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Concert preview: Alice Cooper's back, this time even with the kitchen sink

Published June 8, 2017 11:47 am

Concert preview • Shock-rocker set to debut a new album plans an "intense" show at Kingsbury Hall, promising fans, "We do everything."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Last time Alice Cooper played in Salt Lake City, he was opening for Mötley Crüe on their farewell tour, and technical problems setting up Tommy Lee's "Crüecifly" drumkit rollercoaster led to the show at Vivint Smart Home Arena starting about 2 1/2 hours late, forcing Cooper to perform only about three-quarters of his scheduled set.

As a result, his famed stage show was limited to fencing, straitjacket-wearing, snake-handling, Frankenstein transformation, electrocution and an execution (by guillotine, of course).

When Cooper headlines Kingsbury Hall this Tuesday, he promises fans will get the full Alice experience.

"Now, on this tour … we do everything. In fact, I said, 'At the end of the show, why don't we have a giant kitchen sink fall down and kill me? That would be a perfect ending for it!' " Cooper told The Tribune in a telephone interview. "People say, 'Everything happens at his show except the kitchen sink!' And I thought, 'Well, let's add it, then!' "

Cooper has also done some subtraction this time around, considering Kingsbury's capacity is less than 2,000.

The decision to downgrade venue size, he said, was by design rather than by necessity.

"It used to be you had to tour, now it's at a point where you tour because you like to tour, because you want to tour. That gives us, also, the ability to pick where we want to play. Now, I would rather play my show in a theater, because it is so much more intense," Cooper said. "I want you to see Alice's face when he's in the guillotine, or I want you to see his face in the straitjacket, and really focus on what's going on lyrically and what's going on with Alice at that point. So it's a little more vaudeville. … It just fits our show so much better."

He's also finding his new label, Germany-based earMUSIC, a good fit. His first studio album in six years, "Paranormal," is due July 28, and his first single from it, "Paranoic Personality," will be released Friday.

"It almost feels like the old days, where they're interested in what the album cover looks like, they're interested in what the lyric product is, they're interested in what the single's gonna be," Cooper noted. "That hasn't happened in years."

The album also is noteworthy for reuniting Cooper with a trio of his original bandmates — guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith — on a trio of songs.

The frontman said he approached his longtime friends with a simple pitch: "We're gonna write 25 songs, the best 12 are gonna make the album, and it doesn't matter where they come from. So write some songs and send them to me!"

"The great thing about what happened with us: We went to high school together, and the band started in high school, and we went to college together, and then we went to L.A. and starved together, and then we made it together, and we all became Hall of Famers together. When the band broke up, there was never any bad blood," he recalled. "And then we started working on those songs, and three of those songs of the 12 were the original band. We caught a wave with the original guys, and it was really great to hear those songs on the album, because they really do kinda sound like Alice Cooper 1973!"

The obvious downside to that, he realizes, is that it reminds people just how long he's been around.

KISS' Gene Simmons once infamously claimed "Rock is dead." Cooper counters rock 'n' roll is merely dying, one aging legend at a time. It's inevitable that many more whom we revere will follow before we're ready.

The point, he said, is not to perpetuate the problem by hastening the process.

"Yeah, you do think about it. … When I was in the '60s, '70s, if you were 70 years old, you were a fan of Sinatra and those guys. Now, if you're 70, you were a Beatles fan. Rock 'n' roll is growing up," Cooper said. "All the guys that are still rocking out there are about 70 years old. None of us ever thought that we would get this far, physically. None of us ever thought past 30. And a lot of the guys didn't get past 30 — you know, Jimi [Hendrix] and Jim Morrison, Janis [Joplin] … think of all the guys that died at 27. Our generation finally learned from those guys, and at some point we stopped doing what we were doing and decided to live. Well, at 70 years old, I'm up onstage — next year I'll be 70 — and I've never felt so good in my life, I've never physically been in better shape. So, I can't imagine even thinking about retiring."

It's not as if Cooper needs more time to play golf.

"I do find a way to play golf every morning. My priorities are straight!" he noted with a laugh. "I play six days a week. I can always get nine in somewhere."

In the meantime, no matter what trend infatuates the industry, Cooper doesn't think his music is going anywhere.

"No matter where rock goes, if it goes to punk, if it goes to grunge, if it goes to folk, if it goes to minimalist, if it goes to new wave, hard rock always has its market — Aerosmith, Alice, Ozzy, bands like that, that are classic hard rockers, will always live right through that. That's why we've been around for five decades and still make records and still sell records and still sell out audiences," he said. "It's because we are a hard rock band. Certainly with a twist! But you go back to The Yardbirds and The Who and Chuck Berry and The Beatles, that's basically Alice, only you throw in a little bit of Edgar Allan Poe and 'West Side Story' and Dracula, and you've got Alice Cooper there."

Clearly the man relishes his role as a purveyor of horror-theater.

Still, even shock-rockers and masters of the macabre have their limits.

"That was quite a contraption," Cooper recalled of Lee's "Crüecifly." "I made a deal with him — I said, 'I'll tell you what, if you put your head in the guillotine and go through the whole guillotine thing, I'll ride your rollercoaster.' And neither one of us did — we both chickened out!"


Twitter: @esotericwalden —

Alice Cooper

When • Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.

Where • Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Cir., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $55-$90; Smith's Tix






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