ALICE COOPER: ‘I Sometimes Rebel Against My Own Fans’

Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with legendary rocker Alice Cooper. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Classic Rock Revisited: When did the idea come up to do a sequel [to the album “Welcome To My Nightmare”]?

Alice: It’s funny, we weren’t even going to do this; it wasn’t the original idea. I was just going to write some songs with [producer] Bob [Ezrin]. We started talking and it was the 35th anniversary of the album “Welcome To My Nightmare”. We started wondering what Alice‘s nightmares would be 35 years later. One thing led to another and pretty soon we were writing songs. Seventeen songs later, we had an album. We weren’t there to write an album and, out of nowhere, we had one. Not only that, but it was one of the five best albums we’ve ever done. We were kind of surprised that so many good things came out of it.

Classic Rock Revisited: How is it different writing for the character Alice then it is for a normal album?

Alice: When you’re writing for a character, for somebody other than yourself, then it’s different. I might write the greatest song that I’ve ever written and then I will realize that Alice would never sing this. It could be a great song for GUNS N’ ROSES, or the FOO FIGHTERS, but it is not a song that Alice would ever sing. Being a songwriter, you just write the song and it comes out the way that it is. If it’s usable, then a lot of times we can twist the lyrics around enough to make it sound like Alice, but a lot of times you can’t. Bob and I would sit there and be very objective about Alice. We’d talk about him in the third person without getting personal about it. I would say, “Bob, that whole second section there is not Alice.” Bob would listen to it and say, “You know, you’re right. Let’s change that.” If I were writing for Captain Hook, then I would be able to do it because I kind of know how he thinks about things, but you couldn’t just write anything and have Captain Hook sing it.

Classic Rock Revisited: Tell me about the song you did with [pop singer] Ke$ha? When I saw her name on the album I went, “What the hell?”

Alice: I sometimes rebel against my own fans. When my fans come up to me and go, “You can’t have someone like her on your record.” Then I go, “I can’t? Why?” If someone tells me that I can’t have Vince Gill play lead on a song, then I say, “Why?” If he plays the greatest guitar solo that you ever heard, then who cares? I met Ke$ha at the Grammys and she never looked to me like a diva; she looked like a rock singer. I told her, “Eventually, everyone leaves the divas. There is no way you can have a long lasting career as no one ends up loving the divas forever. However, everybody loves a rock band.” It’s true — no one ever says anything bad about Chrissie Hynde. I am trying to talk her into getting a real rock band behind her. When I met her, I had an idea for a song. I needed a character to play the devil. In the song, she finally has enough, and it’s time for Alice to pay her with his soul. We decided to call it “What Baby Wants Baby Gets”, because in the song he tries to say, “Hey, that wasn’t part of the deal,” and she says, “No, no, no, you don’t understand, what baby wants, baby gets!” For me, it was a perfect line for her to say. .

Classic Rock Revisited: I have heard she even calls you “dad.” Is that true?

Alice: Yeah, I’m kind of like her dad. She comes in the studio and she is wearing next to nothing, and I’m like, “Put a sweater on.” I have two daughters and I’m always telling them that. I’m trying to tell a 22-year-old what to do. Bob Ezrin does the same thing. Bob and I really are like her two dads. She does respect us, which is good.

Read the entire interview from Classic Rock Revisited.