Alice Cooper on New Bands: 'They Usually Look Like Six Guys From the Mall'

"When I'm around most of these newer bands, someone has to tell me they are a band," the singer says.

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Alice Cooper doesn't seem to be too fond of the trends a lot of new bands are following, and he's not afraid to say it.

What the singer can't understand is the fact that a great portion of upcoming musicians simply wants to fit in with the crowd, lacking any interest whatsoever when it comes to stage theatrics.

"That's the one thing in rock right now that I don't get," Cooper told LA Weekly. "I don't get why so many younger musicians these days want to be in folk-rock bands. I'm 65 and expecting younger guys to come up with new ideas, and I find myself more and more saying, 'This is it?'

"When I'm around most of these newer bands, someone has to tell me they are a band because they usually just look like six guys from the mall. I don't understand why someone that is young and has the leeway to let it go doesn't take advantage of it! But if that whole generation wants to be boring, whatever."

Cooper also looked back on how things used to work back in the day, admitting that it was much easier to shock the audience. In his own words, "there was no profanity, no nudity, and nothing blasphemous."

"There was no Internet. Word spread via urban legend. If I had a ten-foot snake on stage with me one night, by the time we returned to town, it became a forty-foot snake," the singer said. "You can't be more shocking than CNN. I'm watching CNN and I see three girls getting rescued after being held in a basement for ten years. That's shocking! A gigantic tornado in Oklahoma causing the destruction it does is shocking. Alice getting his head cut off in a staged performance is not shocking. Especially when everyone knows it's a trick."

Cooper is currently on the road with Marilyn Manson on their "Masters of Madness" joint tour. His latest studio effort, "Welcome 2 My Nightmare," was released back in September 2011 as the 26th Alice Cooper record. With 18,000 units shipped in the US within the first week, the album debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 chart.

