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Originally Published: April 25, 2010
Author: Darryl Sterdan
Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie are a match made in heaven. And hell.
"It's heaven for me and hell for him, probably," cracks the 62-year-old Coop, who is about to join forces with Zombie on the Gruesome Twosome tour.
"It's a great idea," says Cooper of the shock-rock double-bill, which skips around Canada this spring and summer. "Rob is like my little brother. We're so connected when it comes to our styles. Both our shows are so theatrical, it will almost look like they run into each other. It's really going to be fun."
En route to their opening gig in Winnipeg, the mascara-loving icon and longtime golf addict opened up about the bad old days, his dark new album and how this tour is going to kill him.
Is there a friendly rivalry between you and Rob?
I think we both know who's the student and who's the teacher (laughs). But I really do respect Rob - I've always said his show is like a tattoo parlour coming to life. And what I like about Rob that I don't find in anybody else's show is a sense of humour. The only other band I can think of with a sense of humour is GWAR. Most of the other bands are trying to be so heavy and so scary. We can be scary too, but there's humour. It's a good match.
You must have had some bad matches over the years.
Oh yeah. Back in the early days, there were the strangest bills. It would be Alice Cooper, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Melanie. Or us, John Lee Hooker and The Mamas and Papas. You'd go, 'What?! What can this crowd possibly have in common?'
What can the crowd expect from you this time?
This is a brand-new show. It's actually the most produced show we've done in quite a while. Rob Roth, who did Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, directed it. I asked him to shake it up and put me in situations where I have to stretch. So the first thing he did was for the song Only Women Bleed. At the end of the song, a nurse is laying in my lap. I throw her off, rip off her uniform - including her wig - put it on, and end up standing on a garbage can with a noose around my neck. And then I sing I Never Cry, standing on the garbage can. And at the end, I sing the very last line: 'And you know I never cry, I never...' But before I can say the last word, she kicks the garbage can out and I hang. It's my favourite part of the show.
Is that the only time they kill you?
They kill me four times - they hang me, they cut my head off, they put a giant hypodermic needle in me, and they put me in this box with these giant spikes that go through me. And of course, Alice keeps coming back.
You're one of the only people who could put on such a violent show without being protested.
It's so vaudevillian. And what makes it work is that the songs are done sincerely. I've told the band to look dead serious. I don't want any smiling up there. The humour comes from the absurdity of what we're doing.
Any plans for a new album?
Ten songs are written already. It's going to be called The Night Shift. The concept is, it's a really dark radio show where I'm the disc jockey, and every song I play will be by a different fictitious band. At some point, you'll realize this disc jockey is a little bit more than that. And I'm sure there will be some kind of a twist ending.
Are you going to get Zombie out on the golf course during this tour?
I doubt I will ever get him out on the links. But we'll probably watch a lot of movies. I always bring 100 or 200 DVDs of ridiculously bad horror movies on tour. So on days off, I imagine we'll be doing that.
(Original published on the Toronto Sun website on April 25th, 2010.)