Alice Cooper on Bonnaroo: 'I Can't Wait to Kill This Audience'
For 20 years, Alice Cooper fans have aped the "We are not worthy!" salutation from "Wayne's World." But the shock rocker is anticipating a new catch phrase taking root soon thanks to his cameo in the new film adaptation of "Dark Shadows."
"We're going to get T-shirts made that say 'Alice Cooper is the ugliest woman in the world... Barnabas Collins,' " Cooper told Billboard.com during a conference call with reporters promoting his appearance at this year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. "As soon as (Johnny Depp) said that, 'cause it got a big laugh in the movie theater, I went, 'Boy, I just got stuck wtih a new one. That's gonna be the new catch line.'"
The "Dark Shadows" bump comes in front of a busy rest of the year for Cooper, including a tour itinerary with a run of shows as special guest to Iron Maiden and, besides Bonnaroo, appearances at Milwaukee's Summerfest, the RBC Bluestfest and Sarnia Bayfest in Canada, Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisc., and a late July and August sing through Europe. At the same time he'll be preparing for the fall launch of a fresh production built around last year's "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" album, the sequel to 1975's platinum "Welcome to My Nightmare."
"In October we go out with an entirely new show," Cooper reported. "Things are being built right now. The stuff for that show is in construction as we speak. I had a big meeting with Shep (Gordon, his manager) and a couple of the directors and, yeah, it's going to be fun." Cooper played just one song from the album, "Bite Your Face Off," during his 2011 shows, but this year he's planning to add additional "Nightmare 2" material, including "Caffeine" and "Runaway Train."
"With Iron Maiden, we're like the guest star, so we're only doing an hour," Cooper says. "We'll just be doing all the hits during that, plus the theatrics and stuff, but you're really kind of limited to doing all your big stuff. When we do our normal hour and 45-minutes, it'll be the full-out Alice explosion."
Cooper said he's especially looking forward to doing that on June 9 at Bonnaroo as a late-night Saturday change-of-pace. It's not the kind of show the Bonnaroo crowd is used to seeing, and Cooper is relishing the prospect of winning over the masses in Tennessee.
"I always like to put Alice where he doesn't belong," Cooper explained. "I think there's going to be 80 percent of that audience that has never seen Alice. They've only heard of Alice via Slipknot or Marilyn Manson or whatever. They'll see the real thing this time. If you're in the first 20 rows, you'll probably get some blood on you."
It was a conversation while flying to Nashville to work on "Nightmare 2" that stoked Cooper's interest in bringing his ghouls and guillotines to Bonnaroo. "There were two guys on the plane with me talking about all the Bonnaroo bands," Cooper recalled, "and then one of them says, 'I like the old, blind black guy.' I said, 'Who? Stevie Wonder?' 'Yeah.' The old, blind black guy? I went, 'I can't wait to kill this audience.' They're not expecting me at all. I think they might be expecting the old scary skinny guy. We're gonna go up there to basically do a real Alice Cooper show. I don't think they've seen a classic Alice Cooper show."