Alice Cooper: Rock And Roll Boogie Man

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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper is currently on the road in support of his latest album Paranormal

Alice Cooper’s major heyday may have been back in the 1970s, when tours behind albums like Billion Dollar Babies were breaking Rolling Stones concert attendance records, but the man born Vincent Damon Furnier is still creatively vibrant nearly four decades later. July will see the release of the Bob Ezrin-produced Paranormal, the duo’s first collaboration since 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare. Like its predecessor, the new project is a star-studded affair that features cameos by the likes of U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover. For Cooper, the odd array of unlikely guests played into the notion he and Ezrin had about not wanting these songs to be united by a singular concept.

“Bob and I decided we were going to make an album that didn’t necessarily have a story line this time, but an album that got us off. Every song is a song that we would go, ‘Yes, that’s a great song.’ And they don’t necessarily conform to any style. Alice Cooper is always going to do guitar rock. That’s always what I do. But, the styles kind of go all over the place, which is great,” he explained. “Using Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 on drums was a great idea. When we got to the studio, he asked to see the lyrics. I’ve never ever had a drummer ask me about the lyrics and he said he plays to the lyrics and I said that I loved that. It turned it into something totally different and totally not what I was expecting, yet it works all the way. You hear the whole album and it gives it a different punch to it.”

Alice Cooper is known for his theatrics on stage.

Most interesting was a reunion of the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper lineup (guitarist Glen Buxton died in 1997). By the time Cooper decided that he wanted to make what became 1975’s Welcome To My Nightmare, bandmates Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce decided the burnout from multiple platinum albums, relentless touring and being together nonstop all through high school and college added up to massive burnout. But while the breakup was mutually agreed upon, Cooper pointed out that the friendship the former bandmates maintained over the years helped facilitate this mini-reunion. The end result was three of 20 songs the reunited bandmates worked on made the cut, which Cooper was elated about.

“We never broke up with any bad blood. Dennis, Neal, Mike, Glen and I were all the best of friends. There were no lawsuits. Nobody ever threatened anybody. I stayed in touch with everybody. That band never got back together. Glen passed away. He was our Keith Richards. That was a huge part of the personality of that band. When that happened, that weakened the base even further. But, we always stayed together,” Cooper recalled. “We worked together [on the new material] and there was never one minute where I asked who was going to play on it. We had Neal, Mike and Dennis to play on these songs and Bob absolutely agreed. They came in and nailed it. We’re very objective about it and these three songs were the ones that were good enough to make this album. I was really happy about it.”

With all this under his belt, the 69-year-old rocker continues to have playing live be one of his current joys. Even more so, once his current tour hooks up with fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Fame act Deep Purple later in the summer. It’s a bill he’s convinced won’t leave attendees unsatisfied.

“I kind of like the idea of two classic rock bands playing together. I think it’s really cool for the fans,” He said. “Every single song that you hear on that stage is something that you heard on the radio. And that’s really a plus for the audience. We did that with Mötley Crüe and when we did that with them, it was really successful. We sold out every venue.”

Alice Cooper appears with Deep Purple and the Edgar Winter Band on Aug. 26 at Northwell at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh. For more information, visit www.jonesbeach.com or call 800-745-3000.


For more about the Godfather of Shock Rock, Alice Cooper names his favorite horror films:

https://liweekly.wpengine.com/alice-coopers-spookiest-horror-movies/

Also, check out Long Island Weekly‘s Summer Music Guide Part I.

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