Alice Cooper’s ambitious, dramatic and oftentimes gory stage act sent shockwaves throughout the music industry in the early ’70s but many would be surprised to know that the Godfather of Shock Rock also had an impact on an icon who surpassed his own renown: David Bowie.
Cooper claimed that the vaudeville-inspired live show of his early-Alice Cooper Band reached Bowie early in his career, and at just the right time.
“…[H]e brought his band, the Spiders From Mars, and he was saying, ‘This is what we should be doing.’ But he never did it the way we did it,” Cooper told Metal Hammer.
He continued, saying the early-Alice Cooper Band’s ethos also reached Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.
Cooper said his band proved that “you could be theatrical and commercial at the same time,” he said.
“I wanted there to be an artistic movement; I created Alice as a villain… Bowie created all of his characters to fit who he wanted to be.”
Rather than seeing one another as competition, Cooper says Bowie, Reed and himself respected each other as peers and unique artists with distinctly different voices.
“Bowie and I talked all the time; we’d compliment each other,” Cooper said.
“There was a whole thing about Bowie and Lou Reed talking about my androgynous [persona] being fake and they were right. Of course it’s fake. It’s a dark vaudeville show, and I play a character. Lou and David knew me and knew I couldn’t me more down-the-middle American. … I just happened to tap into this character and the image — I knew how to make that character scary, sexy, revolting and funny at the same time.”
Cooper reunited the surviving original members of his band for his latest studio album, Detroit Stories.