Alice Cooper: My Favorite Golf Partners + Songs I Couldn’t Do Without Nita Strauss
Alice Cooper, 71, has been performing for over half a century. He's still got one of the most airtight and entertaining sets not just in rock, but in any form of live entertainment. The shock rock legend and master of ceremonies is seemingly never off the road, currently on the North American "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" tour with Halestorm and Motionless in White.
We got the opportunity to speak to the frontman moments before soundcheck, catching up on recent releases from both Alice Cooper and Hollywood Vampires, while also looking forward toward the forthcoming Alice EP, Breadcrumbs, which features Detroit rock icons on the back-to-roots release of original material and cover selections.
Collaborations have dominated Cooper's body of work as of late and he explained he's not merely checking off boxes and that these joint efforts come from a more spontaneous place.
Regarding things outside of music, Cooper is a noted golfer and he revealed his ultimate choice of golf partner.
Do you remember the first time you heard Hailstorm and Motionless in White?
We know Hailstorm pretty well. A couple of them do recording in Nashville, and I do a lot of recording in Nashville so I had met Lzzy [Hale] before. Lzzy actually came up and played with the Vampires when we were in Rock in Rio. She did “Whole Lotta Love” and played the guitar and did the singing on that.
Motionless in White are one of the newer bands coming up, and I’m not sure how to describe them. There’s a certain theatricality to them, and I think there’s a certain sense of humor to the band also. A lot of these bands tend to get so serious and emotional and dark and everything, yet there’s a sense of humor with them that I enjoy.
This might be my favorite set list of any Alice Cooper show I’ve seen. You’ve got “Roses on White Lace” and “My Stars” in there. Nita Strauss told us a little while back she’s been trying to get you to play “Roses on White Lace” for a while. Do the members of your band help you realize the strength of your catalog beyond the hits?
It wasn’t really that. Ryan Roxie is a certain type of guitar player — he’s a rock ’n’ roll guitar player on the level of Randy Rhoads, that type of player. Tommy [Henriksen] is a much more hard rock player. We didn’t have a shredder. All that Kane Roberts stuff from that era, we couldn’t really duplicate it without someone who can shred. Orianthi was more of a blues-oriented rock player. So getting Nita in opens up a bunch of albums.
We started doing “Roses on White Lace,” “The World Needs Guts”… I’ve started looking at albums from that era that we can now start playing. Songs such as “Teenage Frankenstein,” — she can handle that stuff. Like anybody else, I got a little tired of playing those other songs. One of my favorite songs was always “Raped and Freezin'” and we’ve got “Bed of Nails” off Trash now.
Sometimes you let the show bring some of the necessities. With “Escape,” we really need that song after Alice’s head gets cut off.
I look forward to going onstage because there’s eight new songs in the show I haven’t done in a long time. We can rotate songs, too. There’s four to five songs that I want the band to learn and some nights I’ll go, “Okay, lets’ put ‘Dangerous’ in there tonight.”
Between the upcoming Breadcrumbs EP, which pays homage to your rock roots in Detroit, and with what Hollywood Vampires are doing, how important is reflection during the later stage of your career? Are you checking off boxes for long-discussed collaborations with friends?
The collaborations always come out of necessity. On ‘Paranormal,’ we have the song “Fallen in Love and I Can’t Get Up. We played it back and it yelled out for Billy Gibbons. It was so much Billy Gibbons that when we called him up he said ‘Well send me the song, I’ve got the flu.’ So we sent him the song and he called back and said ‘I’ve got the flu but this song makes me feel better.’
With Hollywood Vampires, Johnny [Depp] and Jeff Beck and I are all good friends. He heard the song “Bushwackers” and he said, “I want to play on that.” So we get Jeff Beck, that’s one of those things that where you go, “We’ll never get Jeff Beck, he’s the greatest guitar player of all time” or “Paul McCartney will never sing on the Vampires album.” Well, he did come in and sing on it. Those are the things that you just go, “Oh my gosh I never thought that would happen.”
When we did the first Vampires album, everybody wanted to pay tribute to our dead, drunk friends. It was the perfect opportunity out in Los Angeles — Joe Walsh was there, Robby Krieger, Brian Johnson, Dave Grohl. They all picked a song they wanted to play on and it was fun to look at who played on that album and go, “Jeez, that’s the who’s who right there!”
Since you’re an avid golfer, if you could have one golf partner — alive or dead — who would it be?
Wow! Who did I have the most fun playing with? I had the a lot of fun playing with John Daly. He’s probably got more talent than anyone out there. It’s a little scattered but he’s got the best reputation of anyone on the tour as far as talent goes. I played with Dean Martin one time, and I liked Dean Martin a lot — he’d be fun to play with again!
Back in the day everyone was at the Riviera and I was a members of the Friars Club, so I knew all those guys. You could actually go out with Groucho Marx, Joe E. Lewis, Dean Martin and Bob Hope. That’s a group that actually would’ve played together and that’s a group you would’ve wanted to be a part of. There’d be a lot of one-liners that would come from that day.
Thanks to Alice Cooper for the interview. Get your copy of Alice Cooper's 'Paranormal' here and the latest from Hollywood Vampires, 'Rise,' here. Follow Alice Cooper on Facebook and look for the 'Breadcrumbs' EP to be released on Sept. 13 through earMUSIC. See Alice Cooper's upcoming tour dates below.
Alice Cooper + Halestorm Co-Headlining 2019 U.S. Tour Dates With Motionless in White
Aug. 04 — Nashville, Tenn. @ The Opry House
Aug. 07 — Canandaigua, N.Y. @ CMAC Performing Arts Center
Aug. 08 — Bethel, N.Y. @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Aug. 10 — Portland, Maine @ Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row
Aug. 11 — Gilford, N.H. @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Aug. 13 — Bristow, Va.@ Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 15 — Holmdel, N.J. @ PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug. 16 — Camden, N.J. @ BB&T Pavilion
"An Evening With" Alice Cooper 2019 Tour Dates
Nov. 03 — Ft. Myers, Fla. @ Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall
Nov. 05 — Melbourne, Fla. @ King Center
Nov. 06 — Orlando, Fla. @ Hard Rock Live
Nov. 07 — Clearwater, Fla. @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
Nov. 09 — Biloxi, Miss. @ Beau Rivage
Nov. 10 — Montgomery, Ala. @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center
Nov. 12 — Huntsville, Ala. @ Von Braun Center
Nov. 14 — North Charleston, S.C. @ North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Nov. 15 — Greenville, S.C. @ Peace Concert Hall
Nov. 16 — Roanoke, Va. @ Berglund Performing Arts Center
Nov. 21 — Glen Falls, N.Y. @ Cool Insuring Arena
Nov. 25 — Indianapolis, Ind. @ Murat Theatre
Nov. 27 — Evansville, Ind. @ Old National Events Plaza
Nov. 29 — Prior Lake, Minn. @ Mystic Lake Casino Showroom
See Alice Cooper in the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Live Acts of All Time