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October 14, 2010

Q&A: Alice Cooper on Rob Zombie, Jennifer Aniston, and "crotch rock"

PX00009_9.JPGAlice Cooper is co-headlining Merriweather Post Pavilion Sunday with Rob Zombie in what’s being billed as a Halloween Hootenanny with “the Gruesome Twosome.”

The rock legend talked about what a night out with Zombie and Cooper looks like, what he’s listening to, and “crotch rock.”

You've been on stage for 40 years, is there an impetus to stay relevant? do you listen to rock today? If you look at the bands that are still here from the 60s - Bowie, Elton John, Alice Cooper - we’re all still working, we're all still touring. I think I'm doing some of the best shows I've ever done. I don’t think what we do is disposable. My generation seems to have a different work ethic. I always thought, "Do 25 albums." I'm a lifer. A lot of bands today get together, play, make an album, break up and form another band. There's no bands staying together.

They do sound less frivolous than in your time. A lot of rock I listen to is a yawn. I know whats coming. A lot of hard rock today sounds joyless. Bands forget to have fun. Rock should be played from the crotch not the brain.

What's wrong with them? The songwriting has gone out the window. The music on the charts is too high-tech, not married to the lyrics. When I learned how to write lyrics, I was listening to Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Gershwin. We were competing with Zeppelin, the Beatles. We really had to write great songs to get on the radio. If you write a ballad, you better break a girl’s heart. We spent 90 percent on the music and 10 percent on the theatrics. The theatrics come easily.

What are you listening to instead? Panic at the Disco is a very original band. And the White Stripes are very original. Everyone else I can think of is an off-shoot of somebody else. First time I heard Jane’s Addiction, I thought "what was that?" "Teenagers" by My Chemical romance - that’s a great record right there.

How did you and Zombie hook up for this double bill? We’ve been old friends for a long time. I kinda look at him like my little brother. We have the same ideas about things. Few things scare us.

So what does a night off with Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper look like? Because to me it sounds pretty mind-blowing. Well, we're not going to see the new Jennifer Aniston movie. On nights off, we usually watch "Nightmare on Elm Street," horror movies. Tonight, we’re going to go see "Let Me In."

Where did you meet? When I first heard of "White Zombie," I thought this sounds like off-shoot of an Alice Cooper thing. I went back stage, and it looked like they'd just been dug up. They had stage dust on them, and when I padded them on the back the dust came off. Then I watched them on stage, and it was a modern version of what I do.

If you guys don't share a musical style, it seems you do share a sensibility? My show is entirely different. It centers around Alice the character and Rob's show is a media blitz on the audience. It's almost generational. I'm classic hard rock, and Rob is more industrial, the next stage. There's more technology in his show. I always stayed from pyro and lazers and store-bought props. But Rob, being a director, can use all that to his favor. I'm a little more vaudevillian. But it’s a very thin line between horror and comedy . Both acts show that. Some parts of the show could be considered shocking but if you look at it, it's based in a dark sense of humor.

Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion Sunday. Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $40-$75. Call 877-435-9849 or o to

Photo: AFP

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Posted by Erik Maza at 10:49 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News


"Rock should be played from the crotch not the brain." Well said.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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