Jackie

Originally Published: September 1973

Interview

Alice Through The Looking Glass!

Alice Cooper loves parties and on the night of his concert in Detroit he decided to hold one of his own. And with Alice doing the organising, it couldn't fail to be a very special party!

Alice had ordered a special double decker bus to transport the visitors he had asked to come from Europe. It was plum-coloured with the words London Transport on the side, and had been imported into Detroit some years ago.

"I thought it would make you feel at home," he said with an impish laugh, because Alice always likes to laugh. He is the most unserious pop singer I have met, and believes everyone around him should have fun.

"I'm having fun," he told me. "and I want to share it with everyone else. That's why I like my audiences to be really young. They have a sense of fun which older people seem to lose."

So off we all went chugging through Detroit in a London bus to a night club called The Roosetail. This in fact was a very large restaurant with its own car park on the waterfront.

There was very tight security getting in because it seemed that everyone who had been to Alice's concert was trying to come to the party.

So once inside the glass fronted doors we had to have an indelible stamp stamped on our wrists and then another mark before we could go up the two flights of carpeted stairs to the room above.

And what a huge room it was! As large as a football field and there holding court by the small dance floor in the middle was Alice himself. He was by now wearing a denim suit made up of pieces of difference shades of denim, which had a patchwork effect. As with all his clothes the suit had been made especially for him.

After he had talked for a while with his guests, and told me how much he'd enjoyed doing the show that night, he queued up with the rest of us for food. One half of the huge room was set up with round dinner tables with white tablecloths, all laid for dinner.

And what a choice of food there was! For someone from England it was quite baffling, but not for Alice. He dived straight in, helped himself to a little wooden bowl and set about filling it with different sorts of sala d and the adding some pink-looking sauce on the top.

We were also given large dinner plates and as we walked up the heavily laden table there were a choice of several different meat dishes, including wings of chicken and slices of roast beef. There was also an Italian meat and pasta dish, which Alice helped himself to. I told him it was a wonder he kept himself so thin.

"I've never had weight trouble," he said. "It must be all the exercise I get dashing about the stage during my act."

By now a local band was playing old rock 'n' roll tunes. All the musicians in the group had short hair and wore it greased back like you see in pictures of the 1950s. They also wore leather jackets and trousers and looked as if they'd come straight off their motor bikes.

It had been Alice's idea to have a band so that everyone could dance. But now we took our food to a table and soon were being offered champagne by the waitresses. Although Alice generally likes beer, he had a glass or two of champagne to wash down his meal.

Also waiting for us on the tables were plates of fluffy white and chocolate cake. Alice likes cake and when he'd finished all his other food he rounded it off with a large piece and a cup of coffee.

As we ate he pointed out the most amazing sight to me - a young lady in a wheelchair nimbly steering her chair in time to the music on the dancefloor.

"Isn't that wonderful?" said Alice. "Why, she's got more rhythm going for her than I have. It's incredible."

At this point Glen Buxton, the blond-haired guitarist who has been with Alice for ten years, joined us.

"We went to school together," he told me. "I've played with him ever since. Funny, once we used to call ourselves Joe Banana and his Bunch, the group with appeal. Get it? There was Alice, Dennis who is still with us now, and me."

"Hey do you like our American food?" Alice asked. "I bet you English don't like that jelly over there with the meat. We eat all sorts of things like that in America, but you don't seem to in England. Mind you, I like your bacon and eggs for breakfast. I had a lot when I was in London and also when I was up in Glasgow.

"Glasgow, that's quite a place isn't it? I don't understand everything they say up there in Scotland but it sounds nice. And I've got myself a red tartan suit. No, I don't know what tartan it is. Probaby McAlice!"

Alice's party didn't come to an end until long after midnight but still he was almost the last to leave. "I don't want to miss anything, do I?" he joked, and carried on talking to one person after another with seemingly endless energy and patience. That's the great thing when you're with Alice Cooper, he makes you feel that your the only person who is important to him at that moment. He liked his two visits to Britain and was determined that any British visitor was going to enjoy America.

