Alice Cooper (God help us) isn’t just another rock ‘n’ roll raver, he’s the rock ‘n’ roll, Raven. A walking death wish. Tiny Tim’s alter ego. Public Animal Number Nine. The joker in the (not too full) deck. Part-time vampire. Citizen Hearse. Paint him black. And sign your name in red. He comes on like a Salem warlock whooping it up on a weekend postponement from his turn at being the sacrifice. Or like something that just slithered out of the Hudson River’s New York side. Herman Munster on bad acid. And that’s on his good nights. He’s the not-so-pleasant doorman to rock music’s, Twilight Zone. They call it Glamour Rock or Glitter Rock, but the tag should be Graveyard or Gooseflesh Rock—all skull-and-crossbones, stake-through-the-heart, flesh-eating stuff.
Alice is the Leader of the Graveyard Pack. He’s Teen Angel’s perverted twin, up for the weekend from Teenage Hell, restored to life at a prime 18 with no class, no principles, no innocence. And he likes it. What goggling spectators like is that Alice Cooper must not be seen to be believed. His make-up man has got to be the toothy Count himself: cadaverous eyes, pallid lips, deranged expression.
He looks so out of place without a steam swamp under him and a howling, torch-wielding mob after him, you get to wondering whether his mother used to tuck him in at night or tie him in. See, one night there was this explosion in a Transylvania laboratory and . . . It’s a marvel how the bolts in his neck don’t show. Much less the bites. My guess is he keeps a shroud over his face in the daytime. If it was human, they’d hang it. For real. Then again, onstage, Alice knows the ropes. You’re sure he doesn’t have arms, but two tentacles seething with neurotoxic venom.
When he wears a cloak, he has the largest testicular span of any bat in creation—too many nights on the old rack . . . and don’t say your mother didn’t warn you, Alice. You sit there through his exhibition, but your flesh goes skulking under the seat. If s/he doesn’t win a 1973 Woman of Achievement Award, there’s always the Warlock of Achievement compe¬tition.
I mean, he looks so much like a goblin struck by lightning, they say he doesn’t play guitar on stage just because people might mistake the instrument for a broom. His coat of arms is a blood clot mounted on a box with handles on it.
One way or the other, though, his nine-and-a-half-foot mummy with light-up eyes already has this year’s Best Dressed Corpse title wrapped up. (Alice will probably rewrap it in these pages.) Speaking of mummy eyes, department stores across the country are starting to carry special Alice Cooper mascara called Whiplash.
I don’t know how it’s selling, but even if Whiplash doesn’t do well, Alice is raking in so much money these days he doesn’t have to worry. It’s no skin off his back. They already got his back skin at the whipping post. Stare at Alice Cooper long enough—mascara on his face, murder in his heart—and you get to thinking that this particular Alice has the story all wrong, inside out—that he lives in Wonderland and visits the real world on concert dates.
After all, he looks like he not only gets dressed in the dark but lives there. While most people Alice’s age wear ties to work, he shows up in a noose. Or an electric chair. Or a dagger.
His favorite headgear is a ten-foot boa constrictor. Time, you’ll note, isn’t the only thing killed during an Alice Cooper concert.
Sick Thing, that Alice. Encaved in opiated shapes and colors, he flounders around his stage like a tottering corpse clawing at the mossy walls of its dank decaying tomb.
You go to his concerts and you feel like a guy checking into a morgue. He loves the dead, and his fans love him to death. Half his show isn’t so much a rock ‘n’ roll concert as it is a death watch.
All of which suggests unhinged doors, limbs, and minds, skeletons wearing monks’ cowls, portraits stepping out of frames, statues dripping blood. His biggest worry on stage must be that someone in the audience will have a genuine fit and upstage his act. You see, Alice Cooper, in convincing you beyond a shadow of a death that he’s possessed, doesn’t suspend disbelief, he obliterates it. He puts a spell on you. There’s no doubt when he’s performing who’s the phantom of his rock operas.
Like, every song in his mausoleum sounds as if it were written in a country churchyard. The ones that work (and sell) best toll out-and-out rebellion as well: Alice Cooper clutches a stage microphone like Hamlet clutching Yorick’s skull, and shrieks, with a seeming deathbed fever, about class and principles and innocence.
“Son,” moans dad to his 17-year-old kid who has just rolled in at 3 a.m. from Alice’s June 3, 1973, concert at Madison Square Garden.
“Son, when are you going to learn good grammar or good taste?”
Alice Cooper Working On Next Album
62-year old rocker Alice Cooper is still spending all summer on the road for his Theatre of Death Tour. In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun, Cooper talks about plans for his next album.
With ten songs already written for the record, Alice reveals, “The album is going to be called The Night Shift.
There is no word yet of a release date. In the meantime, don’t miss your chance to see the vaudevillian theatrics of Alice Cooper on stage this summer! Alice Cooper tickets also give you access to the debauchery of Rob Zombie, with whom Cooper is touring much of the summer.
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