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Originally Published: November 1995
Author: Kristina Estlund
After his last Epic Records project, Klassicks, shock-rock king Alice Cooper signed with Hollywood Records, whose president, Bob Pfeifer, coincidentally had signed Alice to Epic in the first place. While avid and rabid fans champ at the bit for new material, Warner Brothers will soothe your ears with a killer box set scheduled for release after the first of the year. Vacationing in Florida before his dates in South America with Ozzy Osbourne, Alice called to let loose: "These are just little pet peeves, but they really bother me....There's things here that I have been trying to get off my chest for a long time. Things that you just can not, can not air anywhere else, except in your magazine!" And air away he did....
Just Quiet Down and Eat Yer Popcorn!: When I'm not tourng, I go to a lot of movies. There's so much movie etiquette that is abused in America-especially by people that talk through movies. I think that's my number one pet peeve. And I always seem to sit in the moron section: I'm always sitting next to the guy that goes, "Hey, he's got...Don't go in there! He's behind..." and you turn around and you go, "Is this like your first time in a movie?" That is my worst pet peeve, people that talk during a movie. I never deal with them, but Brian (Nelson, Alice's longtime assistant and biggest fan-he set this whole thing up!) is the worst. He'll just turn around and blast 'em. I hate being politically correct-in fact, I always tell people I'm politically incoherent-but when it comes to movies, come on! You just paid $6 to see a movie! Another thing about movies that I don't get: You're going to a movie, maybe it's like the ten o'clock movie, and you're the only one in there-my wife and I will go into a movie, or Brian and I, sometimes when we're on the road and there's maybe two people in the whole movie. And five people will come in and sit in your aisle. In your row! Two seats away from you. And you want to look over and say, "Is this, like, for warmth? Because you're cold, you need the bodies near you or something?" And then when you get up to move, you're afraid that they're going to go, "Oh, what's the matter, you're too cool to sit with us?" In my case, I'm always afraid, ya know, that I'm going to offend somebody. I ask very little in this life. A nice movie, ya know? For people to be quiet! I never understand people that walk in 20 minutes after a movie has started, either. And I sit there and I go: Well, they just missed everything about this plot, how can they? What are they thinking? It's a drug deal...They just came in here to... Beeper and cellulars don't bother me-as long as they don't start talking on them! That's incredibly rude. It's like, you don't want to go, "I'm gonna tell the manager on you!" I've sent Brian back and said, "Brian, go tell somebody to get these guys out of here!"
Fan Etiqeutte, Rule No. 1: I'll be onstage and I can look down on an audience, and I get people in my vision, ya know, the first ten rows, and so I've got about a thousand people in my vision. And if somebody goes to get something, it really gets my attention. I go, Wait a minute, ya know, I didn't rivet them to the stage? How dare they leave in the middle of the set? I'm always amazed that they'll leave in the middle of an incredibly dramatic part. I don't care what it is. I wait until something dull's going to happen before I leave. I'm just getting ready to pull the trigger on some great illusion or something, and then the guy goes, "Ah, I gotta go get some water."
Up, Up and Away: Another thing that just drives me crazy is balloons. I hate balloons! Squeaking balloons-people that squeak balloons and make, like, balloon animals, that is one of my worst-I hate that more than anything in the world. Worse than nails on a chalkboard for me, by far. If I walk into a restaurant and there's some clown there making balloon animals... And I've got three kids who, of course, immediately want them. Balloon-animal clowns are like on the top of my hit list. I just hate them..The sound. The sound. And then the kids get them and start squeaking. So I get on an airplane, and you gotta go to Spain or something and there's a kid, and all of a sudden you look down the aisle and he's got a balloon, and you have 13 hours and he's gotta balloon! I immediately light up a cigarette-and I don't smoke-and I just walk by and just kinda pop it and say, "Oh, I'm sooo sorry!" There's no place in this world for balloons with me.
