(March 26, 1994)
Originally Published: March 26, 1994
Author: Ray Zell
Ol' black eyes is back! Yeah, it's he who dies for a living - Alice Cooper!
Set for a June release, big Al's new studio opus (his 20th!) is titled 'The Last Temptation'. And it's business as unusual for the Coop!
"It's really gonna be the first real concept album I've done since 'Welcome To My Nightmare', " announces an excited Alice, referring to his classic '75 album. "And it's accompanied by a comic book. Neil Gaimen, who does the 'Sandman' comic, is doing it.
"It'll be a three-part series. Neil was there during writing sessions and everything."
Isn't there a virtual reality video related to this project?
"We actually got involved in that and realised it would take about a year-and-a-half to engineer. It's unbelievable how complicated it is. We delayed the album for four months to wait for the game to come along, but it took forever. It may come out later on."
Alice's last two records, 'Trash' (1989) and 'Hey Stoopid' (1991), featured guest appearences from Slash, Bon Jovi, Areosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Motely Crue and Steve Vai. This time there's just one star guest...
"Chris Cornell from Soundgarden did a couple of song with me," reveals Alice. "I used up everybody else on the last two! It's funny, I listen back to those albums and think, 'Gee, I didn't really need that!', " he laughs. "So this album is more personal. But Chris was great, real easy to work with. What a voice! He came in with a couple of songs which fit the album: 'Stolen Prayer' and 'Unholy War'."
Sounds faintly religious there, Alice.
"Actually, it's really a morality play. It's a vaudeville show that's in town, and it attracts young people to it - but it's not exactly selling what it look's like it's selling.
"When you see the comic book you'll see the showman - who's like the tempter - is the old alice; with the top hat and the make-up and everything. And the kid that he tempts into the show is just the normal, average kid from middle America, of course... who's name is Steven.
"I've always seen Steven (the man-child hero of '...Nightmare') as being my innocent side apposed to Alice being the evil half. It's a real battle, but I won't tell you who wins!"
Is it a big production thing?
"No, not really - it's real rock'n'roll. There's a song on it I love on there called 'Lost In America' that's just basic Stooges. It's three cords and attitude: 'I can't go to school cos I ain't got a gun, can't get a gun cos I ain't got a job, can't get a job cos I can't go to school, I'm looking for a girl with a gun and a job.'! That'll be the first single in Europe.
"Most of the stuff was done in one or two takes. And the band is basically the band I used on the last two albums."
'The Last Temptation' features a variety of producers; Don Fleming on 'Lost In America', 'Nothing's Free', and Bad Place Alone', Andy Wallace on 'Sideshow', 'Stolen Prayer', 'Unholy War', and 'Cleansed By Fire', and the Duane Baron/John Purdell team on 'You're My Temptation', 'It's Me', and 'Lullaby'.
Says Alice of the current Hard Rock scene: "There are some good Garage bands from Seattle that interest me, but it's so nihilistic. There's nothing left but rock'n'roll and death! I mean rock'n'roll is fine, but you don't have to die for it! When Alice Cooper did the whole thing on death it was always done, y'know...fun. It was more 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', it didn't have that finality to it."
Finally, will the ol' infamous whiplash mascara remain in place on that Billion Dollar Baby face?
"I don't know yet," the cool ghoul responds. "I'm doing a photo session in about a week, and I'll know when I get there..."