Known as the godfather of shock rock, Alice’s unique the atrical approach to both music and showmanship has singled him out as one of the greatest
hard rock entertainers the world has ever seen. His outrageous antics, which have seen him killed on stage more than 2,300 times, have earned him world famous notoriety for his shows, with guillotines, Frankenstein monsters, boa constrictors, electric chairs and psychotic nurses just a few of the horrors Cooper brings to life on stage.
And if his distinctive brand of chaos didn’t turn your head then the wealth of classic hits he’s penned probably did, including the infamous anti-education beyondmags.com anthem ‘School’s Out’ which had us all raising our fists to the sky on our last day of school.
As far as rock legends go, Alice’s name is practically carved in stone as one of the greats. A status which was firmly cemented in 2011 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, celebrating a career which has spanned over five decades. With that in mind, as I made my way to sit
down with the Coop at Manchester Arena it was with jelly-like legs, trembling hands and a unshakeable feeling of fear. After all it isn’t every day you get to rub shoulders with rock royalty, much less one famed for being quite the menace on stage.
But as he enters the room, surprisingly with the iconic streaks of heavy black make-up removed, I found him to be warm, friendly and a real pleasure to meet. He even jokes about his notorious reputation, laughing as he recalls a picture of himself hanging from a noose pinned on a wall in the White House during Nixon’s presidency: “I’m not sure if he was a fan or not – I think I was probably just on the death list!” he jokes.
My meeting with Alice came while he was in town as a special guest on Mötley CrÜe’s Final Tour. While it’s been four years since his last album release, he hasn’t been sat idly with his feet up. Proving that age slows no man, in between playing more than 100 dates in arenas all around the world with Mötley and fronting his own headline shows, Alice has joined up with buddies Johnny Depp and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry to form rock supergroup the Hollywood Vampires. The band, who released their debut album in September 2015, was formed to honour the music of Alice’s former drinking buddies who died from excess in the 1970s. The drinking club, known as the Hollywood Vampires due to their late night outings, included John Lennon, Keith Moon, Ringo Starr and Bernie Taupin among its principal members, and now the creatures of the night have been let loose from their lair once again as Cooper raises the dead in tribute to what he quips as his ‘dead drunk friends.’
He said: “I’m really pleased with the response we’ve had to the album. It got to number three in the charts which was great. We may get together to make another one and do something different next time with some original songs if we can get the timing right.”“Everyone involved has their ownbands and are doing their own things so it can be difficult to get everyone together at the same time because of schedules.”
“You know what most people don’t realise about Johnny is that first and foremost he’s a musician,” he says. “When he first came out to L.A. it was with his band; that was what he always wanted to do. He was a musician way before he became an actor.”
“If you asked Johnny he would tell you that acting is his day job,” Alice laughs. “That’s like his hobby!” No strangers to working together after sharing the screen in Tim Burton’s horror-comedy Dark Shadows, and with Johnny invariably popping up as a guest guitarist at
some of Cooper’s shows, Alice is thrilled to be able to call Depp his guitar player.He said: “Johnny is the nicest, most down-to-earth guy you could ever wish to meet. Working with him is great and he’s a very good friend of mine.”“Working on this album we had Joe Perry, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Tommy Henriksen, and all these great musicians and when Johnny came in he was just as good as everyone else there. He’s a fantastic guitar player and a lot of people don’t really know that.” Despite the stellar list of acclaimed musicians featured on the album, it seems
even the likes of Alice Cooper isn’t immune to feeling a little star-struck, as he recalls the moment Sir Paul McCartney got involved:“Johnny called him up and said is this something you would want to get involved in. The next thing you know Paul is there. He walked in the room, sat down at the piano and just started playing ‘Come And Get It’,” Alice laughs as he recalls the moment.
“Then he starts pointing and saying right “you take the high notes” and “you take the lead on that”, and me, Johnny and Joe were all just looking at each other open mouthed like ‘oh my god, this is Sir Paul! He is the Beatle!”But supergroup projects aside, the 67-year-old master of madness is keeping busy with no plans of retirement on the cards any time soon and any talk of Alice meeting his untimely end by guillotine or electric chair in the near future is firmly dismissed with a laugh.
“I absolutely love performing. It’s the best part of my day. I always look forward to it and I can’t imagine not being on stage,” he says. “You can never kill Alice. Alice will never die.