Welcome to his nightmare for the foreseeable future: Alice Cooper has ‘no desire to retire’


After more than 50 theatrical years on stage, don’t expect Alice Cooper to hang up his snakes and guillotines anytime soon.

The 70-year-old shock-rocker, who plays Casino Rama on Friday and returns for a Hollywood Vampires date with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and actor-musician Johnny Depp on May 18, says he has no plans of joining the growing list of seventy-something artists Elton John, Paul Simon and Ozzy Osbourne among them with a farewell tour.

“I have absolutely no desire to retire,” said the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

“I mean people say, ‘You could retire and play golf.’ I do that anyways. I get up every morning and go golfing and I do the show that night. I wouldn’t be retiring to anything and so why not just keep making records and touring? I think people still want to keep seeing the show.”

We caught up with Cooper who is also set to play King Herod in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live! on Easter Sunday (April 1) down the line from his Phoenix home.

You were once quoted as saying that when Mick Jagger, now 74, packs it in, you’ll give yourself six more years. Is that still true?

I think that’s a safe thing to say because Jagger will just go on forever. As long as Keith Richards is still alive, Jagger is going to go on forever. And I used him as sort of focal point because he does three hours on stage, he does a half-hour on the treadmill before the show and he’s 74! That’s the sort of tour diet that you want to follow.

Your 2017 album, Paranormal, was notable for a number of its guests U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. , Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and ZZ Top singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons, among them. Did you know them all previously?

In our business, it’s sort of a fraternity everybody knows everybody. I might get a call from Slash saying, ‘Hey, can you sing this one song I just wrote?’ And I go, ‘Okay, sure.’ Or I may call up Steve Vai or Joe Satriani or Billy Gibbons and say I got this song and it just screams, ‘It has your signature all over it.’

But does Larry stick out in that group?

We picked Larry because it was so unpredictable. Normally I would pick a drummer that would be a rock ‘n’ roll drummer. And in his case, it’s just the opposite. I picked a drummer that’s a much more artistic drummer and that made the album a whole different thing. And I think that’s what you want. You want to give everybody a different flavour every time you go out.

You’re also preparing to play King Herod opposite John Legend as Jesus. Why kind of ruler of Judea will you be?

Well, I kind of see this King Herod as being very condescending, kind of very arrogant. If there’s anybody I’m looking to kind of copy, it would be sort of an Alan Rickman. You know, that sort of looking down on people kind of thing because he is the King and his job is to make fun, in a very subtle way, of Jesus Christ, which is a little bit hard for me because I’m Christian. But it is a part and I understand that and, in the end, I know who wins.

The Hollywood Vampires have also added European and North American dates this year so touring with Joe and Johnny seems to be going well?

I kind of try to act as the lead singer and the historian. We’ll do a song, and I’ll tell a story about Jim Morrison. Or I’ll tell story about John Lennon. Or I’ll tell a story about each one of those guys that we used to drink with. So it’s a little bit looser to be in the Vampires. It’s not as rehearsed and not as choreographed as my show. We kind of look at the Vampires as being the world’s most expensive bar band.

And how is Joe doing? Just days after performing at Casino Rama in 2016 he collapsed at a Brooklyn show.

He’s fine. It was a very scary moment but he got better in three or four days. He rejoined us and finished the tour in San Francisco. I just saw him three or four days ago in Los Angeles with Johnny and he looks great. They all look great. I think it was just the fact that I didn’t really realize that he might do two or three, maybe three at the most shows, a week. The Vampires we were on our ninth show in 11 days. I didn’t realize he wasn’t really quite in shape for the kind of pace we were on.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson


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