived at his New York apartment and was un-winding with a glass of beer. (He admits to being a beer freak.) While we were rapping, a tuna-noodle casserole was being prepared for him by Cindy Lang. Cindy is a lovely model and has been Alice's ladylove, for the past five years. They obviously have a good thing going between them.

But, let's get into the actual interview between this writer and 'a guy called Alice'.

Robert Magnus: What is 'super freak' Alice Cooper like, after the show is over?

Alice Cooper: Offstage, I'm the nicest guy in the world. And it's so difficult for people to handle. What they don't realize is that it's really a 'Jekyll and Hyde' kind of thing. Sure, when I'm performing I become totally decadent. A depraved animal. I suppose you could say that I'm the 'new streamlined Frankenstein'. But, the truth is that once I come off... I'm really Ozzie Nelson.

RM: Does Alice Cooper have a message?

AC: Alice Cooper isn't trying to say anything. No message. No nothing. We're just putting on a show. Absurdity is a big part of it. We are all absurd in one way or another. Alice Cooper intensifies the absurdity in everyone. It's a free thing for us. We can do whatever we want to do. Absurdity is marvelous because it doesn't have to strive to be anything other than what it is. It exists one it's own energy.

RM: Do you feel that Alice Cooper onstage is fulfilling the ultimate theatrical experience for its audience?

AC: Who knows? We do what we do. And anyone watching us can take from it whatever they feel like taking. That's up to them. I think that the really ultimate theatrical experience would be total silence. I would be onstage alone, just completely silent and allow the audience to see what kind of vibrations they could pick up. But we're a long way from that king of thing. It would make too many people uptight. In the meantime, they feel secure with a lot of noise and a lot of movement. It doesn't matter to me, what I do, as long as I get some kind of reaction. I deal in sensation, which is a great part of the world I was born into... and the world in which I still live.

RM: How do you mean 'sensation'?

AC: Electricity. Technology. Television alone has influenced the heads of everybody brought up with it. I'm a television nut. I have television sets at home and I have all of them going at the same time. I like the noise. The movement. There's something different happening on each screen and something different happening with me, and I want to be a part of all of it. I like a lot of noise and I like a lot of people.

RM: But does there ever come a time when you want to escape the 'noise' for a little while... and perhaps, just be by yourself?

AC: Not really. I'm not a very private person. And I'm not a country person, either. I go crazy when I'm in the country. I can't wait to get back to the electricity of city life.

RM: What about the crowds that follow you... do they make you uptight?

AC: No. I really dig them. Sometimes it gets a little heavy, like when we were touring Scotland. It was incredible. We could hardly get in and out of our hotel without being shoved around by a couple of hundred people. And that happened wherever we went. But I really enjoyed it. I like human contact and I like a lot of it.

RM: But you do evoke a tremendous amount of intensity in your audiences. Does it ever occur to you that they might get carried away?

AC: Most of the time they get 'carried away' in a good way. And that's what we're there to do. As far as violence goes, there have been a few occasions when it got a little tense. But everything worked out well.

RM: Tell me about that incident in Detroit.

AC: That was too much. When I'm onstage... it's my stage and I don't feel like sharing it with anyone else. Ego time. But at this concert in Detroit, I saw these three guys dressed in motorcycle jackets attempting to climb the stage, it was obvious that they were either very drunk or very stoned on something. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it, but then it hit me. I had this huge plastic rabbit with me. I threw it at them and shouted, pointing at the rabbit, "Kill it!" They freaked. They pulled put knives and started stabbing the rabbit. The audience lived it. They thought it was part of the show. And it gave us enough time to get the police there to take these cats away. But I don't know what would have happened if not for the rabbit!

RM: How do you "come down" after a performance?

AC: It usually takes hours. I don't need that much sleep anyway. I'm always up until four or five in the morning. Sometimes I play cards and drink a lot of beer. Or else I go out to a bar or club and have a lot of fun. I use to be a long distance runner in school... so I've learned to pace myself. And I have my schedules well organized. Sometimes, though, the amount of energy called on, is so great that I become like a car. Even tough you turn it off, the motor keeps running for a while.

RM: What kind of music, other than your own, are you into?

AC: Anything but rock and blues. I write rock and I play it a good portion of my time. When I want to relax, I'd rather listen to somebody like Frank Sinatra or Burt Bachrach. And I'm not into blues, either. I don't want to hear about anybody else's problems. I want to be entertained. I have my own problems. But I'm not laying them all over somebody else's head.

RM: Where does Alice Cooper go from here, professionally... any film possibilities?

AC: Yes. That's in the works now. We have a lot of footage already and will keep on filming until we get what we want. It's the logical place for us, because a major part of the trip is visual. The important thing is that it will be entertaining. We just want people to have a good time.

RM: If you could choose one person to have a long, heavy rap with... who would it be?

AC: Gore Vidal. I like his fry humor. It's a lot like my own. I've never met him, but I'm sure we'd hit it off.

RM: What bugs you?

AC: You know what really bugs me is that whole moon exploration number. I really don't believe that there were ever any men on the moon. I'm sure that the whole thing was probably done at the Disney Studios. I saw a commercial for a breakfast drink which was just as convincing as the supposed moon shots. Somebody should do a Warren Report on it... and find out what happened to all the bread that was spent on it!

RM: Let me ask you one last question... how do you want people to remember you?

AC: I want to be remembered as "the nicest guy in the world". Because... I really am the nicest guy in the world!

This reporter would be inclined to agree. A guy called Alice is certainly one of the nicest guys, we've interviewed in a long time. And it was worth waiting for his call.