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(July 06, 1994)
Originally Published: July 06, 1994
Author: Dave Ling
Alice Cooper - You have been accused of the following
That it is a blatant gimmick to give away a comic with your new album, 'The Last Temptation'.
Absolutely guilty! I love blatant gimmicks! There's nothing worse than a subtle gimmick. We've given away panties, calanders, and billion dollar bills. Blatant self-promotion is a wonderful thing!
That you have been threatening to make a 'classic Alice' album for the last five years, but you always end up returning to production hitmaker Desmond Child.
Guilty - but not guilty with this album. I think I only worked with Desmond on one track on 'Hey Stoopid!', but there were a lot of other writers. With this album, apart from the two songs I wrote with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades (of Damn Yankees) and (Soundgarden's) Chris Cornell, it was more local, unknown guys from Pheonix garage bands.
Was I aware of the fans' frustration with the direction of recent albums? Oh yeah. But sometimes when you get into the studio you can get caught up in the production. With this album we were more concerned with the writing. And we accomplished what we set out to do.
That when Alice Cooper's name is mentioned, people are usually talking about a long-established personality and not a serious music entity.
Myself, I look at Alice as both. I try not to be boring, and I get a lot of extra press outside the music business. People want me to quote on politics, religion, sports, everything! That's nice, but I'm most comfortable when talking about music. I can give you an opinion on Seattle or the Florida scene, but if you want to talk politics, go talk to Sting or Phil Collins!
That you prefer playing golf to making music.
Ha! Not guilty! I've done 25 albums, that speaks for itself. Yeah, I took flak for my obsession with golf, but you gotta do something to get away from it all. You can't be in black leather all the time. This last year I spent most of my time either writing or prefaring for this album, so I've had limited time for golf.
That your revolving door band policy makes makes for the most unpredictable kind of music.
Guilty. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but I like that. I've had this band with Stef (Burns) and Greg Smith for two albums and tours now, and I haven't got a problem with that, except that my drummer Eric Singer went with Kiss because I wasn't going to tour for a couple of years. But I like working with new players and sounds - it's a cheat not to try these things. I'm in a neat position because I don't always have to be with this guitar player or that drummer, and it's the same with producers.
Some years back you recorded a Zodiac Mindwarp song and you have recently collaborated with Chris Cornell. We accuse you of feeding off whoever's popular at the time.
When I worked with Zodiac he was almost over! I only worked with Zodiac because I was loyal to him and liked his 'Tattooed Beat Messiah' album so much. It didn't matter to me whether the public knew it was done with Zodiac or not. I'm always listening for a good song, and it can come from anywhere. That's one of the reasons why I worked with these young bands from Pheonix. Nobody has violated them yet, and you get better ideas.
With Chris Cornell, I think most of the bands from Seattle have a diet of five bands: Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Kiss. Chris was a friend of my A&R man, and it was very natural to work with him. I'd also like to work with Perry Farrell and that guy from Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor).
That you have no right to sing a song called 'I'm Eighteen' anymore.
Ha! Ha! Semi-guilty! But if Alice ever does 'I'm Eighteen' and it's a boring version, I'll except it. When Alice does 'I'm Eighteen' he means it. The thing is I don't want to think Alice has an age - he could be 100 years old, he could be fifteen, or whatever he wants to be. He's very adaptable.
I've always said that if Alice ever gets fat or stupid and loses his hair, the he really shouldn't be on stage anymore. But as long as he's slim, smart and arrogant he should be up there.
That a large chunk of your current audience would not know who you were but for your now-legendary appearance in the Wayne's World movie.
Guilty. Yeah, that's very true. It's amazing how certain things can give you credibility. I did Wayne's World during the 'Trash' album, which sold three million records. It was my resurgence and I'm sure a lot of those kids thought 'Trash' was my first album - just like a lot of them thought 'Permanent Vacation' was Aerosmith's first record! They'd just turned 14 or 15 and might have heard of Alice Cooper in reference to their own group of bands saying Alice was an influence - so when they saw Alice in the flesh in Wayne's World it triggered a response. The fact the Nirvana liked Alice made him cool - it gave him a second life!
That the only way you could get on Top Of The Pops was to host the program.
Ha! Ha! Well, I didn't actually host it. They told me I could introduce a few people and I thought that it was interesting that they would want me to do that. But I realised when I got there that the last time I did Top Of The Pops was 22 years earlier with 'School's Out'!
So now I've figured out I'll keep coming back every 22 years - and still look exactly the same! The audience looked at us like we were from another planet because they were so used to seeing dance bands and these little pop groups; we were the only rock'n'roll band on there . When I would watch Top Of The Pops it would always be the Rolling Stones and T.Rex, so it was kinda cool to shock everybody back into reality!
The Judge's Verdict
ALICE COOPER, self-publicist extraordinaire, you are not worthy of being in my courtroom! At least you have the dignity to admit you immense debut to Wayne's World, if not your dependency on Desmond Child and those advancing years. You are sentenced to a lifetime of presenting Top Of The Pops....and take your promotional panties with you!