Originally Published: August 16, 2009
Author: Tamar McKewen
How many times has Alice Cooper died? It's hard to know but by the end of his current Theatre of Death tour he'll likely have kicked the bucket at least 300 times.
Next month when he reaches New Zealand for his one-night-only, sold-out show at Auckland's ASB Theatre, there will have been 160 on-stage murders already.
Rumour has it the death count has been amped up for the Theatre of Death tour to four deaths per night.
But Cooper was keeping his cards close to his chest.
What he will say is the current show "may be the best show I've done since Welcome to My Nightmare".
"It's one of those shows where once it starts, if you turn and say something to someone you're going to miss something.
"I filled this show up with so much visual stuff going on - 28 songs - I really wanted to make sure that it was so full of stuff that when people left they said 'wow, I'm exhausted'."
Cooper should be exhausted. The Theatre of Death tour is made up of 75 shows across the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe over five months.
But he insisted he never gets tired of killing on stage.
"The six months that I'm out on tour is usually pretty hectic and we make sure we work a lot.
"I don't like working three nights a week - I want to work five nights. I don't like sitting around in hotel rooms. I'd rather look forward to the night the show is on - that's the highpoint of the evening."
As well as throwing himself into the "complicated" new show Cooper scours the net to ensure he's getting the right reviews.
"It's interesting because now you get blogs and you get twitters and you get all this reaction from the show the next day.
"I used to go and read the review in the newspaper - now I look at the audience's reaction and I've seen nothing but really great reaction to the show."
Fan approval is basically what drives Alice. If he ever worried about critics, those days are over, as well as the days of making records for money.
His latest album Along Came a Spider is his 25th. Commercial success was a bonus but it's not his main goal.
"I judge the success on how the audience reacts and if I get emails that say 'wow this album kills me it's so good' then I think it's a very successful album.
"In the early days it was important to us to sell a lot of records because like everybody else we were trying to make money and now I'm at a period in my life where I really don't really need that money as much as I care about people liking the album."
Cooper had a theory about why fans kept buying his work.
"I think Alice fans have always been sort of the lunatic fringe.
"Most of my fans are probably not fans of Beyonce or not fans of you know Lil Wayne," he laughed.
"Once they become an Alice fan they become an Alice fan for life and for those people that are that loyal every time I do an album I do an album basically for them."
Cooper said he was "absolutely" looking forward to connecting with his New Zealand fans.
He was last in New Zealand at Rock2Wgtn in March last year. His fellow act Ozzy Osbourne was apparently less than impressed with the enthusiasm of the Wellington crowd.
No such problems for Cooper.
"I think the crowd reacts to what you give them. If you're going to get up there and be boring I don't expect the crowd to react but if you give them a show that they can't resist if you give them a show that really entertains them and gets them going then I expect them to react in a big loud.
"The last thing I want is a polite audience."
He reckons fans who were impressed by his offering at Rock2Wgtn will be blown away by his Theatre of Death show.
"I wanted to make this show really, really theatrical and really, really loud so it just really blows your head off."
He was sorry there was only one show set for New Zealand but insisted the band wanted to return after the Theatre of Death tour finished.
"I think there's a misconception with audiences that bands go where they want to go. We only go where the promoters send us.
"We might want to play New Zealand for five nights but the promoter has got to put that together."
But Cooper said he would be back and until then music's most famous murder victim isn't going anywhere -- there will be more albums, more tours, more Alice Cooper.
"Rock needs a villain. I'm kind of like the Vincent Price of rock and roll.
"I think there's a consistency to Alice in the music and in the stage show where when you come to see Alice you know it's going to be a good stage show.
"I don't think I've disappointed anyone on that."
(Originally appeared online on the New Zealand Herald website, on 16th August 2009.)