Alice Cooper: Modern Concert Audiences Are ‘Shockproof’
Alice Cooper is often credited as the original shock rocker in music, but in a new interview Cooper questions how well the shock value goes over with today's concert-going audience.
Cooper's initial band formed in 1964 and released their debut album in 1969. During those days, Cooper played shows with blood-stained garments and utilized snakes and guillotines as props during his group's performances.
Looking back on those times, he told The Independent, “We gave the audience everything their parents hated. The way we saw it if you’re driving by and you see Disneyland on the left side and a plane wreck on the right, you’re going to look at the plane wreck. We were that plane wreck."
But the rock 'n' roll era was still in just its second decade when Cooper was starting out and a lot of acts have utilized shock tactics to draw their audiences in the years since.
Asked how his schtick would go down if he were starting out in 2021, he added, “You could cut off your arm and eat it on stage and it wouldn’t matter. The audience is shockproof.”
During the chat, Cooper reflected on initially finding his audience and the role that Detroit played in his band's success. “We had that experimental sound, and when you put the theatre on top of it, nobody got it at all,” he says. “I think we scared the LA audience. They were mostly on acid and Alice Cooper is not what you want to see when you’re on acid.”
Cooper says that their manager at the time suggested that the first place to give them a standing ovation should be where they moved to. Playing on a bill with MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges in Detroit, Cooper recalls, "We did our show and it was loud and raucous and they loved it! When they found out I was born in Detroit, that was the clincher. I was the missing finger in the glove.”
Cooper is currently paying homage to his Detroit background with the Detroit Stories album. You can place your order for the album here (As Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases).