Alice Cooper Talks Scares With Recent Car Accident & Hawaii False Alarm: 'Somebody Was Trying to Keep Me From Getting to 70'
Alice Cooper is as busy as ever after making it to 70 earlier this month -- despite events, including a false nuclear attack and a car crash, that seemed to be conspiring against him.
Cooper was in Hawaii, where his longtime manager Shep Gordon resides, on Jan. 13 during the nuclear attack alert that proved to be false. "You never want to see the words 'imminent,' 'nuclear' and 'not a drill' ever in one sentence," Cooper, who turned 70 on Feb. 4, tells Billboard. "I'm looking at it going, 'Are you kidding me?' My theology told me I'm gonna go from one paradise to another one, but it's still a bit of a shock to think, 'In about 18 minutes, I'm gonna be fried.' When it blew over everybody was laughing about it, but believe me, it was scary."
Then, two weeks later, Cooper was involved in a head-on car collision back home in Phoenix that totaled both vehicles. "Both of us walked out of it without a scratch," Cooper reports. "My car looked like a piece of art, but I did come out of it with a 1965 350 Shelby Mustang -- a real Detroit car. That's where the insurance money's going."
He ultimately concludes: "Somebody was trying to keep me from getting to 70, but I'm still here."
And Cooper has plenty going on as he enters his eight decade. On March 1 he kicks off a new tour to support his 2017 album Paranormal, promising three or four songs from the new album. But he and Gordon are also planning a major new show that will probably hit the road during 2019. "There's a million ideas out there," Cooper notes. "It won't look like this (upcoming) tour and it'll be a bigger show. There's no way from getting away from the 15 songs for so you haveto do, so it's, 'How do you approach them? What's the look of Alice? What's the look of the band?' That's what we're working on how. The creativity has not gone."
Meanwhile, Cooper will also be active this year with the Hollywood Vampires, his ad hock all-star group with Johnny Depp and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. The group, with some new adjunct members who will be announced soon, is playing dates in Europe during the spring and early summer, but it's particularly anxious to hit the studio to make its second album -- and first of all original material.
"Everybody is writing right now," Cooper reports. "We probably won't get into the album until the summer, and then it'll go quickly because we've all got a lot of songs. Johnny did five movies last year so he could free himself up for this, and the band's really anxious to get together." Cooper is also interested to see who else becomes a Vampire during the coming months.
"I still like the idea that the Vampires is the world's most expensive bar band," he says. "If somebody wants to jump on stage and play with us, if they know the songs and they fit, then come on up. If a Jimmy Page could come up and play with us, or a Jeff Beck or any of those guys and do a couple songs with us, they would fit right into Vampire world, 'cause they lived through that era."
Cooper's other major project this year is playing King Herod for Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Easter Sunday, April 1 on NBC. Cooper has been rehearsing "King Herod's Song" every day, although he's waiting for some direction about how the show's producer want it to be delivered.
"I think I should play it like Alan Rickman, a very condescending kind of arrogance," says Cooper, who recorded a version of the track for a 1996 Superstar album in the U.K. "It's the only song in the whole show that's funny, and Herod is being so abusive, verbally, to Christ, even though he's treating him as a guest. There's a lot of ways to take that song."
Cooper is particularly stoked that the production is being broadcast live. "One of the guys said, 'Will that throw you off, having a live audience?'" Cooper says. "I'm like, 'What do you think I do every night?' I do rock theatrics in front of an audience, y'know? I'll probably the only one comfortable there. Musical theater is pretty much what I've done for 50 years. I think it'll feel pretty natural."