Styrofoam and Driving Don't Mix: Bad drivers don't bother me as much as Styrofoam. I hate Styrofoam too. People that chew on Styrofoam cups. I want to, like, kill them. If I'm sitting there and somebody's chewing on Styrofoam...or squeaking it, I just want to go over and say, "I have a lot of money in my pocket, I'll give you everythng if you'll put that Styrofoam down! Okay? Just do that for me?" Big things really don't bother me; it's the little things.
People who don't care when they drive... They change lanes without looking over their shoulder. You're driving and they just switch lanes. I honestly get to a point where I understand (the mentality). I have thoughts like, Boy, if I just had a gun, I'd shoot the guy's tires out. I would never shoot the person, but I would definitely let them know that they've switched lanes without looking. And it's always some little person that can barely see over the steering wheel-the most dangerous people on Earth.
A Dollar Off If You Open Your Own CD: Opening CD cases. I hate opening CD cases! Especially when you're doing autographs and you've got a thousand people in line and they've all got CDs, and they're all closed with the wrapper on it! They've got that stupid little piece of seal on there. And I'm going, Please, just open it for me and I'll sign anything, I'll put the Declaration of Independence on there if you want me to, BUT OPEN IT! There must be an easier way, they will invent it, but it'll be 20 years after I stop signing autographs.
Coming Home: Getting off an airplane-you've just been on a nine-hour flight-and people get off and their family meets them in the gateway thing. Like 20 people stop there and nobody can get off the airplane. They haven't seen each other in 30 years...and they have the balloons and the computerized WELCOME HOME, GARY and all that stuff. And he has to hug all 20 people, and you're standing there and you're going, I really gotta pee, I really gotta get to a bathroom.
Feast For Some: Long dinners, I don't mind eating, but I hate sitting at a table for five hours. In Europe when you go and you meet the record company, they always want to impress you with like a 75-course dinner. To me, I like to get in there, go to a great restaurant, eat and then go somewhere. You know you're in trouble when you sit down and you're in Amsterdam or something, or you're in Denmark, and they start out with aperitifs, and they have those appetizers and then they say, "Well, let's have a salad." Okay, You've been there two and half hours and they haven't taken your order yet. And you're going, Oh, God, please just let this thing end. After dinner, then, of course, there's desserts. And then coffee. And then, "How about some cheese?" Cheese?! Come on! It's over! Go home, you must have a life of some sort! Breakfast is in an hour! No, but they love to drag it out. Then you get done and they go, "Would you like to go out to a club?" No, I want to go home and watch really bad Danish TV! Take me back to my hotel! So I've gotten to a point now where I say, "Yeah, I'll go out to dinner for one hour. That's it. So make it quick, three orders and let's go." I mean, if it's a good Italian restaurant or a French restaurant, I'll eat half a loaf of bread before the meal [arrives]!
A Major Fashion Faux Pas: This is probably just me, I don't know what it is-but I hate socks and sandals! That, to me, is like every Scandinavian tourist in the world. Why do you want to look like you belong in a sanatorium? Why do you want to look like what you are going to look like in 60 years?! Your uncles wear that! Your uncle that is deaf and slobbers and everything, he wears sandals and socks because he thinks it's comfortable. I can't stand Birkenstocks to start with, and I've got a 14-year-old daughter that says, "Ahh, I gotta have Birkenstocks." And now I'm at a point of saying, "You can have Birkenstocks, but if I ever see you with socks on with them, you're out of this family." Those people end up being psycho killers, I'm telling you. There's actually a study that's been made that most people who were serial killers wore socks and sandals. Pick one! Pick the socks or the sandals!
All's Warm and Ale Too: How come in Europe they haven't invented ice yet? You know, being from Arizona, I put ice in everything. Why order a Coke if you haven't got ice in it? And their response is always, "It's cold enough." No, it isn't! It's not cold enough. You're English, you drink hot beer! Whaddaya mean, "It's cold enough"? Don't give me "It's cold enough." Especially when you get into Scandinavia..."No, no, no ice." I said, "There's 7 billion tons of ice outside, go get some! Put it in the drink. Use it for something." And their TV! Okay, it's nine o'clock and I'm watching the BBC on a Saturday night in England, and they have a two-hour special on soybeans! This is on their network televison! Okay, I picture the [TV programming] guy sitting at a table going, "Okay, nine o'clock, everybody's home watching TV, what do we want? Let's have something on prairie dogs." Come on! Soybeans? Soybeans and Our Life. Without Soybeans... WHAT? It's hard enough being out of America-we're so used, I'm am absolutely used, to having access to 60 television stations. So I can watch Gilligan's Island or Andy Griffith 60 times a day if I want to. But, I mean, when you get to Europe, they just have no concept... Everything they have is very bureaucratic. Ya know, "The Bureau for the Interior today..." What happened to O.J.? Come on! The fans are great over there, but I don't know how they can live over there! When you get a fan in Europe, they're a fan for life. They know every song on every album, and they don't just know the hits, they know everything. I wish American fans were as dedicated. It's funny, 'cause their charts are disposable, but the fans are... when they catch a band, they're fans for life.
How To Do An Interview, Part One: Well, for me, ya know, I'll do 14 interviews a day when I get into an interview thing. They've got 15 minutes, and the first thing I hear is, "Let's start all the way back at the beginning..." And you realize they've got 30 years to talk about in 15 minutes and you can't get through the first year. And you sit there and you go, "Really?" I get to the point now where I say with Brian, "Set this whole thing up, this interview is about what happened in the last three months." Because if everybody doesn't know how Alice got his name by now...And then I sit there and I go, Okay, I'm going to give them some answer I've never given anybody else. Some ridiculously stupid story, so when they write it they really look like a moron!
Fan Etiquette, Rule No. 2: I sign EVERYTHING. When peole come up for an autograph, man, I'll stand there-if there's 50 people standing around, I will sign EVERYTHING. I am one of those people that...I will never turn anybody down for an autograph. But I will be walking through a mall or something, and I'll get somebody that spends all day knowing I was going to be there and they'll run up, "Can I have your autograph?" Sure, of course. And then they're just dumbfounded. And you go, "Well?" Well, they don't have a pen and they don't have paper. And you go, "You mean you've been here all this time, you knew I was coming through, and you don't have a pen or a paper? Right?" "Right." And then I go, "Well, what would you like me to do?" And I make sure that I don't have a pen or a paper, just so I can't say, "Well, I have one!" And I look at them and I go, "Well, go get one!" I'll be walking-I'll be in the Sharper Image buying a pen just in case I see somebody I want to get an autograph from. Other ones, I've had people that [say], "Can I take your picture?" You know, people that have been waiting outside the hotel: "I really want to take your picture." Sure, you can take the picture. "Okay, wait a minute, let me load the camera." Okay... And it's 128 below out. You mean, you knew I was going to be here, you've been here for three hours, but you figured that you wouldn't put any film in the camera in case I didn't show up? Brian loves these, because he's been there on every one of these.
It's The Little Things: How about people who act like they've never been through a metal detector? They just stand there and they go through and they go, "Oh, you mean I have to take my belt off?" They go back thorugh..."Oh, my keys." You go, "Is this your first time in an airport? Really?"
Okay, you're standing waiting for an elevator, and the button is already pushed, and somebody comes up and they push it like 12 times. Like it's going to make the elevator come faster. Like the elevator's going to say, "Oooh, oh, I'm sorry, I didn't...."
My last one is infomercials. But you know what? I've changed my mind on those. Because I'm really starting to look at the infomercial as a piece of American art. I'm really starting to look at the guy, that exercise guy with all the energy, long hair in a ponytail...Tony, "the abosizer guy." I'm starting to like him now 'cause he's really over the top; he's gone past all the barriers with me-to the point where I'm really starting to go, This guy's good.
That's not the only infomercial, my favorite is the spray-on hair. I'm really starting to get to the point now where it's the most amazing hard sell and I'm starting to actually order things. I'm starting to think, Maybe there is a faster way to tight buns! You know what? I would like to thaw my meat on something that you don't plug in! I'm ordering that. That's amazing to me. That you could actually put ice cubes on a rock and it melts. Usually at Christmas I mass-order something as a gift. That may be what I order.