By Steve Beard
Like psychotic clockwork every four years, legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper has once again tossed his top hat into the center ring and is running for President of the United States. Running on the Wild Party ticket, his campaign platform is sleek and streamlined: “I can do nothing as well as they do nothing.”
He has been running for the highest office in the land since 1972.
The song “Elected” was the first single from his album, “Billion Dollar Babies.” It was No. 1 in the United States and the United Kingdom. (His new video of the song can be seen HERE.)
Cooper’s 1972 hit “School’s Out” went #1 in England and caused British politicians to call for a ban on Alice performing in the country. “We couldn’t have bought that PR,” recalled Cooper in Classic Rock.
“I decided to write a song as a general poke at politicians,” said Cooper. “And in America at that time, we had Richard Nixon, who was the ultimate target. Your President is always a focal point for satire, but Nixon – you couldn’t satirize him enough. Plus the 1972 presidential elections were coming up and I thought, ‘Who’s the most unlikely person you would ever want as President?’ And Alice Cooper was that person!”
“I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice/ I wanna be elected/ I’m you Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,” sarcastically Cooper sings.
Cooper also proudly recalled John Lennon’s reaction to the hit. “Right after we cut Elected, I was at our record company office in New York, and John Lennon walked past me. He said, ‘Great record, Alice’. I said, ‘Thank you’. And then he took about three more steps and turned around and said, ‘Paul would have done it better.’ And I looked at him and went, ‘Well of course he would – he’s Paul McCartney!’ But I was so thrilled. I mean, come on – John Lennon loved my song. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Alice Cooper has created a legendary career on winks, nods, and irreverent political incorrectness.
“I don’t like to mix politics and rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t look at Bono, Sting and Bruce Springsteen as political. I look at them as being humanitarian,” he told The Guardian two years ago. “I’ll contribute to anything humanitarian. Helping people who can’t help themselves. But when musicians are telling people who to vote for, I think that’s an abuse of power. You’re telling your fans not to think for themselves, just to think like you. Rock ‘n’ roll is about freedom – and that’s not freedom.”
“I want my shows to take you as far away as possible from politics,” he said. “It’s supposed to be an escape from the world we’re living in.”
In a 2016 interview with Metal Hammer, Cooper blasted rock stars berating fans about who to vote for as “the worst idea ever.”
“Why do people think rock stars know more than they do?” he asked. “That is the biggest fallacy in the world – if anything, we’re dumber. We’re not smarter than anybody else. I mean, why do you think we’re rock stars?
“Trust me, we don’t read magazines you don’t read,” he said. “Nobody calls us up and gives us as inside information on politics. We know less than you do. If I watch TV, it’s Family Guy.
“Rock ‘n’ roll was built to go as far away from politics as you could get. When my mom and dad talked about who to vote for, I’d go in the other room and put on The Beatles or Rolling Stones – and I’m still like that.”
During his farcical campaign in 2016, his political manifesto included getting Motorhead’s Lemmy on Mount Rushmore, putting Groucho Marx on the $50, banning selfies, and making sure there is “a snake in every pot,” as well as “no more pencils, no more books.”
“These troubled times call for a troubled mind indeed,” claimed the campaign. “These troubled times call for Alice Cooper.”
Cooper revealed a bit of the tongue-in-cheek history of the song to the Cleveland Scene. “I’m so not political so it’s funny that I wrote the song that was one of the most political songs, and I was not trying to be political I was just having fun with it,” he said. “The most absurd thing in the world in 1972 would Alice Cooper being president. It would be like if you said that Mr. Rogers is now going to sing for the Rolling Stones. It was on that level of absurdity. But it works for every single election. … But please don’t vote for me. I couldn’t handle the pay cut.”
Steve Beard is the creator of Thunderstruck.