Nothing fazes Alice Cooper anymore. After spending the past 45 years on stage, why would it? Yet as the shock rock icon soldiers on, he carries himself with a poise and a degree of exuberance you'd expect from an up-and-comer more than half his age.
That doesn't mean he isn't staying busy. His syndicated radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper, allows him to spin tunes new and old, and keeps him up to date on what's happening in hard rock, even if he generally isn't thrilled with the music scene today, outside of Irish rockers The Strypes.
"It's odd to me now that what the state of rock is now with young people, that I don't get it!" he laments. "They're trying so hard not to be rock stars and I look at it like if you're in a rock band, why do you want to look like everyone else in the world? Why would you put an accordion or banjo in your band? C'mon!"
Super Duper Alice Cooper was recently unveiled at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month and in true Alice Cooper form, the documentary strays from the norm.
"These guys were very creative," Cooper recalls. "They wanted this documentary to be as theatrical as Alice is. So they put in this Jekyll and Hyde reference and that is exactly right because I'm me and there's Alice the monster. Then they had interviews with my friends, but weren't going to show them. And they did a great job and made it fun to watch."
Many of Cooper's contemporaries have either fallen by the wayside, or in other cases have passed away. A member of an exclusive drinking club called the Hollywood Vampires, Cooper beams about his participation in the group, yet there's a tinge of sadness when reflecting on its existence. With that in mind, Cooper decided to record a covers album paying tribute to his "dead drunk friends," including Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Harry Nilsson and T. Rex.
"This is going to be a hats off to them," Cooper explains. "Our club was sort of a last man standing, and on top of that, we're putting out four new songs that are about the Hollywood Vampires. It's really going to be an exciting album."
But at his heart, Cooper is still a touring musician. He spends six months of the year on the road and shows no signs of slowing down. This summer, he'll be opening for Motley Crue on their Farewell Tour, which hits outdoor amphitheaters and arenas this summer. Even though he's the opening act, Cooper couldn't be more excited about playing with the Crue.
"It was such a good package and Motley came to us and said 'We've been friends for years and we've never done a show together in 30 years' and asked if we'd take them out in style," the singer explains. "With rock being so anemic, you've got two or three tours that are going to be good hard rock with bands that are going to bring it every night. You got KISS and Def Leppard, Aerosmith and Slash, and Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. C'mon that's gonna be a monster show!" Just like anything else the rocker does, solo or on a tour like this, Cooper is going to bring a dazzling show on the road. Even though opening for Crue will only allow him to do about an hour's worth of material, the veteran rocker's headlining shows can wallop audiences. Unlike other classic rock icons, Cooper isn't afraid to play his hits and enjoys having the crowd participate by singing along. But that doesn't mean there's one or two surprises that he'll play to mix things up.
Cooper says his current band is the best he's ever had and isn't waxing poetic.
"I can't explain why a certain band gels together," he elaborates. "You put these guys together and there's no such thing as a bad night on stage."
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Many of his peers and contemporaries are either dead or irrelevant, yet Alice Cooper is still standing. As the last of the Hollywood Vampires, Cooper is doing his best to keep their legacy alive, even if he did outlast nearly all of them after becoming sober.
"It's one of those things back then, when people said 'Well, your 30th birthday is coming up,' you'd think that you were getting too old. Now I'm 66, and in better shape than when I was 25! None of us expecting to be going yet, the weird thing is, almost every band is still touring, like Iggy & The Stooges, the Stones and The Who. There was a work ethic that came from that era and it lives on with us."