Alice Cooper: 'Young Rock Bands Should Be More Like Lady Gaga'

Shock rocker laments the state of modern rock in new interview.

Ultimate Guitar

Given his penchant for over-the-top theatrics, it should come as little surprise that Alice Cooper has a low boredom threshold. As ContactMusic notes the "Poison" singer is getting frustrated with modern bands, and feels that they should be more like his friend Lady Gaga:

"The girls seem to be the only ones doing theatrics, the guys have taken a back seat when it comes to that, Lady Gaga and the others just seem to be more creative when it comes to the stage shows. The guys have become boring, really. It just seems like young rock bands are afraid to be young rock bands. There's a lot of thrust missing from rock 'n' roll. I don't know why, everyone's trying to be very sensitive. In the 70s the last thing on our minds was sensitive."

The Coop has also got beef with the lumberjack look that has been popularized by bands such as Kings of Leon in recent years, and stated that bands should be singing less about politics, and more about girls:

"90 per cent of rock bands wear corduroy on stage, with little beards and they look like they're lumberjacks. And they sing about how much they hate oil. That's not rock 'n' roll, they should be singing about boys and girls - that's always what it's been about. Or if they are singing about girls it's always, 'I'm so sorry I was bad.' Quit being sorry!"

In other Alice Cooper news, it has been announced today that the singer will once again be joined on stage by actor Johnny Depp. Depp will play guitar for Alice at the annual Christmas Pudding show at Comercia Theatre, AZ, on December 8th. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star last played with Cooper back in 2011 at the 100 Club in London.

