Every so often you have a moment of clarity where you are reminded of the potentially surreal nature of being a music journalist. For me it was sitting in the spare bedroom of my small two-bedroom rental home in Newcastle speaking with influential rock icon Alice Cooper. For those of you that have seen his now legendary cameo in the comedy film Wayne’s World – that’s how he really is. Behind his demonic stage persona is a highly intelligent individual.
The quality of our conversation is evident in the Q&A that ran in Reverb Magazine: Inside Alice Cooper’s nightmare
There are a few choice quotes. This is one of my favourites:
I don’t think you can shock anybody anymore. Marilyn Manson and I have both talked about that. We’ve sat there and said, “How do you shock an audience?” Kids can watch CNN and see a guy getting his head cut off. How does my guillotine compare to that? In the ’70s, the world was ripe for shock. But now, it’s impossible to shock an audience.
When you prepare to speak with someone who has possibly been interviewed 1000 times, you need to be well researched. You need to think outside the box and attempt to engage this person by discussing something fresh. You need to watch or read as many of his previous interviews as you can find. Build on previous responses. I’m not certain I asked him questions he hadn’t heard before, but he gave answers that didn’t feel rehearsed. It was a joy to hear anecdotes about the great mastermind Frank Zappa, to whom Cooper was a kindred spirit.
I’ll tell my grandkids I chatted with the great Alice Cooper.