Alice Cooper coming to NJ: Talks about Frank Zappa discovering his shock band
What do you get when you keep the "Godfather of Shock Rock" cooped up in a pandemic and then let him out? You get a hell of a show and that's what Alice Cooper will provide when he brings Alice Cooper's Haunted Castle to the Prudential Hall at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Tuesday, March 22 with Buck Cherry.
Alice Cooper was a guest on my New Jersey 101.5 show, you can listen On-Demand:
"First of all, we do all the hits," says Cooper. "The band I have is just ridiculously good, for lead guitar, I have Ryan Roxie and I have hurricane Nita Strauss who just won guitarist of the decade and she looks like a Victoria Secret model and plays like Eddie Van Halen. Our drummer won best drummer in rock n roll two years ago so the band is stupid good."
As "Godfather of Shock Rock" how hard is it to shock an audience?
"You can't," says Cooper. "I think Putin right now is the biggest shock rock guy."
"It was easy to shock an audience in the 70s, very easy. Now audiences are basically shockproof. Now it's basically how good is the band? How good is the show? We do the guillotine, we do the whole thing. I don't think it's for shock value as much as it is for our entertainment. It's one of those nights where you walk away going that's was the best party I've ever been to."
I'm a huge fan of Lenny Bruce and I heard you met Frank Zappa at his Birthday party?
"It was great because we were unheard of basically but we were the house band at this place called The Cheetah Club and it held about 2,000 people," says Cooper.
"So it was Lenny Bruce's birthday party, the Doors played that night, Jefferson Airplane, the place was packed and we go on last. Everybody's grooving cause everybody's on LSD, except us. We drank beer and all of a sudden, we come on and things got dangerous."
"We didn't mind a little violence in the show as far as us on stage not in the audience," says Cooper. "We scared the hell out of the audience. I mean they literally were running for the doors, couldn't get out of the doors fast enough and then at the end of it, there was about five people left. Frank Zappa's going, 'Whoever these guys are, if they can clean a room out that fast, I want them on my label.'"
How did you end up auditioning for Zappa at 7 o' clock in the morning?
"He says I want to hear what you guys do," says Cooper. "He says 7 o'clock. So we show up and we start playing and he comes down in his pajamas with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and he goes 'What the hell are you doing?'"
"I said, 'You said 7.' So he listened to us and goes, 'I don't get it.' And I said, 'what do you mean you don't get it?'"
"He replied, 'Five of your songs are 2 minutes long and hey have 28 changes in them' and I went, 'yeah.' And I said, 'Is it good or bad that you don't get it?' And he said, 'No it's good because if Frank Zappa doesn't get it, I definitely want you on my label.'"
Alice Cooper also has his own radio show called "Nights with Alice Cooper." I asked him who his best interview was and surprisingly he came up with someone I had recently talked to myself.
"William Shatner," says Cooper. "He is so fun to talk to, he's very personable" as you can see here.
"The worst interview I ever did was Jerry Lee Lewis," says Cooper. "I mean he wouldn't say anything. I was expecting this guy to be a ball of fire. I was going, 'so tell me what it was like, you were up there with Elvis and Chuck Berry all those guys' and he was going 'yeah.'"
You want a ball of fire? Go see Alice Cooper's Haunted Castle!
Get tickets for Alice Cooper At the New Jersey Performing Arts Center here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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