Alice Cooper has no intention of resting on his laurels, in fact far from it. After a spectacular career that has spanned almost 40 years, millions in album sales, charted 14 top forty hits and finally this past March induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Alice Cooper personifies Rock and Roll the way it should be, artistic, creative, fun and professional. Combining a stage show that is pure rock theatre, with driving music, Cooper changed the face or the music world. With the release of “Welcome 2 my Nightmare” hitting outlets today, Cooper once again teams up with producer Bob Ezrin. We caught up withAliceto discuss his career and the new album.
Q: ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare” the long awaited follow up to ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ some thirty years later, where did the idea to do this one come from?
A: I thought, why not giveAlice a new nightmare 35 years later? I mean, nightmares don’t have any time limitations and since we had all the right people around that worked on the first nightmare, why not write a new one?
Q: Bob Ezrin produced both, how was it working with him again and what does he bring to a project?
A: The general writing for Nightmares come from both Bob and myself… When we get together, we bring out the worst in each other, which usually makes for a great album. Bob is not just a producer, he is a songwriter. He is our George Martin.
Q: What about this album brings a smile to your face?
A: The quality of the songs, and the musicianship of the people we put on the album… Everyone from the musicians Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner and Neal, Dennis and Michael from the original band, Vince Gill, Tommy Henriksen, to the special guests like Ke$ha.
Q: Is the new tour the same theatrical stage show or are you doing something different?
A: The stage show on this album will not be until next year, we are in the middle of a world tour right now that is designed towards big outdoor audiences and that will end December 16th. Next year we will pick up the new show, which will be designed over the break. (Alice hinted he may be coming toSouth Florida in December, but no details have been released.)
Q: Where do you come up with some of these ideas for your show?
A: I let the lyrics for the songs become the script for the show. If you say “Welcome to My Nightmare”… Give the audience the nightmare. If it’s “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever”, then I create a nightmarish Disco. I’ve got some Busby Berkley DNA in my system somewhere…
Q: Still get the same rush playing live as twenty years ago?
A: It’s impossible to get into Alice Cooper’s skin, makeup and wardrobe and stand in front of thousands of screaming fans who know every song and be bored with it. That’s like saying you’d be bored walking on a wire over theGrand Canyon.
Q: Your song writing really is creative, what goes into that process?
A: Song writing is what I spend most of my time doing. I don’t write riffs, I write songs. Bob Ezrin would never let us put what you’d refer to a “filler” song on an album. When we were learning to write, we listened to Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and even Broadway to understand how a song is constructed. And NOBODY has written their best song yet, that’s what keep’s you writing. You still have to tell a story in 3 minutess. Nobody was better at that than Chuck Berry.
Q: What can you tell us about your collaboration with Ke$ha?
A: She has a very dark side that we strip-mined… We know what her music is… and we felt she’d be a great adversary toAlice. Ke$ha playing the devil…Alice VS the Diva… Diva is very close to Devil. Plus she wrote some of the most disturbing lyrics on the album… “Bathe In Your Blood”? That was hers!
Q: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was pretty special, what did that mean to you as an artist?
A: Being inducted into the Hall Of Fame is much like graduating college. When you think of it, the very people who are voting on you are the same people that you learned from. They are the ones who give you a passing grade or not. I think our induction finally shut up the naysayers who thought we were all flash and no substance. 26 Albums, 14 top 40 hits… That’s more than most successful bands get. It all goes back to the songwriting, and being inducted really brings that home.
Q: So many acts have come and gone and you are still as strong, if not strong now than twenty years ago. Can you tell us about your longevity?
A: Our first album was reviewed as “a tragic waste of plastic.” What those people didn’t know was that was like pouring gasoline on a small fire. We never gave up, we got better and better and eventually proved everyone wrong. The way you stay in the business for as long as I have is to remain professional. Be well rehearsed, write great songs, treat every show like it’s your last show. That means everyone does 110% every show. I have never outgrown my love for the giant power chord. It also helps that I don’t show up in mirrors or on film and I’m close to 400 years old…
Q: What was it like working with the guys on ‘Skum Rocks!’?
A: They’re Skum… what can you say? There’s the Beatles, there’s Dylan, there’s Skum… End of story!