Highway 81 Revisited recently conducted an interview with legendary rocker Alice Cooper. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Highway 81 Revisited: Are you working on a new album?
Alice: I just finished the bed tracks for a new album in Los Angeles. There’s about seven vocals that I finished and I have about five or six vocals I need to finish, then that album’s done. I have never done a covers album, and I decided to cover all my dead drunk friends. All the guys I used to drink with, we had a drinking club called the Hollywood Vampires. And so I’m covering Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, THE SMALL FACES, T. REX. It’s one of those things where all of the guys I used to drink with are gone, so we are covering those songs.
Highway 81 Revisited: Being such a visually oriented artist, is it difficult to translate your ideas to audio when you record?
Alice: No. First of all, it’s two different things. When we’re writing an album, we totally realize that the audience is going to hear it and then picture it. So when you’re doing a song, I definitely write colorful lyrics, and I try to tell a story in three minutes or four minutes. And I learned that from Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry can tell you a story in three minutes. I said, “That guy is the best lyricist ever,” because I listen to “Nadine” or “Maybellene” or “Memphis Tennessee” or any of that, and I go, “Jeez, the guy told me an entire story in three minutes.” So I learned from that, and that’s what I do. Almost every one of my songs is a little story or a little incident or something like that.
Highway 81 Revisited: You made some comments recently about MUMFORD & SONS and THE LUMINEERS not being real rock n’ roll. What do you think of the current state of rock? And is there anything new that you enjoy?
Alice: I’m telling you, the FOO FIGHTERS are one of the only rock bands out there. The FOO FIGHTERS are a pure ’70s rock ‘n’ roll band that don’t take prisoners. Same with Slash‘s band THE CONSPIRATORS, and, ya know, Axl Rose, Axl‘s GUNS N’ ROSES. Those are three bands that go out to rock ‘n’ roll, like AEROSMITH, Ozzy‘s band, BLACK SABBATH, Alice Cooper. We are bands that are dedicated to guitar rock. I don’t think you’re ever going to hear us unplugged. At least I can guarantee you are never going to hear Alice Cooper unplugged. So that’s the kind of stuff I like. I think there’s a lot of good, young bands out there. I think we’re in a folk period right now. We’re kind of in this really, to me, very dull period, where bands are just kind of boring. I’m sorry to say that, but I can’t wait until the next cycle comes out when you come up with another BUCKCHERRY or another GUNS N’ ROSES or another MÖTLEY CRÜE or someone that goes out on stage and plays rock n’ roll and makes you go, “Wow! OK, That was fun.” Right now, though, it’s a little boring.