An Interview With Alice
By Jules E. Beuck & Rose Botkin-Beuck
Photos courtesy of Anders Mossberg @ http://welcome.to/alicecooper
And Rose Botkin-Beuck
Alice Cooper has been stretching the boundaries of hard rock for close to thirty years now. Frank Zappa was the first to sign Alice Cooper to a recording contract, but it was not until Alice hooked up with producer Bob Ezrin and Warner Brothers records that he had his biggest successes. As with anyone who has had a long career in the music business, there have been up and down periods and Cooper is hoping that this is the beginning of a new up period. In June of 2000 he released his latest album, "Brutal Planet," on Spitfire Records and he is currently touring behind it.
We recently got to speak with Alice Cooper. One thing he told us early in the interview, was that Alice Cooper is a character he made up (his real name is Vincent Furnier). To see what else he told us, read on.
DaBelly: How did you come up with the concept for "Brutal Planet?" What influenced it?
Alice Cooper: I was looking for new theater to put Alice into, he can be placed in any situation. For the first time in my career, (the news) is scarier than anything I could write. After seeing the Kosovo wars and Colombine, I wondered how Alice might see the future. Alice sees things negatively (He, Vincent, does not.). "Brutal Planet" is what Alice would see as the future. This is the heaviest thing I have ever done. "Brutal Planet" is theater based on reality, I'm going to shock with reality.
DB: You were once quoted as saying when you write music you write only lyrics. Is that still true on "Brutal Planet?"
Cooper: I wrote all the lyrics and a lot of the music.
DB: How did you hook up with the current group of musicians?
Cooper: I have known them for a long time. They are gunslingers; they have played in many big hard rock bands. I have known drummer Eric Singer over ten years; they have all been in my band off and on for the last five years.
DB: Bob Ezrin is the executive producer for "Brutal Planet;" you and he have been working together for many, many years, how did you first meet?
Cooper: When I do a conceptual album, he is the first one I think of. He was a young kid with classical training out of Canada. Jack Richardson, who produced the Guess Who, did not know what to do with us, so he gave us to Ezrin.
DB: How are you going to get radio stations to play "Brutal Planet" in light of there being a reluctance to play new music by long established artists?"
Cooper: I'm getting more airplay with this album than my last two albums. A lot of bands now are only designed to last two or three years. The record companies want to make their profit off a band and get out. When we started, Warner Brothers thought of our career, not just a few albums.
DB: In your present live show, what props from the old shows can we expect to see?
Cooper: The guillotine is the only thing left from the old set. There are five or six new things, I don't want to keep doing the same thing. The first part of the show is heavy and dark, but I finish with all the old hits so people will leave feeling good.
DB: How long has your restaurant in Phoenix been open? How are things going there and how often do you actually get there?
Cooper: It has been open since last December. It was named the number one theme restaurant in the United States. It is a family restaurant. It is not fancy, it is truck stop food done really well, it's barbecue. When I am home I am there three times a week.
DB: What is the biggest change you have seen in yourself and /or your music over the years?
Cooper: Music doesn't change that much, hard rock never dies. Technology is the only thing that has changed. I try not to do anything in the show that is not natural. I go for specific lighting, props and costumes based on the show. I don't try to buy the show, I try to build the show. Everyone in the crew, from the bus driver on up, is part of the show.
DB: When will your movie "Attic Expeditions" be released?
Cooper: I do not know when it will be released; I play a mental patient in the movie.
DB: You and Dave Mustaine of Megadeath are close friends, are their any plans for collaborations between the two of you?
Cooper: No. I was sort of his sponsor when he got sober and we have been close for years. He is one of the partners in my restaurant, Alice Cooperstown. So are Randy Johnson and a bunch of other sports and music people.
DB: There was talk of you receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Do
you know when, or if you have already,
where it is located?
Cooper: This is one of those honors you get if you last long enough in show business. It has not happened yet. I do not know when, but it might possibly happen in January.
DB: Thank you for your time. Is there anything you would like to add?
Cooper: If you have not seen Alice, or not seen him in a while, you do not want to miss this show, it is comparable to "Welcome To My Nightmare."
Return to DaBelly