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(February 10, 1987)
Originally Published: February 10, 1987
HALIFAX - Nothing terrifies shock rocker Alice Cooper more than decor at the Holiday Inn.
"How could you live with those colors? Turquoise and coral. Anybody who would think of that is scary."
This is from the man who regularly wraps a 3 1/2-metre boa constrictor around his body.
Cooper, the first musician to marry horror and rock, is best known for his 1970s hits like School's Out and Only Women Bleed and for his gruesome stage show that includes props like a guillotine, electric chair and, or course, the prerequisite boa constrictor.
Cooper is bringing his new show to Canada later this month, beginning with a concert in Halifax on Feb. 23. He's touring to promote Constrictor, his first album since the disco era.
In a telephone interview from his home in Phoenix, Ariz., he promises the show will be the goriest ever.
"If you're in the first couple of rows I would suggest you wear something red. Theatrically we've taken it past what we've done before."
For the show, which opened Halloween night in Detroit, Cooper hired two people who worked on the films Alien and The Fly to create special effects.
"I can't tell you what'll happen on stage," he says. "I can tell you the band is probably the best band I've ever worked with on stage. It's the most fun I've ever had on tour."
Cooper, who's real name is Vincent Furnier, thinks his act is harmless fun - like seeing a good horror film.
"I give my audience credit for knowing what's satire."
The singer, who has been married for 11 years and has a five-year-old daughter, Calico and a son, Dashiell, 1 1/2, says he's nothing like the persona he creates on stage.
"I don't ever hang around with Alice," he insists. "I talk about him in the third person because he's a character."
A self-confessed horror movie junkie, he created Alice in 1970 and hit the charts with rebellious, hard rock songs like No More Mr. Nice Guy and Eighteen.
Once, in the middle of a tour, someone backstage handed him a snake and he wrapped it around himself on stage. "When I saw the reaction, I saw it was such a great idea."
He's now on his fifth boa constrictor - Mistress - who lives with the Cooper family in a well-heeled Phoenix neighborhood Cooper calls "the Beverly Hills of the desert."
Asked about the snake's diet, he quips: rabbits, "Holiday Inn maids", and "a groupie once in a while."
Though disco put Cooper's style of music out of fashion for a few years, it's now back in vogue and a number of heavy metal bands show a Cooper influence. Some have even "totally ripped me off," he notes. He doesn't mind - in fact, he takes it as a compliment and a challenge.
"I need to go out there with the attitude that everybody is copying me and I have to show them how it's done."