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Originally Published: July 24, 1997
Author: Gary Graff
DETROIT (Reuter) - Alice Cooper doesn't feel too offended by not being invited to be part of the Lilith Fair tour. He is a guy, after all.
But Cooper figures they're missing something.
"Yeah," he says, "I can do my special 90-minute version of 'Only Women Bleed."'
Not very P.C., but political correctedness has never been Cooper's bailiwick.
Before Marilyn Manson was riling up the religious right, before Kiss was spitting blood and before Ozzy Osbourne was biting the heads off doves, Cooper was shocking PTAs and even love-bead-wearing hippies by smearing on mascara, hacking up baby dolls, playing with snakes, simulating executions onstage and singing about "Sick Things," "Dead Babies" and other unsavory topics.
"We were the nail in the coffin of the peace generation," the former Vincent Furnier -- the Detroit-born son of a preacher -- likes to say.
Nearly three decades later, Cooper is still at it, though his antics are hardly as subversive after years of slasher films and imitation by other groups -- for which he's sincerely flattered.
He's drawn a line in his life between the Alice Cooper stage persona and the person, a father of two who lives near Phoenix and is a sport nut who loves to golf and is religiously observant in his own life.
"Alice doesn't golf," says Cooper, who took the name from a 17th-century witch he claimed contacted him through a Ouija board. "There's no telling what he'd do with those clubs if they were around.
"Nowadays, I've got this perfect separation thing with Alice. I mean, my kids refer to Alice as Alice. When they see a video or something on TV, they don't say, 'There's daddy.' It's always, 'Oh, there's Alice Cooper'... like a character like Darth Vader or something."
Cooper -- who makes a guest appearance on "The Great Milenko," the controversial new album by hip-hoppers Insane Clown Possee -- is working on a new album, which will hopefully be released in 1998.
But his latest project is a live album, "A Fistful of Alice," accompanied by a home video and a concert special that airs at 8 p.m. ET Aug. 12 on VH-1.
Cooper has gone the live-album route before, with 1977's "The Alice Cooper Show." But he considers "Fistful" to be his "first real live album," since its predecessor was recorded under duress.
"This was after the 'Welcome to My Nightmare' tour was done and over, and someone said we had to go back to Vegas to do a live album," Cooper, 49, recalls. "I was already mentally out of that tour. I had alcohol problems I couldn't cope with. Every time I look at that album, it puts me in the place where I don't really want to be.
"This album is sort of, to me, like really my first live album, because I was there. I actually remember doing it."
Besides such enduring hits as "School's Out," "I'm Eighteen," "Poison" and "Billion Dollar Babies," "Fistful" also features a new song, "Is Anyone Home?," plus material Cooper has seldom put into his live show -- including "Teenage Lament 74," which, in its recorded version, features guest vocals by Liza Minelli and the Pointer Sisters that Cooper felt could never be reproduced on stage.
Cooper says he usually considers live albums "filler" but says he was motivated to record his current band for posterity.
"A lot of people think this band I have now is the best band I've ever had," he says. "It's a good rock 'n' roll band, true to the original sound of the records. It's just guys we got together, and all of a sudden we could really sound like the original band.
"We'd just come up with something and say, 'Let's try this.' We keep forgetting those songs were Top 5 records; "I Never Cry" was our biggest-selling single, and we never do it. I said, 'Well, somebody must've bought it. I've got the gold singles. Maybe we better start doing some of this stuff onstage."'
The group had helpers on "Fistful" as well. Recorded June 2, 1996, at fellow rocker Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, it features guest appearances by Hagar, Guns N Roses guitarst Slash and White Zombie frontman Rob Zombie.
"Rob is a kick to watch onstage," Cooper says. "He's got that weird cajun voodoo stomp, that Western thing that he does.
"He kind of reminds me so much of myself; off stage he's so quiet and mild-mannered. He likes to go shopping with his wife, does all the things normal guys do. Then I looked at him onstage and thought, 'I'm not getting near this guy!' People must feel the same way about me."
Cooper is touring North America through August with his "Rock 'n' Roll Carnival Tour," which also includes hard rock veterans Dokken, Slaughter and Warrant.
And besides the new album, he's hoping to soon release a boxed set retrospective of his career, which has been planned for quite awhile.
"It's been 99 percent finished for three years," Cooper says, "but every time they get close to releasing it, some form of record company politics, usually caused by lawyers, stops it dead in its tracks -- which is a shame, because I'm really looking forward to listening to it."