Inside Track

Inside Track - November 1987

Inside Track
(November 1987)

Originally Published: November 1987

"King of Shock Rock"

Author: Kevin Newell

Alice Cooper (really Vincent Furnier pronounced Furnya) is the infamous "King of Shock Rock". Hard Rock and Theatrics was combined into a conceptual form of the first time by Alice Cooper. Since the release of his first album, "PRETTIES FOR YOU" in 1969, Alice has shocked audiences all over the world. From the Master of the Macabre, to a regular on TV (Special and Hollywood Squares), then to movies (soundtracks, Roadie and the brand new Prince of Darkness), Alice has become the Vincent Price of rock-n-roll.

The current tour "Raise your Fist and Yell", come to Hara Arena on November 3rd. With the backing of a hard rocking band, Alice brings to the stage the most spectacular theatrical presentation that technology can create. Alice called the Inside Track to talk about the renewed interest in his legendary career.

Kevin: I've been a fan of yours for quite a long time. In fact, I have a copy of your first album in my collection.

Alice: Oh, no!

Kevin: Yes and it's gained a lot in the collectors market too, which makes it worth more than expected.

Alice: Somebody told me that there's a band called The Lime Spiders who do some of the songs off of "PRETTIES FOR YOU", which is really hard to believe.

Kevin: That brings up one of the questions I wanted to ask you. How do you feel about other bands who are covering your material, such as "SCHOOL'S OUT"?

Alice: There's probably about 14 or 15 versions of "SCHOOL'S OUT" now. We were going to put out an album just "SCHOOL'S OUT" by different people.

Kevin: With as many remixes that come out now on 12 inch single, there is probably no reason why you couldn't.

Alice: Yeah, that would be fun. There's one thing about that song. It's a real anthem. I think a lot of people really relate to is. U2 even did in on their latest tour.

Kevin: There are several of your songs that could be considered anthem. Starting with your first big hit, "I'M EIGHTEEN".

Alice: "I'M EIGHTEEN" was always compared to "MY GENERATION". Then there is "SCHOOL'S OUT", of course, and even "FREEDOM" off o the new album is a real teen anthem. It is a backlash against the power that be of the powers who are trying to be. Those people who are trying to censor records or rock-n-roll. Maybe I will go down as the Francis Scott Key of rock-n-roll.

Kevin: What do you think about the Senator's Wifes' idea on record labeling?

Alice: As far as I'm concerned, the only thing I really have against that is the fact that they start out with the premise that every kid in America is created stupid. This generation was brought up with "STAR WARS". Technology has shown these kids everything. It's not like they are stupid that they don't understand satire and they don't understand what Alice Cooper is talking about. I'm not promoting violence. I'm not promoting Devil Worship. In fact, "Prince of Darkness" is a warning about that kind of stuff. So what they are doing is very self serving.

Kevin: What they are doing it taking it out of context.

Alice: They will take a lyric from a song and say, "Alice is promoting this..." I say now, that's not it. If I'm satirizing something you can't take me as being serious about it. If you do, then there is no such thing as satire. I guess that they feel the audience doesn't understand satire. The kids are more hip than those who feel the kids are being influenced by the music.

Kevin: In referencing this material I read several books on the backward masking and found no mention of Alice Cooper.

Alice: We were never smart enough to figure out what we would want to say. Except maybe, "Go buy two more albums". If I was going to mask an album, I would make it a commercial effort. I certainly wouldn't try to make it a spiritual influence on anybody.

Kevin: A lot of bands who have ripped off your style are promoting Satanism or are at least using symbols of Satanism.

Alice: They are only doing that because the parents are reacting against it. Personally, I don't know even one Satanist even though many people believe that those are the only type of people I know. People ask me, "How many Devil Worshippers do I know?" I don't know one. They may as well ask me, how many cannibals I know. Plus, you have to remember, all these Heavy Metal guys come from very straight suburban American backgrounds. We weren't just born under rocks. We are the guys next door. Part of the mystique of rock-n-roll is that it is "Bad Boy" music. When I was growing up, every time the Rolling Stones did something awful, my parents would say, "See what they're doing? You'll be doing that next!" I thought, "Are you kidding? Wait till you see what I'm going to do on stage." What I wanted to do was going to shock everybody. But, also something in the the name of ART. I wanted to do something that nobody had ever done visually onstage.

Kevin: You started it all. Now there has been an incredible resurgence with the success of last year's "CONSTRICTOR" album and the continued success of the new "RAISE YOUR FIST AND YELL".

Alice: The new album just jumped sixty places on the charts yesterday. I think it's a better album than "CONSTRICTOR". If there is any justice, it should do better than "CONSTRICTOR".

Kevin: Are you familiar with the demographics of these sales? Is this a new audience or hard-care Cooper fans?

Alice: After the last tour (we did 110 cities last year which were 90 percent sold-out) I think that all the people who had never seen Alice; we made them believers. Alice wasn't just a theatrical show, Alice was also a good rock-n-roll band. Alice was also as totally valid as Motley Crue.

Kevin: That's the way it has to be. The audience can't take the show home. It is the music on the records that must sell the audience.

Alice: After the last tour was over, three albums in my back catalog went platinum. All those people who bought "CONSTRICTOR" also went out and bought some of the older albums to brush-up on what Alice Cooper is all about.

Kevin: Are you back in make-up?

Alice: "I'm back in make-up as the "CLASSIC" Alice. I have some of the guys who did "ALIENS" and "THE FLY" designing and building my theatrics. Now I can do ANYTHING.

(Originally published in The Inside Track - Dayton, Ohio; Volume 1, Issue 2, November 1987)