As for his party, it was one of the biggest and friendliest I've ever attended. There must have been more than three hundred people there and yet it always seemed that Alice was at the centre of things. He had a word for everyone.

"I really like a good party," he said as he was leaving. "I think this has been a good one, don't you? But I don't think I'll get up till mid-day tomorrow, I'm so tired. It's all this travelling." And so he went back to his hotel and bed. But not before asking, "Now, I wonder if there's a party anywhere tomorrow?"!


Snakes Alive!

"Hello, Mum. I've brought home my new boy friend."

"Oh yes, dear . . ."

"His name is Alice Cooper and . . ."

Your mother probably won't catch the end of that sentence. Before you can breathe another word, she will either have directed both you and your boy friend to the front door, or have collapsed unconscious on the carpet.

In a way, you could hardly blame her - at first. A ten foot boa constrictor as a pet; make-up round the eyes - she probably thinks that Alice Cooper is the Devil's brother, and twice as nasty.

But that's where she's wrong.

Alice Cooper is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and would probably make a better boyfriend than Cedric, the boy-next-door.

"I can hardly blame people for being scared off," Alice told me. "Their reaction is only natural.

"I mean, if I was down there in the audience, watching some witch-like creature playing with a boa constrictor and generally looking very evil, I'd be pretty scared! I certainly wouldn't want to get too close to him!

"All I really want to do is go out on stage and give people something that they'll remember for a long time.

"That's why I admire people like the Osmonds and the Jackson Five. They have such a professional approach to what they're doing, they really deserve to be where they are."

While in this country last year, at the start of his European tour, Alice felt more than just respect for them, when he himself was mobbed by fans at Glasgow Airport.

"After that, I felt a real sympathy for them, having to contend with that sort of thing all the time. Fanmania like that happens very rarely in the States.

"I don't really know why that is. Perhaps we have an older audience in the States. In this country, we seem to attract a wider cross section.

"David Cassidy is doing that now. I've been to a few of his concerts recently and the audience were much more eager to listen than they were in the past. That's a good thing.

"Actually, David and I are very good friends, so maybe I'm biased. I've been to his house on the West Coast a couple of times."

Despite the pressure of work, Alice manages to find time to keep track of what other artists are doing, and enjoys playing with them.

"I had a really good time on this tour jamming in London with Marc Bolan and Harry Nilson, among others. We had a really wild time!"

When he does have the time, Alice can usually be found at his home in Connecticut - watching television.

"At one time, I used to buy New York's TV Guide to find out what was on, but now I know the programmes off by heart!

"I don't get much of a chance to see any British television - but I wouldn't have missed Monty Python for anything!"

Alice's home is a large rambling affair, with dozens of bedrooms, interconnected by never-ending corridors. Alice claims that it's so large, he hasn't even seen all the rooms!

"It's so unbelievably huge, you know. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone else lived in the house apart from me! It's quite possible.

"I should think Yvonne probably knows it better than anyone does, since she spends most of her time exploring. I never know where to find her."

Yvonne, by the way, is neither Alice's wife nor his girlfriend. She is - his snake!

"She more or less has the run of the house. It's much more humane than having her in a cage.

"Sometimes, though, I wake up at night to find her curled up round my chest. I suppose, you'd get a shock at first - but after a while you get quite used to it!

"The important thing is to treat her as a human being. She can be very nervy sometimes on stage since she doesn't much like the bright lights.

"Michael Jackson has a boa constrictor, too. I've been thinking recently that we could maybe get them together sometime and start a family. Imagine a dozens snakes on stage at one time!"

Well . . . it would mean a boom in the sales of ladders if it did happen!

(Originally published in Jackie magazine on the 15th and 22nd of September, 1973)