New Musical Express

New Musical Express - 6th January 1990

New Musical Express
(January 06, 1990)

Originally Published: January 06, 1990

Thrills, Shocks And Scars

Author: Stephen Dalton

EVERYONE'S UPTIGHT. Just because '70's surviver and Rocky Horror rocker ALICE COOPER is doing live TV link-up with an Australian night club from The London Dungeon, tempers are fraying. Bossy PR women (invariably clipboard-carrying Sloanes), heavy-duty management men and loudmouth media types complete for who can piss off the public most in the name of protecting their star commodity.

All very unnecessary, since Alice himself is the calm at the centre of this storm, friendly and chatty and utterly composed throughout all the technical tomfoolery. But because the star is temporarily unapproachable, I decide (unwisely) to ask manager Toby whether 40-ish family man Alice isn't a teensy-weensy bit old to be posing with mutilated murder victims in this top tourist trap.

"That's the stupidest question I ever heard." Ah. Rule Number One, never start with the slightly unflattering stuff. But surely Alice is living off a 20-year-old image? "Another stupid question." I see.

I'd simply love to continue this razor-sharp repartee all afternoon, but the cameras finally start turning and Alice thanks the kids for making his 20th album 'Trash' platinum in Australia. He cracks some gently jokes about The London Dungeon, several good-natured digs at Jason Donovan and dozens of self-deprecating jibes about himself.

In ten minutes of value-for-money airtime we get Alice the Comedian ("I try to find the darker side to the humour situations"), Alice the Philosopher ("Trash' had a lot of different meanings to it") and Alice the Youth Counseller ("songs like 'School's Out' relate to every generation that comes along, because they're about teenage frustrations and angst").

"Alice is a fictional character," he continues. "I play him but I don't try to live his life offstage because that would put me in jail or an asylum...even I don't hang out with Alice." But he does hang out with Axl Rose, and so, with the security fence momentarily lowered between takes, I pose the inevitable racism question.

"I don't think it was intended, they're young and they say things off the top of their heads, and later on they have to deal with it. I know Axl very well, and the last time I spoke to him I said 'When's the next album coming out?', and he said, 'It'll take about three months to record and two years to figure out if I'm saying the right thing'."

Alice - the perfect diplomat.