Mischievous hard-rocker Alice Cooper calls from Stockholm, Sweden, where he’s receiving rave reviews during a European tour, mixing vintage fist-waving favorites and Halloween theatrics.
During a lively interview, however, he is Vincent Furnier, 57, friendly and funny, and happy to discuss his life as the cane-wielding, black-cloaked Cooper. Furnier, um, Cooper performs at the Dane County Coliseum Friday.
State Journal: It’s hard to imagine you were once the world’s scariest rocker. A snake, some fake blood, a guillotine prop … it seems so harmless decades later.
Cooper: “Yet I was Marilyn Manson – times 10.”
State Journal: Dave Matthews seems scarier than you now.
Cooper: (laughs) “In some ways, he is.”
State Journal: I’m serious. I’d let you babysit my 7-year-old son.
Cooper: “And you’d be right to do that. But the funny thing is I haven’t watered down Alice. Alice the character on stage is just as dastardly as ever. If you sit in the first 20 rows of my show, you’re covered in fake blood. The attitude behind it is totally for fun. The audience in the ’70s was so easy to shock. Now I can’t be as shocking as CNN.”
State Journal: You’re 57. Do you still play “Eighteen”?
Cooper: “Of course, I do. Alice is not 57. I have no idea how old Alice is. I created Alice to be as much a fictitious character as Zorro or Hannibal Lecter or any great villain. When Alice sings ‘Eighteen,’ Alice thinks he’s 18. If I gained 100 pounds and lost all my hair, I couldn’t play Alice. But I’m in better shape now than I was 30 years ago. I haven’t had a drink in 24 years. I never smoked. I don’t take drugs.”
State Journal: And you love golf, right?
Cooper: “I play every single morning. Alice Cooper has never played golf. I play golf. If you put golf clubs on stage, he would think they were weapons.”
State Journal: Would you rather have another hit single or play golf with Tiger Woods?
Cooper: “I’ve already played with Tiger! He mentioned me in a golf magazine as one of the best celebrity golfers.”
State Journal: I read that on this tour you have a moment in the show where Paris Hilton’s head is cut off.
Cooper: “We used to cut Britney Spears’ head off, but she’s pregnant so we gave her a year off. (laughs) I think it’s Alice’s right and duty to off one diva during every show.”
State Journal: Your syndicated radio show (airing weekdays from 7 p.m. to midnight on WIBA, 101.5 FM) is very popular here.
Cooper: “I’m on in 80 cities. Madison was the first place we went No. 1 in the ratings.”
State Journal: And you’re performing the song “School’s Out,” which is played non-stop at every school year’s end.
Cooper: “On the last day of school, it’s the National Anthem.’ On that day, it’s the most popular song on the planet. (laughs) I become Francis Scott Key for one day.”