Alice Cooper is one of rock and roll's icons, and his legend status was cemented when his band - also named Alice Cooper - was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. With the Rock Hall being celebrated in the new "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame In Concert" set from Time Life, AXS spoke to Alice Cooper about what being a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer means to him, and his current touring and recording plans.
AXS: What was your reaction when you were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Alice Cooper (AC): Everybody was like, how come they're not in the Hall of Fame? There was a big outrage going on about it. There were other bands [that] they were saying, how did they get in before Alice Cooper? And we found out that a lot of people that were on the voting [panel] thought we were already in. So when our name did come up, I guess we got a very big popular vote.
We were the very first theatrical band that [also] had a hit record. Most theatrical bands [put on] great shows, but they don't really have the music to go with it. We spent most of our time on the music, so we were up against Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, and every great band. We had like 14 Top 40 songs, and that's unusual for a band that does as much theatrics, and actually introduced theatrics to rock and roll.
AXS: Do you have a favorite memory from the actual induction ceremony? What was the experience like?
AC: When you're up there on stage and you're being inducted, you look down and see all the people that were your teachers. If you see Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, any of these people that when we were in high school, we were trying to learn their riffs. Those are the bands that you're the student and they're the teacher, and they allow you to graduate to the next level. That's kind of what [the ceremony]'s like. There's nothing but respect for the people that taught us. In my speech, I said I hope I never get tired of the Pete Townshend power chord and listening to Keith Moon or Jon Bolton play drums.
AXS: With everything you've done in your career, how important is being a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer? Would you call it one of your biggest accomplishments?
AC: I think so because you are in there with all the big guys and that's a big deal, especially when you're talking about a bunch of kids that were in high school and decided to put a band together when they heard The Beatles and played any place we could play. And then going way out on a limb [when we] decided that Alice Cooper was going to be rock and roll's, villain. All of that stuff is gambling because the safe way to go is to be a commercial rock band.
With us, it was like let's see how far we can take it and still be accepted. It took a long time before people accepted us for the music, not just for the theatrics. It took John Lennon saying that "Elected" was his favorite song and Bob Dylan [saying] that I was the most underrated rock writer, for people to start noticing that we had hit records.
AXS: You've been touring throughout 2018. What's your secret to keeping touring interesting?
AC: It's impossible to be bored with doing an Alice Cooper show because it's always changing. It's like some kind of dark vaudeville. I see people retiring, I think because of their lifestyle. People that smoked all their lives and drank all their lives, they're now 70 but look like they're 90, and internally they're probably 100. I quit drinking 35 years ago, I never smoked and I've been happily married for 42 years, so I think the lifestyle [helps] and the fact that I still believe in that kind of rock and roll is what keeps it going. My other band Hollywood Vampires is the same kind of band. It's Joe Perry on guitar, Johnny Depp, and it's a pure tribute to 1960, 1970's rock and roll.
AXS: Is there new music ahead as well?
AC: I've got four albums coming out. I've got a live album, a [studio] album from Alice Cooper [with] all new material, a live album from the Vampires from Switzerland, and a [Vampires] studio album of all new material. Next year is going to be really busy.
Below are Alice Cooper's upcoming tour dates, with tickets and more information available here:
Oct. 04 - Albany, NY - Palace Theater
Oct. 05 - Waterbury, CT - Palace Theater
Oct. 06 - Syracuse, NY - Crouse Hinds Theater
Oct. 08 - Raleigh, NC - Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Oct. 09 - Charlotte, NC - Ovens Auditorium
Oct. 10 - Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Oct. 12 - Chattanooga, TN - Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium
Oct. 13 - Biloxi, MS - Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Oct. 14 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hill Lawn
Oct. 16 - Irving, TX - The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Oct. 17 - Park City, KS - Hartman Arena
Oct. 19 - Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theater
Oct. 20 - St. Louis, MO - Stifel Theatre
Oct. 21 - Cedar Rapids, IA - Paramount Theater
Oct. 23 - Des Moines, IA - Des Moines Civic Center
Oct. 24 - Rockford, IL - Coronado Performing Arts Center
Oct. 26 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
Oct. 27 - Warren, OH - W.D. Packard Music Hall
Oct. 29 - Grand Rapids, MI - DeVos Performance Hall
For more on Alice Cooper, visit his artist page at AXS.