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Classic Rock News And Views
October 9, 2009
Alice Cooper is one of he lucky ones. Just about everyone can see that – it’s not a revelation by any stretch of the imagination. The fame, the fans, the money, yeah, that’s something most of us cannot relate to.
The luck I’m talking about goes a bit deeper. The kind of luck – if you want to call it that – that eluded some of Cooper’s legendary rock contemporaries. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon. All might be considered victims of their own success. Something that not everyone can deal with, and can lead to the excesses that are suddenly so accessible, if not encouraged or even expected.
Alice Cooper was one of the gang. He indulged in his share of excess, but for reasons he may not understand himself, was able to climb out of that dark place he found himself trapped in, not knowing where the rock star ended and the regular guy started.
“A long time ago, there was that gray area when I used to drink, where I didn’t know where Alice began and I ended. As soon as I quit drinking, I made that a very black and white thing,” Cooper says.
After being told by his doctor that he had a choice between continuing his drinking and ending up dead, Cooper chose to remain among the living. Kind of ironic considering how many times he has “died” on stage as part of his enduring shock rock performances.
There’s little question about what plans Cooper has for the foreseeable future. He obviously loves his work and has no plans to fade away. “I could have retired 25 years ago. But isn’t writing songs and performing what I like to do? It’s what I’ve done for 45 years. Why would I stop now? What am I gonna do? Go fishing?”
With so many years of success and the wind still at his back, Cooper seems to be enjoying himself as much as ever, if not more. Referring back to the early part of his career, he talks about having to listen to a lot of people, perhaps compromising on issues he would rather not have had to compromise on.
Now, according to Cooper, nobody tells him what he can or cannot do. Perhaps that’s another reason he keeps on doing what he’s doing. He’s doing it his way.
More on Alice Cooper can be found at WBRZ News.
July 8, 2009
Shock rockers. That’s a term that we have associated with artists like Marilyn Manson and the legendary Alice Cooper, but as Cooper recently reveals, it is becoming more difficult to shock his audiences and he has decided to put more effort into improving the entertainment value of his live performances.
“You can’t be more shocking than cable TV. And this didn’t exist back when we were called shock rock,” Cooper concedes. He makes a good point. Although the shock rocker’s job has become more difficult since the introduction of cable and satellite television, the staggering amount of shocking material available on the internet has put just about any kind of shocking content you can imagine available at the click of a mouse. Including, but certainly not limited to, authentic videos of executions. It’s difficult to imagine many things more shocking than that.
Even though his ability to shock has been diminished over the years, Cooper seems to enjoy the challenge of coming up with new ideas to keep his fans engaged. “That’s the fun part of it … brainstorming this thing, going okay how does this work, how do we get from A to B here? What devices can we use? What haven’t we done?,” he says.
Although guillotines on stage may have been new to rock scene back when Alice Cooper decided to employ them and other macabre props during his shows, a lot of it has been done before. He’s obviously grateful for the famous friends he had during his early years whose approval convinced him he was on the right track.
With the likes of Groucho Marx, Mae West, George Burns, Fred Astaire and Milton Berle in his audience at one time or another during those years, Cooper readily admits that his act did not shock the vaudeville veterans. “They looked it and said `oh yeah, the guillotine, I remember the Great Waldini in 1912 did that in his show’,” says Cooper. The approval that came from those veteran performers gave Cooper confidence and convinced him that he could be successful – something he has proven during his forty or so years in the business.
Beyond the stage, one thing that Alice Cooper likes to talk about is golf. It’s obviously a passion for the 61-year-old rocker. “I am playing ridiculously well right now. I’m about five under par for the last three rounds, but it’ll go away,” he reports. Not bad for a guy who says he just accidentally happens to be good at the game.
Alice Cooper is currently on tour with dates scheduled in the U.S., Europe and Australia.
For more check out The Blacktown Sun.
June 29, 2009
It may seem like an odd combination. A shock rocker whose acts often included murder scenes dramatized on stage, fake guillotines, electric chairs, blood as well as lyrics that included subjects like necrophilia. But don’t let the on-stage Alice Cooper fool you into thinking he is some kind of disciple of Satan. In face, Cooper bristles whenever he is accused of being satanic.
Cooper’s true beliefs are actually quite contrary to anything remotely satanic. Cooper describes himself as a a Christian who says he has dedicated his life to Christ. Vincent Damon Furnier, who later changed his name to Alice Cooper, was raised Christian, but really did not embrace his faith until alcoholism threatened to end his marriage. After attending church with his wife Sheryl during his struggle with addiction during the 1980’s, he admits that he chose the path of Christianity more out of fear of going to Hell than anything else.
