Alice Cooper on Today's Bands: "They Usually Just Look Like Six Guys From the Mall"
Recently we spoke with Alice Cooper. That same day British newspaper The Guardian posted an archived article from 40 years ago highlighting efforts of high-ranking government officials to ban his shock-rock stage shows from entering the United Kingdom. Needless to say, it just helped build his legend even more on the back of hits such as "School's Out" and "Billion Dollar Babies."
"There was no profanity, no nudity, and nothing blasphemous," Cooper protests. "But the British were very touchy about blood. But when you tell the entire country you can't see a band, no amount of money in the world could have paid for the benefits of what happened afterwards. But when we did our show, the British audience got the humor behind everything we were doing. They knew we weren't butchering babies, they knew we were using baby dolls. They loved that it was a choreographed show constructed for entertainment."
Back then, slashing the heads of baby dolls was pretty shocking.
"At that point in time it was so easy to shock an audience," Cooper explains. "There was no Internet. Word spread via urban legend. If I had a ten-foot snake on stage with me one night, by the time we returned to town, it became a forty-foot snake. I would get into a city, and I would ask 'What's the local rumor?' 'Oh, you set a German Shepherd on fire last night!'"
But much has changed, and the Detroit-born Cooper cedes that his show is more entertaining than shocking in 2013.
"You can't be more shocking than CNN," he asserts. "I'm watching CNN and I see three girls getting rescued after being held in a basement for ten years. That's shocking! A gigantic tornado in Oklahoma causing the destruction it does is shocking. Alice getting his head cut off in a staged performance is not shocking. Especially when everyone knows it's a trick."
Those tricks may not be shocking any more, but they certainly will entertain the crowd at the Family Arena next week, when Cooper co-headlines with '90s shock-rocker Marilyn Manson. Cooper has great respect for the antics of the younger Manson, though he wasn't sure what to make of Manson when he broke through.