Alice Cooper to play in Sylvania July 9Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Cooper has a great idea for a book: What rock lead singers do to psych up for concerts.
“I was out with Peter Frampton; Frampton irons. He has an ironing board and an iron, and that’s how he gets ready for the show, which is very strange,” he said. “Roger Daltrey fly-fishes. He has a fishing rod and he tries to fly-fish into a garbage can.
“I watch really bad kung-fu movies, and I ended up being a deadly expert knife thrower. So I’ve got these Chinese throwing knives, and I can put 20 knives within about a 6-inch circle. So I just stand there with a dartboard and these things backstage, and it gets me ready for the show.”
For more than four decades, the rock icon has aimed to entertain. Vincent Damon Furnier formed a band named Alice Cooper and later adopted that moniker. The makeup-wearing innovator combined catchy metal riffs with theatrical concerts drenched in horror and became the king of shock rock.
“The stage show has always been a showcase for the character Alice Cooper,” he said during a call from a tour stop in Baltimore. “Rock ’n’ roll was full of rock heroes, but there were no rock villains. And I created Alice to be the predominant rock villain since there wasn’t one, and that’s the way I still treat Alice.
“When he comes on stage, he’s sort of Captain Hook, and it’s always fun to play the villain; the villain always has more fun than the hero.”
No one has more fun performing.
“The show we’re doing now, beginning to end, it’s like an Alice Cooper revue, and it never lets you rest for a second. And to me, that’s what a good rock show is: The audience doesn’t even get a chance to get their breath before the next song has started.
“And you’re never going to run out of things to do up there. Every time I write a song, I kind of think about how it would be on stage. If you say, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare,’ just don’t say it; give them the nightmare. What does that mean? Bring it onstage: Bring dancers that come out from under the bed, bring a toy box full of creatures. All you have to do is think about it, build it, rehearse it and do it.”
And they will come.
“We started in 1965 and here we are 2013 and we’re still doing sell-out shows and people are still coming for all the right reasons: They want to see this mythical character, Alice Cooper, and they want to hear those songs that they grew up with,” the Detroit native said.
Those songs include monster hits “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels,” “Elected,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “You and Me,” “I Never Cry,” “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “Poison.”
Cooper will bring his Raise the Dead Tour to Centennial Terrace in Sylvania for an 8 p.m. show July 9. Tickets are $30.50 and $59.50.
Oh, there’ll be blood galore. And one of those creatures Cooper is fond of: snakes.
“The one that we have right now loves being onstage. This one is Boa Derek. We had Julius Squeezer, and Boa Derek is the new one,” he said and laughed.
Does anything scare the legend who delights in shocking while rocking?
“Well, yeah, Taylor Swift,” he quipped. “I have phobias like everybody else. I cannot stand needles, you know. I have no tattoos. I can put my head in a guillotine; I can work with all kinds of snakes and all kinds of stuff like that, but a blood test? It would take me about two days to psych up to do a blood test.”
But the singer-songwriter has faced his own demons.
“It’s been 30 years since I had a drink or anything, so that’s really paid off for me. I get done after an hour and 45 minutes [on stage] and I feel great, and that’s 28 songs pretty much. So we do that five nights a week. I’ve never been in better shape in my life,” the 65-year-old said.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member is working on a follow-up to his 2011 disc, “Welcome 2 My Nightmare.”
“I have never done a covers album. I’ve always done original material — 27 albums of just original material,” Cooper said. “That would be fun to do a covers album, but I want to take it back to a certain period of time.
“I had a drinking club called the Hollywood Vampires, and it was Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson and John Lennon, and earlier than that it was Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and those guys. And so I figured I’m going to cover those guys because they were like fallen brothers, guys that died that were in the drinking club.”