117 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "UG users slam Alice Cooper for using Lady Gaga as an example" --- Some people just missed the point of what he's trying to say...
    That bands should sing about boys and girls, rather than what they are interested in?
    TBH I think there's more depth to what he's saying. I think he's pointing out that in a sense the "rock 'n' roll" scene (if you will), seems pretty weak and it lacks the energy of youth it had "back in the day". Maybe using the "subject" of themes/lyrics was not the strongest example to use as a point. Idk. I just wouldn't be as quick to down talk what someone who in my eyes (key word being "MY" but probably to a bunch of others) has been insanely successful for his sheer ingenuity throughout the ages.
    I'd rather them just play good music. I don't go to concerts to watch some theatrics, I go to listen to good music.
    Surely a concert with great music and great stagecraft is, by definition, better than a concert with great music but boring stagecraft?
    Stage theatrics really don't do much for me. One of my favorite live performances was seeing Opeth who came out smiling and waving to the audience and then just started playing.
    I could not care less about the theater that some bands make live... I'm there for the music.
    Dr. Knox666
    Sure it's cool to watch a huge stageshow and stuff but if you're able to write good songs and play them well live you don't necessarily need to act like a clown to capture an audience.
    Slipknot puts on a pretty crazy theatrical show. I think Alice just wants to bang Gaga...
    he probably already has, this article's just covering it or something xP
    lol some paparazzi probably caught em walking out of a hotel room and then they went like "OH HEYY UHH I WAS JUST TELLING HER HOW BANDS NOWADAYS ARE BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH" lolll
    I don't care what point Alice Cooper (whom I've long admired), if it's about Lady Gaga, I'm not interested. I'll take seeing a band like The Sword for $25 with 12 colored lights on a tiny stage at a bar before any theatrical BS.
    The sword? Honestly, I saw them about 5 years ago, and it was a total snooze fest, luckily they were followed by Down, which was just bloody brilliant. As for the topic - Yes, there should be a show, there should be a balls to the wall insanse singer. Rocking guitarists, tall lean bassist, and a drummer who looks like he is a on a cocktail of coke, meth and rocket fuel
    Although I have respect for Alice (which you pretty much have to) I totally disagree with his views here. Yes rock 'n' roll should be exciting, but does anyone really give a shit about what they were or their image? I would rather have a band wearing suits playing great music than a bunch of drag queen Motley Crue wannabes playing dull, done before, whiny crap, not naming names cough-Black Veil Brides-cough! I mean, isn't this the exact type of bullshit bands like the Big 4, and grunge bands a la Nirvana fought so hard to usurp and make rock and metal credible? Sorry but shut up Alice, you're talking nonsense. I would rather go see Clutch play a fantastic set in lumberjack shirts than Lady Gaga ovulating rubber balloons from her vagina and insulting my ear drums with her music. Rant over, queue trolling...
    Not sure why Alice Cooper is continuously praising Gaga...Oh, wait...Because she is the next him.
    "90 per cent of rock bands wear corduroy on stage, with little beards and they look like they're lumberjacks. And they sing about how much they hate oil. That's not rock 'n' roll, they should be singing about boys and girls - that's always what it's been about. Or if they are singing about girls it's always, 'I'm so sorry I was bad.' Quit being sorry!"
    circus musician
    Seems to me that Lady Gaga's all about image. I'd rather listen to artists whose music is more important than the image.
    So...what he's saying is basically 'it ain't good if it ain't got gimmicks' ? What I miss in today's music is power. Nothing else. And a bunch of costumes, snakes, babes or fireworks can't make up for that. Sorry Alice.
    Let's all recognize the fine yet very much present line between gimmicks and great stage shows. Alice Cooper is on the wrong side.
    I think the most recent band I can recall that has a lot of theatrics in their live shows is My Chemical Romance. It was insanity watching them tour as "The Black Parade". Other than that, bands nowadays are meh.
    maybe young bands just don't have enough money to put on a big show. btw trying to looking like a tranny /w backup dancers doesn't count as showmanship
    These days its all about who's the most technical, self indulgent and pretentious band with the most "obscure" genre, that view in turn is at war with the other side of the coin, the image bands or as metalheads call them "posers" because you know, if a band likes to dress up they're not trve or kvlt. One view cannot fathom to take example from the other!
    Awww lol i think Mr. Cooper has a crush. Im serious, every now and then theirs something on here about him praising her in some way or another.
    Callum feeble
    Bands should make music about what ever is important to them, if they dont give shit about making music about girls then they shouldnt, rock isnt defind by the subject matter of the song. if their passionate about a subject then itll refelct in the music. RATM for example
    Sorry Alice, last time rock bands cared more about image and theatrics than their music, we got stuck with hair metal. Don't let that happen again.
    "And they sing about how much they hate oil. That's not rock 'n' roll, they should be singing about boys and girls - that's always what it's been about." Yeah, let's have more pointless music with meaningless lyrics. Important topics have absolutely no place in music. Just ask RATM and any punk band in existence.
    Second Rate
    RATM's lyrics were never exactly the words of sages. Endless choruses of "**** you i won't do what you tell me" don't exactly constitute intelligent word craft. And punk rock... there are lots of non political punk songs. Punk is just a reactionary genre, it was developed as a backlash against the musical excesses of progressive rock. Basically, Punk bands are contrarians.. whatever the rest of the music world is doing, they have to do the opposite.
