Halloween. What better time for Alice Cooper, who plays the Orpheum tomorrow [Sunday, Oct. 29], to come to town?
Alice Cooper didnâ€™t used to spend Halloween skewering baby dolls, getting beheaded and the other scary things heâ€™s known for doing onstage. You might have seen Alice Cooper trick or treating out with his kids, if you lived in Phoenix 10 years ago.
â€˜â€˜I went out as Zorro a couple times, and I must say I made a pretty dashing Zorro,â€ he recalled by phone last week.
â€˜â€˜And one year I did a full-on Michael Myers. Iâ€™d have a little button with the theme music playing, and when the kids were getting their bags filled Iâ€™d just stand by the door staring. I figured out that you can scare people pretty good that way; if you just stand there not talking it really gets them going. Especially if you come back later and stand outside their window.â€
Alice is back to dressing as Alice, now that his kids are grown, and during the past decade, his Halloween tours have become dependable.
â€˜â€˜For us itâ€™s Halloween every night,â€ he said, â€˜â€˜but this is the one time of year when the audience dresses up better than we do. I like it when they come dressed as characters from the show, like the executioner or the nurse.â€
Since â€˜â€˜Poisonâ€ in 1992, he hasnâ€™t had a hit single, though Alice has lately made a musical comeback. Alice Cooper had gone through arena-rock and speed-metal phases but his last two albums, â€˜â€˜The Eyes of Alice Cooperâ€â€˜ and â€˜â€˜Dirty Diamonds,â€ marked a return to the rougher garage sound of his â€™70s discs.
â€˜â€˜I was listening to the White Stripes, the Strokes, Jet and thinking,
â€œWhy does this sound familiar to me?â€ he said. â€˜â€˜Of course! Itâ€™s 1968 Detroit garage rock. I was tired of getting drunk on technology, and now I could go back to playing with a great bar band. We made the last album in 16 days. If somebody dropped a bass line, Iâ€™d say, â€œGood. Thatâ€™s what a live band sounds like.â€
â€˜â€˜Thereâ€™s not much difference between me and someone like Aerosmith. Iâ€™m sure I listened to the Yardbirds as much as they did.â€
Alice did some new songs yesterday, but fear not: You could have still counted on him to get guillotined midway through the show.
â€˜â€˜Thatâ€™s by popular demand,â€ Alice said. â€˜â€˜There are so many kids out there now whoâ€™ve heard about it but never seen it. Thanks to the Internet, kids nowadays are more educated about music than theyâ€™ve ever been. I guarantee that if you see 10 kids in a mall, seven of them will be wearing classic-rock T-shirts. They find out about Ozzy and Led Zeppelin, and the more demented ones like us.â€
You probably would have to be closer to the 58-year-old Aliceâ€™s demographic to recognize one of his inspirations for the show.
â€˜â€˜There will be things flying off the stage,â€ Alice said. â€˜â€˜Itâ€™s a mix of serial killer and Rip Taylor.â€