Originally Published: September 06, 2003

Alice Cooper

The man who spans all four decades, but can`t remember them

Alice says: I spent most of the 1990s recovering from my excesses of the previous three decades. But my head was clear enough to keep track of everything that was happening in the music business. For the first time since rock 'n' roll was invented, a huge difference began to emerge between British and U.S. music. After all those years of shared experience, suddenly there was a schism. In the U.S. it was all Adult Orientated Rock, with songs such as the hideous (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams, while Britain was churning out dance music by people such as the Shamen, Stereo MCs and KLF. It was all a bit bland for a shock-rocker like me.

The whole northern England scene had taken off, too, although there was a lot of head-scratching going on in the States because no one could be sure whether the city was called Manchester or Madchester. I was touring round Britain regularly at that time and I would often catch groups such as Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and The Charlatans.

They were my kind of guys, too; we'd often meet up and they knew how to party. I'd given up my wild days by then too many drinking binges with people such as John Lennon and Keith Moon in the 1960s and 1970s had taken their toll on my liver - but I recognised all the signs of world-class hell-raisers.

The only type of music to unite our two nations in the early 1990s was grunge. The main American exponents were Nirvana and Green Day, with an honourable mention for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, while in Britain I watched with interest the rise and rise of Oasis. And Britney Spears was preparing to break through from the Mickey Mouse Club to pop.

To sum up the decade, I am struck by the contrasts. It is hard to believe that the same period could encompass artists as different as Def Leppard and Celine Dion, or Pearl Jam and U2. It's true that everybody got cooler and sat around doing useful things like writing songs in their hotel rooms instead of trashing them, like I used to. But it's also true that the music got better, and I'll remember the 1990s as the time we were spoiled for choice.

Alice's album, The Eves Of Alice Cooper, is out on Spitfire Records, September 26.