The “Godfather of Shock Rock,” Alice Cooper plans to give Abbotsford music fans a wild journey when he brings his theatrical hybrid of music/horror to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Nov. 14.
He promises an exciting, entertaining ride that will feature many of his greatest hits.
“When you have 28 albums and have been around for 45 years, the audience wants to hear the hits. We understand that,” Cooper told the Abbotsford News.
Now 65, the legendary rocker says he has no plans to slow down. In fact, he finds performing is more fun than ever.
“In the very beginning we outraged everybody. There was nobody around like Alice Cooper.”
He said he took things as far as he could, but always had boundaries.
“I never wanted to go for the cheap shock. I don’t want bad language on stage, no nudity, no Satanic stuff. If we do something shocking it has to be because it’s clever and it’s got to have an underlying sense of humour to it.”
Originally thought of as a fad, Cooper quickly put a string of hits together, making the music industry take notice.
“Suddenly they had to take us as seriously as Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones. That’s when I think they began to understand that the Alice character was a character.”
While he gained more of a mainstream audience, Cooper said he never lost his “lunatic” fans – the ones that first supported his style of music.
“We didn’t realize how many disenfranchised kids there were out there. They were the kids who didn’t get along, who got bullied because they were a little more artistic or a little weirder than the other kids. And all of a sudden they had a champion in Alice Cooper.”
He said every day, a fan will approach him and tell him how his music impacted their lives.
“I’ve actually had kids say ‘Hey, y’know if it wasn’t for that song Hey Stoopid, I was ready to kill myself.
“It’s a real compliment and then all of a sudden you kind of realize that there is a responsibility in what you say.”
Looking back, Cooper said it’s hard to believe that he’s still creating music. When he released his first album, one reviewer referred to it as a “tragic waste of plastic.” Others had similar opinions.
“They were saying ‘Here’s a band that really isn’t very good but their show is great. Take away their show and they’ve got nothing.’ Those people had to eat crow when we had two number one albums in a row and there was no show behind it. It was just the albums.”
The rock ’n’ roll lifestyle of the 1970s took a toll, he said.
“If you would have told me when I was 25 and getting loaded every night, that at 65 I was getting ready to go out on a 100-city tour … I would have said you were so out of your mind.
“And if you would have told me Ozzy was still around and Iggy was still around and Lou Reed was still around I would have said you’ve got to be insane because none of those people should be alive, especially me.”
But, having given up alcohol years ago, Cooper is still on tour, bringing his new Raise the Dead tour to Russia, the U.S. and Canada.
He said Russian fans have some amazing stories, considering his music was banned in that country for years.
In the 1970s and ’80s, the government newspaper labelled Cooper as “the worst example of Western depravity” and said he would never step on Russian soil.
“A lot of them (Russian fans) come up to me and say ‘I had your albums when I could have gone to the gulag because of them.’ It’s really interesting to hear these people say that they bought my albums on the black market, at risk of going to jail. That’s what kind of fans they are.”
The show he will present in Abbotsford is divided into three parts. The first is “Glam Alice” which features all the glitz, sparks and make-up. The middle of the show is dedicated to “Nightmare Alice,” the darker, theatrical side which includes the use of straightjackets, a guillotine and a character Cooper refers to as the insane nurse.
The third scene begins with the nurse wheeling Cooper’s body into a graveyard. The audience soon learns that it contains the “Hollywood Vampires” – the nickname Cooper gave to his old drinking club.
“It’s sort of a dedication to all my dead, drunk friends.”
Cooper will perform in Abbotsford on Nov. 14.
Visit abbotsfordcentre.ca for details.