‚ÄúSomebody was trying to keep me from getting to 70,‚ÄĚ Alice Cooper quips over the phone from his home near Phoenix.
As he reached that milestone on Feb. 4, whoever that was clearly didn‚Äôt succeed.
But the Detroit-born theatrical rocker and still-avid Motor City sports fan, is in fine form in the mortal coil as he kicks off his 2018 touring schedule this week in Windsor ‚ÄĒ despite events that seemed to conspire against him.
Cooper was vacationing in Hawaii, where his longtime manager, Shep Gordon, resides, during the nuclear attack alert Jan. 13 that proved to be false.
‚ÄúYou never want to see the words ‚Äėimminent,‚Äô ‚Äėnuclear‚Äô and ‚Äėnot a drill‚Äô ever in one sentence,‚ÄĚ Cooper says. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm looking at it going, ‚ÄėAre you kidding me?‚Äô My theology told me I‚Äôm gonna go from one paradise to another one, but it‚Äôs still a bit of a shock to think, ‚ÄėIn about 18 minutes, I‚Äôm gonna be fried.‚Äô
‚ÄúWhen it blew over, everybody was laughing about it, but believe me, it was scary.‚ÄĚ
Then, two weeks later, Cooper was involved in a head-on car collision back home in Phoenix that totaled both vehicles. ‚ÄúBoth of us walked out of it without a scratch,‚ÄĚ Cooper reports. His car ‚Äúlooked like a piece of art,‚ÄĚ but there was a consolation prize.
‚ÄúI did come out of it with a 1965 350 Shelby Mustang ‚ÄĒ a real Detroit car. That‚Äôs where the insurance money‚Äôs going,‚ÄĚ Cooper says.
Now in his eighth decade, the father of three and grandfather of twins with another on the way, is still working as hard as performers a fraction of his age. He continues to support his 2017 album ‚ÄúParanormal,‚ÄĚ promising three or four songs from the new album. But he and Gordon also plan a major new show that will probably hit the road during 2019.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a million ideas out there,‚ÄĚ Cooper says. ‚ÄúIt won‚Äôt look like this (upcoming) tour and it‚Äôll be a bigger show. There‚Äôs no way of getting away from the 15 songs or so you HAVE to do, so it‚Äôs, ‚ÄėHow do you approach them?‚Äô It gets to a point where you‚Äôre kind of confined to certain things, but how can you make it all look new? That‚Äôs what we‚Äôre working on how. The creativity has not gone.‚ÄĚ
And Cooper promises that, as tradition demands, he‚Äôll meet his rightful demise during the production.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve tried so many different kinds of ways of doing it, but we keep coming back to the guillotine or hanging ‚Äôcause that‚Äôs so classic Alice,‚ÄĚ he explains. ‚ÄúThe thing we‚Äôve realized is you have to have a sudden death. You can‚Äôt have something that lingers. The electric chair wasn‚Äôt sudden. Burning at the stake is too slow. You have to give it that sudden pop to make the audience get that thrill.
‚ÄúSo after that you just figure out, ‚ÄėHow do we set this up, what does Alice have to go do get to the point where it‚Äôs worthy of the guillotine or a hanging, so it‚Äôs satisfying that he gets it at the end ‚ÄĒ and then comes back, of course.‚ÄĚ
Amidst that planning, Cooper will also be active this year with the Hollywood Vampires, his ad hoc all-star group with Johnny Depp and Aerosmith‚Äôs Joe Perry. The group, with some new adjunct members to be announced soon, is playing dates in Europe during the spring and early summer, but it‚Äôs particularly anxious to hit the studio to make its second album ‚ÄĒ and first of all, original material.
‚ÄúEverybody is writing right now,‚ÄĚ Cooper reports. ‚ÄúWe probably won‚Äôt get into the album until the summer, and then it‚Äôll go quickly because we‚Äôve all got a lot of songs. Johnny did five movies last year so he could free himself up for this, and the band‚Äôs really anxious to get together.‚ÄĚ
Cooper‚Äôs other major project this year is playing King Herod in ‚ÄúJesus Christ Superstar Live‚ÄĚ on Easter Sunday, April 1 on NBC. Cooper has been rehearsing ‚ÄúKing Herod‚Äôs Song‚ÄĚ every day, although he‚Äôs waiting for some direction about how the show‚Äôs producers want it to be delivered.
‚ÄúI think I should play it like Alan Rickman, a very condescending kind of arrogance,‚ÄĚ says Cooper, who recorded a version of the track for a 1996 ‚ÄúSuperstar‚ÄĚ album in the U.K. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the only song in the whole show that‚Äôs funny, and Herod is being so abusive, verbally, to Christ even though he‚Äôs treating him as a guest. There‚Äôs a lot of ways to take that song.‚ÄĚ
Cooper is particularly stoked that the production is being broadcast live. ‚ÄúOne of the guys said, ‚ÄėWill that throw you off, having a live audience?‚Äô‚ÄĚ Cooper says. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm like, ‚ÄėWhat do you think I do every night?‚Äô I do rock theatrics in front of an audience, y‚Äôknow? I‚Äôll probably the only one comfortable there. Musical theater is pretty much what I‚Äôve done for 50 years. I think it‚Äôll feel pretty natural.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ If You Go: A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper, 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East. Tickets are $57-$189. Call 800-991-7777 or visit caesarswindsor.com
Send your thoughts and comments to