Although this is the first time Cooper has publically spoken at length about his faith, he has no desire to become a celebrity Christian. “I’m a rock singer. I’m nothing more than that. I’m not a philosopher. I consider myself low on the totem pole of knowledgeable Christians. So, don’t look for answers from me," he says.
Cooper’s Christian beliefs have influenced his infamous shock rock shows by eliminating anything that might encourage promiscuous sex and drinking. “I was one thing at one time, and I’m something new. I’m a new creature now. Don’t judge Alice by what he used to be. Praise God for what I am now,” Cooper proclaims.
Some very well-known personalities from the world of music have also decided to embrace Christianity according to Cooper, “The ones that you would think are the furthest gone are the ones that are more apt to listen.”
Fellow shock rocker Marilyn Manson is obviously not one of those people. Cooper believes that Manson’s 1996 album Antichrist Superstar was pointed directly at him, and theorizes that Manson had a negative Christian experience earlier in his life and thinks he may have been involved with some “less-than-Christian-Christians" that influenced his thinking regarding Christianity.
Like many other religions, there are various Christian groups that branch out and come to their own conclusions about how their faith should be put into practice. Cooper has found himself a target of some Christians who do not believe he should be mixing his professional career as a shock rocker with his faith, but he dismisses their accusations.
“It has also gotten me in trouble with the staunch Christians who believe that in order to be a Christian you have to be on your knees 24 hours a day in a closet somewhere. Hey, maybe some people can live like that, but I don’t think that’s the way God expected us to live, he says.”
Despite all the craziness going on in the world today, Alice Cooper remains optimistic and believes that “humanity is craving for answers directly born of awareness.” He goes on to say that, “Even the addicts are saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how many drugs I take, I’m not fulfilled. This isn’t satisfying.’ There’s a spiritual hunger going on. Everybody feels it. If you don’t feel it now, you will. Trust me. You will… Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion."
For more on this story visit The Morung Express.
October 1, 2008
Alice Cooper was back on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show on CBS the other night, and entertained the studio audience with a performance of a song from his new album Along Came A Spider. The song, entitled “Vengeance Is Mine,” was enjoyed in its entirety by the studio audience (depending on individual tastes, of course), but that was not the case for the home viewers.
During a particular portion of the performance, Cooper pretends to strangle a female from the studio audience with a silk scarf. Cooper’s new album tells the story of a serial killer, a subject that should not be considered unusual for Cooper, who has a decades-long reputation as a shock rocker who is known for his creepy theatrics during his live performances.
Well, whoever it is at CBS that decides what’s appropriate for broadcast and what is not, decided that Cooper’s faux strangulation was a little too much for the late-night home audience, and the segment was cut from the broadcast.
Does anyone else detect a whiff of hypocrisy in the air emanating from CBS? This is the network that broadcasts programs like Criminal Minds, that CBS describes as a program that “revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again.”
Looking at the website for the program, it appears there is no shortage of scenes that some might consider a bit too graphic for TV. Check out the video excerpt of the episode called “Officer Down,” and decide for yourself if that’s more graphic than Alice Cooper pretending to strangle someone with a silk scarf.
By the way, Criminal Minds airs at 9:00 PM, more than three hours earlier than The Late Late Show which comes on at 12:35 AM.
CBS also carries the CSI series of programs, and although I have never watched an episode, I suspect there are plenty of graphic scenes featured on those programs, which air at either 9:00 or 10:00 PM.
I’m sure there are other programs on CBS that regularly feature graphic and violent scenes, but I think I’ve made my point.
I don’t consider myself much of an Alice Cooper fan, but I don’t like hypocrisy, and censoring Alice Cooper pretending to strangle someone during a program that airs in the wee hours of the morning while airing programs containing scenes of people being blown up or shot hours earlier in the evening sure smells like hypocrisy to me.
September 10, 2008
Alice Cooper fans may want to program their DVRs or Tivos or plan a late bedtime tonight if they want to catch Alice perform on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show.
Cooper who appeared on Ferguson’s show not that long ago, seemed to get along quite well with the talk show host and Cooper will re-visit the show tonight accompanied by his band. Cooper will also take some time to sit and chat with Ferguson.
Word from Alice Cooper’s official site is that they will be performing a song called "Vengeance," which I presume is shorthand for a track from his new album entitled "Vengeance is Mine."
Ferguson’s show airs on CBS at 12:35 AM ET/PT, following the Late Show With David Letterman.
Cooper is currently working on his Psycho Drama tour, which is scheduled to wrap up on December 1.