Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s Metalshrine conducted an interview with with guitarist Ryan Roxie, who recently rejoined ALICE COOPER after several years’ absence. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: So, how did all this come about? Was it Alice Cooper reaching out to you or did you call him since Steve Hunter‘s departure?
Ryan: Well, the thing that’s been really cool about the Alice Cooper organization is that the relationship I’ve had with them since I moved to Sweden has always been one of support. I had to leave the tour in early 2006 because it came to a point where I really needed to see my kids grow up. I talked to so many rock and rollers who hadn’t had that opportunity. The biggest influence on me making this decision was Eddie Ojeda from TWISTED SISTER. We were touring together at the time after my son had been born and Eddie just said point blank, “I didn’t see my daughter grow up as much as I would have liked to and now she’s 18 years old. All through her formative years, I was touring and I would’ve liked to see a lot more of those years.” I didn’t have the luxury of being able to bring the kids out on the road at the time. It was nothing but support from Alice Cooper and his camp and they basically said to me, “We understand, family comes first.” Every time I talk about Alice Cooper, it’s most definitely positive.. he’s taught me so much more about music than just playing songs. I respect him and look up to him. So when he came here last summer and he played Gröna Lund and Getaway Festival, I was just coming off season one of “The Big Rock Show” (Ryan Roxie‘s web TV-show now changing its name to “All Excess With Ryan Roxie”), I was starting to compile interviews for the show I will be releasing called “All Exccess”. I just asked Alice if I could get an exclusive interview and he gave me one of the coolest one-on-one talks we’ve ever had. I haven’released it yet, but lookout for it later in the year. We sat down and we talked about some stuff that I think you’ve probably never heard in interviews before, and during the whole course of it, I just felt this, “Yeah, man, nothing’s really changed. We still have this great chemistry whether it’s off stage or on stage.” And at the end of the interview, he said, “Hey, Roxie, you wanna come up on stage and play the encore?” And I said, “It would be an honor. It’s so good for me to be seen with you, especially here in Sweden.” You know that name, Alice, I wear it proudly on my shoulders and I try to not use it too much, but hey, it’s Alice Cooper! If you’ve got that ace up your sleeve, you gotta use it. (laughs)… So I went up and did both encores at Gröna Lund and Getaway, and it just felt good. When they left I just had this feeling like, “Ryan, you gotta put it out there, dude!” So before he left, I said, “Hey, Coop, I really appreciate you having me up on stage and anytime there’s an opportunity where I can get up on stage full time, you gimme a call!” And he said, “You know I will.” And the call came, the opportunity came and I couldn’t be more fucking stoked. I’m as excited or even possibly more excited than I was the first time I got together with him, because I know this is sort of a second chance for me to get back up there and really appreciate all the things that I might not have appreciated the first time around.
Metalshrine: The Alice Cooper thing, how does that work these days? Do you have to sign a lot of contracts and get an attorney to look it over? How does it work?
Ryan: No, the thing with Alice Cooper and that organization is that it’s very old school in the sense that a lot of trust is put in and a lot of deals are made with a handshake. Alice‘s manager, Shep Gordon… let’s put it this way, does not like to write long e-mails. (laughs) E-mails should be the least amount of words possible and I think anyone that’s really kinda successful has that sort of philosophy. This is a little messed up for me, because I like to talk, talk, talk, but I’m trying to get better at e-mails being more economical in my word choice.. Basically, Shep sent a message that said, “This is when the tour runs from. This date to that date. Are you available?” And, basically, I responded with, “Yes, available.” Or maybe it was “HELL YES.” Then it was like, “OK, now I’m on the availability list..” But the coolest thing about the whole process was an e-mail from Bob Ezrin. One of my all-time favorite producers… all the cool Alice Cooper records, all the cool KISS records, fucking PINK FLOYD‘s “The Wall”! Bob‘s email basically stated, “We talked about it, me, Alice and Shep, and we think you’re the guy…Congrats.” I just had a smile on my face from ear to ear when I got that e-mail. It was such a great feeling to be asked to be part of this year’s tour and even a greater feeling who I was being asked by.
Metalshrine: Good for you!
Ryan: Yeah, I’ve never told anyone that story, but it was one of those moments. I’m so blessed and thankful, but I’m always a little bit “Don’t believe it till you’re on the fucking tour bus!” For me, I’m gonna be playing and doing all of these shows and I’ll believe it when we get on that stage and hit that first note with IRON MAIDEN. Then it will be another experience when we get to come over here to Sweden to play with Alice Cooper in my new country. One other cool thing about the experience is that ROXIE 77 is booked on that festival, too.