Tipping his top hat and waving his walking stick, 69-year-old Alice Cooper is still cranking out great music. This week, the king of macabre-greased, tongue-in-cheek rock-n-roll, released his latest album Paranormal – with the help of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Larry Mullen of U2 as well as original band mates. As fans have come to expect, there are plenty of hard-driving songs with plenty of creepiness thrown in: “My shadow has a life of its own / Watching you while you sleep all alone.” Or “When the night is all cool, skin and bones / And you lie wrapped in sheets on your own.”
“That’s kind of what people want or a certain amount of that out of Alice Cooper. They want a certain amount of Edgar Allan Poe out of me, and I love writing those types of songs,” Cooper recently told Paste.
Of the many things that have changed within American culture, the shock factor of rock ‘n’ roll has to push ultra-extreme limits in order to compete with the nightly news.
“I mean, nothing’s scarier than CNN. They cut my head off on stage, right? And that was really shocking in 1970,” Cooper said. “Now it’s traditional, and people really wanna see that bit in the show, but it doesn’t shock them. They really wanna see it, because they saw the Alice Cooper Guillotine thing or the straightjacket or the snake or whatever it is. All that stuff was shocking in 1970. In 2017, you turn on CNN, and there’s a guy really getting his head cut off by ISIS. And that is shocking. To me, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and myself cannot outdo reality when it comes to what’s shocking anymore. So, all of us understand that shock value is great within the show, but nobody’s really being shocked by it. They just like the spectacle of it.”
Cooper continues: “If you really strip away the Alice image and the Alice character and the show, we’re a very straight-up, guitar-driven rock and roll band. I mean, every single album I ever made, I surround myself with great guitar players, and I surround myself with really good hard rock players. And really, that’s what we are. That’s what Aerosmith is. That’s what Alice is. That’s what Guns N’ Roses is. We’re hard rock bands. That’s the one music that has never gone away. Grunge went away. Punk went away. Disco went away. But what stayed? Guitar-driven rock and roll. So that’s always what I’ve done. If anything, I’m probably closer to Detroit-type of rock and roll than anything else. I just put my twist on it.”