InterviewsPaul Stokes

Q&a Alice Cooper - On Johnny Depp, his supergroup with Santana & making "Coronation Street with vampires" with Tim Burton

InterviewsPaul Stokes

It's Halloween today (31 October) so who better to speak to than Mr Alice Cooper? At almost 63 years old, you'd forgive the veteran rocker for taking things a little bit easier, but no he's currently as busy as ever, releasing a new album Welcome 2 My Nightmare, touring the world, starring in a Tim Burton's forthcoming film Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp - and is apparently starting a supergroup with Mick Fleetwood and Carlos Santana. How the devil are you? "I'm good. Busy though. We've been on the road giving fans of taste of the new album, and the response has been really great so far."

Tell us about your album that came out in September? "Well, me and Bob Ezrin, who's a very old, very talented friend of mine, wanted to do something together again. He and I worked on my 1975 album Welcome To My Nightmare album together. We wanted to something classic, something special so we thought, let's write another nightmare for Alice. So this is the follow-up - quite literally, it's called Welcome 2 My Nightmare."

That must have been fun, revisiting that album after 35 years. "Yeah, it was a really fun experience. Challenging too, in a way. We tried to keep some musical identities from the old album to tie the two records together - a few familiar melodies and little touches - and yeah, it sounds great. I really hope people will like it - both people who bought the original and new fans of Alice Cooper. It was really fun to revisit that record, 35 years later."

The new single has a bit of a Rolling Stones vibe. Was this a conscious decision? "Yeah, it's a total tip of the hat to the classic original 'Stones sound. We went out of our way to lay down the same sort of tambourines and handclaps to give it that vibe. One of the things I've learned about songwriting is you can't fit a round peg in a square hole. Most songs have the same musical DNA. So this was real fun to do."

Speaking of The Stones, have you heard Mick's new group, SuperHeavy? "I haven't yet but I see it's got great reviews. I can't wait to hear it. They're all great musicians, so it's bound to be something pretty special."

Would you ever be tempted to get a supergroup together? "I kind of already have one actually! Every New Year in Hawaii, me, Carlos Santana, Dave Murray from Iron Maiden and Mick Fleetwood. It's great - we just get together and jam out old Chuck Berry classics."

That's quite a line-up. Any plans to write, record and go the whole hog with it? "Well, so far we haven't written anything and it's a very cool, casual thing when we're all in town together. But never say never! It'd be something else, really interesting. But at the moment it's just rock and roll classics, you know, the real standards. Who knows, in the future, maybe..."

You've also been working on a film with Tim Burton and Jonny Depp. How was that? "Oh it was a blast. I feel such a bond with Tim Burton. He has this strange view on things and I can really relate to that. He's a genius. The film is called Dark Shadows and although it's a horror film I suppose, it's really compelling on a human level - the characters might be vampires but they have the same problems everyone encounters. It's like Coronation Street with vampires!"

It's a remake of an old TV series, isn't it? "It was actually really popular back in the 60s when it was on. Kids were running home from school to see it, housewives were addicted to watching it. Hopefully people will like the new one just as much. I'm only in it for a little bit, just a cameo. I filmed all my shots in a day or so. It was a fun experience."

Johnny Depp played guitar for you at your London show at the 100 Club in June. You got along well then? "Oh yeah, like a house on fire. He's great and a fantastic guitarist, you'll be surprised to learn! We didn't spend too much time on the set together actually, as I was kind of -in-and-out just like that. I invited him to come down to the show and play a few tunes with us, just old rock 'n' roll numbers, for a few kicks. He was great, a real natural. I told him if the whole acting thing fizzles out he can join the Alice Cooper band. I've got a feeling it'll pan out for him though." Al Horner

Head to Alicecooper.com for more.