    Ummm..... no Alice
    Sheep Shagger
    He's talking about how young rock bands aren't doing anything interesting with their stage theatrics compared to Gaga. He's not saying they should write music like hers...
    well, i think pop star put antics over the music
    Alice Cooper made his fame out of half-assed music and over the top antics. I agree that bands today can be too sensitive to popular opinion, but there is no need to go on stage and dress up like you're a child.
    Lady Gaga actually does write her own music and is a competent pianist. While her stuff under the character that she has developed is a little shallow, she still is good and fun to watch.
    And I think he has a valid point. The thing is, it's going to be hard finding enough people who share the same "style" as gaga
    I don't think "style" is the right word. I think "drive" or "passion" would be a better fit.
    Well. I agree with the Webber guy. IMO there's no need for a big shows with lasers and shit. I think that if a band really gives all it has, it's enough. (Big Springsteen fan)
    considering muse have for years had HUGE stage sets, recently unvealing a pyramid made of plasma tv screens which goes up and down with lights lasers etc. kinda missed that i think. on the other hand young rock bands dont get the exposure so much these days so cant afford huge stage sets like GAGA whose music generates enough to warrant such a production
    Agreed, what a load of shit. I get what he is trying to say - that stage presence is important, but seriously... no, Lady Gaga is shite. This article is bad UG, and you should feel bad.
    New Medicine
    Avenged Sevenfold Nightmare tour set was pretty sick in my opinion. I agree though not many bands have the money for over the top stuff. As well as not many bands seem to feel the need too. Which is sad. Alice and even Ozzy did amazing jobs and watching from videos it seemed amazing
    I see what you did there, UG. Trying to lure us in with that title. Also, agreeing with Mkorn. Finances are always an issue.
    Wow does this just prove that the industry is a scam. As if thats a good thing to "be like Lady Gaga" now that Cooper has said that I wonder how much they paid him.
    I know their not that young, but Rammstein put on the most over the top shows probably ever seen in music.
    I don't think he's necessarily referring to actual theatrics ala Muse, but what ever happened to running and jumping all over the stage and acting like goons while you play? So many modern rock bands just ****ing stand there the entire time. The last great rock show I saw was RED in their earlier days, when they still flew all over the stage and ended up injuring one another sometimes. Then again, their early music was so passionate that it would be hard not to act like that on stage. Poison the Well still do these things. Why can't other artists? I don't feel the pain that most modern rock bands try to portray with their music. Only Hurt seems capable of making me feel what they sing. RED used to, but they've gone too mainstream.
    "Tele" Steve
    Lady Gaga does theatrics because if she didn't nobody would care about her music because it's pretty generic pop.
    1. Bands can't afford to have theatrics. Even light shows are expensive and take a long time to set up. 2. Some bands have a message, and whether it be protesting oil or making a song about their own experiences/opinions, doesn't matter. It's their art. It's like the bashing Warhol got for being too simplistic. It's subjective. 3.
    Rock musicians just need to step it up a little.
    I can't agree with what he is saying at all. He's pushing for more "cock rock" bands like Buckcherry, Nickelback, etc. That's the last thing we need. While we do need more bands with balls, they don't have to be singing about banging chicks like every Motley Crue. Check out the grunge era for instance. Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam....they didn't have lyrics like that and they rocked hard. They also all looked like a bunch of lumberjacks in flanel and jeans (minus the beards) and all made pretty damn good careers out of rock. The songwriting quality of most new rock bands on radio have gone down the toilet. It's all gimmicky and for instant gratification. It's a shame you have to really dig for good rock music when it used to be so readily available on radio and MTV.
    He's absolutely right, but he shouldn't forget to mention that all the guys in bands are like that right now because our modern day chicks appreciate that more than they do the Rock & Roll lifestyle. It's just to get laid more often.
    I think he has a point, there should be more bombastical young rock bands. I think that's missing in today's industry. It's boring to me. The image of the band can add to the overall experience. Look at Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Slayer, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss etc. Those acts wouldn't be quite as big if they didn't convey their image into their music. That's what makes them stand out from the rest.
    It isn't the 70s anymore Cooper... Rock will never be at a high again. Too many people like mainstream dance and RnB, and since all the kids are being brought up listening to it, it won't be dying out anytime soon.
    Stop Dinging about politics? What about Billion Dollar Babies Alice? Elected? pretty much all of Dragontown.... He always sings about politics.
    I think the point is, even though there are some stage a light shows. Rock music, has reverted back to the "stool stages" if you will. Bands in the 50s and 60s figured it out pretty quickly, stage antics along with a good show and music will put you over the top. The Rolling Stones are a prime example of a band that went from acting like the beatle's styled pop rock to a more raw energetic show. You can see in old live videos of how shows progressed, and I definitely think everything has regressed.
    Well he's got his hand around her throat and he looks like he's gonna kill her...Now I know what he meant!! Young rock bands should be like Lady Gagaead!!