James Campion of The Aquarian Weekly recently conducted an interview with legendary rocker Alice Cooper. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Aquarian Weekly: The first question I must ask, and it has to be framed as any self-respecting Alice Cooper fan would: How important does the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame feel that it now has the great Alice Cooper as one of its own?
Alice: What I think it did was open the door to acts that were probably gonna have a hard time. When you get an Alice Cooper in, it kind of breaks some new ground in there for bands like KISS or IRON MAIDEN. Even though we sold 50 million records, I mean, we had all of the qualifications to be in; it’s just that Alice Cooper‘s image was that of the outsider and I think there are a lot of bands that are outsider bands. As commercial as KISS are, they’re an outsider band. So I think us getting in opened the door for harder rock bands.
The Aquarian Weekly: For a ’70s kid, I mean, ignoring Alice Cooper? I know you had the theatrics, which unfairly always seems to put you in danger of the novelty label, but what you guys did as a band and your solo work defined rock music for that generation, especially as innovators. It’s as if the voters feel the need to ignore the impact of that period and the bands that dominated it.
Alice: Far more important for me was the music. It’s nice to have all the trappings and we did break a lot of ground when it came to our kind of shows, I mean, nobody had ever even used up-lighting or down-lighting before us. We were the first ones to use truss lighting, which is still a big influence on what’s going on today. But the fact that the songs and the albums still hold up, I think it finally proves what we said all along: We spent 90 percent of our time on the music and like 10 percent of the time on the theatrics. The theatrics came easy to us. It was the music that we really had to work at and I think we’re being cited for the music as much as anything else.
The Aquarian Weekly: The music triggered a great deal of the theatrics from the beginning. Each of your albums always appeared to have a theme and a different characterization of the Alice that would inform the shows.
Alice: To me, I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but I’ve always thought of everything in concepts from the very beginning. It always seemed to me that any song is conceptual. For instance, if you come up with a title, any title at all, I don’t care what it is, it could be “Welcome To My Nightmare”, so write a show around that. “Welcome To My Nightmare”? Okay, what does it consist of? All right, we’ve got a little kid that can’t wake up from his nightmare. Okay, that’s good, now what happens to him? So for me, right there, I start writing out the whole idea of the story and then I start filling in the details as songs. So, okay, there’ll be “Cold Ethyl”. She’ll be this fantasy love character and maybe she’s dead. I don’t know; let’s make that part of the nightmare. “Only Women Bleed”? Let’s make that part of the nightmare. It was always like that for me. I can’t not think in terms of concepts. It’s automatic to me. I think every album I’ve done has been a conceptual album in my head.
Read the entire interview from The Aquarian Weekly.