56 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Time changes... Not being a moralist here, but today is waaay more difficult to find a fresh formula. Also, at the end of the day it's all about luck (and being ready to catch it, of course). Just my 2 cents...
    One word: Ghost.
    Face R1pper
    That's not really what Cooper is talking about. He's looking for people with original ideas, and it seems he wants new ways to shock people. The problem with that is at this point in time, everything that can be done has been done so the best thing to do is be a band like Ghost and try to bring back music of an earlier generation.
    One the one hand, there's people like this, saying image should matter, and is important. But then there are people thoroughly despising bands like Black Veil Brides.
    I think what he's saying is to have an image. Back then you could recognise the bands, now you go to a fest(like Vans Warped Tour), and all the freaking bands look the same, with no distinction. Yes, the music is THE most important thing, but a little eye candy cannot hurt. Be creative guys. "Imagination is worth more than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world"
    So having to listen to a band to recognise them is a bad thing? If your music stands out you don't need a gimmick.
    agree, i respect alice cooper for what he's done but i can't always agree with him that because he's a legend. My opinion is these days young bands who aren't big in any way are going around being posers dressing all hardcore and telling people they're in a band to make themselves look like badasses.
    While he does seem to have a point, he also seems to think BVB is the greatest thing ever because they're "Edgy", and look "different".
    It does seem like Alice Cooper can't separate music and image. I get what he's saying, but any time I've heard him critique a band all he can talk about is what they look like or how they act. That kind of makes sense though, considering he only got to where he is by being "controversial" or whatever you wanna call it...
    I think he does get hung up on image sometimes, but once he gets past that he is concerned about the music, too. I remember a quote from not too many years ago when he was talking about bands that do have a unique image but no material to back it up. He said something along the lines of "You've got the look, but where's the song?"
    I think some of you are missing the point. Alice Always says that If you don't have the songs it doesn't matter how great you look... But I think what he means is that you need to have somewhat of an Image that goes along with what you stand for with your music. When I try to explain this to people I usually use early guns n' roses or early black crowes as a example: They 'didn't care about there image' but yet they looked completely different from anyone you see walking down the street. but to them that wasn't an image that was just the way they were and they didn't know any better. And you do kinda need something visual too stand out(and ofcourse the image should not overshadow the music)
    Sewage Rat
    Reading all these comments: 'But if that whole generation wants to be boring, whatever.'
    I guess it's time for the yearly Alice Cooper "why don't all bands dress up" rant. Bands that are more concerned with their image than their music suck. Case in point: hair metal.
    Face R1pper
    The image supplements the music, that's part of theatrics. Just because you don't like the music doesn't mean there isn't more thought put into the music than the image. Anyone that goes on stage wearing their normal clothes and displaying their normal attitudes is doing it wrong.
    Every style of music has their basic formulas, and hair metal (as well as whatever music you're into) is no exception. It's even more obvious if you're not into that particular style of music, but practically all music is pretty generic (especially from the outside looking in).
    Id rather just write and play music for people than play dress-up for the sake of it
    i have a feeling hes talking about shit metalcore and emocore, bands like Asking alexandria,Motionless in white, bands with to many breakdowns and stupid dubstep shit. Those bands sound is getting so old and boring I'm surprised there still around.
    i agree with you that those bands suck, but he's not talking about that.. read the article.. "I don't get why so many younger musicians these days want to be in folk-rock bands. I'm 65 and expecting younger guys to come up with new ideas, and I find myself more and more saying, 'This is it?'
    i had the same feeling...this generations "metal" looks like '80s hair metal on steroids. I'm 16 and I listen to a lot of older metal and some new stuff (guys like exodus and tool I guess would be considered "new") but I'm getting tired of the spastic attitude of the people who listen to that crap and it drives me nut.
    Well, maybe if Cooper got some good SOUNDING musicians instead of "good looking" ones, his last few albums would've been alright. I've seen them a few times over the past few years, and they don't even look cool anymore either. I feel like I'm watching Fright Fest at Six Flags or something... It's juvenile, and I think our generation is passed "shocking" gimmicks.
    Half of you completely missed the point. Fact is, music today isn't original in any way, musically or aesthetically. There has been next to 0 innovation out of this generation. If you call using mass distortion and going "rawr" into a mic innovation, you are kidding yourself.
    I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you where you state, "Fact is, music today isn't original in any way, musically or aesthetically."
    You didn't do much in arguing your point, though. You just said "Nuh-uh!" Name some visually and aubidbly original then. About the most original type of modern music I can think of is that like AWOL Nation or Imagine Dragons, but even then, their material (and especially their image) is far from original (let alone decent); it's just that the sort of electronic music they're channelling is somewhat fresh to the rockier end of the pop spectrum. Everything else has been set on repeat for the last ~15-20+ years.
    Emmm... Does it mean that every rocker has to be a shock rocker as Cooper? Or wear leather, chains and be METAL? Sorry, but I just can't get into his words properly.
    Look up some scene/metalcore/deathcore bands, that's what he talking about.
    I've never heard anyone refer to that garbage as "folk-rock", he's talking about indie bands,and crap where they're all wearing the same attire they'd wear anywhere else.
    Umm, looking at most 80's metal bands (not including glam), they basically all wore a pair of jeans, a band shirt and runners, what they'd wear normally anyway. You dont have to dress up in leather because you're in a band. I couldn't give a damn honestly how a band dressed, as long as their music didn't sound like every single other band I see at small pubs every week and were able to engage an audience.
    Mmmm most 80's metal bands at least wore tight jeans and had long hair. Grunge kinda had the non-descript demographic down though. In any case totally agree a bands appearance is the last thing that matters.
    Not indie bands son, I think he's talking about metalcore bands
    Except those guys have a look. Though you do see the look at the malls all the time, it's still the specific look of giant tattoos and outlandish piercings. The reason I used quotation marks is because he says "I don't get why so many younger musicians these days want to be in folk-rock bands" Most indie bands play what would have been considered folk rock, and the few that still hold that title dress like peasants from the 1820's. I donno, either Alice is confused or he's confusing the hell out of me!
    I personally think that whole chilled out 'mall clothes' style just relates to how musicians have become more focused on the music then looking good. City and Colour wear the most normal clothes ever and they make beautifully crafted music. And because of that nobody cares that they lack different outfits
    i think there's more good looking than good sounding bands out there right now...