Shock rock legend ALICE COOPER was interviewed by Hilary Hughes from Escquire.com
recently about a number of topics. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Escquire.com: What excites you most about making music in 2013?
Cooper: "Modern music is so splintered now. Hard rock will always be hard rock, but you don’t really know what is rock — and what isn’t — anymore. I don’t consider a lot of the pop things I hear on the radio to be rock ‘n’ roll. It’s just kind of fragmented. I hear a lot of bands with a lot of riffs and drum, but I’m not hearing a lot of coherent songwriting, and I think that’s the only reason why rock ‘n’ roll is getting thinner and thinner and thinner. We were way influenced by THE BEATLES’ music, by the great songwriting of Lennon and McCartney. If you ask Ozzy and Steven Tyler the same thing, you’ll find that there’s a lot of melody in what we all do. We’re always going to be a little more horse-powered than the Beatles were, but we always referred back to those melody lines. I have never outgrown the love of a giant, Pete Townshend power chord, or putting that one phrase together that’s married to that perfect chord, and I don’t think I’ve written my best songs yet. I don’t think McCartney’s thinking he’s written his best songs yet. Once you’ve done that, you might as well not write anymore. I always think that you should be striving to write your best song. I’ve never outgrown it, and that excites me. I’ll be the last of the 70-year-old guys that’ll turn around and say, 'Turn it down!' I’ll be the guy going, 'Turn it up!' I’ve only lost 10 percent of my hearing all these years, and I don’t know how that’s possible."
Escquire.com: Well, you’ve worked some covers into your set, haven’t you?
Cooper: "I had a drinking club called the Hollywood Vampires. It was at The Rainbow every night, and it was Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Mickey Dolenz, Bernie Taupin, and whoever else was in town that was a known alcoholic — T-Rex, Jim Morrison, JIMI HENDRIX. That was the spot. If you go to The Rainbow right now, there’s a plaque there that says, Lair Of The Hollywood Vampires, and it points up into the attic where we used to go and drink. I’ve never done a covers album, and I really wanted to do one, but I didn’t want to go all over the place — and I wanted to go specifically to that era. I thought, how great would it be to cover a MONKEES song because of Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones? They used to both drink with us. In the show, we do 'Break on Through' by THE DOORS, and 'Revolution' by Lennon, and 'My Generation' for Keith Moon, and 'Foxy Lady'with Orianthe playing for Hendrix. These were all my fellow drunks. They passed away, and at the very end of the performance of all these covers, all their tombstones are being projected up there, and I say, 'To all my dead drunk friends!' Keeping their spirit alive was something I added in this show, and the audience loves it. I do a pretty mean Jim Morrison. (Laughs)."
Escquire.com: That is a personalized tribute.
Cooper: "I think very few people can actually sit there and say, 'I got plastered with every one of those guys.'"
Escquire.com: But is that risky for you, to get so personal and make that kind of a connection with these covers?
Cooper: "It was not nearly as emotional as you would think. The one that was emotional was John Lennon, only because it shouldn’t have happened. With Keith, it was inevitable. With Jimi, it was an accident, but he was still living pretty hard and fast. Jim Morrison — the fact that Jim even got to 27 was a miracle. That guy was brilliant, but very self-destructive. The guys in The Doors and our band, we were all very good friends, and there was no way of talking him out of his trip that he was on. I couldn’t picture Jim past 30. It just wasn’t going to happen. Janis kind of gave you the feeling that she wasn’t going to be around. Of the ones that died, John Lennon was just the heartbreaker, because that just didn’t need to happen. We were recording Flush the Fashion then: I was in the studio with Roy Thomas Baker when that came over the TV. That just stopped the session. You couldn’t work after that … but it’s fun to do the covers tribute for them, and it works because it’s in a graveyard. After they cut my head off, they think it’s the end of the show, and they wheel me out on a gurney, and you hear this voice go, “Alice! What are you doing here? It’s not your time. But how appropriate that you’re in the graveyard of the Hollywood Vampires!” And then their gravestones come up and 'Break on Through' starts."
Escquire.com: Have you recorded these covers yet?
Cooper: "We record the show every night and we’ll just pick the best performances for the album, and the rest we’ll record in the studio."
Escquire.com: Is it going to be called Lair Of The Hollywood Vampires?
Cooper: "I don’t know! Maybe Alice Cooper Raises The Dead or All My Dead Drunk Friends. We’re about three-quarters of the way through the album."
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